Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, September 8, 2016

New Hampshire Update: A Rivada Networks press release indicates that the State of New Hampshire has moved forward and awarded what is being called a no cost contract for building out the FirstNet spectrum in that state. This contract would only become effective in the event the governor chooses not to accept the FirstNet State Plan (not yet finalized or released by FirstNet). This, of course, is the state’s choice, though it is difficult to understand why the governor and executive council would prematurely close the door on their future options relative to FirstNet.

Forewarned is Forearmed: One item in the contract that I pointed out last week is very disturbing and that is the section that indicates the contractor (Rivada in this case) will assist the state in working with the FCC to convert the existing 700-MHz Land Mobile Radio (LMR) channels licensed to the state, to additional broadband spectrum. As mentioned, this move would end up causing a number of problems for the surrounding states in terms of interference, interoperability, and spectrum that is still needed for LMR services throughout the nation. Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2012 does provide for the possibility of conversion of the existing 700-MHz LMR spectrum to broadband use but I am not sure exactly what Congress had in mind when it added this provision to the law.

However, if and when this transition occurs, it needs to be nationwide and it needs to be something the Public Safety community wants. It could also be that the New Hampshire award and that particular statement in the contract are a pre-cursor of things to come. Suppose, for example, the same company that won the New Hampshire contract won the FirstNet contract. Suppose it then convinced Congress (using its newly acquired political clout) to repurpose the entire 700-MHz Public Safety band and fold it into FirstNet so it could have secondary access to a lot more spectrum than the 20-MHz of FirstNet’s licensed spectrum.

We have already seen what could happen when members of Congress are persuaded to make decisions without the technical expertise to make them more intelligently. I refer, of course, to the requirement, also in the Act, that the eleven major markets that are today employing vacant TV channels (T-band) for additional voice communications systems will have to return that spectrum to the FCC in a few years. In many cases there is no additional spectrum for these agencies to be moved to nor any funding to make it happen even if there were spectrum. This could then lead to making broadband the primary form of Public Safety communications. However, this determination will not be made by the Public Safety community when it is ready, but rather by a vendor and a political system that does not require a technical assessment or consideration before something is passed into law. After all, while the FCC knows the issues, its funding comes from Congress, too.

I hope I am way off base but I still have to wonder why a state with 1.3 million people and an average population per square mile of 147 truly needs access to more than 20 MHz of prime broadband spectrum for its Public Safety community. Of course the winning partner for FirstNet is entitled to a good return on its investment, and no one will fault any of the bidders for that, but at what cost to Public Safety users who are the ultimate and most important customers for this network. I also have to wonder if a vendor believes it needs more spectrum, why then did it not take part in the 600-MHz auction where the spectrum will become available and not at the expense of the Public Safety community. My recommendation, for what it is worth, is to leave the 700-MHz LMR spectrum intact. When and if it can be converted for broadband use, the Public Safety community, FirstNet, and the FCC should make that determination, not a vendor. Andrew Seybold

IAFC Votes to Support FirstNetFirehouse.com via Google Alerts Sep  8 17:50 … National Association of State EMS Officials to help build the nationwide broadband network dedicated to the mission requirements of public safety…

New Hampshire approves contract with Rivada Networks, but state official insists no FirstNet opt …Urgent Communications via Google Alerts Sep  8 13:30 … build a public-safety LTE radio-access network (RAN) throughout the state, …

FirstNet board approves $6.58bn budget ahead of contract decisionCapacity Media via Google Alerts Sep  1 06:30 The remaining $6.5 billion will be invested in to the building of FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety broadband network when deployment thresholds are …

Procedures for Commission Review of State Opt-Out Requests from the FirstNet Radio Access …ACD Telecom via Google Alerts Sep  1 02:30 Implementing a Nationwide, Broadband, Interoperable Public Safety Network in the 700 MHz Band PS Docket No. 06-229. Service Rules for the …

FirstNet Making Progress Towards Nationwide Public Safety Broadband NetworkHSToday via Google Alerts Sep  8 13:30 The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) took another step closer to the implementation of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network …

US spectrum auction falls short by, oh, you know, $66bn thanks to tightwad mobile giantsThe Register Sep  1 06:00 Back to the drawing board for TV airwave sell-off – The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will have to change its plans for the 600MHz radio spectrum auction for mobile broadband ” after the latest stage of bidding raised just $22.4bn of an $88bn goal.

FCC commissioner pushes Metro on Wi-FiThe Hill via Google Alerts Sep  8 14:50 As a not infrequent rider of the D.C. Metro system, as someone whose family uses the system, and as someone responsible for ensuring public safety …

Republicans gear up for fight against internet transitionPolitico via Google Alerts Sep  8 06:10 The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced the transition plan in 2014, saying it would …

APCONorsat International Inc via Google Alerts Sep  8 01:25 APCO 2016 is the premiere event for public safety and you could see that with all the representatives and government officials in attendance like …

Rivada Networks Wins New Hampshire Public Safety Broadband ContractITbriefing.net via Google Alerts Sep  7 18:21 Under the contract, Rivada will develop a radio access network (RAN) plan for the state to compare with FirstNets public-safety broadband state …

RF Industries Joins Safer Buildings Coalition for Public-Safety DASmccmag.com via Google Alerts Sep  6 22:10 FCC Denies Application for Review of UHF PLMR Licenses …

Ninth Circuit’s Rejection of FTC Authority Over Throttling Could Have Far Reaching Implications …The National Law Review via Google Alerts Sep  6 18:20 Indeed, a key issue leading up to the 2015 Open Internet Order was whether the FCC could and should reclassify wired and mobile broadband s …

Task Force on Optimal Public Safety Answering Point ArchitectureBenton Foundation via Google Alerts Sep  6 16:55 Task Force on Optimal Public Safety Answering Point Architecture Federal Communications Commission September 23, 2016 1:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m..

FCC, America lose big on municipal broadbandDaily Kos Sep  5 15:45 The Federal Communications Commission has decided not to appeal a court ruling that says states can impose laws restricting localities from creating public broadband services. The FCC voted to block states from imposing these restrictions back in February 2015 and the states sued, winning in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The cities that were seeking to expand municipal broadband networks”Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina”were also involved in the case….

Narrowband IoT in the cloudEricsson via Google Alerts Sep  1 11:00 An early proof of concept implementation of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) has been demonstrated by researchers from Aalto University and Ericsson …

NTIA Releases Broadband Buy-In ToolkitMultichannel News via Google Alerts Sep  1 06:15 The National Telecommunications & Information Administration has released new guidelines for getting communities and other stakeholders to buy …

EORN proposing new cell project to boost mobile…www.insideottawavalley.com/ via Google Alerts Sep  1 03:30 Pine said it’s not cheap, but bundling in the public safety network to the cell project is more cost-effective. For the mobile broadband improvements …