State CIOs: Charting the Course During Uncertain Times

NASHVILLE, TN., September 30, 2014 – The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), TechAmerica, and Grant Thornton LLP today release the 2014 annual survey of state chief information officers (CIOs), Charting the Course: Leading Collaboration During Uncertain Times. As major changes continue to sweep through the state IT landscape, the fifth annual survey asked state CIOs to share their perspective on the status and future direction of the state CIO organization and the overall enterprise. While the survey covered a wide variety of topics, we asked CIOs to focus particularly on three main topics – the planning and oversight of critical projects, sourcing and the use of data as a strategic asset. These topics share a common theme in that they all require the CIO to establish priorities and to collaborate with stakeholders and multiple external organizations. Continue reading

NFPA Maintains Map of Current Wildfire Activity in U.S.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) maintains a map with current wildfires activity across the U.S. The map is updated every 24 hours and developed by GeoMAC.

 From the NFPA website:

  • According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 2013 saw more than 47,000 wildfires burn over 4.3 million acres.
  • According to the U.S. Fire Administration: In 2012, 67,774 wildfires burned 9,326,238 acres (an area that’s bigger than NJ, Connecticut and Delaware). This makes 2012 the third highest year with the most acres burned since national wildfire statistics have been kept, beginning in 1960. Remaining at the number one and two spots are 2006 with 9.9 million, and 2007 with 9.3 million.
  • In 2012, more than 2,200 primary structures were lost due to wildfire and attributed to house-to-house ignitions. From 2004 – 2012, primary structure losses totaled more than 13,000.
  • The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) cites more than 72,000 U.S. communities are now at risk from wildfire.
  • According to NFPA, large-loss fires accounted for nearly $800 million in direct property losses nationwide in 2011. The Bastrop County Complex (Texas) wildfire alone resulted in $400 million in property loss and was the largest of the large-loss fires recorded during that year. See the 10 largest loss wildland fires in the U.S.
  • InciWeb, an incident information system, provides the most timely and accurate wildfire incident information for the public, media relations and public affairs professionals. Wildfire information on InciWeb includes the name of the fire, location and number of acres burned.

Continue reading

Public Safety Advocate, Andy Seybold, September 25, 2014

The State of California is holding FirstNet Town Hall Meetings in California. This past Wednesday there was one in Fairfield, CA and next week, on September 30, there will be one in Santa Ana followed by a California First Responder Network Board of Directors Meetings/Public Safety Broadband Consultation Workshop on October 1 in Diamond Bar. I will be attending both of these meetings and hope to see some of my California readers in attendance as well. What happens on the State and local level will, in reality, have more impact on local Public Safety than what is happening at the Federal level. For more information contact FirstNet in California at: | 916-657-9466 | To attend in person email or phone 916-657-9466. To register for WebEx, go to Continue reading


Lock-in Your Attendance for the Canada-US Bi-National Cross-Border Interoperability Workshop 

CITIG’s Canada-U.S. Bi-National Cross Border Interoperability Workshop is fast approaching, and the time is now to ensure your participation. In particular, you may wish to book your travel:

  • There is a very favourable seat sale on Porter Airlines that end today at midnight (four flights a day to and from Windsor);
  • We have successfully extended the preferred rate of $159 plus taxes per night at Caesars Windsor until Monday, September 29, 2014; and
  • Air Canada continues to offer a 10% discount on Flex fares or higher for delegates travelling to this event.

Best of all, the program is shaping up nicely. See our latest agenda from our event page or via Limited sponsorship and exhibit opportunities are still available. Visit our registration site for full details. Don’t miss out! Continue reading

First Responder News, Charles Bryson

FCC ANNOUNCES TENTATIVE AGENDA FOR SEPTEMBER OPEN MEETING.  News Release. News Media Contact: Kim Hart at (202) 418-8191, email:  OCHTW

SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION, PETITION FOR DECLARATORY RULING.   Granted the Petition in part. (Dkt No.  02-55 ). Action by:  the Commission. Adopted:  09/15/2014 by MO&O. (FCC No. 14-136).  PSHSB

FCC ANNOUNCES MEETING OF THE COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY, RELIABILITY, AND INTEROPERABILITY COUNCIL SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 AT FCC HEADQUARTERS. (DA No.  14-1339).  PSHSB . Contact:  Jeffery Goldthorp at (202) 418-1096, email: or Lauren Kravetz at (202) 418-7944, email:


PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES COMMENT AND REPLY COMMENT DATES FOR THIRD FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING IN THE TEXT-TO-911 PROCEEDING. (DA No.  14-1335). (Dkt No 11-153 10-255 ). Comments Due:  10/16/2014. Reply Comments Due:  11/17/2014.  PSHSB . Contact:  Dana Zelman at (202) 418-0546, email:

In the news:

FirstNet Approves RFI, Public Notice and FY15 Budget


Continue reading

NPSTC’s Regulatory Update, September 2014, Articles Provided by Bette Rinehart

In this Regulatory News: 

  • FCC Adopts Text-to-911 Rules and Seeks Comment on More Text-to-911 proposals
  • Part 17 Rules Related to Antenna Structures Streamlined and Clarified
  • Comment Sought on Sprint’s Request for Wideband Operations in New Mexico and Texas
  • FCC Approves Municipality of Anchorage’s Waiver to Operate at 50 kHz Bandwidth on 700 MHz Narrowband Frequencies
  • Application Process for Entities Interested in Participating in the Rural Broadband Experiments Announced
  • AAR Certified as Frequency Coordinator for 800/900 MHz
  • TA Declares Four More NPSPAC Regions 100% Complete with 800 MHz Rebanding
  • Regional Planning Committee Meetings

FCC Adopts Rules to Promote Text-to-9-1-1. In August, the FCC adopted rules to require that all wireless carriers and certain IP-based text application providers are prepared to support text-to-9-1-1 by the end of the year. The four largest wireless carriers had voluntarily agreed to support text-to-9-1-1 by May of this year. This rulemaking will ensure that the remaining carriers support the service. In a Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC is seeking comment on the continued evolution of text-to-9-1-1 including:

  • Approaches and a timeframe for covered text providers to provide enhanced location accuracy on texts-to-9-1-1
  • A proposal to require covered text providers to provide roaming support for text-to-9-1-1 no later than two years after the effective date of final rules on roaming
  • 9-1-1 text message delivered over Wi-Fi and non-CMRS networks
  • Non-interconnected text messages
  • Rich media services

Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register; Reply Comments are due 60 days after Federal Register Publication. The text of the News Release is available at:

The text of the 2nd Report & Order and 3rd Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is available at:

Part 17 Rules Clarified and Streamlined.   The FCC has released a Report & Order in which it attempts to clarify and streamline Part 17 rules governing the lighting, marking, construction and registration of antenna structures.

Any antenna structure that requires prior notification to the FAA must also be registered with the FCC using the Antenna Structure Registration system on ULS. After receiving a notification from a tower owner proposing to construct a new tower, the FAA will review the filing to determine whether the structure will pose a hazard to air traffic. The FAA also determines the appropriate painting and lighting for the structure. Once its review is complete, the FAA sends the tower owner an acknowledgement and a determination of “no hazard to air navigation” if the structure is marked and illuminated as described in the study.

FAA review must be complete before a tower owner can register the structure with the FCC. The tower owner must include the FAA’s study and “no hazard” determination. The FCC then issues an ASR form which assigns the structure an ASR number. The ASR includes the FAA’s “no hazard” marking and lighting recommendations; if a tower owner fails to comply with the marking and lighting recommendations, the FCC’s Compliance Bureau may issue a fine. Failure to provide proper tower marking and lighting has been the leading cause of Compliance Bureau action in recent years.

In the Report & Order, the FCC made the following changes to the Part 17 rules governing antenna structures:

