Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, May 26, 2016

Opting Out of FirstNet Each state has the right to opt out of the plan FirstNet and the selected partner vendor presents to it. However, it the state does opt out, it is then required to jump through a number of hoops in order to be able to build out its portion of the network. First it must submit a plan to the FCC for approval, then both the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and FirstNet become involved in the process. The state has to negotiate a lease for the spectrum with FirstNet and then the NTIA has to approve a grant to help fund the state’s build. Opting out is a complex process with a lot of room for delays and problems. There is nothing I can find in the law that says a state can simply sit back and do nothing. In fact, it appears as though FirstNet will have the right to build in a state that either does not meet the opt-out criteria or merely decides not to be part of the network. All of this seems like a convoluted way to basically punish a state for not being part of FirstNet.

Let’s be clear here, this is not FirstNet’s set of rules, it is not even NTIA’s set of rules. Rather, this is how Congress crafted Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that was signed into law. It is odd to me that members of Congress who are elected by the people in their states included this type of wording. Perhaps they understood that the network would better serve the Public Safety community if it were all one network, operated by a single entity, with the funds flowing to the RFP partner and to FirstNet to provide both profit for the RFP partner and funding to expand the network or add more coverage over time. The principal issues I see that could derail the opt-out process start with the FCC having to approve each and every state’s plan and to ensure the Radio Access Network or RAN (the cell sites, basically) is fully compatible with the FirstNet network for true interoperability. It is not clear how long the FCC will take to review each of the state’s requests.

To begin with, the FCC is long on attorneys and short on technical expertise. If it elects to fully use its powers under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), it could choose to have a separate Public Notice and comment period for each state’s plan that is presented, the process could take months to complete. And FCC approval is only the first of three steps a state must go through. What if the FCC and FirstNet’s opinions differ on a state’s RAN architecture and the FCC approves it but FirstNet has an issue with it? Or the other way around? There is nothing in the legislation to address a possible stalemate, which could add more time. FirstNet holds the license for the spectrum, which is issued by the FCC, and the NTIA has no jurisdiction over the FirstNet spectrum. The NTIA only has control over federal government spectrum, not FirstNet spectrum even though FirstNet is technically an “independent authority” under the auspices of the NTIA and the Department of Commerce. So the first set of delays for a state to move forward in opt-out mode could be with the FCC’s approval. Next are the negotiations with FirstNet for a spectrum lease. Continue reading

Pleading Cycle Set on Recon Petitions

Oppositions are due 15 days after “Federal Register” publication and replies are due 10 days after that in ET docket 13-49 in response to petitions for reconsideration filed by two major automaker groups and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA). The parties want the FCC to reconsider portions of an order it released in March that relaxed the out-of-band emissions (OOBE) limits for U-NII-3 devices in the 5.725-5.85 gigahertz band but declined to increase the permitted OOBE emissions limits for the 5.15-5.25 GHz U-NII-1 band (TRDaily, March 2).

Courtesy TRDaily

 

NTIA Schedules Facial Recognition Stakeholder Meeting

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has scheduled a June 15 meeting of the multistakeholder process to develop a privacy code of conduct on the commercial use of facial recognition technology, according to a notice in today’s “Federal Register.”  The meeting is scheduled to run from 1 to 5 p.m. at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue, NW.  It will be open to the public and will be webcast.

Company Says FCC Should Consider Using SAS in 4.9 GHz Band

May 19, 2016–The FCC should consider employing a spectrum access system (SAS) to maximize use of the underutilized 4.9 gigahertz band, Federated Wireless, Inc., said in an ex parte filing today in WP docket 07-100, PS docket 06-229, and WT docket 06-150. “In the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (‘CBRS’), the Commission adopted an innovative three-tier regulatory framework, administered by a SAS, to enable spectrum sharing among different classes of users while providing interference protection to incumbents in the 3550-3700 MHz band,” Federated noted in its filing.

“Federated Wireless notes that, as is the case in the CBRS [Citizens Broadband Radio Service], the 4.9 GHz band currently supports operations by disparate users, including radio astronomy, naval training operations, public safety and critical infrastructure operations,” the filing added. “However, the 4.9 GHz band is also underutilized in significant portions of the country and, as such, is a prime candidate for sharing spectrum among between incumbent and newly authorized commercial or private operations.”

Federated said that its “attached presentation provides a hypothetical regulatory framework for the 4.9 GHz band, conceptually very similar to the CBRS structure, leveraging SAS technology to enable spectrum sharing. In such a framework, radio astronomy would receive the highest levels of protection, akin to the protection afforded to incumbent FSS operations in the CBRS. Public safety and critical infrastructure users would be licensed in the second tier, providing them guaranteed spectrum access and replacing today’s inefficient manual coordination processes with frequency coordination and interference management through the SAS, in real time.

“In the third tier, commercial or private operators could utilize the 4.9 GHz band to provide wireless broadband services,” the filing added. “The Wireless Innovation Forum (‘WINNF’)—a cross-industry stakeholder group made up of wireless operators, equipment manufacturers, incumbent satellite users, and SAS operators—has developed, in close consultation with the Commission and observers including the Department of Defense and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (‘NTIA’), CBRS industry standards. These standards specify processes that are useful for a potential sharing regime in the 4.9 GHz band, including: communications between a SAS and radios; communications among different SASs; and, of particular importance in the 4.9 GHz context, ensuring the security of the shared use ecosystem.

