Credit: TR Daily

The public safety community must begin to prepare now to guard networks in an all-Internet protocol world from cyber attacks, and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) is ideally suited to help that process, David Simpson, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, told the organization today.

“Public safety entities should not wait to prepare for a full IP transition. Rather they should begin now to develop the identity management programs, priority access schemes, and other protocols necessary to create secure public safety networks,” Mr. Simpson said at an NPSTC meeting in Washington. “This is a big task. It magnifies when you get beyond radios.”

Mr. Simpson cited incidences in which hackers transmitted a bogus emergency alert and reprogrammed a highway sign and a Florida resident whom the Commission said used a jammer to disrupt mobile phone service during his daily commute for up to two years. “It’s a problem that’s not in the future, it’s a problem that’s here now,” Mr. Simpson warned of network threats.

He said such jamming instances mean there is a need to “ask ourselves, ‘Is the current method of reporting outages after 30 minutes impacting hundreds of thousands of users, is that sufficient to allow us to connect the dots?”

He also said public safety agencies must be proactive in their use of social media, noting that otherwise third parties will create fake Facebook pages and other sites.

Mr. Simpson said cyber security must be integrated into network standards. “One thing is for certain: If public safety fails to prepare now, critical decisions will be made for us, not by us,” he cautioned.

He also asked public safety to help on the lobbying front to outlaw owning jammers, which he said is legal even though their sale and operation to non-federal government entities is not permitted. Mr. Simpson and others today also noted the FCC’s proposal last week to fine a Chinese electronics manufacturer and online retailer $34.9 million for allegedly marketing 285 models of signal jamming devices to U.S. consumers for more than two years (TRDaily, June 19).

Mr. Simpson also stressed the need for training of public safety personnel on cyber issues. “Public safety professionals will be facing a very different world in the future,” he said.

Roberto Mussenden, an attorney-adviser in the Public Safety Bureau’s Policy and Licensing Division, said some public safety items that staff had hoped the Commission would have already taken action on have not been addressed due to the amount of attention devoted by Commissioners and their staff to incentive auction and open Internet orders adopted at the May meeting (TRDaily, May 15). Those orders “sucked all the oxygen out of the eighth floor,” he said.

He briefly mentioned several pending public safety proceedings. For example, he said that a tentative timeframe for Commissioner circulation of a 4.9 gigahertz band order is the fall, and he said that FCC staffers are working out “kinks” on an item in the 700 megahertz band narrowbanding proceeding. “We’ve got to move that out because licensees need clarity – soon rather than later,” he said.

He also noted that the bureau has sought comment on an NPSTC petition on railroad police and has extended the pleading cycle in the next-generation 911 (NG-911) proceeding.

Mr. Mussenden also noted that the FCC and Industry Canada are working on guidelines for cross-border use of portable radios and base stations.

In response to a question, Messrs. Simpson and Mussenden said that the FCC would adopt a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comments on the FCC’s process for reviewing state requests to opt-out of having the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) build the radio access network in states. But they gave no timeframe for such action.

Mike Dame, director of the State and Local Implementation Grant Program at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, cited progress states are making in getting ready for FirstNet. For example, he said, 85% of grant recipients are engaging stakeholders, holding 480 meetings between July 2013 and March of this year. Among other things, he said his program plans to develop best practices this year on issues such as outreach and education, tribal coordination, and governance.

Kevin McGinnis, a FirstNet and NPSTC board member, cited progress the authority has made in recent months as it has bolstered its staff, including by hiring a tribal outreach lead, Carl Rebstock. He also said that FirstNet hopes to hire two other tribal outreach personnel who are members of tribes. And he said FirstNet may launch as soon as next month a public notice and comment process for its comprehensive network services request for proposal.

Also at today’s meeting, Harlin McEwen, chairman of FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), praised new FirstNet board Chairman Sue Swenson’s decision to allow stakeholders and others to be in the room during FirstNet board meetings – the first such meeting being the board’s meeting earlier this month in Colorado (TRDaily, June 3). Mr. McEwen called the decision a “dramatic change,” noting that previous chairman Sam Ginn had the board meet in a separate room from stakeholders, although reporters sometimes were permitted to be in the room.

