Northrop Grumman snares NYC wireless deal

In a blow to Motorola, New York City has selected rival Northrop Grumman for a five-year, $500 million contract to provide a broadband wireless network for first responders.

Just a day after the nation reflected on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, New York City officials announced that they had hired Northrop Grumman to upgrade their mobile wireless network with high-speed data and video capabilities. The new network will support all of the city’s public safety agencies including police, fire and transportation.

"Northrop Grumman’s solution will provide our emergency responders with quick access to critical information in the field, enabling them to be better prepared to protect our city and its residents," Paul Cosgrave, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, said in a statement. "This decision comes at the end of a lengthy evaluation, including a pilot implementation in lower Manhattan during which equipment was tested and evaluated."

New York City officials announced the pilot project in May with awards to Northrop Grumman and Motorola.

Winner Northrop Grumman will provide a mobile broadband wireless network using technology from IPWireless of San Bruno, Calif. that supports the Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems standards.

Other subcontractors on Northrop Grumman’s team are Sprint Nextel and Transvideo Communications, which will supply spectrum, and Cisco, which will provide switches and routers.

Northrop Grumman officials said New York will be the first city in the world to have a public safety wireless network that operates at true broadband speeds and can reach fast-moving vehicles.

"What people are used to today is kilobit speeds, and this is megabit speeds. It’s much more like the transmission speeds you're used to on a cable modem," explains Paul Chelson, Northrop Grumman program manager. "It’s a revolutionary step. And for us to be part of the first city doing this is tremendously exciting for Northrop Grumman."

The New York City project is the second high-profile loss for Motorola this year. In June, Motorola was eliminated from the competition for the Justice Department’s Integrated Wireless Network (IWN), a $2.5 billion contract to provide wireless communications to 80,000 federal law enforcement officials. IWN is in a fly-off competition between General Dynamics C4 Systems and Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions.

Motorola officials said they were disappointed by New York City’s selection of Northrop Grumman for the new public safety network.

"Motorola has been a trusted provider of public safety communications in the city of New York for many decades," the company said in a statement. "Earlier this year, the city…awarded a $75 million contract to Motorola for a citywide radio frequency network called the Channel 16 project. Motorola looks forward to completing this project, which will relieve congestion on other channels by providing a conventional simulcast system to support the Fire Department’s dispatch voice traffic and a trunked system to support communications of other city agencies."

Learn more about this topic

9/11 Disconnect: 5 Years Later, Many First Responders Stuck With Second-Rate Wireless Gear

9/4/06

Justice Launches Fly-Off Competition for $2.5B Wireless Deal6/9/06
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