FirstNet Gets 40 Responses to Cyber Appendix

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has received 40 submissions from industry and states in response to a draft appendix that it released earlier this month (TRDaily, Oct. 5) to help inform its preparation of cybersecurity portions of its final request for proposals (RFP), according to FirstNet spokesman Ryan Oremland. The deadline to submit comments was yesterday. FirstNet is not releasing the submissions. But a submission provided to TRDaily by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International said, among other things, that “FirstNet should provide more details on how its cybersecurity strategy will involve and account for Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).”

Courtesy TRDaily

FirstNet Urges FCC to Condition Band 14 Licenses After July 2017

The First Responder Network Authority is asking the FCC to condition the licenses or other authorizations to use the 700 megahertz Band 14 “upon the requirement that no operation on Band 14 be permitted without the express consent of FirstNet after July 31, 2017.”

In an Oct. 20 ex parte filing in PS dockets 12-94 and 06-229 and WT docket 06-150, FirstNet noted that its board in August authorized management to establish a spectrum relocation grant program to clear remaining incumbents from Band 14 to ensure available unencumbered spectrum for the nationwide public safety network (TRDaily, Aug. 17). FirstNet said recently that there are 13 incumbents in the spectrum, mostly public safety agencies. Continue reading

Pai, O’Rielly Say Inmate Calling Order Exceeds FCC’s Authority

FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly dissented today from the Commission’s decision to set caps on charges for interstate and intrastate inmate calling services (ICS), arguing that the agency’s action exceeds its legal authority. In a change from the draft ICS items as originally circulated (TRDaily, Sept. 30), the Wireline Competition docket 12-375 order and third further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) adopted at today’s Commission meeting do not apply the rate caps to international ICS calls, and instead seek further comment on the possibility.

Similarly, mandatory data collections from ICS providers that were in the draft order have become proposals for further comment in the third FNPRM. In addition, while the new rate caps would take effect for ICS providers at prisons 90 days after publication in the “Federal Register,” as the original draft order would have required, ICS providers at jails have additional time under the order as adopted.  The rate caps would not take effect at jails until six months after the “Federal Register” notice.

The ICS item follows a 2013 order setting an interim cap of 21 cents per minute on interstate ICS rates, which then acting Chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel adopted over the dissent of Commissioner Ajit Pai. At the time, the nominations of Tom Wheeler and Mike O’Rielly were pending before the Senate.

The text of the order and FNPRM was not available at TRDaily’s news deadline.  The Commission granted staff editorial privileges to make minor changes over the objection of Commissioner O’Rielly.

Last year, with only partial agreement by Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly, the FCC voted to seek input on additional ways it could address high ICS rates, including a permanent rate cap for intrastate as well as interstate ICS services and a prohibition on payments by providers to prisons and other facilities for the privilege of providing services to inmates and their families, known as site commissions.

Today, Chairman Wheeler gave credit to Commissioner Clyburn for pushing ICS reform action forward and said that he expected she would “keep my feet to the fire” on addressing the issues raised in today’s FNPRM. Commissioner Clyburn, in turn, said that the Chairman had kept his pledge to her that he would move forward on the ICS proceeding, and said with respect to today’s FNPRM that she likes to finish what she starts.  During her statement, she also thanked Commissioner Rosenworcel for her support on the 2013 order, when the two formed a majority on that item over the dissent of Commissioner Pai. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, October 23, 2015

This past week, FirstNet published its final version of the meanings of the terms and definitions in the law that created FirstNet and provided the needed broadband spectrum. Sometimes this “what did Congress really mean by this word or phrase” is provided by Congressional staffers after a law is passed but this was not done in this case. So FirstNet asked for comments from Public Safety, the vendor community, and other interested parties. It asked for input on two different occasions and this past week we saw the results of its findings.

As I mentioned previously, the most important ruling made by FirstNet is that states that opt out cannot use any funds derived from user fees or secondary user lease agreements for their own state’s purposes. The funds must be used to expand, manage, and operate the network. This one ruling will have a positive impact on Public Safety, FirstNet, and perhaps some vendors that have been sitting on the fence wondering if they should file a response to the RFP when it is released in late December. One of the concerns I kept hearing from potential bidders is that if a number of states opt out, perhaps even states that have major metro areas where the secondary spectrum is more valuable, the value of the RFP to the vendor is diminished. The spectrum has the most value for those bidding in major metro areas and if the network is one contiguous network from both a First Responder and a secondary user point of view. FirstNet changed the RFP rules so the responses can only be for a nationwide system and now has limited the way in which states might have access to any funds raised within their state, both of which are good news. I believe some states have been led to believe that if they do opt out they will be permitted to keep the funds realized for their portion of the network.

I have heard from some sources within state governments and who are involved with FirstNet that some states have been promised $millions of dollars in revenue that would be derived from the network if they opted out and permitted this company or that company to build the network and manage it for them. The ruling by FirstNet stops the spread of misinformation once and for all and should limit the number of states that opt out since there is no longer any financial reward to do so.

