Swenson Says “Customized” State Plans “Paying Dividends”

DENVER – First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board Chairwoman Sue Swenson said today that “customized and individualized” plans that FirstNet delivered to states and territories in June are “paying … great dividends.” During remarks this morning at the APCO 2017 show here, Ms. Swenson said that FirstNet in June delivered to states and territories (TR Daily, June 19) “customized and individualized state plans that reflect the input and priorities from the consultation meetings that FirstNet held with key people over the past several years.”

“I think that is paying … great dividends right now as the states are reviewing their state plans,” she added. She also noted that a growing number of states or territories have announced that they will opt in to the FirstNet system. “It’s a diverse set of states, with a mix of urban, rural, and remote geographies and topography,” she noted, although most of the states are generally rural.

Ms. Swenson also emphasized what she said was the commitment of AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, to meeting the needs of public safety. “This is a very high priority for them,” she said, noting, among other things, that first responders in opt-in states will get priority access on AT&T LTE spectrum immediately and preemption by the end of this year. Continue reading

Verizon to Offer Priority, Preemption, Dedicated Core to Compete with FirstNet

DENVER – Verizon Communications, Inc., plans to offer priority service and preemption to public safety customers, and it also plans to build a dedicated public safety core, matching AT&T, Inc.’s offer as the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network partner. The development could provide substantial competition to AT&T as it works to sign up users for the nationwide public safety broadband network. Verizon already has a dominant share of the public safety market, and some first responders have been reluctant to opt-in to FirstNet due to what some say is Verizon’s superior network.

“We’re making an investment in the public safety officials that keep our cities, communities and neighbors safe,” said John Stratton, Verizon’s executive vice president and president-global operations, in a news release to be issued tomorrow morning. “Support for public safety is in our company’s DNA and our commitment to them never waivers.”

“We’re making the investments necessary to give public safety access to the best possible network coverage, reliability and capability, when and where they need it,” said Michael Maiorana, senior vice president-public sector for Verizon. “Our public safety network will provide a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for public safety, and we’ll continue working to offer first responders the network reliability and access to innovative services they need to keep our communities safe.”

The news release noted that “Verizon’s public safety network solution does not require that states opt-out of FirstNet, does not require access to any federal funding provided to FirstNet, and does not require any financial commitment from states to support network deployment. The creation of this dedicated public safety network core will be fully funded by Verizon. We will also make available multi-band devices that will provide access to Band 14 spectrum and enable full interoperability with any Band 14 radio access networks (RANs) deployed by FirstNet.” Continue reading

DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary

Rick Driggers has been selected as deputy assistant secretary-cybersecurity and communications at the Department of Homeland Security, a department official confirmed today. Currently, he is principal deputy director-operations in DHS’ National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.


Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 10, 2017

Why Public Safety Devices Need a New SIM Card This week’s PSA is based on a question I hear nearly every day. It started when AT&T won the FirstNet contract and offered up its own LTE networks in addition to what it will build out on FirstNet Band 14 spectrum. AT&T is offering early opt-in state and territories (at least 11 so far) the use of its AT&T network on a priority access basis with full pre-emption on the entire AT&T LTE network by the start of 2018.

AT&T says it is easy to start using the AT&T network for public safety. Once a state has opted in, each public safety entity will decide if it wants to join the FirstNet system and become users on the AT&T broadband network. If the answer is yes and the pricing is acceptable to the agency, all that is needed, according to AT&T, is to install a new SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) into the mobile device to be instantly considered a public safety user on the AT&T network and on Band 14 as it is built over time.

The question about why you need to install a new SIM in your device is based on a number of factors. The most important of these is that the new SIM identifies the device (and the user) as a member of the public safety community. The network is then notified that when this device is on the network, in addition to normal AT&T capabilities, the user will have access to all additional capabilities and information being made available only to the FirstNet public safety community. The AT&T network and soon FirstNet Band 14 recognizes a user as a public safety user by the SIM in the device and the information it contains. Read the Entire Blog Here  Continue reading

Problems with ECFS Fixed

Problems with the FCC’s electronic comment filing system were fixed today, and ECFS appeared back to normal this afternoon. Yesterday and earlier today, searches for standard filings posted yesterday turned up more than 2,600 items, most of which had no attachments. Although ECFS said the documents were posted yesterday, most appeared old, including filings by companies no longer in business, such as Cyren Call Communications Corp. and M2Z Networks, Inc. “During an update to the ECFS system, some files from the old system that were lacking dates were temporarily appearing as new files,” an FCC spokesman told TR Daily this afternoon. “The issue has been resolved.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Inmarsat Reiterates Ligado Support

Inmarsat, Inc., has reiterated “its support for prompt Commission action on Ligado’s Modification Applications.” In an ex parte filing yesterday in IB dockets 11-109 and 12-340, Inmarsat said it was responding to a June filing (TR Daily, June 21) by aviation and aerospace industry interests that mentioned their concern “about the potential impact to Inmarsat’s systems that might be caused by Ligado’s proposed terrestrial deployment.” Inmarsat said that the parties incorrectly said that Inmarsat had expressed concern about Ligado’s planned network in response to a consultation by the United Kingdom’s Office of Communications (Ofcom).

