FCC Urged to Permit ‘Surgical Jamming Technology’

May 30, 2017–The FCC should seek comment in the further notice of proposed rulemaking in its contraband cellphone proceeding on the use of “surgical jamming technology,” according to the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA). In an ex parte filing in GN docket 13-111 commenting on the item adopted in March (TR Daily, March 23),  Leann Bertsch, president of ASCA and director of the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, noted that state correctional administrators and others have failed to get legislation through Congress to permit states to use jamming technology. The Communications Act bars the use of jamming by non-federal government entities, the FCC has noted.

“I am writing today to ask that you amend your proposed rule to include surgical jamming technology, and to provide stringent measures to ensure carrier cooperation with beacon technology, managed access technology and future technologies,” the filing said. “While there are some risks to uncontrolled or unmonitored use of some jamming devices, those risks can easily be mitigated. Section 333 of the Federal Communications Act does not prevent the FCC from authorizing the use of jamming illegal wireless device signals. Section 333 merely prohibits the ‘willful or malicious interference to authorized radio communications.’ Since cell phones are contraband within correctional facilities, their use constitutes unauthorized communications; jamming those illegal signals could not violate Section 333. Additionally, I am hopeful that you will consider requiring that wireless carriers cooperate and participate in the development of beacon technology, as referenced in your proposed rule. It is my understanding that this technology would use software embedded in phones to provide a 100% solution, while allowing ‘whitelisting’ by correctional agencies as appropriate.

“Finally, as we have learned from multiple deployments of managed access technology, all technological solutions require meaningful carrier action and cooperation; not mere lip-service,” Ms. Bertsch stressed. “As the history of this issue demonstrates, your regulated carriers have proven largely disinterested in solving this critical public safety problem: apparently only the FCC or congressional action will compel meaningful cooperation in the wireless industry.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

FirstNet Responds to Southern Linc Arguments on Core Network, Other Issues

May 30, 2017–The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) says it disagrees with Southern Linc’s contention that the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which established FirstNet, permits states to propose alternative plans to deploy both a radio access network (RAN) and a core network.

In an ex parte filing in PS docket 16-269 reporting a meeting with representatives of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, FirstNet said it “emphasized that a number of Southern Linc’s concerns are outside the scope of this proceeding and should have instead been raised with either Congress prior to enactment of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (the ‘Act’), or FirstNet, the entity Congress charged with taking ‘all actions necessary to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the [NPSBN].’

“Notably, Southern Linc began its most recent filing with a lengthy legal analysis of section 6202 of the Act,  but in that analysis failed to acknowledge the basic and fundamental premise of section 6202, which mandates that ‘[FirstNet] shall ensure the establishment of a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network.’  Regardless of this omission, it is disingenuous for Southern Linc to now raise its concerns related to the provisioning of multiple core networks with the Federal Communications Commission (‘Commission’), having failed to do so when FirstNet, the entity tasked by Congress with taking all actions necessary to build and operate the NPSBN, sought comment on this specific question more than two years ago.” Continue reading

Comments Sought on 800 MHz Waiver Request

May 25, 2017–The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau sought comment today on an application and waiver request submitted by the Washington County, Ore., Consolidated Communications Agency seeking permission to license two 800 megahertz band business/industrial/land transportation pool (B/ILT) channels. Comments are due June 9 and replies June 23 in FCC file number 0007375570.

Courtesy TRDaily


FCC Rejects Miami-Date TIS Application, Waiver

May 25, 2017–The Policy and Licensing Division of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today denied a waiver request and dismissed an application filed by Miami-Dade County, Fla., seeking authorization to modify its traveler information station (TIS) by expanding its service area. The order in file no. 0007127177 noted that the TIS is situated at Miami International Airport and that the city of Fort Lauderdale submitted a petition to deny.

Courtesy TRDaily

Parties Offer Advice for FCC Action in Broadband Health Care Initiative

May 25, 2071–Parties are calling for the FCC to take a number of actions as part of its Connect2Health initiative, including making more spectrum available for broadband services, streamlining infrastructure deployment, and modernizing its Rural Health Care Program. The comments were filed in response to a 25-page public notice released in April that solicited views on ways in which the FCC can further the seven objectives of the initiative, as well as on the source of authority for FCC action in these areas (TR Daily April 24). FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced in March that the Connect2HealthFCC Task Force, which was established by former Chairman Tom Wheeler in 2014, would continue its work during his chairmanship, and that Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn would continue to lead the effort (TR Daily, March 16).

