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.”

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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: and

Courtesy Charley Bryson


Registration Due Sept 8–FirstNet to Host Briefing for PS and State/Local/Tribal Association Staff

FirstNet will be hosting its second briefing for public safety and state/local/tribal association staff representatives on Thursday, September 18 from 1:30-3:30 pm EDT. We invite you to send two staff representatives (or the equivalent) to this meeting. The Public Safety Advisory Council (PSAC) members have been advised of this meeting.  The registration date has been extended to September 8.

The briefing will include a FirstNet update on outreach and state consultation as well as a State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) update. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session and open discussion.

This briefing is intended for association representatives who are in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Please note that any travel costs to attend are the responsibility of your association. For those of you whose organizations are not based in DC, we understand that you may not be able to attend; however, we wanted to extend the invitation in case you by chance had someone in the area available on this date.

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Commerce Announces Five New FirstNet Board Members

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker today announced the appointment of five new members of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board and the reappointment of retired telecom industry veteran Ed Reynolds.   The announcement included appointments for two more seats than had been expected because it was announced today that board member and former Denver mayor Wellington Webb had earlier decided to step down from the board when his replacement was named and that industry veteran Craig Farrill resigned from the board last month.

The new board members are Chris Burbank, chief of the Salt Lake City Police Department; James Douglas, a former Republican governor of Vermont; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; Frank Plastina, a technology executive from North Carolina; and Richard Stanek, sheriff of Hennepin County, Minn., which includes Minneapolis. Continue reading

FL Model: How to Maintain Statewide EMS Comms Plan

The State of Florida’s Statewide EMS Communications Plan demonstrates how to balance a statewide EMS plan’s use of 800 MHz and the UHF national EMS MED channels.

In 1975, the first EMS Communications Plan was implemented. In conjunction with federal funding made available from 1973 through 1981 by Congress through the EMS Systems Act, the first Plan enabled implementation of many EMS radio systems throughout the state in the UHF radio frequency band. Experience gained during the intervening years, changes in technological approaches, and changes in EMS operational needs have necessitated EMS Communications Plan revisions. The Plan is kept current through an active change program.

Through the Plan, and funding made available through the State EMS Grants Program, new directions and enhancements in the statewide EMS telecommunications system have been established. The Plan is organized into two volumes. Volume I contains the general, administrative, and regulatory information needed by the managers of organizations involved in EMS operations. It further defines the broad concepts and goals of EMS communications within Florida. Volume II contains the statewide radio frequency allocations as well as operational information for day-to-day EMS communications system operations. Volume II is formatted as a field manual to be carried as a standard reference on each permitted vehicle, either in hardcopy or electronic format.

The plan includes several important components to maximize interoperability while maintaining cost.  These include:

1)  The State of Florida, Division of Communications, has to approve all EMS radio systems and frequencies and provide concurrence letters to the FCC.

2)  The plan requires monitoring of certain UHF MED Channels in the dispatch center,  at hospitals, and in all ambulances.

3)  If a County is operating exclusively on 800 MHz trunked frequencies, agencies are not required to put a separate UHF radio in each vehicle, but the dispatch center has to have UHF base station equipment and monitor MED 8 in order to patch.

4)  If an agency operating on 800 MHz channels has designated Strike Team ambulances that provide mutual aid out of your area, then the agency must install a UHF mobile radio to access MED Channels.

5)  MED 8 is the designated statewide hailing channel, and includes “direct mode” travel channel for ambulances and a “direct mode” base station to base station simplex frequency for hospital to hospital coordination.

6)  DTMF codes are used to allow ambulances to alert specific hospitals, or to alert a county, as may be necessary (to give a patient report or to call for assistance if you are traveling through a county and break down).

Below is the link for the Plan.,+Volume+1+-+4th+Edition.pdf