Pleading Cycle Set on FirstNet Request

Comments are due Dec. 9 in PS dockets 12-94 and 06-229 and WT docket 06-150 on the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) request that the Commission condition the licenses or other authorizations to use 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” (TRDaily, Oct. 22).

Courtesy TRDaily

 

Police Chiefs, DAs Call for CALEA, ECPA Changes

The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National District Attorneys Association this week issued a call for changes in FCC rules and legislative changes to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in order to give law enforcement officials better lawful access to encrypted communications.

The organizations said that increasing use of encrypted communications hinders law enforcement’s ability to lawfully access communications, and urged “public officials and industry leaders to work with law enforcement to develop solutions that will help protect the public” while balancing “the needs of the law enforcement community with protecting the public’s right to privacy.”

Courtesy TRDaily

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

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! Unfortunately, I am back on my rant about the politics of Public Safety communications. Last week I talked about LA City pulling out of LA-RICS, this week, Urgent Communications reported that LA City requested that the UASI grant for the LA-RICS LMR P-25 network, awarded in 2011 and already allocated by LA-RICS, be rescinded! Who are the losers in all of these political games? The Public Safety community and the citizens of the country.

LA is not the only place politics has played a part in obstructing the deployment of needed Public Safety Land Mobile Radio and even Broadband networks. Consider the cancellation of the BTOP grants by NTIA once FirstNet was voted into existence. Most of the BTOP grants were to pay for pilot LTE Public Safety systems but were cancelled, the money was recalled, and the grants were never renewed. The Pilots cancelled included the City of Charlotte, which would have had Public Safety LTE up and running for the Democratic Convention in that city a few years ago. The State of Mississippi which had already purchased its equipment and not only was its grant recalled, it was told to dismantle the system it had started. And so it was for Bay RICS in Northern California and others. As a result, the Harris County, Texas system, which was not even part of the BTOP grants what is left of the LA-RICS system, the New Jersey deployable system, and the Colorado system, which is small but has been extended to cover some areas in New Mexico, are all that FirstNet has up and running to prove out the technology, applications, and devices.

We should have had entire states (Mississippi), major cities, LA-RICS and Bay RICS, medium-sized cities (Charlotte), and more up and operating by now. If all of these had been allowed to move forward instead of being shut down by the NTIA, we would have a much better feel for how much spectrum is needed by Public Safety, how much secondary spectrum might be available for use by a partner, and the types of devices and applications that are most important to first responders. The political side of Public Safety communications deployments, expansions, and maintaining existing budgets are growing increasingly heated. Many elected officials were falsely convinced that if they opted out of FirstNet they would receive a windfall of money from the secondary use of the FirstNet spectrum.

Other politicians have come to believe that the FirstNet network will negate the expense of their existing Public Safety LMR network as soon as next week, and others are simply more interested in appearing to be “smart” in public than they are in trying to understand the needs of the Public Safety community and the impact of their politically motivated decisions. The unfortunate truth is that as long as there are political animals trying to be re-elected and trying to prove how smart they are, Public Safety communications will continue to receive the short straw. We all thought that with FirstNet each city and county would be treated the same by the states, yet politics are lurking in many state capitals. Which counties voted for the “right party” and therefore deserve better coverage? I am hoping that this does not come to pass, but it is only logical to think about the issue in terms of the existing political landscape. There apparently is no solution to the problem, and of course Public Safety communications is not the only area to suffer from the political scene. Every week when I sort the stories to include in my summary, I avoid stories about Congress failing to pass the extension of the bill to assist the first responders injured in the 9/11 tragedy and many other Public Safety-related issues. I wish I had a solution, but I don’t. Andy

ITU Globally Harmonizes 700-MHz LTE SpectrumCommunications Today via Google Alerts Nov 25 23:30 The ITU this week globally harmonized the 700-MHz band by allocating it for LTE use in ITU Region 1, which covers Europe, Africa, the Middle East …

Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment on FirstNet’s Incumbent Relocation …Federal Register via Google Alerts Nov 25 13:55 This document seeks comment on the ex parte proposal made by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to facilitate the relocation of … Continue reading

FCC Issues PN on FirstNet Request to Set Deadline of July 2017 for Incumbent Relocation

The FCC’s Public Notice regarding a FirstNet request to set a deadline of July 2017 for incumbent relocation from the broadband spectrum was published in the Federal Register on November 25.   The Comments are due to the FCC on December 9.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/11/25/2015-30111/public-safety-and-homeland-security-bureau-seeks-comment-on-firstnets-incumbent-relocation-proposal

Wheeler Reiterates Need for Congressional NG-911 Action

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today reiterated his call for congressional action to help facilitate the deployment of next-generation 911 (NG-911) services. “Simply put, the communications technology behind the 911 system is dangerously out of date,” Mr. Wheeler said in an op-ed column in the “New York Times.” “Currently, the centers handle about 240 million calls a year, an increasing number of them from cellphones. But many local 911 call centers can’t receive a text, photo or video from a person in need — capabilities that are considered commonplace for any American with a smartphone. Worse, while our nation makes the transition to broadband networks, too many of our 911 call centers rely on decades-old telephone technology — technology that is no longer being supported by commercial vendors and prone to failure. The market forces driving the broadband revolution will soon have the nation’s 911 system resting on a foundation of sand.” Continue reading

FCC to Launch Redesigned Website

The FCC plans to roll out a redesigned website on the evening of Dec. 9, starting at 8 p.m. with a planned completion of 12 a.m. on Dec. 10.  The Commission said in a public notice today that the new website “is designed to provide better functionality, an improved design, and better searchability and navigability.”  The website display will automatically adjust based on the device being used to view it.  It will have “a ‘toggle’ navigation that allows visitors to browse either by ‘Category’ or ‘Bureau and Office,’” the agency said.

“As part of this transition, the current website will no longer be available.  Webpages and files that are on transition.fcc.gov that have not already been migrated to the new site will remain available.  Existing bookmarks will be redirected to the appropriate content on the new site,” it added.  It said that the electronic comment filing system (ECFS) and other interactive systems that it is continuing to work on will not be affected by this redesign.  Users can alert the FCC to any content that needs updating or other “bugs” after the launch at https://prototype.fcc.gov/eform/submit/feedback.

Courtesy TRDaily

New York Times Opinion Piece: The 911 System Isn’t Ready for the iPhone Era

By Tom Wheeler,  NOV. 23, 2015

IN 1999, Congress established 911 as the nationwide emergency number, and called for a system that would use the best technology available to deliver emergency assistance. Now, 16 years later, our emergency response system faces an emergency of its own in the form of outdated technology. To fix this, our emergency responders — police, fire and ambulance — urgently need the help of government leaders at all levels.

Simply put, the communications technology behind the 911 system is dangerously out of date. Currently, the centers handle about 240 million calls a year, an increasing number of them from cellphones. But many local 911 call centers can’t receive a text, photo or video from a person in need — capabilities that are considered commonplace for any American with a smartphone. Worse, while our nation makes the transition to broadband networks, too many of our 911 call centers rely on decades-old telephone technology — technology that is no longer being supported by commercial vendors and prone to failure. The market forces driving the broadband revolution will soon have the nation’s 911 system resting on a foundation of sand.

The good news is we know what to do. The nation’s 911 call centers need to upgrade to “Next Generation 911,” or NG911. NG911 links 911 call centers to the latest Internet Protocol-based networks, uses mapping databases and software to route calls and pinpoint the real-time location of 911 callers, and supports voice, text, data and video communication. Read complete article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/23/opinion/the-911-system-isnt-ready-for-the-iphone-era.html?ref=opinion&_r=1