LightSquared, Trimble Plan ‘Compromise Approach’ to Resolve Issues

LightSquared and Trimble Navigation Ltd. announced they plan to collaborate on a “compromise approach” to resolve matters concerning LightSquared’s spectrum, only days after LightSquared and Deere & Company unveiled a detailed agreement (TRDaily, Dec. 8). “Trimble and New LightSquared have agreed to work together with the relevant government agencies to implement a mutually acceptable compromise approach to resolution of the outstanding issues relating to use of New LightSquared’s spectrum,” LightSquared and Trimble said in a statement. “

Pending further discussions with the agencies, the parties have agreed to maintain confidentiality with respect to the details of the proposed compromise approach.” The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday approved the dismissal of Trimble from a lawsuit that LightSquared had filed in 2013 against Deere, Trimble, and Garmin International, Inc. alleging that the companies concealed the fact that their GPS receivers were manufactured poorly and could not filter out LightSquared signals (TRDaily, Nov. 1, 2013). At the request of LightSquared and Trimble, the court dismissed Trimble from the suit without prejudice, which means the legal action on the same grounds could be refiled. Continue reading

NIST Seeks Input on Future Path for Cybersecurity Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology today began seeking input on the effectiveness of a cybersecurity framework it issued in 2014 and on the need to update the framework.  “The process to develop the framework brought together both private and public sector organizations and resulted in a document that is being used by a wide variety of organizations,” said Adam Sedgewick, NIST’s senior information technology policy adviser.  “We’re looking forward to receiving feedback on specific questions about its use and how it might be improved.” Continue reading

States Express Concern with Relocation of Narrowband 700 MHz Band Operations

Several states have expressed concern about how smoothly the relocation of their 700 megahertz band narrowband systems will go, including whether the entire retuning and replacement costs will be covered, the timeframe for such moves, and whether the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will oversee the effort. The states and other public safety entities submitted comments by yesterday’s deadline in PS dockets 12-94 and 06-229 and WT docket 06-150 in response to an ex parte filing submitted by FirstNet in October.

In the filing, FirstNet asked the FCC to condition the licenses or other authorizations to use 700 MHz 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).

“In addition or in the alternative to this request, we ask that the Commission consider conditioning any continued operation on Band 14 on the cessation of all operations on Band 14 within 90 days written notice to the Band 14 incumbent(s) from FirstNet that deployment of the NPSBN is to begin in its State,” FirstNet added.

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.

“The Federal Funding Opportunity related to the program is expected to be released in early 2016. For the public safety incumbents currently operating on Band 14, FirstNet anticipates that the program will fund, among other possible relocation costs, necessary frequency coordination, technical assistance, and equipment retuning. The program performance period will likely extend through July 31, 2017, but FirstNet hopes that all of the Band 14 spectrum will be clear well prior to that date,” FirstNet said in its filing. Continue reading

PSAP Task Force Approves Two Reports, Eyes January Final Vote

The FCC’s Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA) today approved the final two next-generation 911 (NG-911) reports from its working groups and is eying a vote at a meeting next month on a consolidated report that includes the work of all three working groups. At the December 10 meeting, the task force approved a 122-page report from its architecture working group (working group 2) and a 75-page report from its cybersecurity working group (working group 1). In September, the panel voted on a report from its resource allocation working group (working group 3). It plans to meet Jan. 29, 2016, to vote on a consolidated report that includes all three working group reports.

“We’re coming around third base and heading for home,” said Steve Souder, the TFOPA’s chair and director of the Fairfax County, Va., Department of Public Safety Communications.

The architecture report, which stresses the need for collaboration among all stakeholders in the 911 ecosystem and says NG-911 technology can enable system sharing better than legacy solutions, includes “findings and considerations,” which include recommendations, in the areas of policy/regulation, governance, architecture and technology, standards and best practices, and education and training.

“As stated throughout this report, it was not the intent of the Working Group to recommend a particular configuration for the deployment of NG9-1-1, therefore the report is absent a ‘one-size fits all’ architectural recommendation,” it said. “The Working Group did feel it important to identify key ‘Findings and Considerations’ contained in the report that 9-1-1 Authorities might consider to assist in the planning and deployment of a NG9-1-1 system.”

