PSCR Newsletter Online Now

PSCR Insider: UI Researchers Create VR Environments Based on Physical Modeling, Plus More Articles Here

Awards Coming Soon: iAxis, MCVQoE PSCR will announce two awards as part of its Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program: the Mission Critical Voice Quality of Experience (MCV QoE) funding opportunity and i-Axis. We expect to announce these awards in just a few days. Bookmark the pages to stay updated about the winners.

Calling All First Responders: NIST Needs Your Feedback. NIST recently launched a nationwide usability survey on public safety communication technology and needs input from first responders. The 15-minute survey asks questions about the communication technology first responders currently use, need, and want in the future. If you’re a first responder, please help improve PSCR’s research by taking this survey.

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, February 14, 2019

Spreading the Word.  It’s Valentine’s Day! I hope it is a good one for all of you. Last week’s Advocate drew many good comments about the lack of press coverage of FirstNet. It appears as though this lack of news stories in local media has been noticed by others and that this will be changing sooner rather than later. So, I thought perhaps I would take a crack at writing an article for local news outlets including newspapers and perhaps even as a story of interest for local TV news shows.

To write an article in a newspaper that people want to read, it must start off with a catchy headline and the first paragraph must be a real grabber to hook people so they will want to read the entire article. Then, of course, is the old adage of tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. I learned the angles of newsprint journalism over the years of writing a newsletter for Forbes on Wireless Communications where I was coached by the best in the industry, and during thirty years of publishing variously titled thirty-six-page newsletters every month. However, writing for a news outlet where readers are not experienced in anything wireless besides their own cell phones and writing for an audience that is wireless-literate are completely different things. With that said, I will now take a crack at an article for a news outlet.

Public Safety Has New Partner to Fight Crime, Save Lives

We all use cell phones. We talk, text, and send pictures and videos to others with them, check the news, and stream movies. Cell phones are a way of life, delivering three or more means for conveying information to others. Meanwhile, the public safety community, using “Land Mobile Radio,” has had only voice to communicate with those in the field. Yes, they can and do use their own or agency-supplied cell phones when needed. However, during large events and major incidents, public safety had not been guaranteed access to networks congested with citizen’s calls. Read the Entire Post Here Continue reading

DHS Releases P25 CAB for 30-Day Comment Period

Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program seeks feedback on Compliance Assessment Bulletin for new program testing requirements.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced the release of a Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program (P25 CAP) draft Compliance Assessment Bulletin (CAB) for review and comment. This draft CAB is available for public comment through March 14, 2019 and addresses P25 Baseline Inter-Radio Frequency Sub-System Interface (ISSI) and Console Sub-System Interface (CSSI) Conformance Testing Requirements.

This bulletin expands the P25 CAP’s testing scope to allow a more diverse set of equipment to become a part of the program.

Project 25 (P25) is a suite of standards that enables interoperability among digital two-way land mobile radio (LMR) and standardizes interfaces between the various components of the LMR systems that first responders use. P25 CAP is a voluntary program that allows communication equipment manufacturers to publicly attest to their products’ compliance through testing at DHS-recognized laboratories. All approved equipment is eligible to be purchased using federal grant funding.

After the comment period, DHS S&T will review comments, incorporate feedback, and finalize the CAB. The final CAB and adjudicated comments will be posted to the P25 CAP website. For more information, visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/p25-cap.       

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Entities Suggest FCC Seek More Info for 911 Fee Diversion Reports

Parties have suggested that the FCC seek additional information from states for annual reports to Congress on 911 fee diversion. Several entities weighed in on 911 fee diversions in the wake of a report released by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau in December that said nearly 10% of the total 911 fees collected by all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia in 2017 were diverted to other purposes (TR Daily, Dec. 19, 2018).

Diversions occurred in Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the report. “The total amount of 911/E911 funds diverted by all reporting jurisdictions in calendar year 2017 was $284.9 million, or approximately 9.70% of total 911/E911 fees collected,” it added. The annual report is mandated by the New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 (NET 911 Act).

“The annual reports are helpful for providing insight into the nation’s 9-1-1 ecosystem and combatting fee diversion, but as APCO has previously commented, the Commission could make the reports more useful,” the Association of Public-Safety Officials-International said in its filing in PS docket 09-14. “For the eleventh and subsequent annual reports on 9-1-1 fee collection and expenditure, the Commission should revise the information collection questionnaire consistent with APCO’s suggestions.”

“Ending fee diversion, while essential, will not ensure ECCs [emergency communications centers] have the resources they need,” APCO also stressed. “Significant federal funding is necessary to modernize the nation’s 9-1-1 systems and could provide the additional benefit of serving as a compelling deterrent to fee diversion.”

“States need clear notice about what constitutes fee diversion in order to appropriately document and combat the practice,” APCO added. “For example, the Commission has ‘generally determined that funds used to support public safety radio systems … are not 911-related,’ but that expenditures to integrate radio systems with 9-1-1 could be 9-1-1-related where sufficient documentation is provided. While APCO agrees with this particular guidance, it may be helpful for the Commission to provide specific examples of what constitutes fee diversion in advance of future information collections, for example, by including a record of its previous determinations and descriptions of how states have demonstrated that an expenditure is ‘911-related.’”

APCO also noted that the FCC’s “annual questionnaire asks several questions related to NG9-1-1 services and expenditures. The report’s information on NG9-1-1 could be made more useful by providing a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes NG9-1-1, how states are ensuring interoperability, and the approaches being taken to achieve NG9-1-1 capabilities.”

