Mobile Satellite Ventures today announced the launch of the Northeast Satellite Mutual Aid Radio Talkgroup (NE-SMART), the company’s ninth regional talkgroup and the final piece of a regional interoperability program providing talkgroup coverage throughout the United States.

As with the other regional SMART initiatives, the northeast talkgroup is managed by a regional entity—in this case, the Connecticut Department of Public Safety’s state police division—and can be used by any MSV customer at no additional cost. NE-SMART is designed to be used by public-safety entities in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

MSV piloted the first nationwide SMART for the U.S. Department of Justice last August. Since then, other nationwide satellite talkgroups have been established, as well as the nine regional talkgroups that blanket the U.S.
“Bottom line, this SMART initiative has picked up a lot of traction during the last year,” MSV spokesman Tom Surface said during an interview with Urgent Communications. “And you’re going to more nationwide, cross-border and state talkgroups popping up in the near future.”

Overall, 1500 public-safety entities are participating the SMART program, Surface said. The satellite talkgroups have been used by public-safety entities in the Gulf Coast and southeastern U.S. during the recent hurricane season.
“Satellite is probably never going to be the primary means of communication for public safety, but it is a reliable fallback when terrestrial systems are unavailable,” Surface said.

Covering the entire U.S. with regional satellite talkgroups fulfills a vision MSV has had during the past year, said Susan Miller, MSV’s senior vice president for satellite services.

"MSV's SMART program, now operational in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, provides the public safety community an additional communications tool for multi-agency response to emergencies and to facilitate daily operations,” Miller said in a prepared statement.