  • Eliminated any references to FAA Advisory Circulars. Structure owners must comply with the FAA’s “no hazard” determination for the particular structure.
  • Will not require existing antenna structures to comply with new lighting and marking requirements unless the FAA changes the requirements for that structure.
  • Prior approval is required for changes or corrections to existing towers that are greater than 1 second in latitude/longitude or 1 foot in antenna height.
  • Changed the deadline for tower owners to notify the FCC of construction or dismantlement of a structure; changes in the structure’s height or ownership from 24 hours to 5 days consistent with FAA requirements.
  • Will continue to allow antenna structure owners to voluntarily register their towers but will add a section to the form that will allow the applicant to indicate that the filing is voluntary.
  • Part 17 painting and lighting requirements will not be applied to voluntarily registered structures.
  • Antenna structure owners must display the ASR number “so that it is visible to a member of the general public who reaches the closest publicly assessable location near the antenna structure base.” When there is more than one “publicly assessable location” the ASR number must be posted at each location. Posting at both the access point and the base of the tower “will not generally” be required. When one fence surrounds a facility containing more than one antenna structure, the ASR number must be posted at the access point(s) and at the base of the antenna structure.
  • Tower owners can provide ASR numbers to tenants via email with a link to the FCC’s ASR site or other electronic means.
  • Tower structure owners who employ qualified Network-Operating-Center (NOC)-based monitoring systems are exempt from conducting quarterly inspections
  • Adopted the FAA’s “In Service Aviation Orange Tolerance Chart” as the benchmark to determine whether a structure needs to be cleaned or repainted.
  • Require owners to notify the FAA if a lighting outage can’t be repaired within the FAA’s original NOTAM period. Owners must continue to provide updates every NOTAM period until the lights are repaired.
  • All repairs (lighting, alarm, automatic indicators, etc.) must be made “as soon as practicable.”
  • Antenna structure owners must maintain records of all known or observed lighting outages or improper functioning for a period of 2 years.
  • Revised the definitions of antenna structure owner and antenna structure to include the underlying structure that supports the antennas and the owners of those structures.
  • Clarified that a structure is considered an antenna structure from the time construction starts to when it is dismantled regardless of whether or not any radio energy is being transmitted from the structure. An antenna structure owner’s responsibility continues until the structure is permanently dismantled.
  • Clarified that antenna structures have to be registered only if notice to FAA is required (due to antenna height or proximity to airport).

The text of the News Release is available at:

The text of the Report & Order is available at:

Comment Sought on Sprint’s Request to Permit Wideband Operations in Portions of New Mexico and Texas.  The FCC is seeking comment on waivers filed by Sprint asking to use 866-869 MHz for wideband operations in 28 out of the 33 counties in New Mexico (Region 29); 46 out of 49 counties in Region 50 (Texas-El Paso) and 30 out of 47 counties in Region 53 (Texas-San Antonio) in which PS incumbents have completed rebanding. Comments are due September 25; Reply Comments are due October 10.   The text of the Public Notice is available at:

FCC Approves Waiver for 700 MHz Wideband (50 kHz) Operations. The FCC has granted a waiver filed by the Municipality of Anchorage, AK allowing it to replace its 14-year-old 800 MHz data system with a new IP-based 700 MHz data system. In its waiver, Anchorage had sought authority to aggregate 700 MHz narrowband frequencies to create 50 kHz frequencies on which to operate its data system. The 50 kHz bandwidth was required in order to provide a 128 kbps data rate. Rule section 90.531(d)(1) limits aggregation of 700 MHz narrowband spectrum to a maximum bandwidth of 25 kHz.

In granting the waiver, the Commission noted that Anchorage’s proposed system would use only about 13% of the narrowband spectrum available in the Region, the Municipality had the support of the Regional Planning Committee and no agency opposed the waiver request. The Commission also agreed that to obtain the desired data rates, frequencies wider than 25 kHz bandwidth would be required. While noting that FirstNet was in the process of having state consultations to develop its nationwide broadband network, the FCC was persuaded that the proposed wideband network would meet Anchorage’s current data needs. It felt that requiring Anchorage to operate at less than desired data speeds simply to comply with 90.531(d)(1) was unduly burdensome.

Anchorage had also sought a waiver on behalf of its equipment vendor, CalAmp so that it could manufacture and sell equipment capable of operating at bandwidths greater than 25 kHz. After determining that the proposed equipment would meet the industry-proposed ACP limits for wideband equipment developed in 2005, the Commission granted this aspect of the waiver as well. CalAmp must obtain a permissive change to add wideband emission to its currently certified equipment. Sale of the wideband equipment is limited to the Municipality of Anchorage for use in its IP-based mobile data network.

The text of the Order is available at:

Application Process for Entities Interested in Participating in the Rural Broadband Experiments Announced. The FCC has released a lengthy Public Notice explaining the process to be used by entities interested in seeking rural broadband experiment funding. Up to $100 million has been budgeted for funding to support experiments in high-cost and extremely high-cost price cap areas focused on bringing next-generation voce and broadband data services to residential and small business locations in rural areas. Applications must be submitted electronically via the FCC’s Auction System no later than 6 pm October 14, 2014. The text of the Public Notice is available at:

TA Declares Rebanding Complete in Four More NPSPAC Regions. During August, the Transition Administrator (TA) filed paperwork with the FCC declaring that 800 MHz band reconfiguration had been completed in four NPSPAC Regions: Idaho (Region 12), Kansas (Region 16), Missouri (Region 24), and Montana (Region 25).

