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News

Wireless surveillance network for Texan city

INX : 04 June, 2009  (Application Story)
City centre wireless backbone for over 100 police surveillance cameras has scalable potential for other uses
INX has been awarded a $335,000 contract with the City of McAllen, Texas to build out a wireless network for city-wide video surveillance.

The City of McAllen, Texas is one step closer to installing city-wide video surveillance cameras. This week, the city commission approved a $335,000 contract with INX, tasked with building a wireless Internet network that will provide the backbone for the video surveillance program.

The wireless network, which would cover downtown, Bicentennial Boulevard and Municipal Park, will link police video surveillance cameras to an underground fibre optic Internet cable that runs through the city. Code enforcement and traffic operations could also use the system, which might ultimately be opened up for public use. A wireless surveillance program has been in the works since 2007, Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said.

The surveillance system, which will record video and store it in a police database, will be used primarily to help identify crime suspects, corroborate victims' accounts of a crime and help authorities detect evidence after a crime has occurred, Rodriguez said. They will not typically be actively monitored by police, though the cameras do have that capability. Rodriguez plans to install 101 video cameras in parks, along trails and throughout commercial areas.

The city received nine bids for the wireless network, which was ultimately awarded to INX. McAllen's Information Technology Director, Belinda Mercado, said INX's system takes advantage of the city's fibre optic cable, which connects City Hall, the airport and the police department to the Internet. By linking to the cable in multiple spots, INX's system increases the speed and reliability of the network while reducing the likelihood of interference, city leaders said.

INX installed the Wi-Fi system in San Antonio, where it is primarily used for traffic cameras. It has also installed a Wi-Fi system at Texas State University in San Marcos. Installation of the McAllen wireless network will take six to nine months, Rodriguez said. The city has projected that it would ultimately cost about $6 million to blanket all of McAllen with wireless Internet access. City leaders hope to receive millions of dollars in grant money from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for the project. In December, they'll learn whether they will receive that money.

Don Smith, INX Regional Vice President, stated, "We are extremely pleased to be selected by the City of McAllen for their wireless initiative. INX is continuing to foster our public sector business relationships as we believe these projects are having a positive impact on the local communities."
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