He also said Ms. Swenson told him that the PSAC executive committee will be often invited to board meetings and asked to participate. “That was another thing that Chairman Ginn chose not to do,” he said. “I think both of those things are very significant improvements and welcome.”

“She has a very different view about how [the] FirstNet board should work and how the PSAC should relate to the board,” Mr. McEwen said.

Mr. McEwen added, “We’re really on a roll now to start to actually be actively involved and be valued as a part of the FirstNet process.”

He also said that members are being identified for a new PSAC tribal working group, saying there will be about 15 members, and that a chairman is being identified for a new early builder working group.

NPSTC also agreed to prepare a recommendation for the board to express its support for continuing to develop mission-critical voice communications standards in 3GPP, which is dedicated to developing standards for LTE (long term evolution) technology, rather than other standards bodies.

Earlier this month, FirstNet officials expressed concern that efforts are underway by some to move mission-critical voice standards from 3GPP to the Open Mobile Alliance (TRDaily, June 3). For its part, OMA said it was collaborating with 3GPP (TRDaily, June 5).

Andy Thiessen, vice chairman of NPSTC’s Technology Committee, said it would be beneficial for public safety for the work to continue in 3GPP, citing activities related to push-to-talk and direct-mode capabilities. He said that 3GPP stakeholders generally support keeping the public safety standards in 3GPP. Mr. McEwen agreed, saying, “We’re locked into LTE.”

Mr. Thiessen also described efforts to work with FirstNet’s technical team on the most important requirements needed when the network is launched, while he said work is planned to refresh local control and priority and quality of service reports prepared by NPSTC in 2012. Mr. Thiessen also said that the plan is to wait for guidance from FirstNet before engaging in other work on requirements needed for the FirstNet system.

He also said a report that lists 29 public safety console LTE requirements should be published soon.

Also at today’s meeting, the NPSTC board approved the establishment of a subcommittee under its Technology Committee to develop an explanatory paper on the connection between NG-911 and FirstNet. Several speakers agreed that many in the public safety community with no 911 backgrounds know little about topics such as the National Emergency Number Association’s i3 technical standard.

In another presentation, Ron Hewitt, director of the Office of Emergency Communications, said the Department of Homeland Security is “getting close” to being able to release OEC’s updated National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), which he noted is still in the interagency clearance process.

Also, John Merrill, director of the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility at DHS, noted that his office is developing a device to locate radio signal jammers, saying it provides jammer directions and received signal strength information.

Also at the meeting, NPSTC praised John Powell, who is stepping down as chairman of the group’s Interoperability Committee, and welcomed his successor, John Lenihan, a Los Angeles County Fire Department battalion chief who has 37 years of experience in the fire service.- Paul Kirby,


Credit: TR Daily

TruePosition, Inc.’s commercially available technology can meet the FCC’s near-term proposals for wireless carriers to be able to locate 911 callers horizontally and vertically indoors, according to a report on testing commissioned by the company.

In a third further notice of proposed rulemaking adopted in February (TRDaily, Feb. 20), the Commission proposed to require wireless carriers to locate 911 callers horizontally indoors within 50 meters for 67% of calls within two years of the rules being adopted and for 80% of calls within five years. Carriers would have to vertically locate callers within three meters, or approximately floor-level location, for 67% of calls within three years and for 80% of calls within five years. Carriers would have to meet these standards at the county or public safety answering point (PSAP) level.

Testing conducted last month in the Wilmington, Del., area showed that the performance of TruePosition’s uplink time difference of arrival (UTDOA) and hybrid UTDOA and assisted Global Positioning System (A-GPS) technology offerings meet “the FCC’s proposed location performance threshold for indoor wireless E911 at the 67th percentile. The demonstrated performance even comes very close to meeting the 50 meter threshold at 80%, which is intended for 5 years from adoption of the proposed rules,” according to the report by TechnoCom.

“These results should prove helpful to the FCC as it moves toward reaching a resolution on its proposed rule on indoor location requirements,” said Craig Waggy, chief executive officer of TruePosition. “We know that accurate location information is vitally important to American consumers, and that the FCC is intent on remedying the lack of wireless indoor location requirements for calls placed to 9-1-1 from wireless devices.”