In response to the Inmarsat filing, a Ligado spokesperson said today that the company “is pleased industry leaders such as Inmarsat support our proposal and are urging the Commission to take action. Inmarsat not only corrected the record, but together with the filing made recently by Metro Aviation, Inmarsat’s filing makes clear that assertions made by ASRI [Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc.] in their filings are not representative of the views of the entire aviation industry. Our proposal is the product of significant collaboration and compromise with many stakeholders, and we are confident the Commission will make a decision based on fact and the public’s interest.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Florida Fire Chiefs Support FirstNet Op-In

The Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA) is urging Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R.) to opt into the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system. “Florida’s fire chiefs are responsible for making critical decisions to ensure the safety of citizens and first responders during every day operations and large-scale disaster events,” FFCA President Otto Drozd said in a statement today on a letter that the group sent the governor yesterday. “To do that effectively, they require a nationwide, high-speed broadband network dedicated to public safety communications.

Through FirstNet’s expanded strategic partnership with AT&T, the FFCA believes the infrastructure, technology and resources are in place to give our public safety leaders the best opportunity to make timely, informed decisions that impact their communities, our state and our nation.” In the letter, Mr. Drozd said, “The benefit of the partnership is that emergency service agencies can begin leveraging the AT&T network through priority access and preemption as soon as a decision is made to affirmatively opt-in to the FirstNet system.” In fact, AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, has said that priority access would be available immediately but preemption would not be available until the end of this year.

Courtesy TRDaily

LPTV Proposal Envisions Use of T-Band Spectrum

A low-power TV proposal “ending the vacant channel war” would involve use of T-band channels that Congress has directed the FCC to auction by 2021 while relocating public safety and industry incumbents by 2023, according to an ex parte filing by the LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition. The coalition has said it has declared a “truce” in its fight with tech companies that support unlicensed use of TV white spaces, particularly on the issue of whether the FCC should reserve an additional white spaces channel in each market for unlicensed devices (TR Daily, Aug. 1).

The coalition’s ex parte filing yesterday in GN docket 12-268, ET docket 14-165, and MB docket 15-146 reported on an Aug. 1 meeting with 17 representatives of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force, Media Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology.

The redacted filing stressed the need for a five- to seven-year “bridge” for a legislative solution for holding an incentive auction of T-band spectrum. The FCC has the authority to conduct additional incentive auctions through fiscal year 2022, but it can’t hold additional auctions of TV spectrum, including in the T-band, without congressional approval.

In the Aug. 1 meeting, the coalition also reiterated its call “for a post-auction economic analysis of the impacts of repacking on non-eligible-for-the-auction LPTV and TV translator license and construction permit holders,” according to the ex parte filing.

Relocating public safety T-band incumbents from the 11 metro areas where they use the spectrum would cost more than $5.9 billion, according to a 2013 report by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (TR Daily, March 15, 2013).

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requires the FCC to reallocate and auction public safety spectrum in the T-band by 2021 and relocate incumbents by 2023. Proceeds from the auction can be used to cover the relocation costs of public safety licensees. But the law doesn’t say anything about relocating non-public safety licensees.

The T-band is in TV channels 14-20 (470-512 megahertz).

Some public safety advocates have suggested the community lobby Congress to eliminate the mandate that the T-band be auctioned or at least to delay the deadline. —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

PSCR Publishes August 2017 Quarterly Newsletter

 PSCR August 2017 Quarterly Newsletter 

$50,000 Awarded to NIST Virtual Public Safety Test Environment Challenge Winners

In June, PSCR announced the winners of the NIST Virtual Public Safety Test Environment Challenge – a competition to design a physical measurement environment that  uses immersive virtual reality tools for testing critical first responder technologies. In just 60 days, the challenge generated a following of over 700, culminating in 103 registered competitors via the HeroX  community.

Six winners were selected from a diverse pool of entries. The winning submissions provided viable and creative solutions for designing a measurement environment for accurate and repeatable testing of new interfaces and technologies for public safety.

First Place –  Jason Jerald, NextGen Interactions for FirstSimVR, a versatile VR system that can be configured for specific first-responder scenarios in order to prototype, evaluate, and inform improved design of early virtual and physical prototypes.

Second Place –  Zach Huber, Design Interactive, for a Reconfigurable Vehicle Training System, a mixed reality environment within reconfigurable cars.

Third Place  UNSN  for MultiVRse – parallel physical and VR universes, with auto VR visualisation matching the physical space, untethered and unbounded VR, interactions with real & VR objects which will capture full body movement up to each individual figure with no external cameras or sensors.

Fourth PlaceKirk McKinzie, Cosumnes Fire Department, for their idea of an Augmented Reality Emergency Response System, a multi-sensor based, indoor positioning technology to simulate a first responder emergency situation through a wearable SMART device.

Crowd Voting Award – Variable Labs  for their submission “The Future is Hidden in the Success of the Past,” highlighting the need to leverage interoperable standards to define a high-level architecture to establish a baseline for interaction modalities and biometric feedback datasets in order to provide a path to creating key performance indicators (KPI) which can help measure system performance and define future enhancements.

Honorable Mention – John Quarles and his team from  MedCognition, received the Honorable Mention award for PerSim, a realistic, portable, and lower cost solution to train first responders using augmented reality simulation.

Open Innovation is an essential element to PSCR’s strategy. This challenge represents the first in a series of crowdsourcing opportunities. PSCR will continue to seek out solvers and innovators that can help to advance public safety communications and accelerate the adoption of critical technologies through creative ideas and smart solutions.

For more information on PSCR Open Innovation, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) award of $38.5 million to 33 research and development (R&D) projects aimed at advancing broadband communications technologies for first responder, and to stay up-to-date on open opportunities, visit the PSCR website.