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2010 Awards: Information Communications Technology (ICT) Innovations

Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania StarNET

In the mid-1990s, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania faced the prospect of replacing an aging analog radio system used by the Pennsylvania State Police for statewide dispatch and patrol. Other agencies also used a variety of separately purchased, deployed, operated, and maintained analog radio systems, using different technologies with limited ability to interconnect.

After much study, the commonwealth made the following key decisions:

  • Rather than replace existing systems one-by-one and allow them to remain under agency control, the commonwealth would deploy a single system with transmitters and receivers statewide, connected and managed centrally through a microwave network.
  • The new system would support both voice and data communications, freely intermingled, using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.
  • VoIP is the digital transmission of voice communications through a data network based on Internet Protocol (IP).
  • VoIP and IP routing technologies allow voice and data communications to share networks and thus increase spectral efficiency and reliability.
  • VoIP technologies encode and route digitized voice and data traffic over the commonwealth’s IP networks – both wireless and private wide area networks.
  • The design, development, operation and support of the new system would be the responsibility of a single office dedicated to that purpose, charged with delivering wireless voice and data services to benefit all commonwealth agencies.

The commonwealth selected an innovative, leading-edge digital technology. It was enormously promising in range and flexibility of services, features, and functions—but untested and unproven. In September 2003, the Pennsylvania statewide radio system, PA-STARNet, became operational. In reality, the commonwealth and the vendor developed the next generation of public safety communications software that is now the OpenSky network.

The state has moved PA-STARNet ahead significantly with initiatives aimed at enhancing interoperable communications, including system coordination, engineering coordination and connecting all 911 centers to the PA-STARNet.

“Pennsylvania’s Statewide Radio Network is a leap forward in public safety and emergency response. The network has proven itself time and again during major events such as the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009 and large-scale emergencies such as the major snowstorms that hit the East Coast in February.”
Brenda Orth, Chief Information Officer, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Click on the title to download program submission.

Ahead of Its Time: The Colorado Statewide Digital Trunked Radio System

New York

Virginia Interoperability Picture for Emergency Response (VIPER)

Click on the title to download program submission.


MassDOT Developers Initiative

Michigan’s New Economy Partnerships: Leveraging ICT Innovation for Economic Growth & Diversification

Step UP Performance Management System

Utah's Social Media Portal Project:

Return to 2010 Awards Main Page


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