Washington Times Reports Radio Trouble for Firefighters at DC Subway Incident


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

NPSTC Regulatory News January 2015

FCC Seeks Comment on EWA/PDV Proposal to Realign the 900 MHz Band

The FCC is asking for comments on a proposal to realign the 900 MHz band filed in November by Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and Pacific DataVision, Inc. (PDV). The Petition for Rulemaking, (PFR) seeks to create a private enterprise broadband allocation by realigning the existing 900 MHz allocation.

The 900 MHz band currently consists of 399 narrowband (12.5 kHz) frequencies grouped into ten-channel blocks alternating between geographically licensed Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) blocks and site-specific-licensed frequencies available to Business/Industrial/Land Transportation (B/ILT) eligibles.

The PFR suggests that the band be divided into a 3/3 MHz broadband segment (937-940 MHz) and a 2/2 MHz narrowband segment (935-937 MHz). The Petitioners propose that the broadband segment be assigned in each MTA to the licensee that already holds at least 15 of the twenty SMR licenses for that MTA. That licensee would be the Private Enterprise Broadband (PEBB) licensee and would be required to fund the relocation of all B/ILT incumbents in the 937-940 MHz segment to comparable facilities in 935-937 MHz.

Incumbent SMRs in 937-940 MHz would have two options. Any SMR incumbent in 937-940 MHz that wished to continue to operate in narrowband mode would have relocation costs paid by the PEBB. SMR incumbents who wished to remain in the band could negotiate with the PEBB to incorporate their spectrum into the broadband network.

Licensees on frequencies between 937-940 MHz would be required to negotiate with the PEBB; remaining on the broadband segment apart from the PEBB licensee would not be possible. After band realignment and relocation of incumbents, the PEBB would be required to offer a build-to-suit broadband solution to any B/ILT entity who requested such service; priority access for critical infrastructure industry (CII) would be mandatory.

The 935-937 MHz band segment would continue to be used for MTA SMR and site-based B/ILT narrowband operations. Narrowband 900 MHz licensees who already operate on frequencies between 935-937 MHz would be unaffected by the proposal.

The FCC is seeking comment on:

  • Do B/ILT eligibles, particularly CII entities, have a need for broadband services that could be provided in a 3/3 MHz channel that cannot be provided by existing broadband providers?
  • What functionality do CII and B/ILT entities lack that could be provided by the PEBB? Does this need exist nationwide?
  • Other than realigning the band, what other technical rule changes would be required to enable the proposed service?
  • What are the needed rule changes to prevent interference between the PEBB and adjacent-channel operations?
  • What would the relocation of incumbents from 937-940 MHz cost? Is there enough spectrum in the narrowband segment to accommodate all incumbents?
  • If the technical rules are modified to permit broadband service, can spectrum aggregation be done by other means? Would the existing secondary markets rules allow realignment that would separate narrowband and broadband operations?

Comments are due January 12, 2015; Reply Comments are due January 27. The text of the Public Notice is available at: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-1723A1.pdf

Sprint Granted Waivers to Deploy 800 MHz Wideband Operations in Certain NPSPAC Regions

Sprint Corporation has been granted waivers that will allow it to deploy 800 MHz wideband operations in three NPSPAC Regions that have not fully completed the 800 MHz band reconfiguration.

In the first decision, Sprint was granted a waiver to deploy LTE in the 30 counties within Region 53 (Texas-San Antonio) where rebanding is complete. There are thirteen public safety licensees in Region 53 who have not yet retuned from the “old NPSPAC” band (866-869 MHz) but those licensees are concentrated along the US/Mexico border. The Region 53 waiver was granted with the following conditions:

  • Sprint may deploy LTE technology in the 30 counties listed in Attachment A. Sprint must maintain a minimum 110 mile co-channel separation between its LTE operations and any incumbent still operating in 866-869 MHz.
  • Each public safety licensee listed in Attachment C of the waiver must be provided 30-days advance notice of Sprint’s deployment and the planned start date in Region 53.
  • Sprint may not deploy LTE in the 17 counties listed in Attachment B until rebanding is entirely complete in Region 53.
  • If Sprint’s operations cause harmful interference to a public safety licensee in Region 53 it must immediately stop and may only resume operation after the interference has been successfully mitigated.

