Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to the NPSBN

FirstNet Blog:  This article was originally printed in APCO’s PSC Communications Magazine, November/December 2015 Issue.

Recognizing that the public safety user community will demand support for personal devices on the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN), FirstNet is taking steps to develop and implement an effective BYOD policy. The BYOD policy must provide adequate security and control of the device, while still providing an acceptable user experience when accessing the NPSBN. It must also operate in real time to analyze BYOD access and identify anomalies.

Throughout the course of our consultation and outreach efforts, including feedback on the Special Notice and Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) documents, many of our stakeholders have asked a recurring question. Will FirstNet allow personal devices on the NPSBN?”

This question tells us that many within the public safety community have personal smart phones that utilize commercial networks, and they are interested in accessing the NPSBN from their personal phones when the NPSBN is operational. In addition, many existing public safety devices are highly specialized and costly (such as the units used by the emergency medical services teams) and could benefit first responders by working over the NPSBN, too.

Read more here: http://firstnet.gov/newsroom/blog/bring-your-own-device-byod-npsbn

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, December 17, 2015

Some of the State of New Hampshire’s elected officials and their staffs have been conned, hoodwinked, led down Primrose Lane, or whatever you want to call it. I am referring to the State’s release of RFP DOS# 2016-10, which was released by the Department of Safety, Office of Interoperability, and New Hampshire Interoperability Executive Committee. This RFP starts out as though it was written by FirstNet or the NTIA for the benefit of the Public Safety community. However, later in the Introduction we begin seeing that a vendor has convinced the State to issue this RFP now, ahead of the FirstNet RFP. At an open meeting of New Hampshire’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SEIC) at which, I am told, this issue was to be discussed, it was simply announced that the RFP had been published.

Several people who were there said those from within the Public Safety community were first stunned, then embarrassed when they learned an RFP had already been released. It is clear from reading the RFP that is was not written by anyone in the State of New Hampshire but by some person or group intent on pushing the State into actions I believe go against the law creating FirstNet. This could well jeopardize the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), at least in New Hampshire, denying both the New Hampshire Public Safety community and the citizens it serves this much needed new type of wireless communications system. Continue reading

FCC Official Cites Conflicting Figures on Number of Text-Ready PSAPs

An FCC official  cited conflicting figures on the number of public safety answering points (PSAPs) that are ready to accept texts, and he encouraged PSAPs to register in an FCC database. During a webinar organized by the National 911 Program, Tim May, the 911/next-generation 911 (NG-911)  projects manager in the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said that 465 PSAPs are registered as text-capable in the FCC’s database, which represent 6% of PSAP jurisdictions or 23% of the U.S. population. Continue reading

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