Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, June 17, 2016

We now know who at least two of the FirstNet bidders are. In addition to the announcement by Rivada and its partners, Pacific Data Vision (PDV), now pdvWireless, which is already in the process of building out a nationwide near-mission-critical PTT network on spectrum in the 900-MHz band acquired from Sprint, has issued a public statement that it, too, has responded to the FirstNet RFP. PdvWireless did not announce any partners but it does not take much to piece together at least some of them. Morgan O’Brien and his friends from the Nextel network days are behind pdvWireless and where Morgan goes, Motorola and Sprint are usually right next to him.

Just for fun I went back to my weekly Public Safety Advocate blog dated September 25, 2014, and here is what I wrote about pdvWireless and Mr. O’Brien: “Dusting Off My Crystal Ball Just for Fun! By now most of you know that Morgan O’Brien, best known as a co-founder of Nextel and more, most recently involved with the Public Safety Spectrum Trust with his company Cyren Call, is back in the wireless arena once again. This time his company Pacific Data Vision (PDV) purchased 6 MHz of 900-MHz spectrum from Sprint. PDV intends to turn this spectrum into a nationwide, not quite mission-critical push-to-talk network for customers who truly value the push-to-talk services they enjoy using LMR, had when using Nextel, or are using Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon’s PTT service as well as any number of other PTT applications available today.

Morgan and his company are being pretty realistic when it comes to the number of potential customers and has plans to petition the FCC to permit LTE in what is really a 3X3 MHz spectrum holding, not a lot of spectrum for an LTE system. However, according to my crystal ball there is another shoe or even two or three that could be dropped. So let’s say PDV can quickly build out a nationwide PTT voice system in this spectrum while petitioning the FCC for LTE use. Now let’s suppose that over that same two years FirstNet makes some but not a lot of progress in its network deployment. By this time the presidential election is drawing near, everyone in Congress is looking for something to grab onto to show their success, and FirstNet is not a shining example of how things get done. So Morgan and his group, now with a quick and successful nationwide build under their belt, turn to the Public Safety community, and to Congress (he has been there before), and pitches taking over FirstNet. PDV will build, manage, and run the network, providing nationwide data services for Public Safety. PDV’s now nationwide PTT voice network can be the platform for mission-critical PTT over LTE and the 700-MHz band can remain reserved for data only.

Now we have a combination that is hard to beat: a proven track record, both data and mission-critical voice, and a company that can do everything that needs to be done quickly, including finding partners to strengthen its position with both secondary users and perhaps financial partnerships. Could it happen? Maybe, and from my vantage point the only group that could make it happen is one in which Morgan plays a role and, I am sure, involves others who want to see the network built and operational.”

So I got most of it wrong! First, pdvWireless has only a few cities up and running: Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Dallas/Houston, New York/New Jersey, and Philadelphia. However, according to the news releases, it is about to launch thirteen more metro areas. Next, Congress appears to be satisfied with the progress FirstNet is making. The last thing I was wrong about, and I am frankly glad I was wrong, is that during this past two years FirstNet has made a huge amount of progress, the RFP was issued, and responses received at the end of May. Further, FirstNet is really trying to keep on track to make an award by the end of November of this year. Continue reading

Public Interest Groups Call for Privacy, Openness in Internet Policy Platform

June 13, 2016–Free speech, universal access, competitive provider choice, privacy, transparency, and openness, or net neutrality, are the planks of the 2016 Internet policy platform released today by the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, and 13 other public interest organizations. “The internet has extraordinary potential to help drive social change and improve the lives of so many so quickly. But the internet’s benefits haven’t been evenly distributed. To ensure that the internet serves all of our communities—and doesn’t further inequality or discrimination—communications policies must be rooted in the principles of free speech, access, choice, privacy, transparency and openness,” the platform says.

