DC Circuit Upholds FCC’s Incentive Auction Rules

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today handed the FCC a major victory by upholding the incentive auction order it adopted last year (TRDaily, May 15, 2014), as well as a declaratory ruling concerning the agency’s channel repacking approach (TRDaily, Sept. 30, 2014).

The legal challenges filed by the National Association of Broadcasters and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., had threatened to force the FCC to push back the start of the auction, which is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

“We are gratified that the court agrees with the Commission’s balanced, market-based approach to freeing up more valuable spectrum for innovative wireless broadband services,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. “This decision provides the Commission and all stakeholders with the certainty necessary to proceed apace toward a successful auction in the first quarter of next year.” Continue reading

FCC Seeks Comments on Spectrum Interference Petition

The FCC today solicited comments on a petition for rulemaking filed recently asking the agency to establish “a fact-based, transparent, and timely adjudication process for spectrum interference disputes.” Comments are due July 13 in Rulemaking 11750.

“Under the Commission’s existing interference resolution procedure, operators cannot be certain whether, when, or how a harmful interference claim will be resolved. Without the ability to lodge a dispute directly against another operator, they have to rely on the Commission taking action. Operators caught up in unresolved disputes cannot make full use of their spectrum operating rights and may suffer economic and other losses,” said the petition, which was filed by the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School and Pierre de Vries, spectrum initiative co-director and senior adjunct fellow at the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the school. Continue reading

FirstNet Answers First Batch of Questions on Draft RFP

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today released the first batch of answers to questions it received about the draft request for proposals (RFP) and special notice it released in April (TRDaily, April 27). The authority said last week that it received 642 questions on the documents (TRDaily, June 3).

Today’s release included answers to 95 of the questions. FirstNet spokesman Ryan Oremland said it plans to continue posting responses to questions on the Federal Business Opportunities website on a weekly basis and intends to complete them by the end of the month.  “We want everyone who took the time to respond to the Special Notice and Draft RFP documents to get responses from FirstNet as quickly as possible,” he said.  Continue reading

FCC Seeks Comment on AT&T Waiver

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau sought comment today on a request (TRDaily, June 8) for a limited waiver filed by AT&T, Inc., to allow the use of power spectral density (PSD) measurements for cellular operations in seven Kansas cellular market areas (CMAs) until the FCC completes action in a proceeding in which it is considering modernizing its cellular licensing rules (TRDaily, Nov. 10, 2014). AT&T has proposed a power spectral density (PSD) limit of 250 watts/megahertz in non-rural areas and 500 watts/MHz in rural areas. It has filed similar waiver requests for other states.  Comments are due July 1 and replies July 13 in WT docket 15-130.

EENA Launches ‘Working Group on Drones’ Open to All: Kick-off Webinar June 19

The European Emergency Number Association (EENA) will host a webinar June 17 focused on the topic of drones being used by the emergency services, which is being described as “transformative.”

Their potential use is being evaluated by many emergency services in scenarios such as assessing buildings after/during an emergency, assisting with the management of large scale events, large fires, transporting AEDs to assist with cardiac arrest, and so on. Nevertheless, there are several challenges which should not be underestimated.

EENA covered this topic at our recent Conference and in response to this, as well as the overall interest in the topic, EENA is launching a Working Group on Drones. Continue reading

Communications and Technology: Subcommittee to Continue Oversight of FirstNet Build Out

The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, June 16 at 2:00 p.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Progress Toward a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.” 

Created by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, FirstNet is tasked with creating the nation’s first interoperable public safety broadband network. Members of the subcommittee will continue their oversight of FirstNet’s progress toward nationwide build out. 

“FirstNet has had a rough start, including numerous management changes and questions surrounding board members’ ethics,” said Walden. “While it seems that FirstNet has made progress toward getting back on track, we will continue our oversight as FirstNet works to ensure that first responders have a nationwide interoperable broadband network that meets their needs. American lives depend on its success.” 

The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.


Urgent Comms Reports: International Push Expected on Mission Critical PTT-LTE Standard

SAN DIEGO—A standard to deliver LTE mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) capability that includes greater functionality than today’s land-mobile-radio (LMR) systems should be completed by the fall of 2016 at the latest, according to a U.S. official participating in the public-safety LTE standards effort.

Earlier this year, 3GPP—the organization that oversees the LTE standard—took the unusual step of creating a new working group, known as SA6, that is focused on developing an MCPTT standard for LTE, according to Andrew Thiessen, deputy program manager for Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR). MCPTT functionality is expected to be a key component of LTE Release 13.

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NGA Homeland Security Advisors Council

The National Governors Association has announced the appointment of Jimmy Gianato as chair of the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council, and Gil Orrantia as vice chair.  Mr. Gianato is homeland security advisor to West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and Mr. Orrantia is homeland security advisor to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

Continue reading

Waiver Extended for Blocking Unverified IP Relay Users’ 9-1-1 Calls

The FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau today extended a waiver from the requirement for providers of IP (Internet protocol) Relay services to deliver 911 calls from registered users who have not yet been verified, pending a decision by the Commission on whether to adopt a permanent prohibition against the handling of 911 calls from unverified IP Relay callers. Continue reading