FAA sets target for telecom backbone

Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to deploy the backbone of its $3 billion FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) program by September.

The agency's telecom manager, Steve Dash, announced today that a decision was made last month to deploy the FTI program at 27 major operational facilities, including all air route traffic control centers.

The FTI program is 15-year effort by the FAA and a contractor team led by Harris Corp. to integrate older systems into one telecom infrastructure while delivering a greater range of services. When complete, the network will encompass more than 5,000 FAA facilities nationwide.

Dash also said the FAA plans to make its decision on going forward with the second phase of deployment to more than 5,000 smaller facilities in July 2004. Phase two will include approximately 600 manned facilities, with 349 of these considered significant air traffic control centers.

"We see the entire transition of both phase one and phase two to go through the 2007 time frame, and we are on schedule for that," said Dash, who noted that the December decision came ahead of schedule.

FTI was deployed at two test sites — Kansas City, Mo., and Fort Worth, Texas — last fall, and Dash expects the services between those two sites to be operational by the first week of February.

The test sites are connected to the FTI Network Operations and Control Center in Melbourne, Fla. This center will manage all operations of the FTI program, including security.

Some of the older systems to be integrated into the single infrastructure include the Leased Interfacility National Airspace System Communications System, the Data Multiplexing Network, the Bandwidth Manager Network and the National Airspace Data Interchange Network.

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