The tests were similar to those that TechnoCom conducted in February and March 2013 for TruePosition, although the most recent tests were “broader in scope, including more buildings and test points, and tested the latest, improved technology from TruePosition.”

“The improvement in location accuracy observed in the current testing compared to the March 2013 test results is quite evident for both UTDOA and Hybrid AGPS/UTDOA,” the report said. “Reductions in the 67th and 90th percentile location errors approximately in the 40 to 60 percent range are obtained under very similar morphology and test point conditions.”- Paul Kirby,

First Responder News Summary by Charles Bryson

First Responder News Summary
All information compiled by Charles Bryson as a public service of RCC Consultants
June 20, 2014

1. For public safety personnel interested in issues related to broadband, please check the RCC blog for new and past posts each week, and add your comments to the discussion.

2. STATE OF FLORIDA. Denied a request for a waiver of the freeze on intercategory sharing to license two Business/Industrial/Land Transportation (B/ILT) channel frequencies in the Eustis, Florida area. Action by: Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Adopted: 06/20/2014 by MO&O. (DA No. 14-850). PSHSB

Click to access DA-14-850A1.pdf

3. STATE OF MAINE – MSCOMMNET PROJECT. Granted State of Maine a waiver of need to obtain concurrence from third parties under Sections 90.35(b)(2)(ii) and 90.187(d). Action by: Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Adopted: 06/20/2014 by ORDER. (DA No. 14-848). PSHSB

Click to access DA-14-848A1.pdf

4. FCC PLANS $34.9 MILLION FINE AGAINST CHINESE ONLINE RETAILER OF SIGNAL JAMMING DEVICES. Warns U.S. Consumers that Importing and/or Operating a Signal Jammer is Unlawful. News Release. News Media Contact: Mark Wigfield at (202) 418-0253, email: EB

Click to access DOC-327716A1.pdf

5. CITY OF BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, LICENSEE OF PUBLIC SAFETY LAND MOBILE STATION CALL SIGN WQLR527. Waived sua sponte, that the requirement in the Fifth Report and Order for the City of Brownsville, TX to submit notification of intent to upgrade contemporaneously with the cost estimate for rebanding its system. (Dkt No. 02-55 ). Action by: Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Adopted: 06/18/2014 by ORDER. (DA No. 14-837). PSHSB

Click to access DA-14-837A1.pdf


Click to access DA-14-834A1.pdf


Click to access DA-14-831A1.pdf

8. COMMISSION ANNOUNCES INMATE CALLING SERVICES DATA DUE DATE. (DA No. 14-829). (Dkt No 12-375 ). WCB . Contact: Lynne Engledow at (202) 418-1520, email: or Don Sussman at (202) 418-1520, email:

Click to access DA-14-829A1.pdf

9. BELINGTON EMERGENCY RESCUE SQUAD. Dismissed Belington’s Petition as moot. Action by: Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Adopted: 06/16/2014 by ORDER. (DA No. 14-820). PSHSB

Click to access DA-14-820A1.pdf


Click to access DA-14-814A1.pdf

11. In the news:
FirstNet seeking LTE network director <;
FCC Issues More Tower Violation Fines <;
Poor Indoor Radio Signal Levels Place 1st Responders and Public At Risk <;
SF Won’t Be Upgrading Ancient Public Safety Radio System Until 2018 <;
Are smartphones the best medicine? <;
MIT can now track a heart rate through a wall with Wi-Fi signals <;
Cross latest attempt at stealth cellphone towers <;
Agency Aims to Regulate Map Aids in Vehicles <;
Sprint Promises 180Mbit/s ‘Peaks’ in 2015 <;
FCC pushes companies on phone theft <;
Crime Data Shows iPhone ‘Kill Switch’ Cuts Thefts <;
Researchers embed transparent sensors in Corning Gorilla Glass <;

