Deltek Justice/Public Safety 2012 Predictions: Radio Communications

Deltek Analyst Luke Harris reports.

Looking ahead in 2012, the radio communications market will see public safety agencies concentrate their efforts largely in one area: narrowbanding. The Federal Communications Commission’s looming narrowbanding mandate has many entities scrambling to meet requirements and is sure to keep the technology associated with fulfilling those requirements a hot topic for the months to come. Despite the need to acquire such technology, the federal government has drastically cut grant funding available to states and localities for public safety projects.

All public safety agencies have to meet the FCC’s narrowbanding requirement by January 1, 2013. The date is fast approaching, but some agencies have yet to release a solicitation to acquire the technology needed. States like Iowa and localities like Dallas, Texas, are among those entities with no competitive bidding process in place. Will the lack of time to meet the requirement cause problems? According to one study, 68 percent of government IT projects fail to meet deadlines, budgets, and proper functionality. Problems or not, the mandate should prove 2012 a big year for applicable vendors.
Under the 2012 Department of Homeland Security budget, only $1 billion will be available for state and local grants. This is a significant decrease from previous years and could leave slim pickings for public safety agencies. It is anticipated that programs like the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) will have its scope reduced to focus on higher-risk areas such as New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago. If that is the case, less populated areas may have a more difficult time securing grants.
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