FCC Order Address 9-1-1 Recon Petition

An order on reconsideration circulated to FCC Commissioners June 23 would address a motion for clarification or, in the alternative, petition for partial reconsideration of an order that the FCC adopted in 2013 aimed at ensuring that 911 service remains available during and after disasters (TRDaily, Dec. 12, 2013), an agency source told TRDaily today.

In its filing (TRDaily, Feb. 27, 2014), Intrado, Inc., asked the FCC “to confirm that Section 12.4 (b) of the agency’s rules permits Covered 911 Service Providers to take reasonable alternative measures with respect to auditing, tagging, and eliminating single points of failure with respect to Critical 911 Circuits and auditing network Monitoring Links. In the alternative, Intrado respectfully requests the Commission reconsider the Report and Order and amend Subsections 12.4 (c)(1) and (3) to provide flexibility to enable Providers to take reasonable alternative measures in lieu of auditing, tagging, and eliminating single points of failure with respect to Critical 911 Circuits and auditing network Monitoring Links.” Continue reading

DHS S&T Announces Collaboration with Emergency Management Victoria (Australia) and MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Under Secretary Dr. Reginald Brothers met with the Honourable Jane Garrett, Member of Parliament; Minister for Emergency Services, State of Victoria and Mr. Craig Lapsley, Commissioner, Emergency Management Victoria and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL) Dr. Melissa G. Choi, Head, Homeland Protection and Air Traffic Control Division, to recommit to the strategic partnership to collaborate on advancing information-sharing capabilities for public safety.

The objective of all emergency management activities is to reduce the impact of emergencies on human life, communities, infrastructure and the environment. Timely and relevant emergency information for communities, first responders and emergency management agencies is integral in enabling them to make effective decisions before, during and after emergencies.

Interested in learning more? Read the full S&T Press Release.

FCC Daily Digest, June 29, 2015

The FCC released an Order dated June 26, 2015, which grants the State of New Mexico a waiver of the June 13, 2014 deadline to file substantial service showings for the 700 MHz designated state land mobile radio channels.  Without the waiver grant which FCC issued, New Mexico would have lost its license for these 700 MHz state channels.

FCC Daily Digest:  NEW MEXICO, STATE OF, REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF SECTION 90.529(B)(1) OF THE COMMISSION’S RULES.   Granted New Mexico’s waiver request, and dismissed as moot, New Mexico’s earlier-filed extension request. Action by:  Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Adopted:  06/26/2015 by ORDER. (DA No. 15-760).  PSHSB



Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, June 27, 2015

I spent this past week at the Idaho National Labs (INL)) in Idaho Falls, Idaho. They have a very quiet, 980 square mile communications test range and are in the process of installing band 14 (Public Safety Broadband) at the site. They have working sites today and several Cells on Wheels (COWS). In addition they have just finished a fiber run to the sites with fiber drops every 300 feet along the route permitting the COWS to be connected anywhere along the route or to one or more of their Satellite systems. The LTE engineers are sharp, and work both in the lab and in the real world testing systems and helping make sure that they work.

In addition they have, on staff, a world class Cyber Security team that is very good at not only breaking into sites and networks but in documenting how it was done and then providing a roadmap of how to fix the problems. INL is one of the nation’s hidden resources serving the atomic energy industry, training first responders in identifying and handling atomic materials, and now spending a lot of time in the wireless space as well as cyber security for the world of control systems.

Don’t forget that the FirstNet RFP comments are due by Noon on July 27th, if you are going to take part in FirstNet or respond to the RFP as a bidder or partner in the bidding process, these comments are a good, and perhaps the only chance, you will have to make sure that the RFP is truly describing what the Public Safety community needs and will end up with. Have a great rest of the week-end
FCC Chair: “Broadband Should Be Available To Everyone Everywhere”BuzzFeed News via Google Alerts Jun 26 22:15 FCC Chair Tom Wheeler championed broadband access and defended net neutrality as he dismissed characterizations of the FCC as an …

Regulators push for more broadband competition, but is it enough?CNet Jun 26 22:10 The head of the Federal Communications Commission said the agency is doing all it can to promote broadband competition, but smaller wireless providers say it’s not enough. Continue reading

Radio Problems after D.C. Metro Incident Detailed at NTSB Hearing

A District of Columbia fire official today detailed problems his department had communicating using their radios underground after they responded to a fatal January incident in the Washington area’s Metro rail system. Derron Hawkins, deputy chief of D.C.’s Fire & Emergency Medical Services Department, testified today on the first day of a two-day investigative hearing conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board.

During the Jan. 12 incident, heavy smoke filled a tunnel outside the L’Enfant Plaza station as well as a train in the tunnel, resulting in the death of a passenger and injuries to dozens of others. Chief Hawkins testified that his responders first experienced radio problems – he said the equipment began to “honk out” – as soon as they went down the elevator shaft to the station’s platform. The also experienced problems communicating in the station and tunnel.

Mr. Hawkins said the responders followed the protocol in such instances – by turning from the city’s 800 megahertz band system to a vehicle repeater system to talk-around channels to the use of runners. By contrast, Hercules Ballard, managing director-rail transportation for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), said that Metro responders using its 490 MHz radio system reported no radio communications problems after the train incident. Continue reading

FCC Action Expected this Year in NSI Phone Proceeding

The FCC is expected to take action “later this year” in its non-service-initialized (NSI) phone proceeding, according to David Furth, deputy chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. But Mr. Furth did not offer any time line at a Capitol Hill event today for when the Commission might act next in a “sunny-day” 911 outage proceeding. “We’re working on it actively,” he said in response to a question at a luncheon sponsored by the NG9-1-1 Institute. “I don’t think I can give you a sense of timing at this point.”

In April, the FCC released a notice of proposed rulemaking that proposed to eliminate, after six months, the requirement that wireless carriers forward 911 calls from NSI handsets to public safety answering points (PSAPs) (TRDaily, April 2). In comments filed earlier this month, public safety and wireless entities generally disagreed on whether the FCC should eliminate the requirement (TRDaily, June 8).

Public safety entities said the Commission should phase out the rule, citing what they said are a huge number of harassing or crank calls to PSAPs from NSI phones, while most wireless entities said the FCC should keep it, citing the benefits it provides legitimate callers. A group that helps domestic violence victims also opposed elimination of the mandate, citing the benefits of NSI phones to those victims.

Regarding the 911 outage proceeding, the FCC last November adopted an NPRM that proposed requiring 911 communications service providers to provide public notice of major outages and requiring potential new providers to certify their technical and operational qualifications (TRDaily, Nov. 21, 2014). In response, a myriad of industry entities criticized the NPRM, while some state, 911, and public safety entities said that while they supported some of the FCC’s proposals, they opposed any FCC actions that would usurp state and local control over PSAPs (TRDaily, March 24). Continue reading

Congress Passes Bill Requiring Interoperability at DHS Agencies

The House passed by voice vote a bill (HR 615) to require the Department of Homeland Security to take steps to ensure that its component agencies have interoperable communications. The House agreed to a Senate amendment to HR 615, which the House had passed in February on a 379-0 vote (TRDaily, Feb. 3). The Senate approved that amendment on June 11. The bill now heads to President Obama.

The Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act was introduced by Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. (D., N.J.), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee’s emergency preparedness, response, and communications subcommittee. The legislation would require the under secretary-management at DHS to take action to ensure department components can communicate with each other. Continue reading