The platform includes an appeal for “all candidates to support the policy goals outlined below, and to appoint people who will advance these principles and stand up for internet users and those still struggling to get online.”  The groups sent the platform “to the chairs of both parties and to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.”  They noted that the Democratic and Republican parties are currently in the process of drafting their own policy priorities. Continue reading

FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC) Investigating Changes to Radio Spectrum Noise Floor

The FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC) is investigating changes to the radio spectrum noise floor.  The FCC has issued a Public Notice requesting input to various questions surrounding this topic.  Comments are due August 11.


FTC, Florida Target Robocalling Operation

The Federal Trade Commission and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R.) have brought a complaint against an illegal robocalling operation, and convinced a federal district court to stop the operation – Life Management Services of Orange County LLC – from making illegal robocalls and selling its services pending an upcoming hearing. The FTC and Florida AG allege that company and its affiliates have been utilizing illegal robocalls and other deceptive practices in an effort to sell consumers bogus credit-card interest rate reduction and debt relief services. Calls were made to hundreds of thousands of consumers in the United States, including consumers whose names are on the federal do-not call list. The complaint alleges that the illegal scheme tricked consumers out of more than $15.6 million since at least January 2013.

“This is the latest effort by the FTC and our international, state, and federal law enforcement partners to stop illegal robocalling operations that harass consumers day and night with unwanted calls,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. According to the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the agencies charge Life Management and its various affiliates with violating the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.  The agencies are seeking a permanent injunction to ban the companies from operating, as well as refunds for the affected consumers. – Carrie DeLeon,

Courtesy TRDaily



NG 911 Coalition Announces Partners

June 14 2016–The NG911 NOW Coalition announced today five organizations that it said will serve as its first “partners” under a new program. They are the Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center at Texas A&M University, the NG911 Institute, the 911 Education Foundation, the National States Geographic Information Council, and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. When the coalition was announced in February (TRDaily, Feb. 23), organizers said the NG911 Institute was supporting the organization; the Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center was listed at the time as a supporter on the coalition’s website. The 911 Education Foundation is a research subsidiary of the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT), a founding coalition member.

Courtesy TRDaily



D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC Open Internet Order

June 14, 2016–In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today rejected challenges to the FCC’s 2015 open Internet order, upholding the Commission’s decision to reclassify broadband Internet access services (BIAS), including mobile broadband services, as telecommunications services subject to common carrier regulation under Title II of the Communications Act, as well as the order’s bright-line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, its “general conduct rule,” and its enhanced transparency rule.

The court also rejected challenges from pro–net neutrality parties that argued the FCC had improperly forborne from applying some provisions of Title II to BIAS providers. 

 In an opinion released this morning in “U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC” (consolidated cases beginning at 15-1063), Circuit Judges David S. Tatel and Sri Srinivasan wrote that the FCC’s conclusions about consumer perception—that users perceive BIAS as a service that “transmits messages unadulterated by computer processing” and “that consumers perceive broadband service as a standalone offering and as providing telecommunications”—“justify the Commission’s decision to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service.” Continue reading

Coalition Identifies Actions to Address Gaps to Timely NG-911 Deployment

June 13, 2016–The NG911 NOW Coalition today released a report proposing actions that can be taken to address gaps to nationwide next-generation 911 deployment in the areas of governance, funding, technology, operations, and education. The coalition said the strategies for addressing NG-911 deployment challenges will form the basis of a national action plan for NG-911 implementation that the coalition plans to release “in the coming months.”

While the coalition, through working groups, has tentatively prioritized actions that should be taken first, it says it wants input from public safety, industry, and other stakeholders. The coalition was launched in February (TRDaily, Feb. 23). Its goal is to push for nationwide NG-911 deployment by the end of 2020.

As for key recommendations of the coalition’s working groups, for governance there is a need to “[d]evelop legislation to support increased national and state-level NG9-1-1 leadership and support including a model regulatory framework to facilitate coordination between the local 9-1-1 authorities, state executive and legislative leadership and state regulators. This legislative effort would be closely tied to strategies focused on obtaining additional NG9-1-1 funding resources.

The key funding recommendation is to “[c]omplete a high-level cost estimate for deploying NG9-1-1 across the country, and secure additional funding for NG9-1-1 through federal legislation.”

