Texas law enforcement moves to satellite-based network
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Mar 26, 2000
The Texas Department of Public Safety is replacing a large part of its communications
system with a satellite network that will connect law enforcement agencies
and give them quicker access to emergency and daily information.
Through the network, up to 1,500 law enforcement offices will be linked
to the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System at DPS headquarters
in Austin. That will give those offices a connection with all state-level
law enforcement agencies, related state offices, including the Department
of Transportation, and federal agencies including the office of the attorney
general, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco
The very small aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite network is being supplied
by Hughes Network Systems, Germantown, Md., and offers more reliable and
faster communications applications for law enforcement officials statewide.
It supports two-way data, voice, multimedia and one-way broadcast video,
allowing officers to access everything from criminal histories to drivers'
"Moving from a traditional, phone-based communications system to a satellite
network increases the speed, versatility and reliability of services offered
through the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System," said DPS director
Thomas Davis, Jr. in a statement. "The possibilities are exciting."
The new system accommodates the legacy functions, but also allows for
new Internet Protocol-based broadband applications to run on the same platform
without affecting the existing systems. All of those activities are conducted
through a Hughes dedicated hub in Austin.
Future possibilities for the new system include distance learning tools,
law enforcement training and videoconferencing, and transmission of graphics