The objectives outlined in the April 24 public notice are “promoting effective policy and regulatory solutions that encourage broadband adoption and promote health IT”; “identifying regulatory barriers (and incentives) to the deployment of radio frequency (RF)-enabled advanced health care technologies and devices”; “strengthening the nation’s telehealth infrastructure through the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program and other initiatives”; “raising consumer awareness about the value proposition of broadband in the health care sector and its potential for addressing health care disparities”; “enabling the development of broadband-enabled health technologies that are designed to be fully accessible to people with disabilities”; “highlighting effective telehealth projects, broadband-enabled health technologies, and mHealth applications across the country and abroad—to identify lessons learned, best practices, and regulatory challenges”; and “engaging a diverse array of traditional and non-traditional stakeholders to identify emerging issues and opportunities in the broadband health space.” Continue reading

FCC Issues Non-Compliance Letters

May 24, 2017–The Policy and Licensing Division of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today released letters of non-compliance to Marion County, S.C.; Pinellas County, Fla.; and Pendleton County, Ind., for failing to comply with the agency’s rules implementing the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal environmental laws as well as FCC antenna structure registration and licensing rules.

Courtesy TRDaily

Media Advisory: DHS to Unveil Resilient Tunnel Plug Technology at ILC Dover

Washington –A giant, inflatable structure designed to prevent flooding in tunnels, will be unveiled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) in a special technology demonstration in Frederica, Delaware, on June 6, 2017. The Resilient Tunnel Plug (RTP) was developed in partnership with ILC Dover, the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, West Virginia University, and DHS S&T.

The RTP, made from a liquid crystal polymer called Vectran®, was developed to provide security to transit systems as protection from flooding, primarily in subways, in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. In the event of flooding, the plug would rapidly inflate, holding back at least 30 feet of water, keeping citizens and the transit system assets safe.

Tuesday, June 6

11:00 AM EDT – DHS S&T and partners from ILC Dover and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will demonstrate the flood-stopping capabilities of the Resilient Tunnel Plug technology.

ILC Dover,  1 Moonwalker Rd, Frederica, DE 19946


Credentialed media planning to attend must RSVP by contacting Alan George, ILC Dover, GeorgA@ILCDover.com, 302-335-3911 ext. 407.

Carrier Seeks Indoor 911 Waiver

May 23, 2017–TelAlaska Cellular, Inc., a small wireless carrier, has filed a petition for a temporary waiver of the FCC’s indoor 911 location accuracy rules. In its filing yesterday in PS docket 07-114, TelAlaska “requests that the Commission waive the indoor accuracy requirements and various reporting requirements, because no public safety answering points (‘PSAPs’) or State Trooper offices with responsibility for TCI’s service area have requested Phase II Enhanced 911 (‘E911’) service, and none are capable of receiving or utilizing Phase II location or indoor location data. As a result, TCI has neither procured nor installed the equipment and services necessary to generate Phase II ALI or indoor location data, and it would be a meaningless waste of scarce resources with no public interest benefit for the Company to comply with indoor location standards and reporting requirements of Rule Section 20.18(i) in the absence of a capable PSAP.”

Courtesy TRDaily


AT&T Says Opt-Out States Can’t Operate Core Network

May 23, 2017–AT&T, Inc., says the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which established the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), “plainly precludes an opt-out State from operating its own public safety broadband core network.” In an ex parte filing yesterday in PS docket 16-269 reporting on a meeting with representatives of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, AT&T, which is FirstNet’s network partner, also said that “[a]n opt-out State must have awarded a contract to a vendor in order for a State’s RFP to deemed ‘complete’ within the 180 days required by the Spectrum Act.”

In addition, it said the FCC “should adopt a 60-day deadline for reviewing alternative plans submitted by opt-out States.” “The Commission’s review of an alternative state plan should involve a meticulous examination of the details of the plan to ensure that it provides with sufficient specificity precisely how it will succeed in achieving seamless interoperability with the National Public Safety Broadband Network,” AT&T argued. “The Commission should not allow an opt-out State to submit amendments or supplements to its original proposed alternative plan.” Continue reading

From FCC Daily Digest, May 25, 2017

STATE OF MICHIGAN REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF SECTION 90.179 OF THE COMMISSION’S RULES.   Granted the waiver request.   This is regarding the State of Michigan request to share its facilities in a non-profit cost shared basis with a utility and illustrates how a  well-reasoned waiver request can be crafted.  The FCC decision also includes some interesting stats re the State of Michigan system–it serves over 1,490 public safety agencies and 74,000 radio users.  The system has 246 tower sites and provided interoperability throughout the state.

Action by:  Acting Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Adopted:  05/25/2017 by ORDER. (DA No. 17-511).  PSHSB  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-511A1.docx; https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-511A1.pdf