“Providers of 9-1-1 services must be accountable for the reliability of their services, and vendor contracts, buttressed by state-sanctioned tariffs where needed, can provide an effective means to address the availability and reliability of 9-1-1 service,” the report said. “The legacy single 9-1-1 service provider environment upon which most of the current 9-1-1 regulation was formed will need to be readdressed in the current NG9-1-1 market. Regulations that addressed needs in the legacy 9-1-1 world need to be reevaluated to determine if they are still relevant and, in some cases, may create unnecessary barriers to transition to NG9-1-1.” Continue reading

FirstNet Board Committees Meet; Permanent CTO Named

The four committees of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board met on December 8 in Houston, and during the two-hour public portion of the meeting discussed recent efforts to ramp up advocacy and other staff and outreach plans for the coming year. FirstNet officials also said that Jeff Bratcher had been named chief technology officer on a permanent basis, from his previous role of acting CTO to which he was appointed last year.

The four FirstNet committees – Governance and Personnel, Technology, Consultation and Outreach, and Finance – briefly reviewed their prior year’s work and approved committee charters with revisions in some cases.

Amanda Hilliard, FirstNet’s outreach director, said the organization now has 30 federal user advocacy staff members. She said the staff participated last week in a three-day meeting that included a “message boot camp” and other activities aimed at creating “an enhanced baseline aptitude” on the organization’s issues and “making sure everyone is speaking with the same message and the same voice.” The group also worked on engagement strategies for six states, and has 50 more such strategies to work out before the end of this year, she said.

Dave Buchanan, FirstNet’s director-state consultation, talked about strategies to meet with state officials “who inform and influence” the decisions of state governors, and how to customize efforts for each state.   Meetings planned for that effort will include day-long sessions and also two-hour “executive” sessions, he said. The FirstNet committees met for most of the rest of today in closed session to discuss acquisition issues.  – John Curran,

Courtesy TRDaily





Panelists: Too Soon to Decide Need for Cyber Rules for Connected Cars

It is too early to determine whether government regulation will be needed to ensure the cybersecurity of connected cars, representatives from the auto industry and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on December 8. Regulations or government-imposed safety standards “have a potential to be a roadmap for the hackers,” said Mike Cammisa, senior director-safety at the Association of Global Automakers. “We are working with government,” Mr. Cammisa said during a connected vehicle workshop organized by the Telecommunications Industry Association.  “We are designing these vehicles with security in mind.”

Cem Hatipoglu, chief of NHTSA’s electronic systems safety research division, offered a similar view.  Government regulation by itself is inadequate to ensure the security of connected cars, he said.  “Voluntary standards are key,” Mr. Hatipoglu said.

He praised the auto industry for proactively establishing its own cyber threat information sharing and analysis center (ISAC) and noted that NHTSA was preparing a report for Congress, among other steps to address vehicle cybersecurity (TRDaily, Dec. 3). – Tom Leithauser,

Courtesy TRDaily


LightSquared Reaches Spectrum Use Agreement with Deere

LightSquared announced today that it has reached a spectrum agreement with Deere & Company on use of the L-band for terrestrial service. The company said the accord could serve as a template for agreements with other GPS companies. “We are glad to finally find resolution to these important spectrum issues and are pleased to reach an end to the case against Deere. We will provide increased protections for Deere’s interests by agreeing to power levels on our uplink and downlink frequencies, dialing down our out of band emissions, and by requesting that the FCC modify our license to forgo terrestrial use of the downlink band closest to the GPS signal,” LightSquared Chief Executive Officer Doug Smith said in a news release. “Because of these commitments to protect GPS interests, we are pleased that Deere will not object to the new company’s use of its spectrum located between 1627-1680 MHz and the band at 1526-1536 MHz for terrestrial service.”

Mr. Smith added, “We believe this agreement sets forth the framework that enables GPS and broadband to peacefully coexist, and we will continue to work with industry and government stakeholders to reach consensus that enables this spectrum to be utilized.”

The news release added with additional detail that “New LightSquared will make filings at the FCC that commit to conditions on spectrum use and uplink and downlink limits, and Deere agrees it will not object to the company’s deployment of a network in the spectrum bands 1526-1536 MHz, 1627.5-1637.5 MHz, 1646.5-1656.5 MHz and 1670-1700 MHz, as long as such deployment is consistent with the operational parameters agreed to by the companies in the agreement.”

Mr. Smith told TRDaily in an interview this afternoon that under the agreement announced today, LightSquared would agree to forgo terrestrial use of the 1545-1555 MHz band, which is closest to GPS operations.

