Ricochet Tests Public Safety Communications Network in Denver

Denver, CO – The Ricochet high-speed wireless Internet technology for public safety organizations was recently demonstrated to more than 300 technology officers from police departments nationwide at the 26th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement Information Management Conference on May 23rd. Law enforcement officials will tap into the Ricochet Denver test network at this year’s conference in Westminster, Colorado. Ricochet Networks, Inc. (RNI), an Aerie Networks company, has been working in partnership with the city and county of Denver’s Office of Information Technology since February to test public safety applications utilizing their Ricochet high-speed, wireless Internet network.

Lieutenant John Pettinger of the Denver Police Department said, “For the past several months we’ve tested Ricochet in dozens of applications and situations. The potential is great. Critical information can be quickly sent and received by police and fire agencies, officers on the street, and command posts. Ricochet can dramatically improve the way we respond to serious disasters.”

Ricochet is the first high-speed wireless Internet network to enable public safety workers to download large files such as mug shots, geographical information system data, live video feeds, building plans, and medical records in the field.

At a recent national meeting of municipal infrastructure technologies, attended by Dan Jarvis, the chief information officer for the city of Denver, the top two priorities identified were emergency preparedness and activating the Ricochet network for high-speed wireless data communications.

“Cities provide a lot of public safety services,” said Jarvis. “We put out fires, we rescue people — we’re at your house or on your street. With Ricochet we can access data and submit reports we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, quickly and securely. Isn’t it in everyone’s best interest for us to go from one emergency to the next, versus waiting for critical information or going back to the station to search a database?”

After the events of September 11th , many crews at ground zero quickly learned the importance of wireless technologies to stay in touch. “Ricochet provided the rescue workers at the World Trade Center with an invaluable communication tool when the wired infrastructure simply wasn’t there anymore,” said RNI president and chief executive officer, Mort Aaronson.

“Ricochet is a technology that vastly improves upon the resources our police, firefighters, and EMTs have available today. You always hear about the digital divide, but you don’t often think about it affecting the people who save lives every day.”

Under previous ownership, the Ricochet network had been built in 21 cities and had more than 51,000 subscribers. Shut down last August by bankrupt Metricom, the Ricochet intellectual property and certain assets were acquired by RNI in November. Ricochet provides high-speed wireless Internet access over its unique, patented Micro Cellular Data Network. Ricochet typically runs at speeds of 175 kbps and allows users to connect to the Internet or corporate LANs and other resources from anywhere within the Ricochet coverage area.

RNI hopes to make Ricochet available to public safety agencies nationwide. RNI is actively seeking public private partnerships with communities and local government to help turn the Ricochet network back on where it once existed and to install new networks in areas where affordable, broadband access is currently unavailable. RNI is slashing user fees and positioning the network more like a utility partnering with schools, governments and municipalities to lower costs.

RNI plans to begin commercial operation of the Ricochet network in certain cities later this year.

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