NPSTC Outreach News November 8, 2013

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The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) periodically publishes news of interest, including releases from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and links to articles from various trade publications.

FCC Issues Warning on False EAS Sounds.  The FCC is cracking down on TV stations and networks that use false Emergency Alert System (EAS) tones to promote shows or commercials.  The Enforcement Bureau has issued a $25,000 notice of apparent liability against Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., for using “a simulation of the prescribed EAS codes and Attention Signal” to promote “Conan.”  It also has signed a $39,000 consent decree with WNKY-TV in Bowling Green, Ky., for misusing an EAS attention signal in an advertisement for a clothing store.

The bureau also released an enforcement advisory in the wake of growing complaints from consumers about the misuse of EAS sounds.  “Today’s enforcement action sends a strong message:  the FCC will not tolerate misuse or abuse of the Emergency Alert System,” said acting bureau Chief Robert Ratcliffe.  “It is inexcusable to trivialize the sounds specifically used to notify viewers of the dangers of an incoming tornado or to alert them to be on the lookout for a kidnapped child, merely to advertise a talk show or a clothing store.  This activity not only undermines the very purpose of a unique set of emergency alert signals, but is a clear violation of the law.” [Courtesy TRDaily]

FirstNet Hosts Tribal Outreach Workshop to Design Process for Broad Participation in the Creation of the Public Safety Broadband Network.  Board member Kevin McGinnis and Deputy General Manager TJ Kennedy of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) convened a one-day workshop to seek guidance from tribal representatives and Indian Country professionals on how to approach tribal outreach and education. Held on November 4, 2013 in Washington DC, the workshop was attended by 18 participants. These public safety and telecommunications experts have a history of working effectively with multiple tribal nations on telecommunications projects. They were asked to provide input to the design of an outreach communications and staffing plan.

IWCE Hosts Virtual Tradeshow on December 3, 2013.  Be part of the Free IWCE Virtual Tradeshow taking place December 5, 2013. Just like a live event attendees will be able to interact with knowledgeable vendors, view informative webinars, and attend live Q&A sessions. The IWCE Virtual Show is a free-to-attend, in-depth day of learning, discussion, networking and exhibitions for communications technology professionals and key vendors to ask and answer today’s most pressing and business critical questions.  Just like a live event, the Virtual Show will feature an exhibit hall where attendees can visit and interact with knowledgeable vendors; an auditorium where they can view webcasts, presentations and live Q&A sessions; a resource center to browse white papers, presentations, videos and podcasts; and the app center where they can interact and connect directly with app sponsors.

Registered attendees can access six live Webcasts throughout the day and scheduled chats immediately following each webcast. The event will be live for 1 day and then available on-demand through and for the 4 months leading up to IWCE’s live event. For more information and to view the detailed agenda, click here.

Coalition Renews Call for FCC to Adopt 911 Indoor Location Accuracy Rules.  The Find Me 911 Coalition renewed its call today for the FCC to adopt 911 indoor location accuracy requirements, citing statistics that it said show that 67 percent of wireless calls delivered in Texas in June lacked Phase II location accuracy, a sharp drop from 2 ½ years earlier.

The coalition said that data from Harris County, Texas, showed that public safety answering points (PSAPs) that automatically rebid, or requested, Phase II data at least 30 seconds after a call had begun increased the delivery of the more accurate location information by 24% to 88%, but the coalition said the automatic rebid process “leaves significant public safety gaps” by contributing “to misdirected calls” and leaving PSAPs workers “blind to the location of any caller who is not able to stay on the line for at least 30 seconds [Courtesy of TRDaily] .”

“Some have tried to blame the 9-1-1 operators, but that is a diversion from the impact of these data, and it is not fair to the 9-1-1 professionals,” said Jamie Barnett, director of the coalition and former chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.  “This cannot simply be chalked up to ‘rebidding’ to request location information again during the call. Emergency personnel need accurate location data as soon as a 9-1-1 call arrives, both to ensure that it is routed to the appropriate call center and to respond to the emergency, particularly if the call is cut off before a location can be given.”

“A 9-1-1 operator shouldn’t have to wait and rebid and wait and rebid to hope they eventually get accurate location information,” Mr. Barnett added. “This is a growing national crisis, and we urge the FCC and carriers to work with us to adopt indoor location requirements and solve this dangerous problem.”

The coalition cited data submitted to the FCC in conjunction with its review of the delivery of Phase II information with 911 calls in the wake of a filing last summer by the California chapter of the National Emergency Number Association that said more than half of wireless 911 calls in five areas of the state were being delivered without Phase II data (TRDaily, Aug. 13).  The bureau plans to hold a workshop on the 911 location accuracy on Nov. 18.

Wireless carriers have said that the California data did not take into account the failure by PSAPs to rebid for Phase II information, saying that it can take 30 seconds for such data to become available.