Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 12, 2016

Fact Checking:  During my last few years of high school and first years of college I worked for my father who was a pioneer in the use of computers for typesetting. I always have to laugh because his company was called ROCAPPI, the longest acronym I have ever seen. It stood for “Research on Computers applications in the Printing and Publishing Industry.” The reason I go back so far in time is because when I was working for him I came to know some of the people at Reader’s Digest and was really intrigued that there were a number of “fact checking” experts in their offices. These fact checkers’ job was to verify that all of the content it published was as close to 100% accurate as possible. I bring this up this week because it is obvious that The Atlantic has no fact checkers on its staff.

If it did, it never would have published a recent article by Steven Brill entitled, “The $47 Billion Network That’s Already Obsolete.” The article purports to be about FirstNet but the only thing about the story that is correct is, in fact, that Mr. Brill spelled the word FirstNet correctly. I won’t waste a lot of keystrokes on my rebuttal of this weird account of what he thinks happened, and it is obvious that he did no research nor did he talk to any of those who worked on what is now FirstNet for the many years before Congress created FirstNet. If he had he would have found out many things including that Public Safety interoperability issues pre-dated 9/11 by more than thirty years, that at the time FirstNet was being discussed the spectrum being sought to augment existing Public Safety broadband spectrum or the “D” block was valued at less than $3 Billion, and that the cost of building the network beyond the allocated $7 Billion from proceeds of spectrum auctions was to be borne by a partner who would build the network and operate as a partner to FirstNet. In return, the partner will be able to make use of excess spectrum on a secondary basis, which will provide the partner with a new income stream.

I was pleased to see that the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPTSC) issued a press release on August 10, 2016. This release was written and approved by some of the best of the best in the NPSTC organization as well as the chair of the FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee, Chief (Ret) Harlin McEwen. Had Mr. Brill bothered to contact any of the authors of the press release, especially Chief McEwen who is known as the Father of FirstNet by his peers, Mr. Brill would have, I am sure, written a very different article. Or perhaps not, as it appears his writing style (from what I can gather from the Internet) has been one of writing articles in a negative light with little or no fact checking. The article can be found at http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/DCS and the NPSTC press release can be found at https://blog.npstc.org/2016/08/10/public-safety-leaders-respond-to-critical-article-about-firstnet-in-the-atlantic/.

A few quotes from the NPSTC press release are in order, and I hope the editor-in-chief and the publisher of The Atlantic has not only heard about the press release but read it. The first paragraph of the press release states, “The very critical article relative to FirstNet published in the September 2016 issue of The Atlantic is far from reality and has generated a lot of discussion among the public safety community. As most public safety officials know, in addition to being inaccurate, the author failed to capture public safety’s longstanding advocacy efforts and hard work toward a dedicated, reliable mission critical wireless broadband network. In fact, there is not one single quote or testimonial from a public safety representative in the story.” Another quote, which is two paragraphs in length, I think sums up the Public Safety community’s view of both the author and the publication that would publish this article without any fact checking having been done. The Brill says, “FirstNet is in such disarray that 15 years after the problem it is supposed to solve was identified (the September 11, 2011 lack of interoperability), it is years from completion-and it may never be completed at all.” What a ridiculous and false statement. Congress did not authorize a solution until 2012 and since then tremendous progress has been made. FirstNet published a Request for Proposals (RFP) in January 2016 with a deadline for responses in May. Publicly issued statements by three companies/consortiums indicate they have responded to the RFP.