“Federated Wireless encourages the Commission to take note of the significant standards work that has been done for the CBRS and find ways to utilize those learnings to support sharing in the 4.9 GHz band which will enhance utilization of this valuable spectrum,” the company added. “Although there are many similarities between the CBRS and the 4.9 GHz band, Federated Wireless also urges the Commission to consider the differences between the bands that may impact the business case for prospective SAS administrators and commercial or private operators at 4.9 GHz. For instance, whereas the CBRS encompasses 150 MHz of spectrum, the 4.9 GHz band is only 50 MHz wide, which may raise bandwidth and band plan concerns for prospective operators. The use of overlapping channels in a Wi-Fi-like band plan could mitigate such concerns. In addition, 3GPP Bands 42 and 43, which include the CBRS spectrum, are internationally harmonized, leading to widespread equipment availability and scale-induced cost efficiencies. The 4.9 GHz band, however, is not internationally harmonized, and thus does not offer similar scale efficiencies on equipment. The broad use of 802.11y technology among 4.9 GHz users may mitigate this concern as well.”

Federated also noted that “to operate in the 4.9 GHz band, a SAS administrator would have to collect subscription fees for its services from users in public safety, critical infrastructure and the general access tier. Such services to public safety users can include detecting the presence of naval training operations and coordinating temporary spectrum repacking, similar to how the SAS works with the Environmental Sensing Capability (‘ESC’) in the CBRS, and deconflicting overlapping interjurisdictional spectrum uses, similar to how the SAS manages inter-PAL [priority access licensee] interference in the CBRS. Although public safety and critical infrastructure users may raise concerns about paying such fees, the efficiencies these users will gain from automation of existing, inefficient manual process for frequency coordination will likely more than outweigh any such costs. In addition, as use of the band increases, these efficiencies will increase and further offset the cost of subscribing to a SAS’s services.” – Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

 

Pritzker Applauds Multistakeholder Effort on Drone Issues

Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker issued a statement today applauding the results of a multistakeholder process that wrapped up yesterday with mostly good reviews by participants for a combined draft compilation of voluntary best practices for unmanned aircraft systems covering privacy, transparency, and accountability issues (TRDaily, May 18).  The multistakeholder process was convened by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration last year to look at drone-related issues.  “I want to congratulate the hard-working stakeholders who reached consensus on privacy, transparency and accountability best practices related to private and commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems,” Ms. Pritzker said.  “As the President recognized when he directed NTIA to convene this process, these best practices can help promote Commerce priorities by allowing the industry to grow, develop and innovate while helping to build consumer trust.”

Courtesy TRDaily

 

FCC Reminds 700 MHz Licenses of Deadlines

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a public notice today reminding “certain 700 MHz (Lower A Block, B Block, and E Block, and Upper C Block) licensees of upcoming filing deadlines for construction notifications and performance status reports. The Bureau also updates the process for filing electronic maps in the shapefile format.”

 

FirstNet Weekly Update to the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) – May 23, 2016

FirstNet News

Kenzie Capece, Senior Outreach Advisor, joins FirstNet from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC).  Kenzie led multiple governance, education, and outreach efforts for state and local public safety.  Prior to her Federal roles, Kenzie was a consultant on public safety grants, infrastructure protection, and homeland security policy for DHS for several years.  She is based in Reston, VA and can be reached at kenzie.capece@firstnet.gov or (202) 768-2542.

FirstNet continued its participation in State Governance Body Consultation Meetings last week with presentations on May 19 in Colorado and Nebraska.  In Colorado, the FirstNet team answered questions from over 40 attendees, including local public safety and elected officials, on a variety of topics such as deployment timelines, quality assurance plans, coverage objectives, and rural coverage.

In Nebraska, over 25 attendees representing multiple disciplines engaged in conversations on the State Plan process and how to get more agencies involved in the Nebraska outreach efforts.  The attendees also asked questions about the future of deployables on the network and the conditions in which they can be used.  The Nebraska Public Safety Broadband Planning Project Working Group members discussed the current process for data devices training, as well as how to establish a quality of service, priority and preemption (QPP) process for their users.

FirstNet has now completed 14 Governance Body Consultation Meetings.

FirstNet continued its metropolitan engagement strategy last week with a meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.  More than 40 officials from the Atlanta Police Department, Atlanta Fire Rescue, and neighboring public safety agencies engaged in an interactive discussion with FirstNet and the Georgia SPOC on the key features of the network like prioritization and cybersecurity.  In addition, FirstNet and Atlanta officials discussed the city’s Video Integration Center and how FirstNet could help officers in the field receive data from this center. Continue reading

FCC Reminds 700 MHz Licensees of Deadlines

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a public notice today reminding “certain 700 MHz (Lower A Block, B Block, and E Block, and Upper C Block) licensees of upcoming filing deadlines for construction notifications and performance status reports. The Bureau also updates the process for filing electronic maps in the shapefile format.”

Pritzker Applauds Multistakeholder Effort on Drone Issues

Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker issued a statement today applauding the results of a multistakeholder process that wrapped up yesterday with mostly good reviews by participants for a combined draft compilation of voluntary best practices for unmanned aircraft systems covering privacy, transparency, and accountability issues (TRDaily, May 18).  The multistakeholder process was convened by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration last year to look at drone-related issues.  “I want to congratulate the hard-working stakeholders who reached consensus on privacy, transparency and accountability best practices related to private and commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems,” Ms. Pritzker said.  “As the President recognized when he directed NTIA to convene this process, these best practices can help promote Commerce priorities by allowing the industry to grow, develop and innovate while helping to build consumer trust.”

Courtesy TRDaily