FCC Approves Rules Requiring All Carriers, Interconnected Messaging Providers to Enable Text-to-911 Service
August 8, FCC commissioners today approved an order requiring all wireless carriers and providers of interconnected over-the-top text messaging services—those using phone numbers to let users send and receive messages—support text-to-911 functionality by the end of the year, if requested by a public-safety answering point (PSAP).
Commissioners reiterated the fact that voice calls to 911 are more efficient, more reliable and provide better information to first responders—and, therefore, should be the first option when seeking emergency help—but the value of text-to-911 capability is clear, especially to those who are hearing- or speech-impaired or are in a situation in which speaking could endanger their lives. Continue reading
Sprint Corp. has reported further progress in the 800 megahertz band realignment, saying that the initiative “is reaching its final stages.” In a report filed with the FCC in WT docket 02-55, Sprint said that “800 MHz public safety and non-public safety licensees required to be retuned in a total of thirty-nine NPSPAC Regions and the U.S. Territories have fully completed 800 MHz band reconfiguration efforts.
Currently only 16 Regions of the 55 NPSPAC Regions remain incomplete.
Excluding the five Regions located within in the U.S. – Mexican Border Area and the State of Washington (Region 43) located in the U.S. – Canada Border Area, only four individual licensees remain to complete 800 MHz band reconfiguration in the non-border area United States. These recent accomplishments demonstrate that, by any measure, the multi-year, multibillion dollar 800 MHz band reconfiguration project is reaching its final stages.”
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board plans to hold a special meeting via teleconference Aug. 15 from 11 a.m.-noon eastern time. A notice did not mention an agenda for the meeting, but the board may vote on a spectrum lease with the state of Texas on behalf of Harris County. Texas and FirstNet officials have said they are close to completing their lease negotiations, and Special Temporary Authority from the FCC to operate the Harris County network expires later this month. No agenda is posted yet. Visit www.firstnet.gov/ for more information.
By Bill Schrier, Chair, Washington State Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) in collaboration with Crystal Ayco, Scott Honaker, Chris Lombard, Mark McDermott and Karl Wright
On Saturday, March 22, 2014, at 10:37 AM Pacific Time, a hillside near the village of Oso in Snohomish County, Washington, liquefied and sent a wall of mud and debris down into the North Fork Stillaguamish River valley. The landslide covered State Highway 530, closing it, and isolating the community of Darrington from the remainder of the county. A total of 43 residents died and 49 homes were destroyed. The debris field covered over one square mile. In the ensuing six weeks, public safety agencies and volunteers mounted a major rescue and recovery operation which involved, at some points, up to 700 responders. This event is known in Washington as the State Route 530 (SR530) Landslide.
As with any major disaster, wired and wireless communications are critical to response and recovery. After the initial landslide, some communications capabilities immediately fell into place, by both design and luck:
The landslide area is well-covered by the Snohomish Emergency Radio System (SERS), a county-wide 800 MHz trunked radio network used by all in-county first responders. Continue reading
By Deborah Bea, Telecommunications Service Priority Program Manager
Natural disasters, such as floods, fires, earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes, affect thousands of people every year. A single hurricane can cause catastrophic damage to coastline and points inland, including extensive damage to wired lines and circuits supporting continuity communications. Effective continuity planning and programs, such as the Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) Program, can help organizations take effective steps to protect mission-critical circuits before disasters and aid in recovery after an event. Continue reading
By: Steve Devine, Interoperability Program Manager, Missouri Department of Public Safety
As FirstNet considers its approach for a NPSBN, rural America’s first responders consider their needs and requirements unique to their operating environments. Rural first responders face a greater variety of obstacles implementing mobile data than their suburban and urban counterparts. Historically, these obstacles include:
Few Users: Rural agencies are often made up of fewer users than suburban or urban public safety agencies. They also have less leverage when negotiating pricing for commercial wireless services as more cost-effective subscriber rates “per user” can be obtained with a higher number of subscribers. Having fewer users means less buying power when negotiating pricing with commercial carriers for equipment or services. Continue reading
August 7, 2014, Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness, requires an annual National Preparedness Report (NPR) that summarizes national progress in building, sustaining and delivering the 31 core capabilities outlined in the National Preparedness Goal (the Goal). The intent of the NPR is to provide the Nation—not just the federal government—with practical insights on core capabilities that can inform decisions about program priorities, resource allocation, and community actions. This report marks the third annual NPR, updating and expanding upon findings from the previous two years. The 2014 NPR highlights accomplishments achieved or reported during 2013. Continue reading