FirstNet is reportedly in the process of reviewing the proposals with a goal of issuing a contract by November 1, 2016. The Public Safety community is facing a number of issues and trying to deal with elected officials who do not understand the difference between a Public Safety radio and a cell phone. Further, elected officials do not understand that during incidents the commercial cellular networks can be up and running yet not accessible due to so many people trying to make a call at once. Public Safety needs this network. FirstNet and a partner will make it happen, and yes, perhaps it has taken longer than it should have, mostly because of gobs of federal red-tape, but the end result will save lives and property. Lives of not only first responders but the citizens they serve. Someday that might even include Steven Brill. Next week is APCO in Orlando. I will be among the missing and my weekly Public Safety Advocate will not be published next Friday. We will be in Maine with my sister and her family and my mother to celebrate her 99th birthday. The PSA will return the following week and should be full of new about happenings at the APCO Conference. Back in two weeks! Andy

APCO Responds to Subversive Article on FirstNetFireEngineering.com via Google Alerts Aug 12 10:25 As the world’s largest association of public safety communications …

FirstNet article draws angry responseCritical Comms via Google Alerts Aug 12 08:25 Senior members of the US public safety communications sector have condemned an appraisal of the FirstNet project, published in The Atlantic.

FirstNet Law Enforcement AdviserNational Public Safety Telecommunications Council – npstc via Google Alerts Aug 12 05:00 The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has hired Mike Bostic as its senior law enforcement adviser. Mr. Bostic worked for the Los Angeles …

FCC, Muni Broadband Lose Big at the 6th CircuitIT Business Edge via Google Alerts Aug 11 19:20 It is widely believed that carriers lobby very hard at the state level to put such laws in place as a way to reduce competition even if they don’t end up …

APCO 2022 Annual Conference & Expo – Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials …Contractor Registry via Google Alerts Aug 11 17:25 APCO 2022 Annual Conference & Expo – Association of Public-Safety …

FirstNet: Great Article with Q&A on Proposed SystemEmergency Management via Google Alerts Aug 11 16:25 I came across Building the public safety communications network, which addresses the planned build-out of FirstNet. If you are just starting to come up …

Google Eyes Wireless Fiber Tests in 24 CitiesPCMag UK via Google Alerts Aug 11 16:20 Google has big plans for its super-fast fiber Internet. According to an FCC filing published last week, the Web giant plans to test wireless broadband …

FirstNet reviews ICAM and Local Control issuesCritical Comms via Google Alerts Aug  5 04:30 The Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) of the US public safety mobile …

FCC decision’s impact on Wilson’s Greenlight ‘unclear,’ exec saysxmlpush Aug 12 12:45 A federal court ruling backing a North Carolina law restricting a local government’s ability to provide fiber Internet service could have big consequences in Edgecombe County, where a Wilson-based high-speed offering has been expanding. This week, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC overstepped its authority in 2015 when it decided to pre-empt a North Carolina law that prevents municipalities from offering broadband service outside their boundaries. And that decision…

2009 Fixed Narrowband Services Market ReviewStakeholders – Ofcom via Google Alerts Aug 12 11:15 Review of the fixed narrowband services wholesale markets. Consultation published: 15|09|2009; Statement published: 05|02|2010 …

MobileGuard Addresses SMS Compliance Challenges at APCO 2016 ConferenceYahoo Finance via Google Alerts Aug 12 10:35 Compliance and transparency are critical to public safety agencies, and …

Google wants to expand wireless broadband testing started in KCxmlpush Aug 12 09:45 Google Fiber wants to expand the wireless high-speed broadband testing it already has started in Kansas City to 24 other cities nationwide, Business Insider reports. The company’s filing with the Federal Communications Commission seeks to set up “experimental transmitters” at as many as 24 locations for 24 months, the report says. The effort would use newly available spectrum and is in its early stages, a spokesman told Business Insider. Google Fiber rolled out high-speed…

Commerce Department to Host Internet of Things Workshop in SeptemberFashion Innovation Alliance via Google Alerts Aug 12 07:50 The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host a workshop on the Internet of Things (IoT) …

Motorola Solutions cogging up for transforming VR for public safety and rescue operationsThe TeCake via Google Alerts Aug 12 07:30 On August 15, 2016, Motorola will officially represent its Virtual command center at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) …

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals slaps down FCC municipal networks rulingLightwave Aug 12 06:31 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, OH, struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) effort to contravene state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that restrict the efforts of municipalities to build their own high-speed broadband networks. The three judges who reviewed the case concluded that Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 does not give the FCC authority to set aside such state laws.