The text of the decision granting the waiver for Region 53 is available at:


A few days later the FCC granted Sprint’s waiver request for Regions 50 (Texas-El Paso) and 29 (New Mexico). In Region 50, only two licensees remain in the “old NPSPAC” band while only one licensee remains in the band in New Mexico. The waivers were granted with these conditions:

  • Sprint may deploy LTE technology in the forty-six Region 50 counties listed in Attachment A. Sprint must maintain a minimum 80 mile co-channel separation between its LTE operations and the closest City of El Paso or Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo site still operating in 866-869 MHz.
  • Sprint may deploy LTE technology in the twenty-eight Region 29 counties listed in Attachment A and must maintain a minimum 80 mile co-channel separation between its LTE operations and the closest City of Las Cruces site still operating in 866-869 MHz
  • The City of El Paso, Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo and the City of Las Cruces must be provided 30-days advance notice of Sprint’s deployment and the planned start date of LTE operations in Region 50 or Region 29
  • Sprint may not deploy LTE in the three Region 50 counties and the five Region 29 counties listed in Attachment B until rebanding is entirely complete in the respective Region.
  • If Sprint’s operations cause harmful interference to a public safety licensee in Region 50 or Region 29 it must immediately stop and may only resume operation after the interference has been successfully mitigated.

The text of the decision granting the waivers for Region 50 and Region 29 is available at:


Nearly 200 Submit Applications to Participate in Rural Broadband Experiments

Nearly 200 applications from a diverse group of entities including electric utilities, commercial providers and WISPs were filed in response to the FCC’s request for participants interested in exploring cost-effective ways to expand broadband in rural areas.

FCC staff will now review the applications to identify the provisionally winning bidders. Those bidders will then be required to provide information demonstrating their technical and financial ability to participate. Experiments could be launched as early as spring 2015.The text of the News Release is available at: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-330454A1.pdf


CDC Algorithm for EMS and 9-1-1 PSAPs

The CDC algorithm for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems and 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) for Management of Patients Who Present with Possible Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) in the United States has now been posted at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ems-911-patients-with-possible-ebola.pdf.

A link to the algorithm was also added at the top of the EMS guidance page: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/interim-guidance-emergency-medical-services-systems-911-public-safety-answering-points-management-patients-known-suspected-united-states.html.

Other CDC information for health care workers that may be of interest can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/index.html. The algorithm can be found on this webpage under the section “Medical Transport”.

Stakeholders Work To Discern Details of 911 Accuracy Order

Stakeholders are working to learn the details of the draft 911 location accuracy order that was circulated to FCC Commissioners yesterday for tentative consideration at their Jan. 29 meeting (TRDaily, Jan. 8).  The draft item would incorporate provisions from a third further notice of proposed rulemaking released early last year (TRDaily, Feb. 20, 2014), as well as from a road map endorsed by the four national wireless carriers, the National Emergency Number Association, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, sources said.

For example, the item would mandate both horizontal and vertical milestones, sources said. While the draft order would extend the FCC’s proposed deployment milestones a bit, it proposes accuracy thresholds of 50 meters for horizontal calls and 3 meters for vertical calls.  Carriers would be permitted to use dispatchable location to meet the requirements, but if that does not work, the mandates would still have to be met using other technologies. The order also would incorporate the use of some live call data to measure benchmarks, as proposed by the road map. And it supports the road map’s test bed component.

