FCC Schedules 800 MHz Band Coexistence Forum

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology announced today that they will host a forum Nov. 6 that will focus on improving coexistence between commercial wireless and public safety licensees in the 800 megahertz band.

The event is scheduled to be held in the Commission’s meeting room and run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In a cellular reform second report and order adopted in March (TR Daily, March 23), the FCC directed staff to convene such an event with cellular licensees, public safety licensees, and public safety equipment manufacturers. “The forum on November 6th will include the perspectives of all three groups and various other interested parties in exploring the existing 800 MHz interference environment, realistic anticipated changes in that environment, and practical options for addressing both existing and anticipated interference problems without hindering technological advances in the Cellular Service,” according to a public notice released today.

Courtesy TRDaily


New S&T News Release: DHS S&T Awards $4.8 Million to Center for Innovative Technology to Enhance Smart Cities

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today a $4.8 million contract award to the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) of Herndon, Virginia, to apply cutting-edge Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to first responders and the commercial marketplace. The award was jointly announced by DHS Acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology William N. Bryan with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe at the inaugural meeting of the Governor’s Smart Communities Working Group in Arlington, Virginia.

Learn more: https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/news/2017/09/18/news-release-st-awards-48-million-center-innovative

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, September 14, 2017

Public Safety Grade AT&T recently stated at a congressional hearing that there was no “real” definition for the term, “Public Safety Grade.” The public safety community responded with disbelief, led by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) which had published a paper addressing all of the issues needed to qualify as a Public Safety Grade Network. The document, “Defining Public Safety Grade Systems and Facilities,” was published in May of 2014 after much work by many people. Starting on page 108 of the document is a list of individuals and organizations that contributed to this report and the list is three pages long.

In all fairness to AT&T, at last week’s NPTSC meeting in Washington, DC, the AT&T senior vice president in charge of FirstNet stood up and apologized to NPSTC for his comments and then spoke about how AT&T is moving toward public safety grade status. His apology and comments were well received by NPSTC and the clarification was timely and well-articulated.

What he did not say and what I hope to show in this week’s Advocate is that there are differences between public safety grade for Land Mobile Radio (LMR) sites and an LTE network. It is important for LMR communications professionals to understand these differences and not hold AT&T to public safety grade for every cell site in the network. The methodology for hardening an LTE network is different but effective and it is these differences that need to be understood. Continue reading

FCC Issues Public Notice on Forum on Improving Sharing in the 800 MHz Band

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB), Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology will host a public forum on improving the co-existence of Cellular (and other commercial wireless) licensees and public safety licensees in the 800 MHz band. The forum will be held on Monday, November 6, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC.

In its Cellular Reform Second Report and Order adopted March 23, 2017,1 the Commission revised the Cellular Service power and related technical rules to provide much more flexibility in deployment of advanced broadband services and promote spectral efficiency, while taking steps to protect public safety and other systems in the 800 MHz band from potential increased interference. Recognizing that stakeholder-led efforts on the part of Cellular licensees, public safety entities, and public safety equipment manufacturers are crucial to resolving lingering concerns about unacceptable interference to public safety mobile and portable radios, the Commission directed the Bureaus to convene a forum to foster the conversation and further good-faith efforts among representatives of these stakeholders.2

The forum on November 6th will include the perspectives of all three groups and various other interested parties in exploring the existing 800 MHz interference environment, realistic anticipated changes in that environment, and practical options for addressing both existing and anticipated interference problems without hindering technological advances in the Cellular Service. A detailed agenda will be released prior to the forum.

Attendance. This forum is open to the public. Due to the high number of anticipated attendees and security check-in procedures, all attendees are advised to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the session of interest. Attendees are not required to pre-register, but may submit their name and company affiliation ahead of time by sending an email to Cecilia Sulhoff (cecilia.sulhoff@fcc.gov) in order to expedite the check-in process.

To view the webcast, go to the FCC web page at http://www.fcc.gov/live. Viewers will be able to submit questions during the forum by email to livequestions@fcc.gov.

For further information on the public forum, contact Thomas Derenge, WTB, at (202) 418-2451

or by email: thomas.derenge@fcc.gov. For logistical questions, please contact Cecilia Sulhoff, WTB, at (202) 418-0587 or by email: cecilia.sulhoff@fcc.gov. For more news and information about the Federal Communications Commission, please visit: http://www.fcc.gov.

From the FCC Daily Digest, September 15, 2017

Released:  09/15/2017.  PUBLIC FORUM ON IMPROVING SHARING IN THE 800 MHZ BAND SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 6, 2017. (DA No.  17-895).  WTB . Contact:  Thomas Derenge at (202) 418-2451, email: Thomas.Derenge@fcc.gov. News Media Contact: Cecilia Sulhoff at (202) 418-0587, email: Cecilia.Sulhoff@fcc.gov https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-895A1.doc


PROCEDURES FOR COMMISSION REVIEW OF STATE OPT-OUT REQUESTS FROM THE FIRSTNET RADIO ACCESS NETWORK.   Order adopting remaining procedures for Commission review of state opt-out requests from the FirstNet Radio Access Network. (Dkt No.  16-269 ). Action by:  the Commission. Adopted:  09/14/2017 by ORDER. (FCC No. 17-116).  PSHSB








FCC Finalizes Criteria for Considering Alternative State FirstNet Plans

The FCC today released an order that finalizes the technical criteria that the agency will use when considering alternative plans by states that seek to opt out of having AT&T, Inc., the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network partner, build radio access networks (RANs) that will be part of the nationwide system. In the order, the FCC agreed with FirstNet, AT&T, Rivada Networks LLC, and others on particular points.

The item in PS docket 16-269 follows up on an order that the Commission unanimously adopted in June that established procedures for reviewing alternative plans for interoperability (TR Daily, June 22). The FCC in that order directed the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to seek comment on a proposed interoperability compliance matrix that FirstNet had filed late in the agency’s proceeding.

The order released today noted that section 6302(e)(3)(C)(i) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which established FirstNet, “provides that states making a timely opt-out decision shall ‘submit an alternative plan for the construction, maintenance, operation, and improvements of the radio access network within the State to the Commission, and such plan shall demonstrate—(I) that the State will be in compliance with the minimum technical interoperability requirements developed under section 6203 [of the Act]; and (II) interoperability with the nationwide public safety broadband network.’ We refer to these requirements herein as ‘Prong 1’ and ‘Prong 2’ respectively.”

“In a June 5, 2017 ex parte filing, FirstNet filed a spreadsheet listing ‘FCC Evaluation Requirements’ associated with specific elements of its anticipated state plan categories. FirstNet stated that the spreadsheet represents an ‘interoperability compliance matrix that documents the technical standards that will be necessary to ensure a state or territory’s [Radio Access Network (RAN)] is interoperable with the [Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN)].’ On June 16, 2017, FirstNet filed an additional ex parte letter in which it proffered a revised interoperability compliance matrix. In the revised matrix, FirstNet proposed that the Commission’s review under the second statutory prong be limited to whether alternative state plans comply with recommended requirements [4] and [5] from the [FCC’s] Interoperability Board Report,” the FCC noted in the order. “These recommendations apply to the use of Access Point Names or APNs. Recommended requirement [4] states that ‘[h]ardware and software systems comprising the NPSBN SHALL support APNs defined for PSAN [Public Safety Application Network] usage.’ Recommended requirement [5] states that ‘[h]ardware and software systems comprising the NPSBN SHALL support nationwide APNs for interoperability.’” Continue reading

FirstNet Officials Defend Benefits of Network to Public Safety

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) officials today defended the benefits of the network to first responders, implicitly criticizing a rival offering by Verizon Communications, Inc. The board also approved a fiscal year 2018 budget and officials said that lessons can be learned from the preparation for and response to recent hurricanes and wildfires. At the board’s quarterly meeting in Boulder, Colo., the officials again and again stressed the commitment of FirstNet and AT&T, Inc., the authority’s network partner, to meeting the needs of public safety agencies, from applications to devices to radio access networks (RANs) to a dedicated public safety core network, and they suggested that the planned FirstNet offerings were superior to others, without mentioning Verizon by name.

“They’re not just doing this as a marketing tactic,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said of AT&T. “This is a commitment.” “Public safety is our only business,” he also said. “We only have one priority.” Mr. Poth also said that the FirstNet system “isn’t something that can be replicated overnight by switching on a switch.”

Last month, Verizon announced that it would offer priority and preemption to public safety customers and that it plans to deploy a dedicated public safety core network (TR Daily, Aug. 15). The offering could pose serious competition to FirstNet and AT&T, as many in the public safety community view Verizon’s network as more extensive and reliable and the carrier has a dominant share of the public safety market.

But Mr. Poth said at today’s meeting that public safety is not concerned “with market competition.” However, in response to Verizon’s announcement, some in the public safety community said that such competition was good for first responders.

Board Vice Chairman Jeff Johnson said today that AT&T has made commitments to FirstNet, “and we’re going to hold them accountable.” He also said that some public safety organizations are certified and others are not, suggesting that FirstNet was. Continue reading