Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate January 30, 2015

Well, lots going on at the FCC, first of all the AWS-3 auction is finally over with over $44.9 billion raised, an amazing amount for 55 MHz of spectrum some of which is not paired with other spectrum so it is not worth nearly as much. The winners will be announced shortly. FirstNet will get the $7 Billion that Congress said would be allocated to them from spectrum auctions without having to wait for the 600 MHz auction which has already been delayed once and probably will be again as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) pushes back at the FCC.

The TV spectrum was given to the broadcasters for free and now the FCC and Congress want more of it back to auction off. Needless to say this could easily end up in court. The next auction taken by the FCC is they raised the minimum speed which qualifies for “Broadband”. The FCC had set the low limit at 4 Mbps and has raised that to 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. That certainly raises a question for me, my Cable provider provides me with 100 Mbps down but only 12 Mbps up so they meet the new definition however, it is still lopsided, and still follows the old Internet model of more data down and less up, I cannot wait to get fiber where uplink and downlink speeds are the same. Next the FCC adopted tighter accuracy for 9-1-1 calls, while the full text has not been published yet it does include better accuracy from call in doors and above the ground (in other words is the caller on the second floor or the fourth floor of a building?)

And of course the FCC is going to rule on Net Neutrality in February, and many cities are calling for the FCC to restrict States from preventing cities to offer broadband services. The FCC really has its hands full and the commissioners are being bombarded from all sides but still have to act in what they believe is the best way possible for the most people possible. Finally, FirstNet is still moving forward and I am told is close to releasing an RFP for partnerships. I am also told that the responses will not be shared as public documents in the hope that FirstNet will get some better responses than the first RFI. From my perspective I will be very surprised if FirstNet receives any really great partnership proposals, except maybe from the Utility companies. Many of the commercial network operators are concerned about several aspects of the potential partnership. First off is the fact that no one really knows how much of the Public Safety Spectrum will be available for commercial use in the major cities, on Friday or Sat nights for example, and some have expressed dismay that FirstNet is still a Federal organization wrapped under the expanding wings of the NITA and that some of the potential bidders are more than willing to enter into an agreement with Public Safety but NOT with the Federal Government. The News is below, Andy

Continue reading

FCC Adopts Compromise 911 Location Accuracy Order

The FCC adopted on a 5-0 vote a 911 location accuracy order that is weaker than the draft order first circulated as well as proposals released last year, but Commissioners said the item ensures a path toward providing improved location accuracy, including vertical accuracy.  As TRDaily has reported, under the new order approved at the FCC’s meeting today, wireless carriers will have to provide a location fix using technologies capable of providing dispatchable location or 50-meter horizontal accuracy for 40% of all wireless 911 calls within two years, 50% of all calls within three years, 70% of all calls within five years, and 80% of all calls within six years. Non-nationwide carriers may extend the five- and six-year benchmarks based on when they deploy VoLTE technology throughout their networks.

Both dispatchable and coordinate-based technologies will have to be tested and validated through a test bed that is independently administered.

Eighteen months after the order takes effect, nationwide carriers will have to begin collecting and reporting live 911 call data quarterly from six representative cities. The Commission said the data will help FCC officials determine how well different location technologies are working and validate test bed certification of the solutions.

As for vertical location accuracy, wireless carriers will be required to make uncompensated barometric pressure data available to public safety answering points (PSAPs) within three years. The data will come from handsets capable of delivering such data. Carriers also have three years to develop a vertical location accuracy metric, which they will submit to the FCC for approval.

Carriers will have to deploy dispatchable location or z-axis – vertical – technology   in the 25 most populous cellular market areas (CMAs) within six years, and dispatchable location or z-axis technology in the 50 most populous CMAs within eight years. Non-nationwide carriers that serve these markets will get an additional year to deploy.

Regarding the establishment of a national emergency database, the FCC order requires national carriers to submit for FCC approval a privacy and security plan for the database within 18 months. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate: January 23, 2015

  The AWS-3 auction is still alive, now at $44 Billion, Net Neutrality is getting more and more press as the President, Congress and the FCC all seem to be searching for the correct answer, and FirstNet continues on. The Chairwoman of the FirstNet Board was in DC this week, making the rounds on the Hill, and hopefully satisfying the Congressional skeptics. FirstNet needs to succeed. Have a great week-end Andy
FirstNet Holds Federal Consultation Kick OffFirst Responder Network Authority via Google Alerts Jan 23 04:40 The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 directs FirstNet to consult with Federal, State, tribal, and local public safety entities on the … Continue reading

Wall Street Journal Reports FCC Raises $44.9 Billion in U.S. Wireless Spectrum Sale; Winning Bidders in Record Spectrum Auction Won’t Be Known for Days

The Federal Communications Commission’s biggest ever auction of wireless spectrum closed Thursday and raised a record $44.9 billion, a boon for taxpayers and a sign of the growing cost of supporting Americans’ smartphone habit. By Thomas Gryta


9-1-1 Pleading Cycle Set

Comments are due March 9 and replies April 7 in PS dockets 14-193 and 13-75 in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking adopted in November that proposes requiring 911 communications service providers to provide public notice of major service changes and require potential new providers of those services to certify their technical and operational qualifications (TRDaily, Nov. 21, 2014).