Specifically as to the deployment milestones in the draft order, after three years 50% of all non-satellite-generated horizontal location fixes would have to be by dispatchable location or within 50 meters. After six years, 80% of non-satellite-generated horizontal location fixes would have to be by dispatchable location or within 50 meters, and 80% of such vertical fixes would have to be by dispatchable location or within three meters, according to a source. Continue reading

PSHSB Provides Guidance for Licensing Channels in Former 700 MHz Narrowband Reserve Spectrum

January 9, 2015, PS Docket Nos. 13-87 and WT Docket 02-378

On October 17, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) adopted a Report and Order revising the rules governing the 700 MHz public safety narrowband channels.[1] Specifically, the Commission released the narrowband reserve channels (twenty four 12.5 kHz channels) to General Use under the administration of the Regional Planning Committees (RPCs) for the benefit of state and local public safety users.[2]

In the T-Band markets,[3] the Commission released the reserve channels for General Use under RPC administration with priority access given to T-Band incumbents within 80 km of the city center coordinates as specified in Sections 90.303 and 90.305[4] of the Commission’s rules. Priority access is also afforded any T-band incumbent that received a waiver of the 80 km distance requirement.[5]  Outside the T-Band markets the Commission authorized the RPCs to assign (1) up to eight 12.5 kHz former reserve channels for deployable trunked systems and (2) sixteen 12.5 kHz channels for General Use, including vehicular mobile repeaters (MO3).[6] Thus, the Commission stated, “RPCs have the flexibility to designate a mixture of General Use and temporary (deployable trunked infrastructure) channels in their Regional Plans.”[7] Continue reading

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for January Open Meeting

(Washington, D.C.) – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that the following items will tentatively be on the agenda for the open meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 29, 2015:

Location Accuracy for Emergency Calls: The Commission will consider a Report and Order to 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.

Presentation on New Consumer Help Center:  The Commission will hear a presentation on the new Consumer Help Center that provides an easier-to-use, more consumer-friendly portal for filing and monitoring informal consumer complaints, as well as accessing educational materials.

The Open Meeting is scheduled to commence at 10:30 a.m. in Room TW-C305 of the Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C

FCC’s Tom Wheeler: Back to Basics, Promoting Public Safety and Protecting Consumers

This week, I’ve been at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas getting a sneak peak at the very latest gadgets and innovations. Enabling new technologies that delight consumers and grow our economy is one of the FCC’s top priorities. While the hottest tech trends may garner the headlines, an equally important part of the FCC’s mission is basic consumer protections. The Commission’s first open meeting of 2015 will be focused on two core responsibilities: promoting public safety and serving as an effective, accessible advocate for consumers.

Since I arrived at the Commission, one of our top public safety priorities has been improving the effectiveness of 911.  A particular area of attention has been to improve location accuracy for indoor wireless 911 calls.

When the FCC adopted its original wireless 911 rules, most wireless usage occurred outdoors. But times have changed, and so has technology. The vast majority of 911 calls now come from wireless phones, increasingly from indoors.  That is why the Commission put forth proposed new location accuracy rules last year.

The record in the proceeding tells us that there have been significant advances in technology, including technologies that have the potential to locate indoor callers by address, floor, and apartment or room number.

The Commission has studied this problem in depth, and with public safety stakeholders, has developed a mature understanding of the range of credible options.  The four largest wireless carriers and two national public safety organizations recently submitted their own proposed “roadmap,” a novel approach that has the potential to close the readiness gap through use of known locations of indoor wireless nodes.  This approach will ultimately result in capabilities that will evolve with the continued change anticipated in the number of ways consumers might call for help in the future.

The roadmap proposal is a big step forward, but we also understand and appreciate the valid criticisms raised by some public safety stakeholders.  We have listened and learned from all sides in this debate.  Today, I am circulating an order to my fellow Commissioners that takes advantage of the good work done by the carriers, APCO, and NENA, while also providing confidence-building measures and backstop thresholds that set clear targets and deadlines for improving indoor location and hold parties accountable for results.      Continue reading