January 24 2017–Several public safety entities have expressed support for a petition filed by Onvoy Spectrum LLC asking the FCC to waive rules that impose requirements on applicants for initial numbering services (TRDaily, Dec. 20, 2016). “This request serves the public interest because Onvoy has exhausted all other reasonable means to comply with the rules, and most importantly, grant of the waiver will improve public safety by allowing an innovative solution to be offered that will enable over-the-top (OTT) mobile providers for the first time to offer consumers vitally important 9-1-1 services,” according to the company. In a petition filed in WC dockets 13-97, 04-36, and 07-243, CC docket 99-200, and PS docket 10-255, Onvoy said that its solution would enable 911 to be delivered to data-only devices using over-the-top voice-over-Internet-protocol services.
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International said it “is encouraged by Onvoy’s efforts, because there is presently no 9-1-1 solution for such OTT mobile applications, and Onvoy appears to be addressing a number of important 9-1-1-related considerations. Accordingly, APCO believes it is in the public interest for the Commission to grant appropriate waiver relief to enable Onvoy to continue to pursue further testing of its OTT VoIP 9-1-1 solution.” Continue reading
FirstNet, LTE, and the Future. In June 2009, APCO International (APCO), The National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and The National Public-Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) publicly endorsed the wireless industry standard known as “Long Term Evolution” (LTE) for their envisioned Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. Was that a good idea? What was wrong with WiMAX or UWB that Sprint and Verizon were respectively supporting or the TDD-WCDMA network New York had deployed? This week’s Advocate will examine the history of Public Safety’s selection of LTE and why it became the foundation of FirstNet.
Before FirstNet was created in February of 2012, fourth-generation wireless broadband had only begun being developed or deployed. Multiple technologies were competing in the standards bodies and in the marketplace, and back then, like all of the preceding wireless technologies, these technologies were limited to making use of one portion or band of the spectrum at a time. WiMax and the TDD-WCDMA technologies were designed for Time Division, whereas UWB and LTE used Orthogonal Frequency Division. Since then a lot has transpired and the 3GPP, the global standards body, and the vendor community has made major changes to the underlying specifications of 4G technologies that could, perhaps, be of benefit to FirstNet. However, after a period of time, it became apparent that only the LTE technology would offer the benefits that APCO, NENA, and NPSTC were looking for in their broadband network. The market agreed; by 2010, WiMAX and UWB were gone and TDD-WCDMA had only achieved a couple of deployments since the New York City network build.
A little history is in order at this point. During the days when the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) and the Public Safety Alliance (PSA) were working with Congress, the Executive Branch, and the FCC to gain access to the spectrum that is now licensed to FirstNet, one of the issues that helped convince some of those who opposed the idea of a nationwide broadband network was that during localized incidents there could be a large number of Public Safety responders from various disciplines all vying for a finite amount of spectrum in a confined area. The PSA quickly learned that LTE was designed early on to follow the Internet model of more speed in the down direction (to the device) and less from the device up to the network (up direction). Continue reading
A story in the Jan. 23 TRDaily incorrectly stated when the Senate would have to reconfirm Chairman Ajit Pai or he would have to step down as a Commissioner. His term officially expired in June 2016, so he would need to be reconfirmed by the end of this year’s session of the 115th Congress in order to remain a Commissioner.
January 24 2017–The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council governing board today approved reports on radio interoperability best practices and encryption on interoperability channels and endorsed the establishment of a task force to help draft comments on a notice of inquiry released by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau in December concerning cybersecurity issues related to 5G networks and devices (TRDaily, Dec. 16, 2016).
The reports on radio interoperability best practices included a master report and individual reports dealing with naming and usage, change management practices, and training and proficiency in the management and usage of equipment and systems.
The encryption report was prepared in the wake of a survey of how encryption is used by public safety agencies. It is designed to educate the public safety community about on channels encryption can be used and which it can’t, said Jason Matthews, who chaired a task group on the topic. Continue reading
January 24, 2017–FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today praised House passage yesterday of several telecom bills (TRDaily, Jan. 23), particularly one that is designed to make it easier for people using multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) to reach 911 call centers without having to first dial “9.” “I want to commend the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a number of important, bipartisan telecom bills yesterday. These bills will help bring greater efficiency to the Commission, provide consumers with greater protections, improve rural call completion, help amateur radio operators, and take several steps to promote public safety,” Mr. Pai said.
“In particular, I am heartened to see that Kari’s Law is one step closer to becoming the law of the land. We all owe Kari’s father, Hank Hunt, a debt of gratitude for his decision to press forward and help ensure that every call to 911 goes through. I look forward to working with Congress on these and other important issues as Chairman of the FCC.”
January 23, 2017–The Senate on Jan. 20 confirmed the nominations of James Mattis as secretary of Defense, and John Kelly as secretary of Homeland Security. Also today, the Senate approved the nomination of Rep. Michael Pompeo (R., Kan.) to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Zenji Nakazawa, Acting Public Safety and Consumer Protection Advisor. Mr. Nakazawa will advise Chairman Pai on public safety and consumer protection issues. Mr. Nakazawa joins the office from the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, where he served as chief of the Policy and Rules Division.
In that capacity, he oversaw several key portfolios, including Next Generation 911, emergency alerting, spectrum licensing, as well as various issues concerning law enforcement and national security. Prior to that, he served as deputy chief in the division. He is a former Mansfield Fellow and has worked and lived in Japan on several occasions. Mr. Nakazawa graduated from the University of Richmond, T.C. Williams School of Law, and received his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University.