Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced today that the City of Pittsburgh has submitted a broadband stimulus application to the federal government to obtain funding for the Mayor's wireless video security initiative. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) have partnered with the City on this effort.
"The video security project will dramatically enhance the City's public safety and homeland security capabilities," said Ravenstahl, "and I am very pleased that these two key institutions are on board. The application that we filed was a result of a positive collaboration between the City, CMU and CCAC. We all agree that we will accomplish more by working together."
The project includes the installation of 220 cameras connected to an IP-based wireless mesh network that will cover the entire City of Pittsburgh and will be accessed by the City's public safety agencies. The network will run a state-of-the-art interactive search engine application named MetroFind, which was developed at Carnegie Mellon and will allow for high-level, interactive, content-based search of captured data (although none of the cameras will be installed on the Carnegie Mellon campus). The network will be extended to CCAC-Allegheny campus on the North Shore to enhance its public safety efforts. The total cost of the project is $16.5 million.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress allocated $4.7 billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband services in the United States. Known as the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), the program included two rounds of funding: $1.6 billion was allocated in the first round, and 2,200 applications were received for this funding in the Fall of 2009; $2.6 billion was allocated for the second round and applications were due on March 26.
Howard A. Stern, Ph.D., chief information officer for the City of Pittsburgh, stated: "The second round of broadband stimulus funds focused on projects that connect community anchor institutions, including public safety agencies and community colleges. Although there is intense competition for these federal dollars, we are hopeful that this collaboration will result in a grant award for this project."
Carnegie Mellon and the City worked together in recent weeks to assemble a strong proposal and attract public support for the Google Fiber for Communities project. Similarly, Carnegie Mellon's groundbreaking work on image search and recognition, as well as its quarter century of leadership in networking, adds important strengths to the City's broadband stimulus application. The university is also expected to play a vital role in the creation of the new statewide high-speed Pennsylvania Research and Education Network (PennREN) - including $130 million from both broadband stimulus and private funds - announced in February on Carnegie Mellon's campus.
Alex Johnson, Ph.D., president of CCAC, noted: "CCAC is always seeking to extend our solid safety record at all of our campuses and centers. We are pleased to partner with the City of Pittsburgh in this video security project. It is our hope that this system will enhance the safety and security of students and employees at our Allegheny campus and in the community."
The broadband stimulus application was prepared by the Cohen Law Group, which assists the City in cable and telecommunications matters. The NTIA is expected to review and evaluate applications over the next few months and will begin announcing grant awards in June. All BTOP funds are statutorily required to be awarded by September 30, 2010.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
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Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687