The FCC also “should collect and report more detailed information on the ‘other’ service types for 9-1-1 calls, meaning not identified as wireline, wireless, or VoIP calls,” APCO said. “As technology evolves and provides new methods for contacting 9-1-1, these ‘other’ types of calls could have implications for public safety telecommunicators’ and callers’ experience during an emergency. For example, an upward trend in real-time text 9-1-1 calls will likely warrant technology and training changes for ECCs.”

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission said it “has no knowledge of any 911 fee diversion in Colorado. All 911 funding is local, and we are unaware of any local 911 fee diversion. However, we believe that it is important to remember that there is a division of responsibility for oversight of 911 services at the federal, state and local government levels, with overlap in some areas. For example, both the FCC and the states both have roles in overseeing network reliability, outage reporting, and outage mitigation.

“Regarding the actual handling of 911 calls by public safety telecommunicators, and how state-authorized 911 surcharge funds are spent, this is an area that is solely the responsibility of state and local governments,” the COPUC added. “Although some states have chosen to use 911 surcharge funds in a manner that, from the FCC’s perspective and role, is not consistent with their intended uses, the COPUC does not believe that this is a problem for the FCC to solve. How state governments or local governments expend 911 surcharge funds is a matter that they must resolve.

“To the extent that federal funds are to be made available for use at the state and local level, it is appropriate to only make those funds available to state and local governments that spend their funds in a manner that is consistent with the statutorily allowed use of those funds,” the COPUC added.

It also recommended that the FCC “encourage states in undertaking auditing authority of providers regarding remittance of 911 surcharges” and “[c]onsider adding the topics of state MLTS [multi-line telephone system] legislation and non-surcharge-based 911 funding to future editions of the FCC’s annual report to Congress.”

The Boulder (Colo.) Regional Emergency Telephone Service Authority (BRETSA) renewed its request for the FCC “to adopt regulations and/or develop information which will (i) make auditing of 9-1-1 fee remittances feasible for local and state authorities, (ii) identify whether there is under-remittance of 9-1-1 fees on prepaid service, and (iii) address application of 9-1-1 fee requirements to evolving technologies and markets.” Continue reading

FCC Announces 700 MHz Band Relicensing Process

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released a public notice today announcing the process for relicensing 700 megahertz band spectrum in unserved areas. “We implement the Commission’s long-standing auto-termination process here, in combination with the additional filing procedures established below to address the failure of a licensee to make required filings,” the bureau said in the public notice in WT docket 06-150. “If a licensee does not file either a request for extension of time before the construction deadline or the required construction notification within 15 days after the construction deadline (as required by Section 1.946 of the Commission’s rules), we presume that the license has not been constructed or the coverage requirement has not been met.”

It also said that licensees “will be required to file an electronic coverage map that demarcates the geographic portion of the licensed area that the licensee will retain and the geographic area that will be returned to the Commission for reassignment” under the agency’s keep what you service rules. “Pursuant to the Commission’s rules, relicensing of unserved areas will occur through a two-phase application process, beginning with a 30-day Phase 1 filing window, followed by a Phase 2 rolling window for applications,” according to the public notice. “Applications for available unserved areas must be filed via ULS, and applicants must submit a shapefile describing the areas for which they seek a license.”

Courtesy TRDaily

 

NARUC Briefed on Post-Emergency Access, Re-Entry Issues

Officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security late yesterday briefed the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ committees on telecommunications and critical infrastructure on efforts to improve and standardize access and re-entry to areas that have been affected by an emergency during the group’s Winter Policy Summit this week.

George Renteria, acting chief-emergency services section at DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, called the department’s Crisis Event Response and Recovery Access (CERRA) effort a “good news story” and “something that has really been a good effort out of the Department of Homeland Security.” He explained that the effort focused on how a state could manage the flow of resources for recovery when a community that experienced a natural disaster or similar situation wasn’t ready for the recovery to begin.  He said 80% of recovery assets may come from outside the community.

“Access is ensuring the right assets get in, while limiting access to nonessential personnel,” Mr. Renteria said. “To enable safe, fast, effective recovery … controlling access and reentry is critical.  The community benefits from a more managed flow of recovery efforts.”

James Byrne, executive director of CERRA, said the problem with access was that the “people who want to get and need to get in have trouble. And the people who don’t really need to get in sometimes do.” The CERRA framework, which was released in March 2018, is essentially a best practices guide, Mr. Byrne said. “It’s a document that says if you’re going to start a program, here’s where you start.”

The best way to think about the approach, he said, is that it allows a jurisdiction to establish a set of rules for who it wants to get in and then gives those entities a valid access document that means the entity has been approved by the local jurisdiction to get in. “When an event first happens, there’s people running toward and people running away. The people running toward need to be trained. And the people running away need to be facilitated,” Mr. Byrne explained.

Mr. Byrne said that several local jurisdictions had already adopted the CERRA framework, including Harris County, Texas.  The framework, which is largely based on post-Hurricane Katrina efforts in Louisiana, was most recently implemented in Virginia to handle Hurricane Michael’s impact on the state, he said.

“Ultimately this is a local jurisdiction thing,” he added. “The federal government doesn’t have jurisdiction over entry and re-entry. So this is a voluntary program.” -Carrie DeLeon, carrie.deleon@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDAily