PITTSBURGH, June 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Aboard its newly refurbished river fleet vessel, the M/V Safety Pledge, CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) and the Port of Pittsburgh Commission today unveiled the first wireless broadband network deployed on inland waterways in the United States.
Developed exclusively on Pittsburgh's three rivers over the past several months, this new neutral wireless broadband network, called the Wireless Waterways (WW), will connect proprietary, stove-piped, and stand-alone systems into one "system of systems" to improve the safety, security and efficiency of the inland waterways and the thousands of vessels that navigate them every day. The WW is comprised of an interconnected network of physical devices and applications useful in river commerce and security and will integrate real-time navigation information, cargo-tracking, and the operation of waterway sensors.
The Port of Pittsburgh's Wireless Waterways Project, which includes the nation's first ever maritime-focused Interoperability Test Bed (ITB) as well as a pilot for a proposed national broadband network system, was launched in 2012 through grants from Allegheny County, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Port of Pittsburgh Commission. The Wireless Waterways will enable the development and use of specialized applications to improve navigation and information exchange, increase security and productivity, realize functional interoperability between public safety systems and organizations by enhancing real-time situational awareness, and improve the collection of data by environmental agencies. The WW network will provide the platform to improve the efficiency of waterway transportation, allowing regions like Pittsburgh to stay competitive in the global marketplace. The ITB will attract maritime R&D investments and is expected to provide a research edge for water-related companies in the region. The Port of Pittsburgh Commission is working with Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh-based Water Economy Network to advance the economic development potential of the project.CONXX Pennsylvania, Inc., a developer of network architecture and infrastructure in Johnstown, constructed the network, which will be available on cellphones, iPads and other wireless devices. To date, the technology has been installed on CONSOL Energy's M/V Safety Pledge, vessels owned by Campbell Transportation, and the Gateway Clipper. The M/V Safety Pledge is also testing the Wireless Waterways Broadband Network for Quality of Life initiatives to support a follow on application submitted earlier this month for a US Department of Transportation TIGER grant to extend the WW project nationwide.