Statement of FCC Chairman Wheeler before the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives.

Statement of FCC Chairman Wheeler:  On July 28, Chairman Wheeler spoke at the hearing on “Continued Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission” to discuss progress on a number of key initiatives. On page 7 of the testimony, Chairman Wheeler noted “concern with the lack of coordination among 911 call centers, an issue I raised last time I was before this panel.”

He said, “There are well over 6,000 public safety answering points (PSAPs) in the United States. They do yeoman’s work to protect Americans and should be applauded. But the fact remains that absent Federal guidance they remain independent and autonomous without any need to either keep up with technology or coordinate on a state-wide basis.

“Over 450 times a minute, Americans dial 911. The vast majority of those calls are placed from mobile phones. The problem is that the physics of mobile signals don’t obey the boundaries of the PSAPs. A woman in Georgia trapped in her car drowned while on the phone with the 911 operator just because the call was picked up by the nearest cell tower and routed to a PSAP in a neighboring jurisdiction. We cannot allow that to happen.

“In the 1999 law that established 911 as the national emergency number, Congress asked PSAPs to work together on a state-wide basis to coordinate activities. To the best of our information, not one single state has accepted that invitation. Almost 20 years have passed since the 911 Act was passed, during which time wireless has become the predominant vehicle for calling 911. We at the Commission have taken this as far as the authority granted us. Only the Congress can take the next steps to save lives. As we approach hurricane season, I hope Congress will treat this issue with the urgency that it deserves.”


House Passes SWIC Bill

The House today passed by voice vote legislation (HR 2206) to require recipients of State Homeland Security Grant Program funding to show they have a statewide interoperability coordinator or someone who performs the same functions. The State Wide Interoperable Communications Enhancement Act, as amended, was approved in May by the House Homeland Security Committee (TRDaily, May 20). The measure was introduced by Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D., N.J.), ranking member of the emergency preparedness subcommittee.




PSAP Architecture Task Force Delaying Action on Final Report

The FCC’s Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA) will likely postpone the vote on its final report beyond its Sept. 29 meeting, at which it was slated to act, but it will aim to finalize its report before year-end. During today’s TFOPA meeting, David Simpson, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said, “We are at an inflection point where the changes in technology happening around us really should galvanize us to action, making sure that we don’t wind up with a relic of a 911 system.”

The task force heard updates from its three working groups on optimal resource allocation and budgeting for PSAPs, on optimal approaches to next-generation 911 architecture implementation, and on cybersecurity and next-generation systems.

The chair of the cybersecurity and next-generation systems group, Jay English, who is director-communications center and 911 services at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, said the only way to ensure cybersecurity is to “segregate” the PSAP network, meaning that PSAPs could “never have a next-generation network.”

“We will not build an indestructible or impenetrable network,” Mr. English said.  The group has a draft document in progress, he said, addressing “what is the cyber risk and how do we handle it.” Continue reading

S&T Press Release: DHS S&T Awards $2.9 Million for Mobile App Security Research


Mobile App Security Research

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced a $2.9 million cybersecurity mobile app security (MAS) research and development (R&D) award that will help identify mobile app vulnerabilities. The Northern Virginia-based small business, Kryptowire, was awarded a 30-month contract through S&T’s Long Range Broad Agency Announcement (LRBAA).

“Ensuring that our mobile applications are secure across the federal government is a priority for S&T,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “This project will help to enable the secure use of mobile apps across the Department’s many missions.”

The MAS R&D project aims to establish continuous automated assurance of mobile apps for the federal government. By combining mobile app archiving and app vetting technologies as well as incorporating government and industry security standards, the project will capture app changes made over the app’s lifespan and will test against known vulnerabilities and emerging threats. The results captured will be put into a report that is continuously maintained and will follow the Federal Chief Information Officer Council’s Mobile Technology Tiger Team initiative for app reciprocity reporting that would be shareable to other federal departments and agencies.

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


FCC Daily Digest, July 24, 2015

Released:  07/24/2015.  WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU AND PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU SEEK COMMENT ON LAND MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL’S PROPOSED 800 MHZ INTERSTITIAL CHANNEL INTERFERENCE CONTOURS. (DA No.  15-844). (Dkt No 15-32 RM-11572 )  COMMENT DATE: 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.  PSHSB WTB . Contact:  John A. Evanoff at (202) 418-0848, email: or Rodney P. Conway at (202) 418-2904, email:


ARRL Complains to FCC about the Home Depot’s Marketing of RF Lighting Devices

The ARRL has filed a formal complaint with the FCC, alleging that The Home Depot retail chain has been marketing certain RF-ballast lighting devices in violation of FCC Part 18 rules. Accompanying the League’s July 14 letter to FCC Enforcement Bureau Spectrum Enforcement Division Chief Bruce Jacobs and Office of Engineering and Technology Laboratory Division Chief Rashmi Doshi was a 20-page report prepared by the ARRL Laboratory’s Mike Gruber, W1MG. His report outlines four instances in which ARRL investigated The ome Depot’s marketing and sale to consumers of non-consumer-rated RF lighting devices.

In three cases, The Home Depot sold non-consumer devices having far greater emission limits and intended for commercial use to consumers who specifically expressed plans to use the devices in residential settings. Although notices accompanying the store’s display and included with some devices purchased indicated that they were for commercial use, the information did not specify that the devices could not be used for residential purposes. In the case of products that did include such a notice, the information was not visible without opening the packaging.

“Clearly Home Depot’s marketing and sale of non-consumer ballasts is not adequate to ensure compliance with FCC Part 18 requirements,” Gruber’s report concluded. The ARRL asked the FCC to “investigate and commence an enforcement proceeding” regarding The Home Depot’s retail marketing and sale of RF lighting devices in the US.

In its letter, the League noted that it has received numerous complaints from the Amateur Radio community of “significant noise” in the bands between 1.8 and 30 MHz from so-called “grow light” ballasts and other RF lighting devices regulated under FCC Part 18 rules. Gruber said emissions from grow light ballasts have been measured in the ARRL Lab to be way above both non-consumer and consumer Part 18 emissions limits. Continue reading