U.S. and Mexico talk safety across the fence

New network will support voice, data and video

The United States and Mexico will establish a new cross-border communications network including voice, data and video channels to support their law enforcement and public safety agencies, officials announced.

The Homeland Security Department and the Secretariat of Public Security of Mexico will coordinate the installation and operation of the network, according to DHS. DHS, the State department and Mexican officials signed the agreement, which also provides for joint protection from radio interference and jamming.

The goal is to create an interoperable network that will be linked to federal, state, local and tribal safety networks for the purpose of public safety and law enforcement.

The State Department on Sept. 1 released a protocol concerning the use of radio frequencies along the U.S-Mexico border. The protocol establishes the concept of the Cross Border Public Security Communications Network, assigns radio frequencies so that stations are protected from interference, and sets up a working group to enhance interoperability of the network on both sides of the border.

Interoperable communications at the U.S.-Mexico border have been a goal for several years.  In March, a subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee heard testimony about challenges to setting up such a network, including a lack of a common frequency.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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