PBS North Carolina, NC DIT receive emergency communications grant

The logos of PBS North Carolina, Device Solutions, and NC DIT are featured in this combination image.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — PBS North Carolina, jointly with the N.C. Department of Informational Technology and N.C.-based Device Solutions, announced a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue the development of a new emergency digital-paging system over public television.

The emergency digital paging system utilizes digital ATSC 3.0 TV technology to deliver an affordable paging structure to improve situational awareness and response time for first responders across the state. The system will help first responders with increased coverage area and penetration, reduce delay and provide a secure and reliable means for transmitting emergency alerts.

The station and the department had to successfully demonstrating the feasibility of the system during phas one of the project. Over the course of seven weeks in February and March 2021, Device Solutions interviewed over 100 first responders and emergency communications agencies across the country to understand the needs of first responders and develop an initial design.

Chief Technology Officer at PBS North Carolina, Fred Engel, said, “This award allows us to continue to explore the many other capabilities of this technology that will serve the public, starting with emergency communications. PBS North Carolina is honored to work with Device Solutions and NCDIT to further our commitment to reliable emergency response and safety for all North Carolinians.”

“Technology is ingrained in our society, and we have to learn to adapt to the speed in which it changes how we function in our day-to-day lives,” said NCDIT secretary Jim Weaver. “FirstTech’s partnership with PBS North Carolina is a great example of how we can take advantage of changing technologies to serve our communities in a positive way.”