As for technology and operations, the top recommendation is to “[d]evelop a comprehensive national NG9-1-1 implementation plan that addresses both state and regional deployment models, assists in defining the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders concerning all NG9-1-1 transitional and functional elements, and identifies an organization to lead the development of operational best practices for ESInet deployments.” Continue reading

pdvWireless Announces Submission of FirstNet Bid

June 13, 2006–pdvWireless, Inc., announced today that it submitted a proposal to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) on behalf of a consortium to build and operate a nationwide public safety broadband network. However, pdvWireless declined to release the names of any of its partners. pdvWireless became the second entity to publicly confirm the submission of a bid. Rivada Networks LLC also submitted a proposal (TRDaily, May 31), and last week it announced a number of its major partners (TRDaily, June 7).

There is speculation that other entities may have also submitted bids, including AT&T, Inc., and possibly Verizon Communications, Inc. Those carriers have declined to comment. FirstNet has confirmed that it received multiple proposals by a May 31 deadline, but it won’t discuss the identity of bidders. FirstNet plans to award a contract by Nov. 1.

Woodland Park, N.J.-based pdvWireless, a private wireless communications carrier, and the Enterprise Wireless Alliance have petitioned the FCC to realign the 900 megahertz band to allow pdvWireless, which acquired Sprint Corp.’s 900 MHz band licenses, to deploy a broadband network in a portion of that spectrum, giving priority access to utilities and other critical infrastructure industry entities (TRDaily, Nov. 18, 2014). The company also is launching private push-to-talk networks in major U.S. markets.

Top pdvWireless executives Morgan O’Brien, who is vice chairman, and Brian McAuley, who is chairman, are among the co-founders of Nextel Communications, Inc., (now part of Sprint). Mr. O’Brien’s first attempt to deploy a nationwide public safety broadband network failed with Cyren Call Communications Corp. Continue reading

FirstNet Weekly Update to the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) – June 13, 2016

FirstNet News

The PSAC met on June 6 in San Diego, California, with the morning session open to the public and available via webcast. During the public session, Board members and FirstNet leadership provided updates on the FirstNet Roadmap, identifying completed and upcoming project milestones. Additionally, PSAC Task Team Chairs provided updates on the progress of the Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) and Local Control task teams ahead of their final recommendations to FirstNet this summer. The PSAC Working Group Chairs spoke about the activities of the Early Builders and Tribal working groups, and PSAC Chair Harlin McEwen announced the upcoming formation of the Federal Working Group, which will provide an opportunity to further engage federal public safety stakeholders. The afternoon’s closed sessions featured updates from the FirstNet Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program, as well as discussion of state/territory and federal consultation efforts, the State Plan process, and potential future PSAC taskings. Members expressed interest in future taskings related to video streaming policies and the addition of a FirstNet presence in the nationwide Communications Unit governance structure currently in development.  

Thank you to those PSAC members who were able to attend the PSAC meeting last week in San Diego. A special thank you to those who participated in video interviews for future FirstNet media products with our Communications team. If you would like to work with our Communications team on guest blogs or other media pieces, please contact Kyle Richardson at Continue reading

S&T Press Release: DHS S&T Under Secretary Dr. Reginald Brothers to Deliver Remarks at 2016 Smart Cities Innovation Summit

WASHINGTON – On June 13, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under Secretary for Science and Technology (S&T), Dr. Reginald Brothers will deliver keynote remarks at the 2016 Smart Cities Innovation Summit, which brings together over 200 Cities and public and private innovators to discuss innovative solutions and best practices for preparing for the future.

Dr. Brothers will discuss how advanced technologies, like the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing the security landscape and how government is making research, development and deployment investments to enhance security and resiliency.

Monday, June 13

9:00 AM CST         DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers will deliver keynote remarks on understanding the importance of security with advanced IoT capabilities at the 2016 Smart Cities Innovation Summit.

Austin Convention Center 500 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, Texas

Visit for event details.