Courtesy TRDaily

NASCIO: Cybersecurity Tops Lobbing Priorities This Year

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers said today that cybersecurity, and in  particular securing public networks, is the group’s top federal advocacy priorities for 2015.  Also among the group’s list of most important advocacy topics are modernizing federal regulations that impact state information technology infrastructure, building “a sustainable nationwide public safety network,” and engaging on a host of broadband-related topics including promoting broadband connections for schools and libraries, and proposed changes to the 1996 Telecom Act.

“Cybersecurity is a critical concern and priority for state CIOs,” said Stuart Davis, NASC IO’s president and also chief information officer for the state of Ohio. “Our nation must do more to combat the asymmetrical, sophisticated threats our government networks face on a daily basis.”  He said NASCIO will be seeking more resources and collaboration with the federal government on cyber-threat data sharing and response, and making sure that states have access to cybersecurity professionals and advanced tools. – John Curran,

Courtesy TRDaily

NTIA Spectrum Chief

Paige Atkins has officially been named associate administrator-Office of Spectrum Management at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling announced today. She replaces Karl Nebbia, who left NTIA late last year. Ms. Atkins joined NTIA last year as deputy associate administrator-spectrum planning and policy and had been serving as acting associate administrator-Office of Spectrum Management since Mr. Nebbia left. Before coming to NTIA, Ms. Atkins was vice president-cyber and IT research at the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation. From 2010 to 2011 she was director-strategic planning and information at the Defense Information Systems Agency. For four years before taking that post, Ms. Atkins was director of the Defense Spectrum Organization at DISA.

Courtesy TRDaily



FirstNet Meets with Other Federal Agencies

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) officials yesterday held a kick-off meeting with counterparts from more than a dozen federal departments and agencies. “The main objectives of the meeting were to enhance federal agencies’ understanding of FirstNet’s consultation process and to discuss future outreach and engagement between FirstNet and its federal partners,” Chris Algiere, FirstNet’s Federal Outreach Branch chief, said in a blog posting today. “The principal result of the kickoff summit was the preparation of the federal agencies for the FirstNet consultation process. FirstNet will be delivering to the agency points of contact an initial consultation checklist that is similar to the one used by states and territories. Using the information gained from the checklist, FirstNet will schedule one-one-one meetings with the agencies in the coming months to begin discussing their needs and requirements for the network.” Although FirstNet stresses that one of its chief goals is transparency, yesterday’s meeting was closed to the public and the news media.

Parties Continue To Press FCC on 911 Location Accuracy Item

Stakeholders continued to lobby the FCC today ahead of its vote at the Jan. 29 meeting on a 911 location accuracy order. In announcing the meeting today (see separate story), the Commission gave parties until tomorrow night to make their case on the item.  As circulated, the draft order would incorporate provisions from rules the FCC proposed early last year as a well as from an alternative road map unveiled more recently by the four national wireless carriers, the National Emergency Number Association, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International.

Parties continued to weigh in on a modified version of the road map unveiled yesterday (TRDaily, Jan. 21). The carriers say the changes would provide additional assurances of improved indoor location accuracy, including vertical accuracy, but some vendors and public safety officials are critical of the proposal.  Meanwhile, CTIA and NENA late today responded to criticism from a lawmaker that use of the Russian GLONASS system in the road map framework could compromise national security.

In February 2014, the FCC 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 (TRDaily, Feb. 20, 2014). For vertical location, carriers would have to 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. Continue reading

Have You Experienced LED Lighting Interference?

NPSTC has been monitoring reports of interference from LED and fluorescent lighting system ballasts which have caused disruption to public safety land mobile radio systems.

In 2013, the FCC issued an order directing one manufacturer to make some changes to their LED lighting transformers after complaints were received about interference.

More recently, some public safety agencies have reported interference from LED lights installed on agency radio towers, from fluorescent lighting installed at an incident command post, and from commercial buildings with large lighting systems.  NPSTC has created this questionnaire to gather additional information from public safety agencies on the extent of these problems.

Information from the questionnaire will be reviewed to see if NPSTC should petition the FCC to update existing rules that govern the use of these lighting systems and similar electronics.  NPSTC is also working with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which has reported such interference to amateur communications.

The LED Interference Questionnaire  will be open until Friday, February 13, 2015. We appreciate your attention to this survey.  We will provide you with a copy of the results once they are compiled.