Vermont Senators, Congressman Press FirstNet

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.) wrote First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth today asking him for more information on the network. “While we fully understand that the opt-in/opt-out decision rests solely with the state of Vermont, we have heard concerns from some constituents, including from some first responders themselves,” the lawmakers said.

They asked Mr. Poth to commit to ensuring that questions from the state’s Public Safety Broadband Network Commission are addressed, noting that it wrote FirstNet earlier this month “with a proposed list of sites that could be built-out to significantly improve network coverage throughout the state.”

They also said the state and residents “have raised concerns that the current coverage plan is inadequate to meet Vermont’s basic needs” and they asked FirstNet to “provide Vermont’s first responders with maps showing detailed signals levels” and inquired what recourse the state would have if AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, fails to deliver the promised coverage. In particular, they asked about penalties that AT&T would face.

The lawmakers also asked what penalties AT&T would have to pay for failing to sign up enough subscribers and asked if those funds would “be returned specifically to Vermont for reinvestment to improve the network?”

They also asked if AT&T would provide “reliable pricing and rate information” and whether FirstNet would work with Vermont if it opts out. —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

 

 

NARUC Adopts Resolution to Improve Direct Dialing of 911

BALTIMORE — The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Board of Directors today adopted a resolution addressing E911 access and enterprise communications systems during its 2017 annual meeting and education conference being held here this week.

It was the only resolution that was advanced by NARUC’s Committee on Telecommunications this week. Two other proposed resolutions — dealing with the federal Lifeline fund — were withdrawn and were not considered by the committee or the board.

The passed resolution aims to ensure that direct dialing for 911 can move forward. The adopted resolution supports federal and state actions to require enterprise communications systems (ECS) manufacturers, installers, and operators “to design and configure ECS to allow direct dialing of 911, route 911 calls to the proper PSAP regardless of the particular location of the extension used to call 911, provide the PSAP with location information specific and accurate enough for first responders to locate the caller, and to support on-site notification.”

The resolution (TC-1), which was sponsored by Commissioner Wendy Moser of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, states that “consistency, uniformity, and ubiquity of service is highly desirable in the dialing of 911” and that “voluntary efforts among ECS manufacturers, installers, and operators are laudable but may leave many 911 callers vulnerable.” Continue reading

Entities Disagree on WRC-19 Positions

A number of parties have weighed in on proposals and preliminary views approved recently by the FCC’s World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee (WRC-19), including proposals for which informal working groups couldn’t reach a consensus (TR Daily, Oct. 30).

For example, the Wi-Fi Alliance submitted comments in IB docket 16-185 endorsing View A of a draft proposal for agenda item 9.1, issue 9.1.5, related to the protection of radar systems in the 5 gigahertz band.

“Wi-Fi’s ability to deliver broadband connectivity and the associated socioeconomic benefits depend on spectrum access, which would be significantly undermined if the proposal included in WAC/047-View B is adopted by the U.S. for WRC-19,” the alliance argued. “At a minimum, this proposal would create a highly unstable and precarious regulatory environment for existing and future Wi-Fi operations in US and worldwide – stifling industry’s innovation, investment and development. Wi-Fi Alliance remains committed to finding workable regulatory solutions to protect radar systems in the 5 GHz band. Once these solutions are developed, there will be an opportunity to properly address protection of radar systems at the appropriate World Radiocommunication Conference. Until then, however, it is inappropriate to impose regulatory requirements that, by everyone’s admission, cannot be implemented. In the absence of a current regulatory solution, Wi-Fi Alliance urges adoption of the proposal included in WAC/047-View A.”

But Raytheon Company said it “supports View B as striking an appropriate balance between the interests of existing and future unlicensed Wireless Access Systems (‘WAS’), including Radio Local Area Networks (‘RLANs’) operations, and primary licensed radar (radiolocation and radiodetermination) operations as they have progressed and continue to evolve in the 5250-5350 and 5470-5725 MHz bands.”

Another agenda item for which there was not consensus is agenda item 1.8, which deals with the consideration of regulatory actions to support Global Maritime Distress Safety Systems (GMDSS) modernization and the introduction of additional GMDSS satellite systems.

“The Commission should support the recommendations in View A of WAC/039. The View A proposal on WRC-19 Agenda Item 1.8 is more encompassing than the View B proposal, and will provide flexibility in negotiating a regional WRC-19 proposal on this matter with our partners in CITEL,” said Iridium Communications, Inc.

But Ligado Networks Subsidiary LLC said that “View A proposes changes to the ITU Radio Regulations but omits language necessary to make the intended impact of those changes clear with respect to portions of the Big LEO band. Consequently, the View A approach creates uncertainty and invites future disputes. In contrast, View B proposes changes that achieve similar objectives, but does so in a manner that appropriately limits the impact of those changes with respect to the Big LEO band, avoiding unnecessary ambiguities in the application of the relevant rules. Because this approach would achieve the stated objectives of both draft proposals more precisely and more effectively, Ligado urges the Commission to endorse View B.”

