Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (pictured) yesterday launched the first phase of the Nebraska Wireless Interoperable Network (N-WIN), that will provide interoperable communication to Nebraska first responders in the coming year. Four phases -- to be completed by the end of 2010 -- will provide expanded communication capabilities for state agencies. The network uses radio towers and upgraded communications equipment at the Nebraska State Patrol's Troop E dispatch center, along with radios installed in first-responder vehicles. The statewide radio network is being developed through a partnership between state government and the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and is being built by Motorola. While the state was working to develop a way for first responders and state officials to communicate, NPPD was considering options for upgrading its radio network used by utility crews. Rather than build two separate radio systems, state and NPPD officials entered into an agreement to share the costs of developing the state radio network. The state network will also serve as a backbone connecting Nebraska's eight regional communications networks and provide statewide interoperability in an emergency. The regional networks are operated under cooperative agreements at the local and county level and have been activated in recent years, starting in 2006. Statewide interoperability will include enhanced communication for local and county law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel, NPPD utility crews, county emergency managers, and state public safety agencies, in addition to U.S. Department of Interior offices in Nebraska and some emergency personnel in South Dakota and Wyoming.
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