This coming week in Chicago is the International Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual conference. I will be attending, meeting with various organizations, vendors, and others, and of course wandering the show floor looking for new and innovative products that might enhance Public Safety’s capabilities on both existing commercial broadband networks and FirstNet as it is built out. I hope to run into a number of you there. Have a great weekend and if you are traveling to IACP, travel safely! Andy

FirstNet’s latest legal interpretations make opt-out alternative less appealing to states, territoriesUrgent Communications via Google Alerts Oct 20 13:30 Under the current law, every state and territory will be part of the nationwide public-safety broadband network overseen by FirstNet. For states and …

FirstNet Releases Dozens of Final InterpretationsNational Public Safety Telecommunications Council – NPSTC via Google Alerts Oct 16 22:15 The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today released two public notices … Continue reading

House Communications Panel Plans Two Broadband-Related Hearings

The House communications and technology subcommittee has scheduled an Oct. 27 hearing titled “Common Carrier Regulation of the Internet:  Investment Impacts.”  Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R., Ore.) said, “We’re less than a year removed from the commission’s vote for Title II and common carrier regulation of the internet, and we’re already seeing the ripple effect of economic harm.”  The Oct. 27 hearing is slated to begin at 10 a.m. in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

On Oct. 28, the subcommittee will hold a 10 a.m. hearing in the same room titled “Breaking Down Barriers to Broadband Infrastructure Deployment.”  Proposals for breaking down those barriers include “proposals would streamline processes for getting access to federal lands and utility poles, require smart dig-once policies that take advantage of existing roadwork to deploy fiber conduit, and examine the bureaucracy that impedes private sector investment in broadband,” the subcommittee said.

Courtesy TRDaily

Official: Cyber Strategy Plan Coming Soon

Chris DeRusha, a senior cybersecurity advisor in the office of White House Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, said his office will “very soon” issue a Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan (CSIP) for federal government civilian agencies that will build on efforts to improve agency network security following completion earlier this year of a 30-day “sprint” to boost cyber defenses after disclosure of major hacks of Office of Management and Budget networks.

Speaking today at a meeting of the federally-chartered Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, Mr. DeRusha said CISP will be a “broad document . . . that is really an action plan” and will cover what agencies can do to improve security over the next six to 12 months.   CSIP, he said, will be presented as  “implementation guidance writ large.” Continue reading

DHS Official: NPPD Reorg “Moving Along”

Phyllis Schneck, deputy under secretary-cybersecurity and communications at the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, said today that an effort to reorganize NPDD to more closely align its cybersecurity and infrastructure protection functions is “moving along.”

Speaking at a meeting of the federally-chartered Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, Ms. Schneck said the reorganization effort is “moving along . . . it’s going forward.” Her update on the reorganization followed a scolding of Suzanne Spaulding, the DHS undersecretary in charge of NPPD, by members of the House Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity, infrastructure protection, and security technologies subcommittee earlier this month (TRDaily, Oct. 7) who said they had been left in the dark about NPPD’s reorganization plans.

Ms. Spaulding said at the hearing that she understood lawmakers’ “frustration,” that the reorganization plan was far from complete, and that lawmakers will be consulted on its future stages.

Ms. Schneck said today that the planned reorganization “will strengthen [NPPD’s] cyber mission and infrastructure protection mission” by fusing “more of the cyber expertise with the infrastructure protection.”  She said the effort has included the involvement of NPDD employees, and that the directorate “has no plans to fire anyone.” – John Curran,

Courtesy TRDaily

GPS Alliance Warns of GPS Interference

The GPS Innovation Alliance has submitted written testimony to the House communications and technology subcommittee following an Oct. 7 hearing by the panel on improving federal spectrum systems (TRDaily, Oct. 7). In the testimony submitted Oct. 16, the alliance stressed the technical challenges of repurposing satellite spectrum for terrestrial broadband use if it is in close proximity to satellite uses such as GPS, and it called “misguided” suggestions that such coordination difficulties are the result of “poor receiver design.” As a result, policy-makers should focus on long-term spectrum planning rather than simply focusing on receiver standards, the alliance argued.

Courtesy TRDaily



APCO Report Offers Suggestions to Increase 4.9 GHz Band Use

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International 4.9 GHz task force submitted a report to the FCC that discusses how to increase public safety’s use of the band and to drive investment. The APCO report suggests implementing frequency coordination in the band, similar to a National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) report filed two years ago.



TRDaily Reports: NPSTC Seeks Info on Amplifier Interference

At the request of the FCC, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council solicited information from members of an online discussion group about whether they have experienced interference from bi-directional amplifiers. “NPSTC was recently approached by the FCC seeking information on any interference to public safety radio systems potentially caused by bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs),” NPSTC said in a message to discussion group members.

Courtesy TRDaily