September 20, 2016–The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International filed comments with the Office of Management and Budget today urging it to reclassify public safety telecommunicators as protective service occupations. “Public Safety Telecommunicators deserve appropriate recognition for the lifesaving work they perform and must be classified as Protective Service Occupations,” APCO Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Derek Poarch said. “I want to thank APCO’s members and supporters for answering our call to action and joining the fight by filing comments providing thousands of real examples of how they protect and save lives. Reclassification has been a major grassroots effort by the skilled professionals in our community, and it will remain a priority for APCO until the federal officials get this right.”
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today announced the availability of a draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for the West region of the U.S., which includes Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State. Comments on the document are due Nov. 15. FirstNet plans to hold a series of meetings on the draft PEIS.
The First Responder Network Authority’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) has added to its membership two officials from federal agencies. They will serve as chair and vice chair of the PSAC’s new federal working group. They are FBI supervisory special agent Michael Gilmore and Kraig Moise, acting associate chief of Customs and Border Protection, PSAC Chairman Harlin McEwen said in a blog posting. “Their membership on the PSAC will further integrate FirstNet’s federal outreach and consultation activities with the PSAC’s work and drive its continued success,” he said.
The Competitive Carriers Association is taking its Annual Convention to Seattle this year, hosting a number of keynotes and educational sessions heavy on policy issues and the growing specter of 5G and the “internet of things.” The show, which is set to run from Sept. 20-22, looks to follow up on CCA’s first Mobile Carriers Show from earlier this year that had previously run under the Global Expo banner. The MCS event also showed a heavy focus on 5G, IoT and spectrum challenges for CCA members. For this year’s Annual Convention, CCA has lined up a cast of keynote speakers headlined by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Ajit Pai. Read more here: CCA Annual Convention deep line up focuses on policy, 5G and IoT
Dutchess County has been operating with the Text-to-911 emergency alert system for the past 11 months, the first county in the region to offer the program. Last week, Orange County became the second county to provide the service. The message from both counties is “call if you can; text if you can’t.” The whole idea of the program is should there be a situation where a person cannot call 911 and verbally communicate – whether it is a medical problem, a crime or a domestic incident – use the text function on your cell phone and just type in “911.” When an emergency dispatcher responds, the individual should type in a short message about the problem. Read more here: Dutchess County assesses first year of Text-to-911
September 19, 2016–The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today sought comment on a waiver request filed by Sprint Corp. to allow broadband operations in portions of the Arizona NPSPAC region (Region 3) before 800 megahertz reconfiguration is done. Comments are due Oct. 19 and replies Nov. 3 in WT docket 16-295.
September 19, 2016–The National Cable & Telecommunications Association announced today that it is changing its name to NCTA – The Internet & Television Association to better reflect “the vibrancy and diversity” of its members,” which include broadband and cable TV network operators as well as content providers. “The updated NCTA brand is a continuation of the association’s effort to reflect how the marketplace is no longer defined by silos of the past. It also builds upon NCTA’s 2015 rebranding of ‘INTX: The Internet & Television Expo’ from The Cable Show,” NCTA said in a press release announcing the change.
September 16, 2016-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson today said DHS was ready to offer a range of cybersecurity help to state and local election officials to secure voting systems from cyber attacks, but emphasized that any such assistance would be provided only if state and local officials asked for it, and that it wouldn’t be accompanied by any “binding directives.”
Mr. Johnson’s remarks follow reports in recent weeks of cyber attacks on state election networks in Arizona and Illinois — possibly by Russian state actors — and comments from Obama administration officials that they are considering designating the U.S. election system as “critical infrastructure” that would be eligible for enhanced protection from hackers (TRDaily, Aug. 30). The DHS secretary made no mention of a possible critical infrastructure designation in his announcement today, but pointed to the possibility of cyber threats and the need to prepare for them, and to requests for help that DHS had received in recent weeks “from a number of states.” Continue reading
September 16, 2016–FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today circulated to Commissioners a draft notice of inquiry that seeks comments on a 900 megahertz band petition for rulemaking filed by pdvWireless, Inc., and the Enterprise Wireless Alliance and another one submitted by M2M Spectrum Networks LLC. The NOI would explore the agency’s rules governing the 896-901/935-940 MHz bands. It would solicit comments on the two petitions, as well as alternative ideas, and would examine the potential for expanding operational flexibility in the 900 MHz band, according to an agency source.
An FCC official confirmed to TRDaily that the NOI would seek comments on whether the current regulatory framework meets the need of existing users and whether additional flexibility is warranted. It also would solicit input on whether other changes could improve efficient use of the spectrum. Because the item is an NOI, it doesn’t propose any rule changes, the official stressed. Continue reading
Today, half of the households in the U.S. do not even have a wireline phone, AOL has been forgotten by most, and wireless services are delivering amazing applications to myriad devices at speeds that would have seemed unimaginable 20 years ago. Meanwhile, the price points of the devices and services are so reasonable that we have more wireless devices in use than people on the planet. Things are going to get even more complicated with innovations such as drones and the Internet of Things (IoT), which promises to introduce tens of billions of additional sensors/devices into the communications ecosystem during the next several years. Meanwhile, all of these innovations are built on software, which makes cybersecurity a priority for everyone, from individuals to enterprises and governments. Read more: Congress needs to update the Communications Act—quickly