Regulatory Update June 2014, by Bette Rinehart

Regulatory News    newsheader

  • Comment Sought on National Frequency Coordination, LLC Request to be Certified as a Part 90 Frequency Coordinator; Association of American Railroads Request to be Certified to Coordinate 800/900 MHz Business/Industrial/Land Transportation Frequencies
  • Comment Sought on NPSTC Petition for Rulemaking to Allow Railroad Police to Access Frequencies Reserved for Public Safety Interoperability
  • FCC Levies Hefty Fine for Continuing to Operate on Expired Licenses
  • PSHSB Announces Inquiry into Circumstances Related to a Major 911 Outage on April 9-10

 800 MHz News

  • FCC Acts on Several Requests for Extension of Time to Provide Cost Estimates to Sprint
  • Region 24 (Missouri) Plan Amendment Approved
  • Weld County, Colorado Intercategory Sharing Waiver

700 MHz News 

  • Less Than Two Weeks Remain for States to File State License Substantial Service Benchmark Certifications

Regulatory News

Comment Sought on National Frequency Coordination, LLC Request to be Certified as a Part 90 Frequency Coordinator; Association of American Railroads Request to be Certified to Coordinate 800/900 MHz Business/Industrial/Land Transportation Frequencies.   National Frequency Coordination, LLC (NFC) has filed a request to be certified as a Part 90 frequency coordinator.  In 1986, when the FCC first certified frequency coordinators, it established the following criteria for entities seeking certification:

  • Representative of the users of the frequencies to be coordinated
  • The overall coordination plan (how frequency recommendations will be made and how applicants will be treated equally)
  • Experience coordinating frequencies or technical expertise
  • Nationwide coordination capability

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Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.), Ben Ray Luján (D., N.M.), Don Young (R., Alaska), and Tom Cole (R., Okla.) today asked the Government Accountability Office to study tribal land communications. Specifically, they asked that GAO look at “[e]xisting efforts at the federal, state, local, or Tribal levels to collect data on the availability of communications services on Tribal lands, including fixed and mobile broadband, wireline and wireless phone service, and radio and television broadcast service.” They also asked GAO to look at “[e]xisting federal, state, local, or Tribal programs that promote communications infrastructure deployment and adoption, and their impact on Tribal lands.” Finally, they asked that GAO report on “[c]hallenges that exist to increasing telecommunications subscribership rates for residents on Tribal lands and recommendations for addressing those barriers.”


The FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) today approved a range of working group reports covering interim text-to-911 systems, the emergency alert system, and roaming during disasters.

Working Group 1 presented a final report on PSAP requests for service for interim SMS text-to-911, providing recommended best practices for 911 authorities to use when requesting short-term short messaging service text-to-911 services. The best practices address how to request the service; how to test and deploy the service; how to address operational considerations before, during, and after the deployment; and considerations related to security.

Working Group 1 also presented a report offering guidance to the FCC on establishing a permanent entity to design, develop, and manage an ongoing public test bed for indoor location technologies.

The consensus on the test methodology was to adopt “in full or in large part, the CSRIC III test methodology for near term use, and then to extend this approach to better adapt it to indoor localization technologies which may be tested for E911 purposes in a number of years,” the working group report says. “The testing process developed and implemented in the CSRIC III testing in San Francisco is expected to improve in time as refinements are made, and as feedback from all stakeholders is incorporated into the process.”

The guidance recommends that costs for each test cycle be borne by test participants and that federal agencies “pursue funding to support the fixed costs” of the test bed.

Working Group 3 offered in initial report on possible steps the FCC can take to improve the emergency alert system. The group recommended “modest guidelines to secure EAS in its current state.” All stakeholders should incorporate EAS into their existing IT security programs or establish one if they don’t have one, it said.

The working group said EAS work “can never be considered complete since the threats and vulnerabilities of the EAS ecosystem, the devices themselves, the participants, and operators of the gear will continue to change and evolve.” The document should be considered a “starting point that should be reviewed and renewed on a regular basis or become stale and unreliable as a source of ground truth for security recommendations for EAS,” it said.

Working Group 3 also issued another report recommending specific guidelines for the timing and propagation of national EAS alerts. “The EAS system was created to serve as the method for the President to communicate with the general public during a national emergency including times when normal channels may become unavailable, impaired, disabled, or compromised,” the report says. “In practice, the system is used more frequently for state and local alerting. National alerting has been used only once when tested in November, 2011. At that time, issues came to light involving differing interpretations of how the alert was to be issued and relayed.”

