FirstNet Extends Comments to April 20 in PN Re Opt Out States

Stakeholders wanting to give input to FirstNet about its public notice regarding “opt-out” states will have an extra week—until April 20—to submit responses, in accordance with numerous request made since the proceeding was initiated  earlier this month, according to FirstNet officials.

FirstNet’s Acting Executive Director TJ Kennedy said the decision was based on input from multiple sources—many of whom spoke with FirstNet officials at IWCE—that indicated the April 13 deadline for responses to the second public notice would create logistical problems for them, particularly if statewide consensus on a position is needed.

“[We] last week were at IWCE, and a lot of the comments we received were, ‘Things are really moving now; we have a lot of things going on,’” Kennedy said during yesterday’s FirstNet board meeting, which was webcast. “In some cases, people were asking for more time, which I think is a good sign that we’re reaching a point where we’re out in front, or at least keeping up with demands and requests for information.”

FirstNet will post a formal announcement of response extension in the Federal Register, Kennedy said.


DHS Appropriations Act; OEC Analyzes Effects on OEC Stakeholders

On March 4, the President signed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015, which provides funding to the Department through the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2015). Below is a high-level analysis of provisions in the law that affect DHS grants, and may impact OEC stakeholders.

DHS Grants Observations

Congress maintained the status quo on grant funding. The same grants that were funded in FY 2014 are funded at approximately the same levels in this bill (~ $2.3B)

  • State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) – $467M § With a $55M set-aside for Operation Stonegarden (OPSG)
  • Urban Area Strategic Initiative (UASI) – $600M § With a $13M set-aside for Non-profit Security Grant Program (NSGP)
  • Transit Security Grant program (TSGP) – $100M § With a $10M set-aside for Amtrak, and
  • With a new $3M set-aside for Over-the-Road Bus Security
  • Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) – $100M
  • Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) – $680M
  • Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) – $350M

Congress did not support the consolidation of grants. In the FY 2015 President’s Budget, the Administration requested funding for the National Preparedness Grant Program (NPGP) – the program consolidates the separate FEMA grants (SHSP, UASI, TSGP, PSGP) into one big grant program (NPGP). Congress did not support this program in the previous three years that it was presented, and did not support the consolidation in FY 2015. Continue reading

Items fromFCC Daily Digest, March 24, 2015

 1) The FCC proposed budget for FY 2016 includes proposed closure of 16 field offices and establishment of a “Tiger team” based in Maryland that could travel to address issues in the field.   Chairman Wheeler quotes a $9M annual savings from the field office closures.  FCC also proposes to move its headquarters to different facilities by the time its current lease is up in 2017.  (slide summary)  (Chairman’s statement)

 2)  The FCC released the agenda for the joint FCC and FDA workshop on medical technology innovation being held at FCC headquarters on March 31, 2015 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. According to the FCC Public Notice,  the workshop will convene experts from industry, medicine, academia, and government to focus on the role of wireless medical test beds and their influence on the development of converged medical technology for clinical and non-clinical settings. It also indicates that a wireless test bed is an environment where devices can be evaluated across a range of interference scenarios.


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