Much is being said and asked about the use of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to help find the suspect for the recent New York/New Jersey bombings. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has publicly bragged on WEA, and said the city will use it again. Some media reports tout this as the first use of WEA for a manhunt. And questions have come up from citizens who want to know why the WEA message didn’t include an image of the suspect. In our opinion, the use of WEA for this particular situation is brag-worthy. Questions About WEA Use in NY/NJ Bombings
The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) Radio Programming Compatibility Requirements (PCR) Working Group is working to automate the Programming and Management (PAM) tool, now in its third version. NPSTC released the PAM tool, a spreadsheet designed to import and export Project 25 (P25) programming data, in 2014. The PCR Working Group is hoping to automate the process of populating numerous vendors’ data across the nomenclature translating spreadsheet. NPSTC Works to Automate PAM P25 Radio Programming Tool
911 dispatchers are not clerical workers (9/20) – The Hill
Dispatchers are critical members of the first responder community who use their specialized skills and training to save lives and keep communities safe. However, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has recently proposed that the position of “Public Safety Telecommunicator” be classified as an “Office and Administrative Support Occupation.” Such a classification is more than just grossly inaccurate. It diminishes the vital role dispatchers play and perpetuates a stereotype that impacts the resources available to dispatchers and 911 systems, particularly at a time when rapid technological changes are increasing demands on dispatchers. 911 dispatchers are not clerical workers
FirstNet was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last week for the National Association of State EMS Officials’ (NASEMSO) Fall 2016 Meeting. FirstNet Board members Sue Swenson and Kevin McGinnis led a meeting and discussion with the NASEMSO Board of Directors. Kevin also presented alongside outgoing NASEMSO President and PSAC member Paul Patrick during a break out session, focusing their remarks on the FirstNet State Plan process and ensuring that EMS stakeholders are active participants. NASEMSO also considered and approved a resolution of support for FirstNet.
Also last week at the Competitive Carriers Association Annual Convention in Seattle, Washington, FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth presented an update on FirstNet to an audience of vendors from across the wireless industry. FirstNet also hosted a booth at the conference for the first time. Most attendees were aware of basic information about FirstNet, and their interest focused on FirstNet’s timeline. Continue reading
On September 27, from 1-2 p.m. ET, join the DHS S&T Office of Public-Private Partnerships in a Facebook virtual town hall to learn and discuss how S&T collaborates with industry. This virtual town hall is an opportunity for industry to provide S&T with feedback on how we can improve our partnership and engagement efforts to make it easier and more efficient to work with us. You can also follow us at @dhsscitech on Twitter for more ways to connect. Follow this link for more details!
New York City officials sent a special wireless alert to millions of people on Monday asking for their help locating Ahmad Khan Rahami — but they weren’t able include a photo of the suspected bomber. That’s because federal regulations keep emergency alerts, which resemble texts but travel on a separate system, from having web links or photos, something the phone companies say is necessary to avoid overwhelming their systems. Emergency officials want to be able to embed photos and internet addresses linking to more information. Coincidentally, the Federal Communications Commission next week is to consider steps that would expand message formats for at least some emergencies. Read more here: New York Bombing Phone Alert Couldn’t Share Suspect’s Mug Shot
Radio channels used by local law enforcement and first responders will become encrypted by the end of the year, a Sioux City law enforcement official said Monday. The change will come as local agencies upgrade radio equipment in order to join Iowa’s statewide radio system by 2017. Sioux City Police Capt. Marti Reilly on Monday did not specify a date for the change, but he said it has come sooner than expected. His comments came after the Sioux City Council voted to fast-track the purchase of nearly $2 million in new radio equipment to take advantage of available discounts. Read more here: Police: Radio traffic to be encrypted by end of year
September 20, 2016–FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel today called on local telecom advocates and officials to think of innovative ways to help bridge the “homework gap” that exists in many communities, and said that there should be more support from the federal level of their efforts. Commissioner Rosenworcel explained in her keynote today during the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) annual meeting taking place this week in Austin that seven in 10 teachers assign homework that requires an Internet connection, but one in three households does not have broadband access at home. According to the Commissioner, there are 29 million households in the country with school-age children and five million of them have no Internet access.
The “shared economic future” of the country depends on figuring out how to close this homework gap,” Ms. Rosenworcel said. “Efforts to improve digital equity are taking place locally and people like me in Washington can take a cue from what you do.” Continue reading
September 20, 2016–FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today that he expects FCC action by the end of this year on a data roaming notice of proposed rulemaking and an item related to Phase II of the Mobility Fund, and he reiterated that movement is also expected in that timeframe in the agency’s business data services proceeding. Mr. Wheeler’s remarks came in a keynote speech this afternoon at the Competitive Carriers Association’s 2016 Annual Convention in Seattle.
Mr. Wheeler said the FCC’s 2011 data roaming order “was a significant step to preserve roaming for the Internet age, but our roaming rules are due for a review.
“In the past two years, multiple providers have filed formal complaints and requests for mediation alleging that data roaming rates offered by larger providers are commercially unreasonable,” he added. “Because of high rates, we know that some smaller providers have” imposed restrictions on customers’ data traffic, he added. “The Commission has helped successfully mediate specific roaming disputes, but there are reasons for considering further action,” Mr. Wheeler said. He noted that the current framework for voice roaming is “just and reasonable” while the standard for data roaming is “commercially reasonable,” and that the FCC committed in its open Internet order to revisit the data roaming regime. Continue reading
September 20, 2016-The state of Alabama has issued a request for proposals (RFPs) seeking bids to build and operate a public safety broadband network in the state if it decides to opt out of having the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) partner build its radio access network (RAN).Responses to the RFP, which was issued through the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), are due Oct. 14.
The RFP notes that the governor will have 90 days after getting a state plan from FirstNet to decide whether to have FirstNet’s partner build the RAN in his or her state, or to pursue an alternative plan. “If the Governor of Alabama decides to opt-in to FirstNet’s Plan for the State of Alabama, a contract may not be awarded as a result of this RFP,” it said.
The RFP noted that the Spectrum Act, which Congress passed as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, doesn’t require opt-out states “to return the profits from any … spectrum leases to FirstNet. Rather, the Spectrum Act explicitly authorizes states to use ‘revenue gained by the State from such a leasing arrangement’ for the purpose of ‘constructing, maintaining, operating, or improving the radio access network of the State.’” FirstNet’s legal interpretation is that states that assume responsibility for building their own RANs have to reinvest fees revenues into the system. “Regardless of whether a state opts into FirstNet, a state, local government, or eligible nongovernmental organization (‘NGO’) may also retain for their use any revenues generated from their operation of a public safety network using the 12 MHz of dedicated narrowband frequencies,” the RFP added. Continue reading