FirstNet Prepares Official Notices to States, Territories

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today prepared official notices to governors of final state and territory plans after receiving from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration funding level determinations (FLDs) for states that opt out of having AT&T, Inc., build their radio access networks (RANs). FirstNet posted final plans on an online portal last week (TR Daily, Sept. 19), but it could not deliver official notices to states and territories, which starts the 90-day clock for review, until getting the FLDs from Commerce, as required by the law that created FirstNet. The funding would be used for RAN construction.

“We are preparing the official notices, which includes NTIA’s FLDs, to send to the governors tonight, for arrival tomorrow,” a FirstNet spokesman said late this afternoon.

Funding levels will be released once they have been received by governors, according to an NTIA spokesman. Continue reading

Verizon Defends Interoperability, Security of Public Safety Network

Verizon Communications, Inc., said today that the broadband service it is offering to first responders will be interoperable with the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) system, even though its public safety core will not interconnect with the core maintained by AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner. Verizon also said that its network will be secure.

Verizon announced its plan last month, saying that it would offer priority service and preemption to public safety customers, and that it would build a dedicated public safety core (TR Daily, Aug. 15). “Verizon’s planned dedicated public safety network will complement the proposed FirstNet network and provide a robust communications solution for first responders across the country. It will also ensure they continue to have the right to choose their communications provider and to benefit from the continued innovation that comes from a competitive marketplace,” Michael Maiorana, senior vice president-public sector for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said in a LinkedIn posting today. “Central to delivering on that promise is providing public safety with communications networks that are interoperable and secure. Continue reading

NIST Nominee Focuses on Cybersecurity, FirstNet

Walter Copan, President Trump’s nominee to head the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), said during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing today that cybersecurity and the development of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will be among his top priorities for the organization if he is confirmed to the post. “I believe that the contributions that NIST has made recently with the development of the cybersecurity framework for this nation is an essential underpinning for national security and economic security,” he said. “Every day we hear more examples of the risks that our infrastructure, our data, our systems, and our corporations face. If confirmed, I look forward to leading this organization to further develop and communicate the cybersecurity framework, as well as adapting tools to the changing competitive landscape for both economic reasons as well as national security reasons.” Continue reading

Louisiana Opts in to FirstNet

Louisiana became the 24th state or territory to opt in to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system today. “The entire State of Louisiana will benefit from this decision,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards (D.). “From natural disasters like flooding and hurricanes, to other planned events like Mardi Gras, hosting Super Bowls or other large sporting events, Louisiana has many unique times when communications systems can become strained. We will be working with our partners at FirstNet and AT&T on this communications network which means deploying a true interoperable nationwide system for public safety.

The sharing of instant information will only become more critical in the future. There is a lot to be done, but the system will ultimately help protect our citizens and first responders.” Meanwhile, Georgia has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for an alternative to the plan delivered by FirstNet (TR Daily, June 19). Proposals are due Oct. 24.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

FCC Releases 911 NOI

The FCC has released a notice of inquiry adopted yesterday to examine how well 911 calls are handled by enterprise communications systems used in businesses, hotels, educational institutions, government entities, and other buildings (TR Daily, Sept. 26). Comments are due Nov. 15 and replies Dec. 15 in PS docket 17-239.

Courtesy TRDaily

Nationwide Test of EAS Conducted

The third nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) was conducted today. “The next step is for EAS participants – including broadcast television, radio, cable, satellite, and wireline video providers – to file post-test reports with the FCC.  Our staff will review the data to assess how test participants performed. We will then work with FEMA and other stakeholders to identify whether any improvements are needed,” said Lisa Fowlkes, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. “We appreciate the cooperation of all stakeholders in today’s test as we work to ensure that the Emergency Alert System remains an effective means of warning the public about emergencies.”

Detailed reports are due from EAS stakeholders by Nov. 13. Stakeholders, except those in hurricane-impacted areas, have to submit forms by midnight tonight saying they received and transmitted alerts.

Courtesy TDaily

 

 

 

More Than 90% of Cell Site Still Out in Puerto Rico

More than 90% of cell sites remained out of service today in Puerto Rico, while 66% remained down in the U.S. Virgin Islands due to Hurricane Maria, the FCC reported today. “Overall, 91.1% (virtually no change from 90.9% yesterday) of cell sites are out of service. All counties in Puerto Rico have greater than 75% of their cell sites out of service. 31 (up from 29 yesterday) out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico have 100% of their cell sites out of service,” the FCC said in an outages report that uses data submitted to the Commission’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS).

There was no change today concerning the operational status of public safety answering points in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. “The two PSAPs in Puerto Rico are currently functioning normally according to the primary service provider,” the report said. “In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the St. Croix 9-1-1 Call Center has been reported as completely down. FEMA has reported significant damage to the building. The St. Thomas 9-1-1 Call Center is unable to retrieve Phase I and Phase II location information for wireless callers and ANI/ALI for VoIP Callers.”

The report still did not provide specific data on cable and wireline system outages, but it said that 18 switches, the same as yesterday, were “out of service due to either SS7 or toll isolation.” The report also said that one TV station in San Juan reported being out of service, while another said it was on the air, and it said that nine radio stations in Puerto Rico said they were down. It said that “informal reports” indicated that one TV station and 22 radio stations were on the air in Puerto Rico.   Continue reading

IEEE Spectrum Reports: Superaccurate GPS Chips Coming to Smartphones in 2018

Geolocation and situational awareness is paramount in emergencies and incident management. Today, GPS is used to provide that awareness outdoors with some success. Indoor location requires horizontal accuracy, vertical accuracy, the ability to operate in the absence of power and withstand extreme weather conditions, and ubiquity and consistency.

A new breed of global navigation satellite signals will give the next generation of smartphones 30-centimeter accuracy instead of today’s 5 meters. Even better, the chip works in a city’s concrete canyons, and it consumes half the power of today’s generation of chips.  Read article here: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/design/superaccurate-gps-chips-coming-to-smartphones-in-2018

More Than 90% of Cell Sites Still Down in Puerto Rico

More than 90% of cell sites remained out of service today in Puerto Rico, while more than 61% remained down in the U.S. Virgin Islands due to Hurricane Maria, the FCC reported today.  “Overall, 90.9% (slightly down from 91.2% yesterday) of cell sites are out of service. All counties in Puerto Rico have greater than 75% of their cell sites out of service. 29 (down from 34 yesterday) out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico have 100% of their cell sites out of service,” the FCC said in an outages report that uses data submitted to the Commission’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS).

For the Virgin Islands, “61.3% (slightly up from 60.4% yesterday) of cell sites are out of service,” the report said. Continue reading

Justice Department Argues Location Data Obtained from Carriers Not “Search” of Cell Phone User

In a case involving whether law enforcement officials need a warrant to obtain cell-site information on the location of mobile device users, the Justice Department has told the Supreme Court that the government’s acquisition of cell-site records from wireless service providers “did not constitute a Fourth Amendment search” of the cell-phone customer in question.

The Supreme Court agreed in June to review the decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Cincinnati), which had ruled 2-1 that a warrant is not needed under the Fourth Amendment for the government to obtain access to historical cell-site location information (CSLI) (TR Daily, June 5).

Law enforcement authorities had obtained cellphone location records from carriers in making a case against Timothy Carpenter related to a string of robberies which they said he organized.  They had obtained records for 127 days that revealed 12,898 location data points for Mr. Carpenter. Continue reading