Proposals and views on other agenda items also drew comments.

For example, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council submitted views on agenda item 1.3, “involving potentially upgrading satellite overlay operations in the 460-470 MHz band from secondary to co-primary status with respect to terrestrial land-based operations. As noted in the NTIA Draft Preliminary Views for WRC-19 which accompany the Public Notice, this proposal has the potential to adversely impact land mobile operations in the band, including public safety operations. NPSTC is concerned that the caveats and testing proposed by NTIA will become diminished through the overall WRC negotiation process. Also, any future U.S. testing should include the public safety community.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

NARUC Telecom Committee Advances E911 Resolution

BALTIMORE – The Telecommunications Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) today unanimously passed a resolution addressing enhanced 911 (E911) access and enterprise communications systems during its 2017 annual meeting and education conference being held here this week.

Two other proposed resolutions – dealing with the federal Lifeline fund – were withdrawn and were not considered by the committee today.

The passed resolution aims to ensure that direct dialing for 911 can move forward. The proposed resolution supports federal and state actions to require enterprise communications systems (ECS) manufacturers, installers, and operators “to design and configure ECS to allow direct dialing of 911, route 911 calls to the proper PSAP regardless of the particular location of the extension used to call 911, provide the PSAP with location information accurate enough for first responders to locate the caller, and to support on-site notification.”

The resolution (TC-1), which is sponsored by Commissioner Wendy Moser of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, states that “consistency, uniformity, and ubiquity of service is highly desirable in the dialing of 911” and that “voluntary efforts among ECS manufacturers, installers, and operators are laudable but may leave many 911 callers vulnerable.” Continue reading

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

FirstNet’s Competition. The law that created FirstNet is very clear when it comes to states and territories opting in or out of FirstNet. There are two ways to opt in: The governor of the state or territory decides to opt in by the December 28, 2017 deadline, or the governor simply does nothing in which case the opt in for that state is automatic. Opting out requires the state to provide the FCC, within 180 days, a plan demonstrating that the Radio Access Network (RAN), the only portion of the network authorized by law for states to build on their own, will be 100-percent compatible with the FirstNet network. The state will then negotiate a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for some of the network. As a final step, there must be a spectrum lease agreement between the state and FirstNet. All of this is called out in the law Congress passed in 2012. These are not conditions imposed by FirstNet.

Now if a state opts out, the FirstNet mandate is that the radio access network provided by the state or its vendor must be connected to the FirstNet core when public safety users populate the FirstNet network. FirstNet has also said that secondary users may, in fact, be routed to a different core located within the state or operated by the vendor. Again, ALL public safety traffic is to be routed to the FirstNet core. This makes sense when you understand this is to be a nationwide network sharing resources and applications that is usable across the entire nation.

Once a state has opted in there are no additional federal rules that impact public safety agencies within the state. Each agency has the option to join the FirstNet system, with its existing broadband provider, or to not use any broadband services. This local level is the area in which competition is occurring. Verizon has said it will actively seek to keep its existing public safety customers and to add more customers. It is also trying to obtain permission to host its own public safety core. Both FirstNet and AT&T are opposed to this with good reason. Having multiple standalone cores does not lend itself to fulfilling the goal of full interoperability this network was envisioned to provide. I have been told by experts in the field that if the cores are connected to each other the overall system will be more difficult to secure from a cybersecurity perspective, which is high on the list of network priorities.  Read the Entire Blog here Continue reading

Poth Confident on Additional Opt-Ins

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth said today that he is confident that the 29 states and two territories that have opted in to the network so far will be joined by many others leading up to the Dec. 28 deadline for governors to decide whether to opt out. In the text of prepared remarks for IWCE’s Critical LTE Communications Forum in Dallas today, Mr. Poth also said that even after governors make their decisions, FirstNet will continue to consult with states and territories to ensure the network continues to improve and is updated.

In other remarks at today’s event, Chris Sambar, senior vice president-FirstNet for AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, touted the benefits to states and territories of opting in and first responders signing up for service and defended the hiring of former state officials who are experts in public safety, according to AT&T.

Courtesy TRDaily

APCO Canada, iCERT Announce Partnership

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials Canada and the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies announced a partnership today to promote public-private collaboration for advancing emergency communications technologies.  “The partnership will entail ongoing examination of critical communications issues and implementation of advanced technology services for public safety, from both the technical and policy driven perspectives,” according to a news release. “The partners will also look to foster public awareness and understanding as new technologies replace legacy services, and as Canadians take a leading role in nationwide implementation of NG911 and public safety broadband services.”

Courtesy TRDaily