Mission Critical Reports: Lawmakers Question Effect on Public Safety of Closing 16 FCC Field Offices

House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders requested information about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to close 16 of the commission’s 24 field offices across the country.

“The commission has represented to Congress and the American people that it will ‘preserve the integrity of public-safety communications infrastructure by taking action on 99 percent of complaints of interference to public-safety communications within one day,’ yet your proposal to reduce the geographic footprint of the commission appears to ignore the impact this might have on the commission’s public interest goal,” said a letter from full committee Chairman Fred Upton, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy and Rep. Mike Pompeo.

Read More:  http://mccmag.com/newsArticle.cfm?news_id=11995

APCO Releases 9-1-1 Apps Fact Sheet, White Paper

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International has released a fact sheet and white paper on mobile apps and 911. “The 9-1-1 network is trusted, reliable, secure, and separate from the networks that handle ordinary calls and wireless data connections to the Internet.  As illustrated in the Fact Sheet and White Paper, while apps hold great promise for improving public safety and emergency response, much work remains to ensure they are sufficiently secure and reliable, especially with respect to the 9-1-1 system,” APCO said in a news release. The paper said, “Mobile apps are not ready to replace calling 9-1-1,” adding that “for the foreseeable future, placing a voice call to 9-1-1 will remain the best way to get help.”

Public Safety Groups Concerned about U.S.-Mexico 800 MHz Process

Five public safety groups expressed concern about what they said is slow progress in Mexican implementation of a protocol to enable 800 megahertz rebanding along the U.S. border.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Daniel Sepulveda, U.S. coordinator-international communications & information policy at the State Department filed at the Commission in WT docket 02-55, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Association of State EMS Officials, and the National Sheriffs’ Association said that “800 MHz band reconfiguration is essentially complete across the nation – except for Washington State and eighty-two counties in California (including Los Angeles and San Diego), Arizona (including Phoenix and Tucson), and major portions of Nevada (Las Vegas), New Mexico (Las Cruces), and West and South Texas (including El Paso and Brownsville/McAllen).

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FirstNet Special Notice, Draft RFP Docs Released

As expected, a special notice and draft request for proposals (RFP) documents approved for release April 24 by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board (TRDaily, April 24) were issued today. Questions on the documents are due May 27 and written responses to them are due July 27.

FirstNet acting Executive Director TJ Kennedy outlined the special notice and draft RFP documents at the board’s special meeting April 24, but the documents released today, of course, provide much more detail.

For example, the special notice detailed FirstNet’s proposed deployment approaches prior to the state RAN (radio access network) decision process.

“FirstNet’s proposed approaches, as reflected in Figure 1 Proposed Acquisition Approach, anticipates allowing for flexibility in a draft acquisition approach in order to promote innovation, flexibility, competition and ultimately best value to the public safety communities,” the notice said, detailing two deployment categories. Continue reading

Ex Parte Filings on Vehicular Repeaters in 173 MHz Range

An FCC Public Notice dated April 27, 2015 listed several ex parte filings by different parties related to the proposal in PS Docket No. 13-229 to allow  vehicular repeaters on channels in the 173 MHz range.   Among those ex parte filings was a letter by the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) offering to develop coordination procedures for these vehicular repeaters.  The LMCC letter can be accessed at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001029495

The full FCC Public Notice dated April 27, 2015 with multiple exparte filings on a number of rulemaking proceedings and issues can be viewed at    https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-333186A1.pdf

3GPP Creates SA6 Working Group Website

3GPP has established a special web page for activities relating to the new SA6 working group that is handling public safety “mission critical applications.”


A copyright agreement is now in place that will allow the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Push-to-Communicate for Public Safety (PCPS) specifications – based on OMA Push-to-talk over Cellular (PoC) – to be used in 3GPP specifications for mission-critical Push To Talk (MCPTT)

Read more here: http://www.3gpp.org/news-events/partners-news/1676-oma_poc


GovTech Reports: FAA Lets Maine Search and Rescue Group Deploy Drones

A Maine-based search and rescue organization has become the first civilian entity of its type to receive permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to use unmanned aircraft systems, or drones.

The authorization granted to Down East Emergency Medicine Institute on April 6 allows it to operate two drones it purchased from a southern Maine manufacturer — one of them a fixed-wing model and the other a larger multi-rotor version — to fly at altitudes of 200 feet or lower so long as it abides by certain guidelines, according to documents provided by the FAA.  “The great thing is it will save lives,” DEEMI Director Richard Bowie said.

Read complete article here:  http://www.govtech.com/public-safety/FAA-Lets-Maine-Search-and-Rescue-Group-Deploy-Drones.html

FirstNet Releases Third Public Notice

FirstNet has released a Third Notice  which furthers the discussion and interpretation of who is eligible as public safety to use the FirstNet network.  This issue was previously discussed in the FirstNet First Notice to which NPSTC commented on October 27, 2015.  The new Third Notice further dissects the language in Section 337 of the Communications Act re the definition of public safety as well as the provisions of the Spectrum Act of 2012, i.e., the enabling legislation  that created FirstNet.

Comments on this new Third Notice are due 30 days after the Notice is published in the Federal Register.  NPSTC will be reviewing this new Third Notice to determine its response.  The FirstNet Third Notice may be accessed at:  http://www.firstnet.gov/sites/default/files/firstnet-third-notice-final-prepublication-version.pdf



TR Daily Reports: FirstNet Approves Draft RFP, PN on Public Safety Entity Definition

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board today approved management’s draft acquisition approach and authorized the release of a special notice and draft request for proposals (RFP) documents. The board also approved the release of a public notice seeking additional views on the definition of “public safety entity.”

Acting FirstNet General Manager TJ Kennedy said at a special meeting, which was held via teleconference, that management plans to release the special notice and draft RFP documents April 27 and provide 30 days to submit any questions on the documents and 90 days to submit comments. The documents will be posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website at fbo.gov (Reference Number D15PS00295). Responses will not be made public.

Release of the draft RFP has been eagerly awaited by industry and the public safety community. Last month, the board delayed a vote on approving the release of the documents to provide additional time to answer questions raised by members of its Finance Committee (TRDaily, March 25).  FirstNet plans to issue a final RFP by the end of this calendar year.

In the public notice, the third to be released by FirstNet, the authority refines a preliminary conclusion concerning its definition of public safety entity and seeks comments. FirstNet said it believes that a subgroup or individuals within an entity, such as a utility, that respond to emergencies could fall under the definition of public safety entity without everyone at the organization, such as sales people, being defined as such. Comments on the public notice are due 30 days after “Federal Register” publication of the document. FirstNet will make the responses public. Continue reading