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


Comment Deadlines Set for Text-to-911 Item

Comments are due Oct. 16 and replies Nov. 17 in PS dockets 11-153 and 10-255 in response to a third further notice of proposed rulemaking adopted by the FCC last month (TRDaily, Aug. 8) concerning technical issues regarding the deployment of text-to-911 services.  Courtesy TRDaily


FirstNet Committees Consider Notice, RFI, FY 2015 Budget

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board committees today considered a public comment notice, a comprehensive network solution request for information (RFI), and the authority’s fiscal year 2015 budget.

The board’s four committees met this afternoon at FirstNet’s Reston, Va., headquarters. The full board is scheduled to consider the three items and other issues at its meeting tomorrow morning.

The public notice and comment item is similar to a notice of proposed rulemaking issued by administrative agencies, said Stuart Kupinsky, FirstNet’s chief counsel.

Because FirstNet is exempt from the Administrative Procedure Act, it does not legally have to issue such a notice, but it believes that doing so would be helpful, Mr. Kupinsky said, saying that provisions in the final document will provide “critical inputs into the RFI process.”

Continue reading

Mission Critical PTT Set for LTE Release 13, Release 12 Freeze Likely in 2015

September 2, 2014, By Sandra Wendelken, Editor, Courtesy Mission Critical Magazine

Work is underway on mission-critical voice for the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard in Release 13, set for finalization in the third quarter of 2016. In addition, the freeze for LTE Release 12, which includes several public-safety features, could be delayed to the first quarter of 2015, according to industry sources.

The functional freeze date is when the standard is considered finalized and no further changes or functions can be added to that release. LTE Release 12, also called LTE Advanced, includes proximity services (ProSe) or direct mode communications and group communications or push to talk (PTT).

Release 12 was expected to be complete in December but it might slip to quarter one 2015, sources said. The delay likely won’t have a large impact on public-safety broadband efforts, said European and U.S. officials.

“Any delays to standardization, whilst they are a concern, are unlikely to have a significant impact to most countries,” said Phil Kidner, TETRA + Critical Communications Association CEO. “A notable exception is the United Kingdom, which does not currently own its own network and is looking to replace its current arrangements when its existing contracts expire.

“Most European public-safety users are very happy with their existing networks and are looking to enhance them rather than replace them. One of the first countries to implement a nationwide TETRA network is now updating that network for critical communications and purchasing broadband services from public providers. This model is being followed by other countries.” Continue reading

Geogmagnetic Storm Watch Issued for September 13

Strong explosions and a powerful solar flare on the sun on Sep 9th and 10th have directed two large masses of charged electro-magnetic particles toward earth. This phenomenom is called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).  A flash of ultraviolet radiation from the explosion ionized the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere, disturbing HF radio communications for more than an hour. The flare caused a radio blackout on Earth and also caused a blast of radio noise. Radio astronomers and amateur radio operators in the Americas and across the Pacific Ocean heard static roaring from the loudspeakers of their shortwave receivers, particularly on the 22 mHz and 23 mHz frequencies. Forecasters at National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimate a nearly 80% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Sept. 12th when the first of the two CMEs arrives. Auroras are in the offing, possibly visible at mid-latitudes before the weekend. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of more strong flares and an 85% chance of medium strength flares to occur today.

A G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Watch has been issued for September 13th due to the combined influence of these two events with G1 (Minor) storming anticipated to continue into September 14th. In addition, the S1 (Minor) solar radiation storm that is in progress as a result of the eruption yesterday is expected to persist for the next few days.

The effects of all this may include, for the next 2 to 3 days, degraded HF radio communications, particularly in the polar regions, minor fluctuations on the electric power grids, and the diverting of airline flights from polar flight routes. For more detailed information, see: http://www.spaceweather.com/ and http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/index.html

Courtesy Charley Bryson