Pleading Cycle Set on NHTSA Guidelines

December 5, 2016–Comments are due Feb. 23, 2017, on guidelines recently proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to address driver distraction caused by mobile phones and other electronic devices brought into vehicles after they are manufactured (TRDaily, Nov. 23). Comments are due in docket No. NHTSA–2013–0137.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

OEC Outreach Clips: RCA, ARRL Celebrate First Transatlantic Amateur Radio Transmission, Source Mission Critical Communications

The Radio Club of America (RCA) and ARRL are participating in an event to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the first confirmed transatlantic amateur radio transmissions. At 2:52 a.m. GMT Dec. 12, 1921, Paul Godley in Ardrossan, Scotland, received a message on short waves from amateur radio station 1BCG in Greenwich, Connecticut. This became the first short wave message sent across the Atlantic Ocean, and the successful experiment shed new knowledge about the capabilities of short wave radio communications. RCA, ARRL Celebrate First Transatlantic Amateur Radio Transmission

FirstNet Weekly Update to the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC)–December 5, 2016

FirstNet News

Last week, FirstNet Board member Rich Stanek and President TJ Kennedy held meetings with the leaders of the National Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police in the Washington, DC area. Both meetings were opportunities to provide programmatic updates and hold productive dialogue with two of the biggest public safety trade associations in the country.

On Tuesday, FirstNet staff attended the FirstNetNC Tech Expo hosted by the North Carolina SPOC team in Raleigh. The FirstNet presentation concentrated on State Plan delivery, adoption, and the need for stakeholder feedback and participation to truly make the FirstNet network public safety’s network. Continue reading

Wheeler’s Last Chairman’s Dinner at FCC Includes Jokes, Praise

December 2, 2016–At his last Federal Communications Bar Association’s Chairman’s Dinner, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last night offered both jokes about FCC observers as well as quips and praise for agency staff. Mr. Wheeler, who at last year’s dinner had several jokes making fun of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump (TRDaily, Dec. 4, 2015), acknowledged Mr. Trump’s surprise presidential victory as soon as he took the stage last night by calling the event “the 2016 Democratic job fair.”

He also mentioned “the elephant in the room, and in the White House, and in the Senate, and in the House.” Mr. Wheeler also compared himself to the president-elect, noting their age, the fact that both had no government experience, are tall, and don’t like criticism. Continue reading

Rivada Mercury Sues Over ‘Wrongful Exclusion’ from FirstNet Procurement

December 2, 2016–Rivada Mercury LLC has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government over what it  says is the illegal and “wrongful exclusion” of the consortium from the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) procurement process for a partner to build and maintain a nationwide public safety broadband network. The lawsuit will delay an award of the contract until March 1, 2017.

The consortium wants a federal court to grant declaratory and permanent injunctive relief blocking the Interior Department, which is handling FirstNet’s procurement, from awarding a contract without “including Rivada Mercury in the competitive range, conducting discussions with Rivada Mercury in accordance with FAR 15.306(d), and evaluating Rivada Mercury in accordance with the Solicitation.”

The court also should rule “that the exclusion of Rivada Mercury from the competitive range was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with procurement law and regulation,” according to the complaint, which also sought any other relief that the court deems is appropriate.

Rivada Mercury filed a sealed complaint (“Rivada Mercury LLC v. United States of America” no. 16-1559C) in the U.S. Court of Appeals of Federal Claims on Nov. 21 and submitted a heavily redacted version of its filing on Nov. 30. Continue reading

Andy Seybold, PSA Advocate Special Edition, December 4, 2016

FirstNet RFP Award: Yet more Delays? Last week Urgent Communications, TR Daily, Communications Daily, and others ran stories citing reports that Rivada Mercury had been notified on October 17, 2016, by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the lead federal procurement organization for the FirstNet RFP, that it had been excluded from the final phase of the FAR RFP award process. This information came to light not because Rivada Mercury made it public but because it has filed a protest in the form of a request for an injunction and the final written motions in the litigation are not due until February 16, 2017. This means any award to another bidder might not be possible until at least March and probably later, and if Rivada Mercury has its day in court and prevails then the entire process is likely subject to even further delays. This could include a do-over for the entire RFP which, if required, might spur the new Congress and administration to review the entire FirstNet arrangement and potentially make some changes to the detriment of the Public Safety community.

In the meantime, the Department of the Interior could, in fact, issue a contract award to the remaining bidder (assuming there is only one bidder left standing). While I am not an attorney, the attorneys I have discussed this with indicate they believe an award won’t be forthcoming until the court issues have been resolved. As has been pointed out to me by others, it appears that since there has been no award the most that could be expected to happen if the court sided with Rivada would be to instruct the DOI to add Rivada to the final stage of the process, but that would not necessarily result in an award for Rivada. Continue reading

Rivada Mercury Sues Over ‘Wrongful Exclusion’ from FirstNet Procurement

December 2, 2016–Rivada Mercury LLC has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government over what it  says is the illegal and “wrongful exclusion” of the consortium from the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) procurement process for a partner to build and maintain a nationwide public safety broadband network. The lawsuit will delay an award of the contract until March 1, 2017.

The consortium wants a federal court to grant declaratory and permanent injunctive relief blocking the Interior Department, which is handling FirstNet’s procurement, from awarding a contract without “including Rivada Mercury in the competitive range, conducting discussions with Rivada Mercury in accordance with FAR 15.306(d), and evaluating Rivada Mercury in accordance with the Solicitation.”

The court also should rule “that the exclusion of Rivada Mercury from the competitive range was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with procurement law and regulation,” according to the complaint, which also sought any other relief that the court deems is appropriate. Rivada Mercury filed a sealed complaint (“Rivada Mercury LLC v. United States of America” no. 16-1559C) in the U.S. Court of Appeals of Federal Claims on Nov. 21 and submitted a heavily redacted version of its filing on Nov. 30. The consortium is led by Rivada Networks LLC, although Rivada and the following four partners each have a 20% stake in the enterprise: Black & Veatch, Fujitsu Network Communications, Harris Corp., and Nokia, Inc. Continue reading