NBC Today Show Reports: 911 outages imperil public safety in Cincinnati and elsewhere, by Jeff Rossen and Jovanna Billington

When Matt Woods saw a possibly drugged driver going down the street “like a bat out of hell,” he dialed 911. He says he “called for five minutes — no one would answer.” Bernie Rademacher had a similar experience when she tried to report a car smashed up against a pole. “I called 911, two, three times, and they never answered. it just rang and rang.”

According to an internal city document obtained by NBC News, there have been 10 911 outages since June of 2016. The latest one, just this summer, lasted three hours and 30 minutes. “These 911 systems have been designed and built for landlines,” said Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black. “Now we’ve got the proliferation of cellphones.”

Read/view report here:


NPSTC Urges Public Safety to Complete Survey

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council urged members of the public safety community to participate in an upcoming SAFECOM survey. “The SAFECOM Nationwide Survey is a data gathering effort that will equip government officials and emergency responders with critical information to make decisions about future emergency communications policies, funding, and programs,” NPSTC said in an e-mail to stakeholders today. “The data collected will depict the capabilities necessary for establishing continuity of operable and interoperable communications.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, September 21, 2017

Will FirstNet be the OnlyNet? The answer to the title of this week’s blog varies depending on whether you talk to the public safety community versus the technology community. However, you also need to factor in the actions of the U.S. Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and perhaps even the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Each group will have a different set of answers and, unfortunately, the final decision may be up to the federal government. History offers a clear indication that the feds are after spectrum that can be monetized by selling it at auction. Further, those who make the spectrum decisions may not be the most appropriate people to do so.

There are many operational, security, and technical issues that are not understood by elected and appointed officials so there is a danger that they will see FirstNet is a success and then begin to mandate that the Land Mobile Radio Spectrum (LMR) be reclaimed and put on the auction block before the public safety community is ready to trust FirstNet as its one and only network. In reality, the public safety community needs to be in charge of the radio spectrum it counts on to be effective and that personnel count on to keep them safe when they are in harm’s way. In an ideal world, FirstNet will be rolled out, push-to-talk and the network will evolve mission-critical status, and someone will solve the off-network (simplex, talk-around, peer-to-peer) issue which is, at the moment, a major stumbling block for many.

But does the public safety community have the clout to contend with elected officials who are much more concerned about the national debt and the potential dollar value of spectrum rather than how important it is to one group or another? Read the Entire Blog Here The Discovery Patterns news recap is below: Continue reading

NPR Reports: In Devastated Dominica, ‘Hams’ Become Vital Communications Link

When Hurricane Maria smashed into the tiny island of Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean earlier this week, phone service went down, virtually cutting off the island. But within hours, amateur radio operators got on the air and have been providing a vital link to the outside world ever since.

Read article here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/21/552649149/in-devastated-dominica-hams-become-vital-communications-link


FCC Plans to Consider Wireless Competition, Satellite, 911, HAC, Cable Items at September 26 Meeting

The FCC announced that it plans to consider nine items at the Sept. 26 meeting, including a draft annual report to Congress that would conclude for the first time in years that there is effective competition in the mobile wireless market.

Also on the agenda released are a draft report and order and further notice of proposed rulemaking updating and streamlining the FCC’s rules to facilitate licensing of non-geostationary-satellite orbit (NGSO) fixed-satellite service (FSS); a draft notice of inquiry into call-routing and location information for 911 calls from enterprise communications systems used by hotels, businesses, and other entities; a draft NPRM seeking comment on whether it should provide relief to non-nationwide wireless carriers from its hearing aid compatibility (HAC) reporting requirements; a draft NPRM aimed at modernizing the administration and assignment of toll-free numbers through auctions and other methods; a draft report and order on modernizing cable TV technical rules to reflect the industry’s use of digital transmission systems; a draft NPRM to eliminate rules requiring certain broadcast and cable entities to maintain paper copies of FCC rules; a draft third report and order that would relax or eliminate rules related to the use of directional antenna rays by AM radio stations; and a draft enforcement action. The FCC does not reveal anything about such enforcement proceedings until it adopts an order or notice of apparent liability, so as not to prejudice an entity beforehand.

The FCC also is scheduled to get a briefing from the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau on the agency’s response to the recent hurricanes. The meeting is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com; Lynn Stanton, lynn.stanton@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily


95% of Cell Sites Down in Puerto Rico

More than 95% of cell sites in Puerto Rico were down today due to widespread damage caused by Hurricane Maria, the FCC said. “Hurricane Maria has had a catastrophic impact on Puerto Rico’s communications networks,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “For example, over 95% of Puerto Rico’s wireless cell sites are currently out of service. The FCC is proactively reaching out to communications providers in Puerto Rico to gather additional information about the situation on the ground and find out if there is anything that the Commission can do to assist with restoration efforts.  We are also working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and providing all requested support.  Unfortunately, getting Puerto Rico’s communications networks up and running will be a challenging process, particularly given the power outages throughout the island.  But the FCC stands ready to do whatever we can to help with this task.”

The outage data came from information submitted to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), which has been activated for all counties in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “It should also be noted that many communications providers have not yet reported in DIRS, so outage information almost certainly is not complete,” the FCC said in an outage report released this afternoon that reflected information reported as of 11 a.m. Continue reading