Potential Use of 757/758-787/788 Spectrum for UAVs

Two companies, Access 700, LLC and Select Spectrum, met with FCC officials March 12, 2015 re the potential use of 757-758/787-788 MHz spectrum to support communications with small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  That spectrum, already licensed to Access 700, LLC, is located between the commercial 700 MHz “C block” used primarily by Verizon Wireless and the public safety 700 MHz broadband spectrum licensed to FirstNet.  These companies are exploring the potential use of 12.5 kHz channels for communications with UAVs, commonly known as drones.   The Access 700, LLC and Select Spectrum ex parte letter summarizing the meeting is available at the following link.  FCC placed the letter on its March 23 Public Notice of ex parte filings.


Report Recommends Security by Design for Medical Devices

A report issued this week by the Atlantic Council and Intel Security recommends that makers of Internet-connected medical devices incorporate “security by design” into the process for developing medical devices to less the degree to which devices are vulnerable to cyber attack and unintended exposure to malware. The report also recommends that devices be designed to accept security patches after they are deployed.

NPSTC Launches Interference Protection Working Group

The governing board of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council today approved a new Interference Protection Working Group within its Spectrum Management Committee.  The new working group won’t work on individual instances of interference involving specific licensees, which is the purview of frequency coordinator, Stu Overby, the vice chair of the NPSTC’s Spectrum Management Committee told TRDaily after the board’s vote.  Instead, the working group will focus on the “practical and real” issues that raise interference concerns, such as RF interference from energy efficient lighting, he said.  The working group will look at ways that interference can be prevented, he added.

The NPSTC board also voted to decommission its Narrow Banding Working Group, since its work is complete.  The FCC deadline on narrowbanding was Jan. 1, 2013 , and “the number of waivers was relatively small,” Mr. Overby said. Continue reading

Steve Noel to Head FirstNet Region 10

NoelSteve Noel, Oregon’s statewide interoperability coordinator and its single point of contact for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), will take over next month as head of FirstNet’s Region 10, which covers Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state. FirstNet plans to have staff in 10 regions that correspond to regions for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

LA RICS Head Cites Difficulties of Siting Towers at Fire Stations

LAS VEGAS – The head of the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) ripped a firefighters’ union local that has raised concerns that the deployment of cell towers at fire stations to enable broadband service will cause adverse health effects to firefighters due to RF emissions.  “We’re having a hell of a time with the fire union,” LA-RICS Executive Director Pat Mallon said during a session this afternoon at the IWCE show here. “It’s causing all kinds of headaches for us.” Continue reading

CNET.com News Reports Refrigerator Caught Sending Span

In the first documented attack of its kind, the Internet of Things has been used as part of an attack that sent out over 750,000 spam emails.  With the rise of the Internet of Things  comes a lot of convenience, such as smart fridges that let you access the internet and call for service in the case of malfunction, or devices that can monitor your energy usage and send you Twitter updates.

It also comes with a new problem: many of these internet-connected devices don’t have malware protection. And it’s now been documented that someone is taking advantage. Security company Proofpoint has discovered a botnet attack — that is, a cyber attack whereby the attacker hijacks devices remotely to send spam — incorporating over 100,000 devices between 23 December and 6 January, including routers, multimedia centres, televisions and at least one refrigerator.

Read more here:  http://www.cnet.com/news/fridge-caught-sending-spam-emails-in-botnet-attack/

Senate Hearing on FirstNet/Video Link

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, convened a hearing on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, entitled “Three Years Later: Are We Any Closer To A Nationwide Public Safety Wireless Broadband Network?” The chairwoman of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), the organization mandated to establish the first nationwide broadband network for emergency responders, and officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Government Accountability Office testified at the hearing. Here is the video link to the Senate hearing on FirstNet.  It lasts 2 hours and 24 minutes.


Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate March 23, 2015

IWCE was very interesting and informative this past week. In headlines here are some of the highlights: FirstNet RFP for partners draft to be released by the end of March FirstNet is encouraging partnerships to respond to the RFP, hoping to get a number of good responses. FirstNet will include non-mission critical voice on network from day one (a mistake from my perspective)

New handheld LTE/LMR products from Motorola, JVCKenwood and others The Chinese LMR vendors descended on IWCE in droves, see my PS Advocate article later in the week. There is a lot more, and it was great to see a lot of the people who are deeply involved in FirstNet there talking openly (fairly) to people, and within the Public Safety community interest is still high.

My question and one that was also asked of me by others is: Does FirstNet have a back-up plan if the responses to the RFP from one of more partners is not realized? From what I can see the answer is no. Yet a few years ago there was a movement inside of FirstNet to plan on just having the $7 Billion available to FirstNet and finding out what could really be done with just that for a phase 1 roll-out. I guess they believe that they will have a good response to the RFP, for my part I am not so sure. As I have said before FirstNet would make a great partner, the Federal Government, however, is not what I would consider to be great partner material and I have to wonder if the way FirstNet is structured today is going to preclude some interested bidders from showing up. I have heard on several occasions from several potential FirstNet partners that they will not partner directly with the U.S. Government.

The wording of the RFP is all important in this regard. We will begin to see what FirstNet expects of one or more partners when the draft RFP is released. I for one, hope that they can really find one or more partners which will make the FirstNet network a success, and keep States from opting out of the process. The PS Advocate Weekly News Summary will resume its Friday schedule this week, until then have a good a productive week. Andy Continue reading