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.

 

Washington Times Reports Radio Trouble for Firefighters at DC Subway Incident

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/17/report-radio-trouble-for-firefighters-at-dc-subway/

WASHINGTON (AP) – Firefighters responding to an electrical malfunction on the Washington subway system had difficulty communicating by radio and some had to use cellphones instead, according to a preliminary report released by the city Saturday.  The report says fire officials notified transit officials of a problem with radio coverage in the L’Enfant Plaza station on Jan. 8, four days before the malfunction near the station, which caused heavy smoke. The report also adds detail to a timeline the city previously released.

One person died and more than 80 were taken to the hospital during Monday’s incident. A train inside a tunnel filled with smoke, and the smoke also affected riders at the nearby L’Enfant Plaza station, which is just south of the National Mall.

An email chain included in the 37-page report about the fire department’s response shows transit officials were contacted Jan. 8 about a radio coverage problem at the station. The transit agency had been doing work on the communication system and believed it was working, though problems in tunnel areas continued, a transit employee responded the same day. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, Jan 15, 2015

I will be out of the office tomorrow, Friday, so decided to get this week’s new summary out today. Things are getting busy again after the New Year.

The entire issue of Net Neutrality is coming to a boil as the FCC gets ready to reveal their plan. No matter what it is, some will be unhappy and it could end up in court, yet again, so I am not counting on this vote truly defining what Net Neutrality is or should be. FirstNet is picking up steam, lots of good news coming from them, they have taken to Twitter on a very regular basis to keep everyone up to date on their meetings. The Board meets soon, and hopefully there will be some more news regarding moving forward with build-outs and perhaps even partners for the network.

There was a rumor first posted by Oracavon and picked up by RadoReference.com (listed in the news) that the FCC was going to mandate that the Public Safety UHF band (450-470 MHz) in addition to the T-Band, be returned to the FCC for auction. Radio Reference correctly branded the rumor as unfounded, but it was the buzz for a day or so. Just goes to prove that all you have to do is make a statement on the Internet and it is taken as truth.

Another story I commented on below is the President’s statement that the FCC should permit cities to get into the broadband business. Perhaps this might work for fiber to the home but wireless to the home using unlicensed spectrum has been done multiple times and has failed each and every time. Wi-Fi is a local area technology and trying to bend it for wide area coverage just does not work. So, as far as I am concerned even if Cities are permitted to get into the broadband business, I don’t see any way they can play in the wireless portion of it. Have a great week-end! Andy Continue reading

Strong Reactions to Decisions on Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements

January 20, 2015

FCC Staff Entry in PS Docket No. 07-114  (In the Matter of Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements)

Since the release of the Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this docket on February 21, 2014, the Commission has received a large number of e-mail communications from individual members of the public. We hereby document these communications for the record.

  1. In July – October 2014, the Commission received approximately 9,297 e-mails identical or substantially identical to the following:

“Dear Federal Communications Commission,

Emergency responders and 9-1-1 professionals face the tragic daily challenge of trying to find callers who do not know, or cannot share, their locations. To address this crisis, the FCC proposed a rule that offers a reasonable and achievable two-year path to indoor location accuracy for wireless 9-1-1 calls. Nearly every major public safety organization has since endorsed the FCC’s proposed approach. The nation’s 9-1-1 professionals have made clear that they are strongly opposed to any wireless carrier deal, with 99% of 9-1-1 managers and staff calling the rule “critically” or “very” important for public safety in their communities, and 97% opposing any delay in its implementation, according to a recent survey. The FCC estimates 10,000 lives per year could be saved with the rule. Any effort to delay the implementation of this lifesaving rule will cost thousands of additional lives. No more talking, no more testing, we need action. Please reject any deal delaying 9-1-1 location accuracy requirements.”

  1. In October 2014, the Commission received approximately 35 e-mails identical or substantially identical to the following:

“Dear David Simpson,

“I want location accuracy to work on all wireless calls to 9-1-1. Lives are lost with each passing day. Your efforts to move quickly on this are very much appreciated by those of us on the front lines of public safety. Please keep moving forward and adopt the rule as proposed to require accurate 9-1-1 location from all wireless phones within two years.”

  1. In November-December 2014, the Commission received approximately 379 e-mails identical or substantially identical to the following:

“I am writing to urge you to oppose the carrier-backed proposal on wireless 9-1-1 location. It is not a consensus agreement and is not supported by those on the front lines of 9-1-1 and public safety, who want to see real improvement now. “The terms of this so-called deal are a travesty for public safety and a tragedy for anyone who depends on a wireless phone in case of emergency. The carrier-backed proposal delays implementation of robust accuracy requirements for years longer than the FCC’s proposed rule, offers no vertical accuracy standard or timeline, and abandons millions of users of existing 3G or 4G phones by focusing only on future handset design. “Please do not accept the deal as proposed by the wireless carriers. Don’t make the job of saving lives harder than it already is.”

  1. On November 27, 2014, the Commission received two e-mails with the following message, under the subject heading, “Accept the deal”:

“I am writing to urge you to accept the carrier-backed proposal on wireless 9-1-1 location. Don’t make the job of saving lives harder than it already is. Instead of making it the responsibility of the 911 center to determine where the caller, The (sic) phone companies need to display to the caller where they are so they can tell 911. I’ve been in this job a long long time and it’s just crazy how lazy people have become because of cell phones. they (sic) don’t even know their home addresses!! Do not force more technology onto the 911 center. or (sic) if you do, make damn sure it works because what is out there now is not reliable.”

  1. In January 2015, the Commission received over 1,000 e-mails identical or substantially identical with the following message, under the subject heading, “Don’t Compromise on Public Safety”:

“I am writing to urge you to oppose the phone companies’ attempt to delay real and enforceable requirements for accurate 9-1-1 locations. The technology exists today to find all wireless 911 callers, so we should require phone companies to find the location of indoor and outdoor callers within the next two years, as your original rule proposed. To make sure any new rules are enforced, please also require the phone companies to share all of their location metrics and data about 911 calls with the FCC and the public, so we can measure their success and enforce the rules that you put in place. Please do not accept the delay proposed by the wireless carriers or their promises that an untested future system will solve all of our problems. Lives depend on your continued commitment to adopting the specific and enforceable requirements in your proposed rule.”

 

 

FCC to Consider 9-1-1 Location Accuracy Order at Jan 29 Meeting

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today that Commissioners tentatively plan to consider a 911 location accuracy report and order at its Jan. 29 meeting. The draft item is expected to propose incorporating provisions from rules the FCC proposed early last year as a well as from an alternative road map unveiled more recently by two major public safety groups and the four national wireless carriers.

A tentative agenda for the meeting released this afternoon said the order will “ensure that accurate caller location information is automatically provided to public safety officials for all wireless calls to 911, including for indoor calls, to meet consumer and public safety needs and expectations, and to take advantage of new technological developments.”

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