Thursday, April 24, 2008

Statement From Mayor Adrian Fenty and CTO Vivek Kundra


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Build the 21st Century Classroom by Introducing Online Textbooks in High Tech Campuses

Mayor Fenty, Chancellor Rhee, and CTO Kundra Invite You to Attend Washington, DC Technology and Education Summit May 7

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and DC Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra invite you to participate as a delegate in The First Annual Washington, DC Technology and Education Summit.
This first-of-its-kind conference for DC public schools is "A Global Exchange Designed to Transform Public Education." The conference agenda will offer local and international strategies for transforming public education.

The event will feature Mary Cullinane, Director of Innovation and Business Development from Microsoft. She will provide leadership insight into her work in building the School of the Future in Philadelphia, PA.

The Summit is complimentary for all public sector educators, and includes:
  • VIP Reception

  • EXPO Area

  • Informational Sessions


The Renaissance M Street Hotel

1143 New Hampshire Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20037

(202) 775-0800


May 6, 2008 - Opening Reception
6:30 to 8 pm

May 7, 2008 - Conference
9 am to 3 pm

Register online now! Select from the following link to register for the conference:

For questions or to RSVP, please contact:

Katy Farrar
Registration Coordinator
(800) 940-6039 ext. 1306

Thursday, April 10, 2008

District of Columbia Launches First-Ever "One Card" ID

The District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and DC Public Libraries (DCPL), today announced the launch of the DC government “One Card.” The new picture ID is a consolidated credential designed to give adults and children access to all the DC government facilities and programs they need to use.

Today, the One Card grants borrowing privileges at DC libraries and provides access to recreation centers throughout the city. Eventually the One Card will also become a student ID and an access card for all DC government buildings and programs.

“We all know the frustration of fishing in our wallets and purses for a multitude of cards,” said DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “We want our customers to enjoy and benefit from our libraries, our recreation centers, our programs—and of course, our schools--as much as possible. Now the doors to everything will open with just one card.”

Beginning in June, participants in the Summer Youth program will receive One Cards. Later in the year, students in DC public schools will get One Cards to serve as student IDs. Eventually, One Cards will include Metro access capabilities as well.

The One Card will be much easier to replace than library cards and other DC government ID cards, because the cardholder can go to any District facility for a replacement. The citywide consolidation of cards will also yield long-term cost savings for government operations.

“Soon students and adults of all ages will have easier access to every District service—from signing out a library book to signing up for summer sports,” said Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra. “This is what technology is all about--giving people better, simpler tools to connect to services they need.”

To learn more about the One Card and other DC government technology initiatives, visit

Friday, April 4, 2008

Regional Wireless Broadband Network (RWBN)

The District of Columbia is home to the first wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety use. Against a national backdrop of interoperability problems, scarcity of spectrum resources, and the real threat of terrorist attack, the new Regional Wireless Broadband Network (RWBN) is a model for public safety communications.

The Challenge of Interoperability

The Challenge of Interoperability Interoperability is the ability of different government agencies or public safety officials to communicate within and across departmental and jurisdictional boundaries. It remains a top concern for first responders, especially in this era of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, school violence, domestic crime, and hazardous material incidents. This issue transcends the need to communicate verbally, and includes the ability to gather and share data quickly at the scene of the emergency. The need to share data among all responders at an incident continues to be recognized by public safety as a key factor in determining the success of any coordinated response.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently recognized the NCR as having one of the best voice interoperability arrangements in the country; however, the NCR, like many other regions, has not ensured interoperability of data communications. Understanding the criticality and the need to have interoperability with all forms of communications, the National Capital Region (NCR) created the National Capital Region Interoperability Program (NCRIP) to address data interoperability in the
NCR. The program provides a holistic, interoperability solution consisting of interconnection of government institutional fiber networks (NCRnet), a Regional Wireless Broadband Network (RWBN), and a Data Exchange Hub (DEH) that NCR government agencies and organizations across the region can use to share critical data and information during an emergency and during day-to-day operations.

In November 2007 the FCC issued a Special Temporary Authority (STA) to the District of Columbia, at the center of the National Capital Region, facilitating the first wireless broadband implementation in the nation specifically for Public Safety. This STA authorized the operation of the first section of the RWBN finally making public safety grade wireless broadband services a reality for first responders within the Nation’s Capital.

The Challenge of Spectrum

The Challenge of Spectrum Sufficient radio frequency spectrum is the foundation for unfettered and high-quality reliable public safety communications systems. Unfortunately, for many years, public safety agencies across the nation have faced a severe shortage of spectrum, even for narrowband land mobile radio voice services.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently issued a landmark Report and Order establishing the rules governing wireless licenses in the 700 MHz band, which has propagation characteristics that make it ideal for wide area public safety systems. These rules, the culmination of over ten years of work, specify that 10 MHz of the 24 MHz of spectrum already set aside for public safety must be used for broadband data communications and delineate an ambitious program to promote a nationwide public safety network.