AAR Certified to Coordinate 800/900 MHz Frequencies. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has been certified by the FCC to coordinate 800 and 900 MHz frequencies in the Industrial/Business/Land Transportation pools. AAR, who holds licenses in the 800/900 MHz band, may not coordinate applications on its own behalf.

The text of the Public Notice is available at:

Regional Planning Committee Meetings Announced

Region 30 (New York-Albany) is holding a combined 700/800 MHz RPC meeting on September 17 in Albany. The text of the Public Notice is available at:

Region 24 (Missouri) will hold 700 MHz and 800 MHz Planning meetings on September 23 in St. Peters, MO. The text of the Public Notice is available at:

Region 21 (Michigan) will hold a combined 700/800 MHz RPC meeting on September 26 in Tustin, MI. The text of the Public Notice is available at:

Region 10 (Georgia) is holding a combined 700/800 MHz RPC meeting on October 16 in Forsyth, GA. The text of the Public Notice is available at:



FCC Grants Sprint Some Relief from 800 MHz Obligations

The FCC issued a memorandum opinion and order and order of proposed modification today granting Sprint Corp. some relief from its 800 megahertz rebanding obligations.

In a petition for declaratory ruling filed last year (TRDaily, Jan. 24, 2013), Sprint Nextel Cop. (now Sprint Corp.) had asked the FCC to eliminate the $850 million “floor” for its 800 MHz rebanding letter of credit, allowing an immediate reduction to $457 million and further reductions, and to rule that the company is no longer obligated to make an anti-windfall payment to the U.S. Treasury (TRDaily, Jan. 24, 2013).

Sprint argued that it had already spent $3.1 billion on the realignment and was contractually committed to spending at least $309 million more. Combined with the $2 billion value of the 800 MHz band spectrum the carrier contributed, it said it had already exceeded the FCC-determined $4.8 billion value of the 1.9 gigahertz band G-block replacement spectrum it received as part of the transition. Continue reading

FCC Dismisses Rulemaking Petition

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology today denied a petition for rulemaking filed by Glen Zook that proposed that the agency  add a “4-meter” radio band at 70.0-70.5 megahertz to the list of bands available to amateur radio operators. “The 70.0-70.5 MHz band is not currently allocated for Amateur Radio use and is instead exclusively allocated for broadcasting within the United States,” OET said. “Specifically, VHF TV Channel 4 operates in the 66-72 MHz frequency band – which completely encompasses the 70.0-70.5 MHz band at issue here.”

Courtesy TRDaily

FirstNet Board Authorizes Release of Public Notice, Network RFI

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board today authorized the release of a public notice seeking comment on preliminary interpretations and other issues regarding FirstNet’s authority under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. The board also approved the issuance of a comprehensive network solution request for information (RFI) soliciting views on a wide range of issues ahead of a draft request for proposal (RFP) scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2015.

Meeting at its Reston, Va., headquarters, the board also approved a fiscal year 2015 budget of about $120 million, in additional to spending to fund authorization obligations from FY 2014, which ends Sept. 30. FirstNet officials also offered a defense for why the authority has committed to spend only about one-third – or $64 million – of the board-authorized FY 2014 budget of $194 million.

The 39-page public notice is similar to a notice of proposed rulemaking issued by administrative agencies; FirstNet is not obligated to release such an item, but it believes it will provide useful input on its authority under the Middle Class Tax Relief Act, said Stuart Kupinsky, FirstNet’s chief counsel. FirstNet posted an unofficial copy of the notice on its web site today ahead of “Federal Register” publication expected soon. Comments will be due in 30 days in docket no. 140821696-4696-01.

Officials said responses to the public notice and the RFI, which were goals of a FirstNet roadmap approved earlier this year (TRDaily, March 11), will help inform the RFP process.

“It’s important to point out that this is a legal interpretation of the outer boundaries, if you will, of the provisions in our enabling legislation,” Mr. Kupinsky stressed. “These are not policy pronouncements within those boundaries.” Continue reading

CSRIC Meeting Set for September 24

The FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council will meet Sept. 24 at the FCC’s Washington headquarters, beginning at 1 p.m.  Votes are planned on reports from Working Group (WG) 1 on next generation 911, WG 5 on remediation of server-based DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, WG 6 on long-term core Internet protocol improvements, WG 7 on legacy best practice updates, and WG 10 on powering customer premises equipment (CPE).  Courtesy TRDaily