GPS Alliance Supports 1 dB Interference Standard

The GPS Innovation Alliance (GPSIA) says it supports a 1 dB standard for determining harmful interference. In an ex parte filing posted July 14 in IB dockets 12-340 and 11-109, the GPSIA cited testing conducted under the National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network (NASCTN) on the impact of LTE signals on GPS receivers (TR Daily, Feb. 17). “The test results provide both direct and indirect support for the use of the historic and well-established standard for determining harmful interference – whether an interfering signal produces a 1 dB decrease in the Carrier-to-Noise Power Density Ratio (‘C/N0’) of the affected receiver,” the GPSIA said.

“The standard is also amply supported not only by precedent and use in applicable technical standards but is also based upon well understood technical characteristics of GNSS receivers and the impact of noise on the performance of these receivers, all of which remain valid today.” Ligado Networks LLC has argued that the testing confirmed Ligado’s argument that a 1 dB increase in the noise floor is not the appropriate standard for assessing harmful interference to GPS receivers. What matters is the actual performance of the devices in the presence of LTE signals, the company says.

Courtesy TRDaily

NAB Blasts Microsoft TVWS Proposal

The National Association of Broadcasters today reiterated its criticism of Microsoft Corp.’s call for the FCC to reserve three TV white spaces channels nationwide for unlicensed devices. In an ex parte filing in MB docket 15-146 and GN docket 12-268 reporting on meetings with FCC officials, NAB said that “Microsoft’s proposal will cause direct and immediate harm to translators and low power television stations displaced by the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction.

These stations will need to find new channels in a smaller, more congested television band. Microsoft proposes to remove one available channel that could otherwise be used to keep such stations on the air. Microsoft attempts to dispute this harm by asserting that there will be plenty of spectrum for everyone — but that argument only demonstrates that the proposal is unnecessary. If there is plenty of spectrum for everyone, there is no need to reserve it for Microsoft. Literally the only reason to reserve spectrum for unlicensed use is precisely because Microsoft is concerned there will not be enough vacant spectrum following the television repack.”

Courtesy TRDaily

States Say They Need More Information about FirstNet Plan Before Opting In

SAN DIEGO – Public safety communications representatives from California and Colorado said they need clarity and more granular information about the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) state plan before they can recommend their governors choose to allow AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, to build a radio access network in their states.

FirstNet was the topic of a panel July 16 held in conjunction with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) Summer Policy Summit here this week. FirstNet and AT&T on June 19 delivered to states plans for AT&T to build and maintain their RANs as part of a nationwide interoperable public safety communications network envisioned by 2012 federal legislation.  The individual plans were made available on a restricted access basis through an online portal, but Patrick Mallon, assistant director-public safety communications for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said the plan doesn’t contain any additional information to what’s already been available.

“I do not believe the state plan that is being delivered to us is actionable,” he said. “I haven’t seen enough clarity, granularity in the state plan that we received.  There is more work that needs to be done, in my opinion. And there’s not enough in there that I can make a recommendation to the governor.” Continue reading

DHS Official: Federal Agencies Face “Aggressive Timelines” on Cyber EO

“Aggressive timelines” facing Trump administration officials to comply with the directives of an executive order on cybersecurity have made it challenging to engage stakeholders on the “deliverables” required by the order, Tom McDermott, the Department of Homeland Security’s deputy assistant secretary-cyber policy, said today. But the initial round of deliverables — mainly reports that aim to present data to policy-makers — will be followed by additional steps that will include more interaction with stakeholders, Mr. McDermott said at a USTelecom cybersecurity policy forum.

The EO, issued about 70 days ago, requires a slew of reports from agency heads within 90 days that, among other things, document the “risk mitigation and acceptance choices made by each agency head” and any “strategic, operational, and budgetary considerations that informed those choices” (TR Daily, May 11). Continue reading

NTIA Group OKs Guidance for Informing IoT Device Users about Security Upgrades

Guidance on how manufacturers of Internet of things (IoT) devices should communicate with consumers about security upgrades for those devices was adopted today by a multistakeholder group organized by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The four-page document approved by the group advises providers of IoT devices to “consider communicating to consumers prior to purchase” whether a device can receive security upgrades, how those upgrades will be delivered, and the date on which the device will no longer receive upgrades.

“The ideal level of detail and the method of communication may differ across manufacturers, software providers, and product and service categories, as well as across buyer types,” it says.  “These voluntary communications may evolve over time as threats, solutions, and products change, and as needed to be consistent with consumers’ familiarity, expectations, and security needs.” Continue reading

NARUC Telecom Committee Approves High-Cost Funding, BDAC Resolutions

SAN DIEGO – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Committee on Telecommunications today passed a draft resolution calling for sufficient funding of the high-cost universal service program, and another draft resolution urging the FCC to increase the number of state and local entities represented on its Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). The first proposed resolution, sponsored by a group of commissioners including South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson, Nebraska Public Service Commissioner Crystal Rhoades, and Missouri Commissioner Maida Coleman, calls on the FCC to take the necessary steps to address the “lack of sufficient USF resources on availability and affordability of voice and broadband services in rural America.”