Integral to this Report and Order, the Commission has established a single nationwide Public Safety Broadband Licensee (PSBL) for the 10 MHz (5 MHz paired) of public safety data spectrum rather than rely on the Regional Planning Committees which retain their traditional role of
managing and coordinating the utilization of the narrowband portion of the spectrum.

This is a critical milestone for local, state, regional and federal first responders to gain access to the same interoperable broadband communications capabilities and technologies as the commercial world. The nationwide broadband network will provide first responders with remote access to video, high-resolution chemical and biological sensor data, and other critical data.

On Demand, In Real Time, When Needed, and As Authorized Interoperable Communications

The District of Columbia has deployed the nation’s first public-safety regional wireless broadband network including the capacity to transmit video, data and voice communications for use by emergency units, first responders and other public safety and local government personnel. The program is funded in part by a Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiatives grant and began in 2005.

This new 700 MHz network is a high-speed, seamless, interoperable, public safety grade, and secure wireless data network. It is designed to supplement the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems that public safety agencies in the District use today and replace the commercial services used by most today for wireless data. Using 1xEVDO Revision A, the same technology deployed commercially by carriers like Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel, the RWBN is able to provide the same capabilities currently available from commercial services but with more reliability, flexibility, dedication and control, as required for public safety usage. In contrast to some commercial networks, the RWBN imposes no profit-driven restrictions or limitations on the applications that may operate on the network, such as streaming audio and video. Currently, the RWBN offers only PC Cards as end-user devices, but in the near future, when manufacturers begin to produce devices for the 700 MHz commercial market, the network expects to offer additional form factors such as Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) Modems, Embedded Modems for ruggedized computing devices, and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs).

The threat of attacks on our country and region is real, but this solution also delivers capabilities that can save lives and properties every day. Broadband tools for remote surveillance, helicopter video transmission, mug shots to the field, chemical and biological weapons detection, bomb squad support, and other mobile uses are critical to preventing and responding swiftly and effectively both to the rare attack as well as the more frequent emergency incidents that are part of maintaining law and order on a daily basis. The RWBN and similar broadband The nationwide broadband network will provide first responders with remote access to video, high-resolution chemical and biological sensor data, and other critical data.

The RWBN and similar broadbandwireless networks are resources vital to enhance first responder communications, promote effective sharing of incident information and facilitate incident command and control to manage and mitigate the effects of the next attack, natural disaster or daily incident. The RWBN is paving the way for the next-generation public safety communications platform that will not only provide enormous capabilities and benefits to National Capital Region’s
first responder community, but also create a blueprint and a test bed for future public safety deployments in the rest of the country.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

District Technology Chief Testifies on FY 2009 Budget

District of Columbia Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra today testified before the District Council on the FY 2009 budget of the District’s technology agency, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO). Mr. Kundra took office as District CTO on May 7, 2007.

Appearing before the Committee on Workforce Development and Government Operations, chaired by Councilmember Carol Schwartz (R-At Large), Mr. Kundra described OCTO’s budget practice improvements and outlined major agency initiatives planned for FY 2009.

Mr. Kundra described steps OCTO has taken to increase transparency and accountability in its budget. For example, he said, OCTO has created new operating accounts to distinguish operating from capital services and has separated some previously combined accounts to increase management accountability.

Mr. Kundra identified a series of key OCTO initiatives for FY 09. For example, OCTO will:

  • Upgrade the DC STARS student information system so teachers, administrators, and eventually parents can track each student’s progress from the start of school to graduation;

  • Deploy the "One Card" picture ID to provide 53,000 students a single card for entry to schools, libraries, and recreation centers—with Metro access to help them get there;

  • Implement instructional applications such as Read 180, Accelerated Math, PLATO, and Leapfrog to help boost reading and math performance for students at all levels;

  • Upgrade the WINSNAP nutrition system to ensure that DCPS has the data needed to recoup millions of dollars in National School Lunch Program reimbursement;

  • Equip the mobile workforce so workers like police, fire/EMS, and building inspectors can spend more time serving customers in the field and less time in the office doing paperwork;

  • Continue optimizing the pooling of wireless minutes District-wide to cut cellphone costs;

  • Continue providing all District agencies with accessible, reliable IT utilities like email, Internet access, telecommunications, PDAs, and data processing; and

  • Wage a “War on Paper” by digitizing millions of paper records, adding new modules to the District’s citywide procurement, HR, and payroll systems, and finding innovative new alternatives to paper processes.

Summarizing the FY 09 budget, Mr. Kundra said, “With the firm foundation it provides, we can carry out our citywide technology mission and help create a greener city and deliver more effective, more efficient government services for the District of Columbia.”