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

FCC Examines Enterprise Communications Systems’ 911 Capabilities

The FCC today launched a notice of inquiry to examine how well 911 calls are handled by enterprise communications systems used in businesses, hotels, educational institutions, government entities, and other buildings.  “Consumers have a right to expect that a 911 call made from anywhere in the country will be routed to the appropriate 911 call center, along with precise, accurate location and callback information so that they can be found by emergency responders,” Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief Lisa Fowlkes said during today’s FCC meeting. “This is no less true for 911 calls made within office buildings, educational campuses, and hotels served by enterprise-based communications systems.”

The notice of inquiry in PS docket 17-239, the FCC said, notes that there have been reports that, in some cases, enterprise communications systems may not support direct 911 dialing, route calls to the nearest 911 call center, or provide accurate location regarding the caller’s location.

“In an emergency, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re calling from your house, an outdoor park, or an office building,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “You should be able to reach first responders quickly, and those first responders should be given the information they need to assist you.”

Among the aims of the notice of inquiry, the FCC said, was to determine why enterprise communications systems “appear to be lagging.” Continue reading