Another report, from Working Group 10A, addressed consumer outreach related to customer premises equipment powering. It offered recommendations on developing communications plans in case of power outages with a consideration of backup battery power, how consumers should handle commercial power outages, and handling of post-outage analysis.

Working Group 9 offered recommendations on best practices related to roaming during disasters. It recommended that: (1) the FCC encourage carriers, operators, and service providers to review existing industry best practices on emergency preparedness roaming during disasters; (2) the FCC encourage carriers, operators, and service providers to review their own internal roaming processes to look for areas to streamline and update; and (3) transferring ownership of the issue from the working group to the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions. – Brian Hammond,

June 2014 PSCR Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Conference

Held in Westminster, CO, on June 3-5, 2014, the three-day conference brought together over 500 attendees including many representatives from public safety, as well as federal agencies, industry, and academia. Participants learned about recent work efforts related to the build out of the NPSBN as well as test results from the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program’s public safety broadband 700-MHz Band 14 Demonstration Network.Sue Swenson FirstNet 2014 cr

Conference attendees also benefited from the decision of the FirstNet Board to locate their June Board Meeting at the conference hotel the morning of June 3. The FirstNet Board Meeting was webcast live into the PSCR Conference Room. Following the Board Meeting, PSCR kicked off its PSBB Stakeholder Conference with a keynote address from newly announced FirstNet Chairwoman, Sue Swenson. Swenson described four key work themes for FirstNet going forward: 1) Execute, 2) Engage, 3) Communicate, and 4) Collaborate. Visit PSCR to view the agenda and presentations.

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Check Out NIIX!

TNIIX_logo_200x46he National Interoperability Information Exchange (NIIX), a FREE and SECURE website for public safety to store, share, and work and collaborate on their documents. This secure central warehouse is efficient and easy to use with online and telephone support readily available to answer any questions you may have. NIIX has been used to share state interoperability plans, agreements, policy, SOPs and other valuable documents. NIIX can securely connect you with other state interoperability planners to facilitate information sharing and cooperation. NIIX can be used to create private communities to assist public safety communications entities and users in sharing relevant documents, calendars, and information. See how NIIX can help you organize, share, and store your documents at


Congratulations to Douglas Aiken Re-Elected as NPSTC Vice Chair

Chief Aiken Has Served NPSTC in a Leadership Role since 1998. Douglas M. Aiken brings 38 years of experience as both an advocate for public safety telecommunications issues and as an administrator in public safety telecommunications. He began his fire service career as a member of the Manchester (New Hampshire) Fire Department.  He then became Chief of Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid (LRMFA) a 36-community Fire, EMS, and HazMat agency in central New Hampshire where he continues to serve as a deputy chief on a part time basis.  In addition, Chief Aiken serves as the chairman of the New Hampshire Enhanced 9-1-1 Commission.  He retired from the New Hampshire Air National Guard in 2007 at the rank of colonel after a 40-year military career.

IACP, Sponsor of PS BB Forum, Has Long History of Serving Law Enforcement

IACP logo 2015 05 crSince 1893, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, sponsor of the Public Safety Broadband Forum, has been serving the needs of the law enforcement community. Throughout those past 100- plus years, the IACP has been launching historically acclaimed programs, conducting ground-breaking research and providing exemplary programs and services to its membership across the globe.

The IACP’s goals are to disseminate improved administrative, technical and operational practices and promote their use in police work; to foster police cooperation and the exchange of information and experience among police administrators throughout the world; to bring about recruitment and training in the police profession of qualified persons; and to encourage adherence of all police officers to high professional standards of performance and conduct.

Professionally recognized programs such as the FBI Identification Division and the Uniform Crime Records system can trace their origins back to the IACP. From spearheading national use of fingerprint identification to partnering in a consortium on community policing to gathering top experts in criminal justice, the government and education for summits on violence, homicide, and youth violence, IACP has realized its responsibility to positively affect the goals of law enforcement. Read more at