FCC PSAP Task Force Approves Report on Resource Allocation

The FCC’s Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA) approved a report from its resource allocation working group on September 29 but not before several industry representatives raised objections to a proposal to impose a “network connection” surcharge based on upstream bandwidth levels that would be assessed on any provider of Internet access to retail customers. The industry representatives suggested that the funding model, one of five examined by the working group, would thwart innovation and unfairly impact subscribers of broadband services even though they would not have greater access to next-generation 911 (NG-911) services.

The report from the TFOPA’s working group 3 recommended the funding regime be studied in a follow-on Joint Local State Government Advisory Committee (LSAG), which would focus exclusively on NG-911 issues. The panel would also further study prepaid wireless surcharge issues, a topic on which the working group was not able to reach a consensus, as well as on enhancing data quality and undertaking outreach and education.

“We believe this funding method is sustainable as well as technologically and competitively neutral,” the report said of the network connection fee. “It could be assessed on network providers that provide internet access, based on upstream bandwidth, and may be assessed on a smaller number of such carriers or network providers. The details of the funding mechanism are critical, and several adjustments are needed to make this approach equitable and legally sustainable. We recommend that further detailed study of this mechanism, and its necessary adjustments and assumptions, be carried out by a new joint state-local-federal advisory committee.” Continue reading

DHS S&T Launches $100,000 Prize Competition to Support Future National Bio and Agro Defense Facility

Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today launched the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) “Think and Do Challenge,” a prize competition that seeks ideas to leverage NBAF resources in order to conduct research to protect the Nation’s animal agricultural industry and public health.

S&T will award up to $100,000 to help fund the development or implementation of winning submissions through the NBAF “Think and Do Challenge,” under the authority of the America COMPETES Act.

“The NBAF will open in 2022, but we are laying the groundwork now for its future success,” said DHS S&T Undersecretary Dr. Reginald Brothers. “The Think and Do Challenge is a catalyst for developing a sound plan and smart strategy to enable the new laboratory to leverage and build upon existing resources and capabilities to better protect the nation’s livestock and public health.”

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

Urgent Comm: FirstNet Is Sending Out an Invite (RPF). Andy Seybold Asks: Will Anyone Come?

FirstNet is sending out an invite (RFP). FirstNet’s final request for proposal (RFP) needs to be structured to be friendly to commercial partner(s) because its public-safety broadband network is not a traditional federal acquisition. If FirstNet releases a request for proposal (RFP) that follows the draft RFP template, it is running a high risk of not being able to meet the mandate established by Congress.

Will anyone come? http://urgentcomm.com/blog/firstnet-sending-out-invite-rfp-will-anyone-come

PSHSB Announces Comment and Reply Comment on NPRM re Railroad Police


On September 1, 2015, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in PS Docket No. 15-199 seeking comment on proposals to amend the Commission’s rules in order to enable railroad police officers to access to public safety interoperability and mutual aid channels. The NPRM set deadlines for filing comments and reply comments at 45 and 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. On September 29, 2015, the Office of the Federal Register published a summary of the NPRM and associated comment and reply comment dates. Accordingly, comments must be filed on or before November 13, 2015; and reply comments must be filed on or before November 30, 2015.5 The NPRM sets forth the comment filing instructions.


APCO Report Makes Recommendations to Spur Greater Use of 4.9 GHz Band

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International submitted a report to the FCC on September 28, 2015, that recommends ways to spur public safety usage of the 4.9 gigahertz band, including instituting frequency coordination. The 16-page report, which was submitted in WP docket 07-100, PS docket 06-229, and WT docket 06-150, was prepared by a task force that APCO convened in June to assess how the 4.9 GHz band is being used and how public safety use and investment can be increased.

The circulation to FCC Commissioners of a further notice of proposed rulemaking in the agency’s 4.9 GHz band proceeding is expected before the end of the year, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Deputy Chief David Furth told the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) earlier this month (TRDaily, Sept. 15). Mr. Furth said that the further notice would seek comment on specific band plan proposals, including one submitted by NPSTC in 2013 (TRDaily, Oct. 24, 2013).

In 2012, FCC Commissioners, saying they were disappointed that the public safety community hadn’t used the 4.9 GHz band more intensively, adopted an item seeking views on proposals to spur higher utilization of the spectrum, including by opening the band up to wireless carriers on a secondary basis and critical infrastructure industry (CII) entities such as utilities on a primary basis (TRDaily, June 13, 2012).

The report submitted by APCO today said that “there are a number of local and state government agencies that utilize the 4.9 GHz band in support for their operations. These deployments vary in size and architecture, and offer a variety of tools such as video monitoring, mesh networking, local area networks, and local hotspots. While the potential for multiple uses remains strong, it is also important to note that at present over 90% of the utilization is for point-to-point applications.” Continue reading

DoJ IG Investigating FBI’s Use of Telephony Metadata

The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General said it is reviewing the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s use of information gathered through the National Security Agency’s telephony metadata program and will examine the role that leads gathered through the program have had in counterterrorism efforts. In its report to Congress on implementation of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the DoJ’s IG detailed actions it has taken related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations allegedly committed by DoJ employees.

The IG also detailed other related activities, including submitting a classified report in May 2015 on the FBI’s use of pen registers and trap and trace devices under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

 In addition, the IG said review of the NSA collection of telephone metadata under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act would “examine the FBI’s procedures for receiving, processing, and disseminating leads the NSA develops from the metadata, and any changes that have been made to these procedures over time.” Continue reading

FCC Opens Public Safety Support Center

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today announced the opening of the new Public Safety Support Center (PSSC), which the agency described as “a web-based, one-stop portal to enable Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and other Public Safety entities to request support or information from the Bureau and to notify it of problems or issues impacting the provision of emergency services.

The PSSC is accessible via the Internet at https://www.fcc.gov/public-safety-support-center. A principal goal of the Bureau is to ensure consistent and timely support to public safety stakeholders.” In a blog posting today, Public Safety Bureau Chief David Simpson said, “This one-stop web portal can be used by public safety stakeholders to notify us of communications issues ranging from 911 service outages and fraudulent 911 calls to tower lighting outages and interference affecting public safety radio systems. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for public safety organizations to reach us online to convey concerns with communications issues.”

 Courtesy TRDaily


DHS S&T Awards $14 Million for Cybersecurity Research

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today announced the award of eight contracts totaling $14 million for research on technologies to defend against Distributed Denial of Service Defenses (DDoS) attacks. Awarded through Broad Agency Announcement HSHQDC-14-R- B00017, these projects will become part of the DHS S&T Cyber Security Division’s larger Distributed Denial of Service Defenses (DDoSD) program.

“Cybersecurity is a critical technology area that is continuously changing,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “We need to be able to quickly adapt to challenges like DDoS attacks and work with our partners so that solutions can be rapidly developed to ensure the security of our Nation’s networks and resources.”

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