Under the agreement, the parties finalized a settlement to a lawsuit that LightSquared filed in 2013 against Deere and other GPS entities, alleging that they concealed the fact that their receivers were manufactured poorly and could not filter out LightSquared signals (TRDaily, Nov. 1, 2013). The lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Attorneys for LightSquared, Garmin International, Inc., and Deere had told the court recently that discussions concerning a settlement to the lawsuit were not making much progress (TRDaily, Oct. 9). But a LightSquared attorney said then the company was “cautiously optimistic” that a settlement could be reached with Trimble Navigation Ltd.

In the interview with TRDaily, Mr. Smith declined to discuss whether LightSquared was still negotiating agreements with Trimble and Garmin.  “This is live litigation so we … can’t really talk about … discussions that we’re having or not having with them,” he said. He also said that it is too early to assess what impact the agreement could have on the FCC and the Department of Transportation, which has released a plan to conduct GPS-terrestrial compatibility testing.

Deere spokesman Ken Golden said today that his company “did not make any payment to settle the litigation. As part of the agreement, LightSquared agreed to dismiss its lawsuit against Deere and to pay a portion of Deere’s attorneys’ fees.”

“Deere looks forward to working with LightSquared and other spectrum users on the important dual goals of expanding mobile broadband networks while protecting GPS and other navigation technologies both of which are critical to the nation’s interests,” Mr. Golden added. “The agreement does not constitute an endorsement by Deere & Company of the LightSquared network.”

Efforts to get comment on today’s announcement from Garmin and Trimble were not successful.

In another LightSquared development, the company yesterday emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – three days after the FCC released an order approving the transfer of licenses and international section 214 authorizations and the transfer of domestic section 214 authority from LightSquared Subsidiary LLC Debtor in Possession to LightSquared Subsidiary LLC, subject to conditions (TRDaily, Dec. 4).

“The company continues to work very diligently to resolve any concerns about the use of the spectrum, and our active engagement with external stakeholders regarding ways to make our spectrum available portends a bright future for our company,” Mr. Smith said in a blog posting released late yesterday. “We are committed to achieving compromise and working with the GPS community – including the provision of increased protections for the industry – to ensure GPS and wireless broadband can co-exist.”

In another development related to LightSquared, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York) issued an order yesterday affirming a February ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissing a lawsuit filed by Phil Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners LLC and a number of affiliated entities against several GPS entities.

The lawsuit sought billions of dollars in damages for what the complaint said was the failure of the defendants to disclose earlier the impact of LightSquared’s network on GPS devices using adjacent spectrum. Harbinger previously controlled LightSquared and still has a minority interest in the restructured company.

The defendants in “Harbinger Capital Partners LLC et al. v. Deere & Company et al.” (no 15-408-cv), which was originally filed in 2013 (TRDaily, Aug. 9), were Deere, Garmin, Trimble, and the U.S. GPS Industry Council and the Coalition to Save Our GPS. (since renamed the GPS Innovation Alliance).

The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit’s allegations of securities fraud and related claims under federal and state laws.

For example, it said the GPS entities had no business with Harbinger and thus “had no obligation to disclose information regarding OOBR [out-of-band receptions] [interference] on the basis of their purported superior knowledge.”

Judges Robert D. Sack, Denny Chin, and Raymond L. Lohier Jr. issued the order.

Harbinger declined to comment on the court decision, as did the GPS Innovation Alliance.- Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily






S&T Press Release: Small Business Expertise Sought to Help Solve Homeland Security Challenges

Washington D.C. — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced it is seeking proposals from small businesses to address technical challenges in homeland security. Beginning December 16, 2015, DHS will accept proposals for its upcoming Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program FY 16.1 joint solicitation which covers 13 technical areas from two DHS organizations, the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO).

The Pre-Solicitation notice for DHS SBIR FY 16.1, is published in (Solicitation Number: HSHQDC-16-R-00012) and details topics, descriptions and technical contacts for the pending solicitation.

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

DHS Science and Technology Directorate Supports NYPD Active Shooter Exercise.

After months of coordination between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) Counter Terrorism Division, the NYPD conducted an active shooter training exercise on November 22. The exercise not only tested their training and proficiency, but also allowed them to incorporate several commercial technologies that could benefit future emergency situations.  During the active shooter exercise, US DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology, Dr. Robert Griffin, was joined by Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner William Bratton, and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.   Read more: