Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 31, 2017

APCO, FirstNet, and PTT over LTE.  Mid-month August, Denver hosted the annual Public Safety Conference. While those elected to APCO’s executive offices seem to be moving APCO more toward dispatch and training in that area, the show floor still represents what APCO has always been to me. It is an organization founded on the premise that public safety communications staffers needed a place to meet and discuss issues. Dispatchers and dispatch centers were a very important part of APCO for sure, but it now appears as though APCO is leaving its technical roots behind in favor of only one segment of the communications continuum. The good news is that the APCO show floor still represents all the various communications disciplines needed to provide public safety with end-to-end communications capabilities.

Only two short weeks after this gathering in Denver, Houston was hit by Hurricane Harvey. It is too soon for after-action reports since flooding and rescue efforts are still very much in the news, but preliminary numbers from the FCC indicate there were some call center outages, and some cell sites were offline, but not as many as might be expected. Of course, the FCC’s data was gathered during the height of the storm and may need to be revised as sites run out of fuel or connections to sites are damaged or flooded. The FCC does not maintain records on public safety LMR so there is no way at this point to compare and contrast the differences. However, listening to Houston Police and Fire Dispatch via the Internet it appears from a distance that their systems are fully functional and operational.

We also do not have any details regarding the Band 14 pre-FirstNet public safety LTE network that has been deployed and working in the Houston area for many months. As the rain subsides and the flooding ebbs, there will be plenty of after-action reports that will prove valuable to the entire public safety community. The head of the FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) is right in the middle of the Houston Public Safety communications scene and I think when this is over he, among others, will be able to provide some important information on what went right, what went wrong, and what needs to be improved before another incident occurs. Read the Entire Blog Here .

Alaska becomes 16th state to ‘opt-in’ to FirstNetUrgent Communications Aug 31 06:30 Alaska Gov. Bill Walker announces his decision to accept the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by …

Hawaii Opts in to FirstNetMissionCritical Aug 30 10:03 Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced his decision to accept the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T state plan for a public-safety broadband network. read more

Idaho City Gets Waiver for 700 MHz Wideband Mobile Data SystemMissionCritical Aug 31 10:03 The FCC granted a waiver to the city of Post Falls, Idaho, to allow the city to operate its wideband mobile data system on channels in the portion of the 700 MHz band reserved for public-safety narrowband systems. read more

Hurricane Harvey Suggests that Emergency Networks Improving Even Before FirstNetIT Business Edge Aug 31 05:35 When coupled with the creation of FirstNet and other dedicated emergency communications networks, it suggests that the big challenge of allowing …

Alaska to Transform Communications for Public Safety; Governor Walker Approves Buildout Plan for First Responder NetworkPR Newswire Aug 30 14:40 RESTON, Va., Aug. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Alaska is modernizing communications technology for its first responders. Today, Governor Bill Walker announced his decision to accept the FirstNet and AT&T* plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state’s public safety community….

NTIA Releases Final Rules on FirstNet FeesMissionCritical Aug 30 10:03 The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a final rule regarding its review of fees that the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) may assess to help fund operations. NTIA will ensure that the fees FirstNet assesses are sufficient to cover its expenses but do not exceed what is needed to carry out its duties, an NTIA statement said. read more

Has FirstNet Rebranded AT&T’s Network as the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network?The National Law Review Aug 29 17:20 The actual terms of the agreement between FirstNet and AT&T remain unavailable to the public for proprietary reasons. However, what has been …

NTIA issues final rule for its review of FirstNet feesUrgent Communications Aug 29 16:45 Under the 2012 law that created FirstNet as the entity to build and maintain a nationwide public-safety broadband network, NTIAthe federal agency …

AT&T Exec Highlights Priority, Pre-Emption, App ProgramRadio Resource Aug 28 20:20 AT&T officials offered more details on priority and pre-emption and the application store for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) during …

FCC Activated Disaster Information Reporting System for Hurricane HarveyTV Technology Aug 28 17:10 WASHINGTONThe FCC is offering its support to the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey by having its Public Safety and Homeland Security …

Vodafone Ireland launch Nationwide Commercial Narrowband NB-IoT NetworkIrish Tech News Aug 31 08:55 NB-IoT will also provide benefits to communities in rural Ireland, with a number of advancements in connected health, such as Remote Health Care, …

U-blox enables narrowband IoT street lightingElectronics Weekly Aug 31 08:00 Streetlight remote management firm InteliLight has used Swiss company U-blox’s Sara-N2 series of  narrowband IoT (NB‒IoT) modules to control a connected smart streelight system in Romania. InteliLight used Flashnet’s NB‒IoT connected smart street lighting control system. A pilot project is already deployed on the OTE (Telekom) network in Patras, Greece. Having identified NB‒IoT as strategically important, … This story continues at U-blox enables narrowband IoT street lighting Or just r

2017 marks a new era for massive commercial use of China’s narrowband IoTGoogle Alerts Aug 31 08:00 As of May 2017, the number of connections to China Mobile IOT had exceeded 120 million, making China Mobile the largest IOT service provider in …

A New Satellite Company Offers Governments the Ability to Track People From SpaceOuter Places Aug 30 18:20 According to Walter Scott, DigitalGlobe’s founder and CTO, “A large percentage of the population lives in a really narrow band of latitudes,” meaning …

DC court says Dish skirted rules in US airwave auctionThe Register Aug 30 06:00 No bid credits for sockpuppets, rules judge A US Court of Appeals has upheld US broadband watchdog the FCC’s decision to bar companies connected to satellite provider Dish Network from claiming discounts on their bids in a 2014 wireless spectrum auction.…

Ixia Launches New LTE Test Solution for Cellular IoTDATAQUEST Aug 30 03:55 … Long Term Evolution (LTE) test solution for cellular IoT enhanced Machine-Type Communication(eMTC) and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technologies …

Hawai’i to Transform Communications for Public Safety; Governor Ige Approves Buildout Plan for …Cellular News Aug 29 16:45 Governor David Ige recently announced his decision to accept the FirstNet and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state’s …

700 mhz public safety radiosMetro Encounter Aug 29 08:50 Oct 12, 2009 to Land Mobile Radio (LMR) mission critical public safety voice adjacent to the public safety broadband spectrum (the 700 MHz D Block).

FCC’s Pai: News Outlets Play Critical Role in Harvey AidMultichannel News Aug 28 17:10 Today, I have talked with FCC public safety and enforcement staff, including field agents who have been traveling throughout the storm zone, to thank …

Arkansas sheriff’s office sends rescue team, Little Rock company dispatches buses to TexasArkansas Online Aug 28 16:20 … for help, we, too, will respond and assist the first responders who are overwhelmed with rescue efforts, Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said in the statement.

Why Ordinary Citizens Are Acting as First Responders in HoustonThe Atlantic Aug 28 14:30 The first responders are the neighbors. Bystanders. People that are willing to act. That underpinned whole-community response, the principle …

Communications Service Providers Asked to Adopt the FCC CSRIC Guidance on Signaling System …JD Supra Aug 28 14:10 Last week, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a Public Notice (Notice) urging communications service providers to …

Get Those EAS Test Forms In, Advises Law FirmMultichannel News Aug 24 08:50 The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has also released the latest edition of the EAS Operating Handbook (available here) and …

Huawei and Telenor successfully trial Lean BCCH solutions in India to help offer affordable …Firstpost Aug 24 08:35 … scarcity, broaden the scope of Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) ecosystem and offer affordable mobile broadband services to customers.

Hawaii Latest State to Opt Into FirstNet

Hawaii has opted into the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), joining 14 other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands in making that decision, FirstNet and its wireless network partner, AT&T, Inc., announced today. “The FirstNet network will transform the way fire, police, EMS, emergency management and other public safety personnel communicate and share information, enabling them to better serve their communities during emergencies and day to day operations,” Gov. David Ige (D.) said. “I believe this is long overdue,” said Maj. Gen. Arthur (Joe) Logan, the state adjutant general, state homeland security adviser, and single point of contact (SPOC) for Hawaii’s FirstNet initiative. “The 9-11 Commission required that first responders should have interoperable communications. That’s what FirstNet will provide to Hawaii.”

“Gov. Ige’s decision to join FirstNet will give emergency responders access to reliable, modern communications solutions they’ve never had before,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “We are honored to deliver a high-speed network that will prioritize first responders and connect them across the Aloha State.” —Lynn Stanton, lynn.stanton@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

Cell Site Outages Up Slightly Today in Areas Affected by Harvey

More than half of the cell sites are down in three counties in Texas—Aransas, Calhoun, and Refugio—while across all 55 counties in Texas and Louisiana for which the FCC has activated its Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) in response to Hurricane Harvey, now Tropical Storm Harvey, 4.7% of cell sites are suffering outages, up from 4.1% yesterday, the FCC said today in a status report current as of 11 a.m.

The majority of counties covered by the DIRS activation had no cell site outages. In Louisiana, only Plaquemines Parish had any cell site outages, with 3 of 48 sites (6.3%) down. In Texas, in addition to Aransas (94.7% down), Calhoun (74.1%), and Refugio (84.6%), other cell site outages were reported for 23 counties, ranging from 0.3% of cell sites out to roughly 35% out in both Goliad and Jefferson counties and 43.1% in San Patricio County. Also, as of this morning, the FCC said that it had received reports that 16 public safety answering points (PSAPs) remained affected by the storm system, all in Texas.

That was a net decrease of one affected PSAP compared to yesterday. The lone Louisiana PSAP affected as of yesterday, in Cameron Parish, is now fully functional, as are PSAPs in Ingleside, Portland, Refugio County, Richmond, and Victoria, Texas. However, five newly affected PSAPs have been added to the list:  PSAPs in Harris County, Jackson County, and Kemah County, Texas, which are being re-routed without ALI (automatic location identification), and PSAPs in Gonzales County and Port Lavaca, Texas, which are being re-routed with ALI. Continue reading

S&T Snapshot: Record Crowd Boosts Cyber Security R&D Showcase s Impact

When information-security professionals gather to learn about the direction of cybersecurity research and development (R&D), it happens at the federal government’s largest cybersecurity R&D conference.

That was the case last month when the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) hosted its 2017 Cyber Security R&D Showcase and Technical Workshop, where the 870 attendees gained deep insight on a range of government cybersecurity R&D projects funded by the S&T Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Cyber Security Division (CSD). The event delivered thought-provoking keynote speakers, information-packed panel discussions and technical presentations representing a combined $250 million of research projects.

“The 2017 R&D Showcase and Technical Workshop was the largest in terms of attendance and number of technical presentations. As a result, it was the most impactful in the event’s relatively short five-year history,” said S&T CSD Director Dr. Douglas Maughan. “It was an excellent forum for introducing CSD’s research portfolio to information-security professionals, system integrators, S&T’s international partners and technology investors.”

The event, sponsored and hosted by the S&T CSD, kicked off July 11 with the R&D Showcase, during which 10 mature cybersecurity technologies and projects were presented by the researchers spearheading each effort. Topics included mobile-application-vetting, automobile cybersecurity, dynamic software analysis, and a repository and visualization portal of the internet’s physical interconnection structure. Later that day, the Technology Demonstration and Poster Session, which featured more than 70 cybersecurity technologies and projects, was very well attended. Continue reading

FCC Releases Agenda for 911 Outages Workshop

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today released the agenda for a Sept. 11 workshop on improving situational awareness during 911 outages. The event will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Commission’s meeting room. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will deliver opening remarks.

Roundtable discussions will focus on best practices for communicating outage information among 911 service providers, originating service providers, and public safety answering points and to the public.  Scheduled speakers include representatives of wireless carriers and other companies and state and local officials.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 24, 2017

Once A State Has Opted In. There still seems to be some confusion about how a state opting into FirstNet will impact the agencies within the state. AT&T has been awarded the FirstNet 25-year contract, a number of states have already opted in, and more are lining up to do so. Rivada is still trying to make a case for states to opt out and build their own Radio Access Network, and now Verizon is promising to build out a parallel network to compete and keep its existing agency customers. I am concerned about these activities not because I don’t believe Rivada or Verizon has the right to compete, but simply because in order for FirstNet to work as envisioned it has to be the dominant public safety broadband network.

FirstNet was envisaged as a nationwide dedicated public safety broadband network to help ease the interoperability issues the public safety community has faced for more than forty years. Incidents such as 9/11 and Katrina made us acutely aware of the need for a public safety communications system all first responders can use as they come together at incidents. The FirstNet law require any public safety agency within an opt-in state to switch to AT&T.

In fact, the law says that no agency has to sign up for any FirstNet services—ever. However, I am hopeful that over time the FirstNet/AT&T network will be expanded so there will be few if any differences in either real or perceived coverage with other commercial broadband networks. It is not realistic to believe FirstNet/AT&T can, today, provide complete coverage for all of the first responder agencies in a given state, or that other broadband networks fighting for the public safety business will prove beneficial for the public safety community and its city, county, and state governments. To be honest, my vision continues to be focused on one FirstNet—one network that can meet the requirements of the public safety community from coast to coast and border to border. Read the entire bloghere. Continue reading