“We’re all trying to get broadband in places that don’t have it,” Commissioner Nelson said during today’s meeting. “The FCC has been working on this, but they haven’t completed the puzzle. This resolution is one more piece in that particular puzzle.” He added, “This resolution is asking the FCC, ‘Hey, finish the job that you started.’ It’s really that simple.” Continue reading

Parties Disagree on Suitability of FirstNet Interoperability Matrix

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, are urging the FCC to endorse FirstNet’s interoperability compliance matrix. But other parties are raising some concerns about it, or at least that the FCC’s review of alternative state plans will overlap with that of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

An order adopted last month setting procedures for Commission review of alternative state FirstNet plans instructed the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to seek comments on the matrix in an expedited fashion (TR Daily, June 22 and 23).

Congress has charged the FCC with reviewing whether alternative state plans would comply with minimum technical interoperability requirements. If the FCC approves a state plan, the state has to apply to NTIA for authority to secure a spectrum capacity lease agreement with FirstNet. States seeking to build their own radio access networks (RANs) may also apply to NTIA for grant funds to help cover those costs. In reviewing alternative plans, NTIA will seek to ensure that states make five technical and financial demonstrations. Continue reading

Iowa Says It Will Opt In to FirstNet System

Iowa became the fifth state today to announce that it would allow AT&T, Inc., the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network partner, to build a radio access network (RAN) in its state rather than attempting to contract to build one. “The FirstNet network will not only strengthen and modernize public safety communications in our state, but also bring much needed investment to our communications infrastructure,” said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R.). “The network builds on AT&T’s existing footprint to expand coverage and capacity. AT&T has invested nearly $150 million in its Iowa network infrastructure over the past three years. By partnering with FirstNet, we will be able to expand coverage for first responders. As a result, this will also help expand coverage for rural Iowans, providing access to a reliable, high speed wireless connection in areas with little or no connectivity today.”

“Iowa is a longtime leader in public safety communications technology, from using public school Wi-Fi to connect emergency personnel on school grounds to today’s decision to become part of the FirstNet network,” said FirstNet President TJ Kennedy. “With Governor Reynolds’ decision, Iowa is putting cutting-edge, lifesaving technology in public safety’s hands. FirstNet looks forward to continuing to work with Iowa to build the network and equip the state’s first responders with the technology they need to save lives and keep Iowa’s communities safe.”

Iowa joins Arkansas, Kentucky, Virginia, and Wyoming in opting into the FirstNet network.- Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily

House Appropriators Ok $1.8 Billion for DHS Cyber Efforts

A Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would give DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate $1.8 billion “to combat increasingly dangerous and numerous cyber attacks” today cleared the House Appropriations Committee by a vote of 30-22.

Opponents of the 2018 spending bill said it would shortchange security threats such as cyber while dramatically increasing spending on immigration enforcement and physical barriers between the U.S. and Mexico to help President Trump make good on campaign promises.

The $1.8 billion for NPPD would be roughly the same amount the directorate was authorized to spend on cybersecurity programs in FY 2017.  NPPD’s allotment includes $1.37 billion “to help secure civilian (dot-gov) networks, detect and prevent cyber attacks and foreign espionage, and enhance and modernize emergency communications,” the committee said.

The legislation also includes $2.7 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency grant programs, including $467 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program; $630 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative, including an increase of $25 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program; and $690 million for firefighter assistance grants.

Overall, the bill would provide $44.3 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, an increase of $1.9 billion above the FY 2017 enacted level, according to the committee. — Tom Leithauser,

Courtesy TRDaily

Rep. Brooks, Others Stress Need for NG-911 Funding

A House member and others who spoke at a luncheon today emphasized the importance of ensuring adequate funding for next-generation 911 (NG-911) deployment, including by preventing the diversion of 911 fees by states for other purposes. During the event, which was organized by the NG911 Institute, Rep. Susan Brooks (R., Ind.), whom House communications and technology subcommittee chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) has asked to take the lead on NG-911 and First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) issues, said that adequate funding is a key issue that the panel will focus on.

Rep. Blackburn “wants to be very focused on next-generation 911 and issues like FirstNet,” Rep. Brooks said. “Next-gen 911 needs to be ready.” Rep. Brooks also stressed that any legislation or policies must not thwart innovation. Policy-makers should ensure that any regulations “are more like guard rails, not speed bumps,” she said.

The lawmaker also emphasized the importance of continuing to focus on expanding broadband deployment, saying that one in six Indiana residents lives in an area with no broadband access. Continue reading