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Ohio’s TV Pubcasters To Employ Datacasting For Emergency Communications

Coalition of 12 Public Television stations call the initiative OEAS Public AlertNet

COLUMBUS, OH–Ohio’s public television stations have come together to collaborate on utilizing datacasting over their own broadcast signals for the purpose of delivering critical emergency alerts and messages to public safety officials, an announcement says.

The pact, called OEAS Public AlertNet, is the latest push to legitimize datacasting for emergency communications after the Department of Homeland Security and the nonprofit America’s Public Television Stations announced they would be advocating for the method to become more available.

The stations will partner with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OhioEMA) and the state’s Broadcast Educational Media Commission (BEMC). The BEMC will provide the fiber interconnection from the OhioEMA to the stations.

“Existing emergency systems have sometimes failed during crisis periods such as Hurricane Sandy, but OEAS relies on broadcast signals immune to the hacking and information congestion that commercial Internet services can experience when the need is greatest,” says Dave Ford, OhioEMA’s communications branch chief.

For this specific purpose, datacasting will leverage a public broadcaster’s signal to allow first responders to transmit secure data consisting of text, images, video and audio to other personnel in the field.

Funding for OEAS Public AlertNet was made possible from a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant. Monroe Electronics, Digital Alert Systems and Triveni Digital will also be providing technology support for the project.