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.
January 23, 2017–Comments are due at the FCC April 24 and replies May 23 in PS docket 16-353 on a notice of inquiry released last month seeking input on cybersecurity issues related to 5G and Internet of things services (TRDaily, Dec. 16, 2016).
January 23, 2017–President Trump today issued a memorandum imposing an executive branch hiring freeze in a move the White House said will “counter the dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years and the costs attendant to that expansion.” The administration cited figures showing an increase in the federal civilian workforce to about 2.1 million people in 2016, up from 1.8 million during the Clinton administration.
“Meanwhile, federal employee health and retirement benefits continue to be based on antiquated assumptions and require a level of generosity long since abandoned by most of the private sector,” the White House said. “Those costs are unsustainable for the Federal government, just as they are proving to be unsustainable for state and local governments with similar health and retirement packages.”
The FCC, among other agencies, is not an executive branch agency and is not covered by today’s action. The military is also not covered by it, the White House said. Continue reading
January 23, 2017–Panelists today mulled whether the FCC should be restructured, as some have advocated, and whether that would hurt or help consumers and competition.The views were expressed this afternoon during a session at Internet Education Foundation’s State of the Net (SOTN) Conference. Panelists said they would like to see more economic and engineering analysis go into FCC decisions. The problem is the agency faces obstacles in hiring staffers other than lawyers, they said.
“It’s much easier to hire lawyers than economists or engineers,” said Mark Jamison, a senior lecturer and director of the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center who was a member of the Trump transition team’s panel that looked at the FCC.
“We could sing Kumbaya on this one,” said Gigi Sohn, a fellow at the Open Society Foundation who was counselor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Because it’s hard to bring in engineers and economists, the agency ends up relying on industry-funded technical experts and economists, she said. “That’s not what you want,” she added. “We have way too many lawyers, and I say this as a lawyer.”
Larry Downes, project director at the Georgetown University Center for Business and Public Policy, agreed that more economists and technical experts would be helpful. He also said too many issues are considered in silos by FCC bureaus and offices, adding there should be “a rationalization of the structure of the agency.” Continue reading
January 23, 2017–FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said today that he is “grateful” that President Trump has designated him the permanent Chairman of the Commission, succeeding Tom Wheeler, who departed Jan. 20. Mr. Pai’s appointment drew praise from industry and other players and criticism from public interest advocates. “I am deeply grateful to the President of the United States for designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission,” Mr. Pai said in a one-paragraph statement released late this afternoon. “I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.”
Mr. Trump today signed the necessary document designating Mr. Pai as the Chairman. Mr. Pai met with Mr. Trump last week at Trump Tower in New York (TRDaily, Jan. 17). Although the senior Republican Commissioner had been expected by some to be named acting Chairman given his seniority, it was not clear if the president would give him the job permanently.
Because Mr. Pai is already a Commissioner, he does not need Senate confirmation to be Chairman. However, his seat officially expired in June 2016, so he would need to be reconfirmed by the end of next year’s second session of the 115th Congress in order to remain a Commissioner. Mr. Pai, who became a Commissioner in 2012 and whose background includes stints in staff positions at the FCC, Justice Department, and on Capitol Hill and jobs in the private sector, will start with a 2-1 majority, with two of the Commissioner seats empty. Continue reading
Meeting highlights include:
- Finalized Education and Outreach (E&O) Committee 2017 Product Work Plan.
- Received briefing on National Qualifications System (NQS) and Position Task Book (PTB) review opportunity.
- Discussed an upcoming SAFECOM engagement opportunity at the International Wireless Communication Expo and requested members to email Ken Bradley if they are already attending and interested to support the engagement opportunity.
Read the meeting summary here: http://npstc.org/download.jsp?tableId=37&column=217&id=3843&file=161221_EO_Meetings_Summary_FINAL_170119.pdf
Last week, FirstNet attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. There was robust discussion around the need for close collaboration between mayors and police chiefs.
Also last week, FirstNet staff presented to the Public Safety Committee of the California League of Cities. Discussions focused on rural coverage, technology, and deployment.
FirstNet also attended the Fire Rescue East conference in Daytona Beach, Florida last week, staffing a booth and meeting with EMS associations. Although most attendees indicated little prior knowledge of FirstNet, they were very interested in and pleased with the idea of the FirstNet Network. Continue reading