APCO says what many in public safety believe, calling story about FirstNetMyinforms via Google Alerts Aug 12 05:00 … that have early-builder public-safety LTE networkswhen I mention FirstNet. Indeed, FirstNet and the public-safety community will have a big job in …

House Passes Anti-Net Neutrality Bill That Would Limit FCC’s Authority To Regulate Broadband …OOYUZ via Google Alerts Aug 11 21:45 The U.S. House of Representatives voted 241 to 173 for the passing of H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act. The bill …

Court Says FCC Can’t Stop States from Blocking City Broadband EffortsNewsFactor Aug 11 21:00 A federal appeals court yesterday ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overstepped its bounds when it issued an order to preempt state rules limiting the development of municipal broadband networks in Tennessee and North Carolina. The decision was welcomed by the telecom industry, which has in some places fought against city-led efforts to expand broadband services to more people. Supporters of local broadband expressed disappointment and called the ruling a setback for expanding Internet…

Municipal Broadband? Federal Court Tells FCC ‘No’Government Technology via Google Alerts Aug 11 20:30 The U.S. Court of Appeals told the Federal Communications Commission it was overstepping its …

RSGB Deeply Disappointed in Regulator’s Attitude toward Amateur Radio in 5 GHz ProceedingARRL via Google Alerts Aug 11 18:20 The proceeding (or consultation) proposes an expansion of the 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands that could affect so-called weak-signal narrowband and …

Comba Telecom Unveils Bi-Directional RF Amplifier for Public Safety Sector at APCO 2016WOWK via Google Alerts Aug 11 17:55 Designed specifically for the public safety sector, the CriticalPoint BDA is a wireless network device that amplifies the RF signals and rebroadcasts it …

Spillman to introduce new CAD map, mobile app at APCO ConferenceGISCafe via Google Alerts Aug 11 17:25 … its public safety offerings as a sponsor at the upcoming Association of Public-Safety Communication Officials’ (APCO) Annual Conference and Expo, …

U.S. Court Blocks FCC Bid to Expand Public BroadbandNew York Times Aug 11 16:00

Local Electric Companies Find Ways Around Broadband RegulationsMeriTalk via Google Alerts Aug 11 13:25 Although the FCC was told it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the regulations …

Court Rules FCC Cannot Overrule State Laws Limiting City-Run BroadbandReason.com Full Feed Aug 11 11:45 Potential pork projects hardest hit.

NB-IoT modulesU-Blox via Google Alerts Aug 11 11:35 u-blox low speed narrowband IoT modules provide low power consumption and extended coverage to meet the growth in today’s Internet of Things …

New: NTIA Data and Analysis on State of the Urban/Rural Digital DivideInfoDocket via Google Alerts Aug 11 11:15 From the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): While 75 percent of Americans reported using the Internet in July 2015, …

American Gas Association hails FCC for new regulations on emergency text messagingDaily Energy Insider via Google Alerts Aug 11 10:30 It also maintains the FCC’s mission to protect customers from unwanted communications by ensuring contact is essential to public safety and energy …

Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things WorkshopFederal Register via Google Alerts Aug 11 07:50 The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will convene a workshop on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s …

AT&T Statement on Court Decision Overturning FCC on Muni BroadbandAT&T Public Policy Blog via Google Alerts Aug 11 06:25 Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on August 10, 2016 at 2:59 pm. The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of …

Motorola Solutions Envisions Virtual Reality Transforming Public SafetyNewsroom – Motorola Solutions via Google Alerts Aug 10 23:25 15-16 at the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 2016, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Airbus readies itself for the broadband critical communications futureWireless magazine via Google Alerts Aug  6 02:20 I’ve not seen any utility attempt a national network yet, but they are interested in broadband island overlays,’ he noted. Beyond public safety

Does Net Neutrality Expand Broadband To Ruralbovinity.xyz via Google Alerts Aug  6 01:25 FCC votes in favor of net neutrality; makes broadband Internet a public utility. 2015-02-24 …