SAFECOM and NCSWIC Publish New Documents on Funding and Sustainment for Public Safety Communications Systems

The Joint SAFECOM and National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) Funding and Sustainment Committee is pleased to announce the launch of several new documents for public safety to utilize regarding the challenges they face securing and sustaining funding to build, improve, expand, and support the ongoing costs of public safety communications systems.

The first document, Funding Mechanisms for Public Safety Communications Systems, lays out various funding mechanisms (e.g., bonds, user fees, special taxes), and provides specific examples of states and localities that have leveraged that type of funding for improvements to their systems. This paper is intended to help public safety leaders and government officials learn how other states and localities are funding their public safety communications systems and start a discussion in their state. For more information on the Funding Mechanisms for Public Safety Communications Systems check out the blog post, Funding Public Safety Communications Systems, by Chief Tom Roche (Ret.), SAFECOM Funding and Sustainment Committee Chair.

The second set of documents is a set of three white papers on land mobile radio (LMR) technologies known as the LMR Trio.  These documents can be used to educate decision-makers and funders as to the importance of LMR technologies, and the need to sustain and support LMR systems throughout the development of the nationwide public safety broadband network.  For more information on the LMR Trio check out the blog post, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Trio, by Victoria Garcia, NCSWIC Funding and Sustainment Committee Chair and Hawaii Statewide Interoperability Coordinator.

For more funding resources or information on SAFECOM and NCSWIC, please visit the SAFECOM and NCSWIC website or if you have any questions on these products, please email SAFECOMGovernance@hq.dhs.gov or NCSWICGovernance@hq.dhs.gov.

&T Press Release: DHS S&T Awards $200K for Internet of Things Systems Security

Santa Clara start-up receives first Innovation OTS contract from DHS S&T Silicon Valley Office

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) awarded $200,000 to Pulzze Systems, Inc., a small business based in Santa Clara, California, to advance detection capability and security monitoring of networked systems, collectively known as the Internet of Things. This is the first award from the Innovation Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS), designed to engage non-traditional performers in developing solutions to some of the toughest threats to the security of the homeland.

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

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, February 28, 2016

Since last week’s commentary I have received verification that five other potential FirstNet RFP bidders have decided not to pursue this opportunity. Yet I have also heard from a reliable source that we can expect to see more than two bidders submitting proposals. I hope my source is correct since Public Safety deserves many bids on the table to ensure the best possible partner is chosen. Obviously, last week I was at a low point in the Public Safety broadband journey. For the past eight years I, along with a number of others, kept the faith that FirstNet would become a reality and would provide Public Safety with the much needed addition of near-mission-critical data and video services.

In the early days we were told that the dream of obtaining the D-block was just that, a dream or even a pipe dream. But led by Chief Harlin McEwen and others, we did not give up. During that period even some within the FCC did not support Public Safety in our quest for the D-block, and several “learned scholars” on assignment to the FCC wrote technical papers “proving” Public Safety did not need more than a 5 X 5-MHz portion of the spectrum. It is interesting that one of the key issues with the RFP today as detailed to me by a number of contractors who have dropped out is the fact that even with 10 X 10 MHz of spectrum there is still a concern that during peak times and major incidents many of the secondary users will have to be moved somewhere else. Through it all we remained positive.

Then FirstNet was formed and we looked forward to moving ahead quickly, yet it was soon apparent that FirstNet was not the happy family is was supposed to be and it did, in fact, go off the tracks for a number of months. But then it righted itself and began to make inroads, first with its assigned tasks and then with the federal beauracracy that was holding it down. The FirstNet of today is not the FirstNet of 2012 and 2013 but a more viable entity that is moving forward on many fronts at once. Unfortunately, it is still having to find ways to appease those whose only goal in life seems to be to make sure FirstNet adheres to any federal requirement they deem necessary to protect the citizens of the United States from something dire, I have to assume, but what? When the draft RFP came out and I spent a month taking it apart, formulating questions, commenting, and then more months preparing and filing comments, I was, once again, pretty low because if the draft RFP was released as the final, it would have resulted in no responders and left FirstNet floundering while Congress decided what to do with its remains. Continue reading

Mission Critical Magazine Reports, Drone Prototype Fixing Pipeline Leaks Wins International Competition

A prototype drone that can spot leaks and fix pipelines from the air won an international drone competition. The Imperial Buildrone team took first place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Drones for Good Award for its aerial robot that could “print” material to seal leaks in pipes. The Imperial team took first place out of more than 1,000 entries from across the globe. The Buildrone team, part of Imperial’s Aerial Robotics Lab, was supervised by Dr. Mirko Kovac and led by doctorate student Talib Alhinai who are both from the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial.

The UAE competition aimed to bring together the innovative technologies behind civilian drones and showcase how they can be turned into practical solutions for improving people’s daily lives.   Read more here:  http://www.radioresourcemag.com/News/NewsDetails/NewsID/13934

 

 

FirstNet to Post First Batch of RFP Answers

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) this week plans to post the first batch of answers to the more than 400 questions it got on the request for proposals (RFP) it released last month (TRDaily, Jan. 13), FirstNet spokeswoman April Ward said today. Questions on the RFP were due Feb. 12. “We’re very pleased with the questions that came in and the amount of interest shown,” she said. She said FirstNet would answer questions in batches as it did after it released its draft RFP last year (TRDaily, April 27, 2015). FirstNet also plans to  hold a pre-proposal conference on March 10 at 1:30 p.m. at its Reston, Va., headquarters.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

DHS Announces FY 2016 Grant Funding

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the release of fiscal year 2016 notices of funding opportunity for 10 grant programs that were appropriated more than $1.6 billion. The funding includes $402 million for the State Homeland Security Program and $580 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants.

EWA Seeks Clarification on Coordination of Vehicular Repeater Channels

The Enterprise Wireless Alliance has asked the FCC to clarify that any qualified frequency coordinator should be allowed to process applications for entities to use six 173 megahertz channels for vehicular repeater systems (VRS). “It has been EWA’s expectation from the outset of this proceeding that all FCC-certified FACs would be authorized to process both VRS and data telemetry applications in accordance with the FCC’s rules and the consensus protocols, regardless of the applicants’ eligibility category,” EWA said in an ex parte filing in PS docket 13-229. “This view is premised on the fact that these six channels are not allocated on a primary basis to either B/ILT or public safety applicants, but are shared equally by them,” EWA added.

“While the consensus coordination protocols are designed to provide the necessary geographic separation between incompatible data telemetry and VRS operations, B/ILT and public safety data telemetry systems may operate on the same channel and B/ILT and public safety VRS operations may share a channel. The same operational rules regarding permissible bandwidths, power levels, justification for additional channels, and acceptable areas of operation for VRS govern B/ILT and public safety operations. The consensus protocols for these channels are applied identically, whether the applicant claims B/ILT or public safety eligibility.”

EWA added that it “appreciates that coordination of data telemetry and VRS applications on these six channels requires the highest level of technical expertise and professionalism. With all due respect to public safety FACs, EWA is confident that it and other B/ILT FACs have both the capability and expertise to process applications in conformance with the FCC’s rules and policies. As long as the technical criteria adopted by the Commission are followed and information is exchanged among FACs as it is for Sprint-vacated 800 MHz channels, B/ILT and public safety licensees will enjoy the appropriate level of system protection. For this reason, EWA recommends that the FCC clarify that the coordination rules for these six channels will mirror those applicable to Sprint-vacated spectrum; specifically, that all qualified FACs are permitted to process applications for any entity eligible to operate on these channels.” – Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com