PERF Presents its latest report in the Critical Issues in Policing series: The Revolution in Emergency Communications

PERF states, “… the United States is on the cusp of the biggest revolution in emergency communications since the first 911 call was made nearly 50 years ago.  Next Generation 911 and FirstNet technologies are poised to fundamentally change how the public communicates with the police and other emergency services; how agencies communicate with their officers and with one another; and how agencies communicate back to the public. Once fully implemented, these technologies will speed up emergency response times and improve public safety and officer safety.

The Revolution in Emergency Communications summarizes a day-long meeting PERF held on June 16, 2017, in Washington, DC, to explore the future of emergency communications. Beyond the NG911 and FirstNet technologies themselves, the 150 participants spent much of the day examining the issues that police chiefs and other public safety officials will need to address if they are to be successful in this new environment—issues such as policies, procedures, and workflows; staffing, training, and other workforce issues; governance structures; and funding.”


Correction: New Hampshire Opts out of FirstNet

A story in yesterday’s [Dec. 7] TR Daily incorrectly described the process that could lead up to an opt-out state having to negotiate with First Responder Network Authority over the terms of the build-out of a radio access network (RAN) if its opt-out bid is rejected by the government.

If the FCC rejects the state’s opt-out plan, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 “directs that the deployment of the state’s RAN will revert to the plan proposed by FirstNet,” notes the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “If NTIA disapproves the state’s [spectrum lease] application, the state will need to enter into discussions with FirstNet regarding how and when the RAN will be built in that state, since the Act does not specify that FirstNet must build that state’s RAN as initially proposed,” NTIA notes.

Courtesy TRDaily

FCC Grants 700 MHz Band Construction Deadline

The Policy and Licensing Division of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released an order on reconsideration in file no. 0007811683 today addressing a request by the city of Long Beach, Calif., “to extend the construction deadline for 700 MHz trunked public safety station, call sign WQNH254. Specifically, Long Beach requests an extension until June 2020 to construct the station.

While the City’s extension request was being reviewed by Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau or PSHSB) staff, call sign WQNH254 entered into Termination Pending Status for failure to meet a build-out requirement. For the reasons stated below, we grant the extension request until June 17, 2018, and return call sign WQNH254 to active status.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Pai Seeks Updates on California Wildfires

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said today he has asked for regular updates on the impact of Los Angeles-area wildfires on telecommunications networks and public safety communications services. “As devastating fires continue to hit Southern California, our thoughts and prayers go out to those in the paths of these flames, and we thank the first responders working tirelessly to combat these blazes,” Mr. Pai said in a statement.

“Given our role to promote the safety of all Americans by ensuring communities have resilient communications networks and remain connected to emergency call centers, we stand ready to assist in any way possible.  I have requested regular updates from the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, which is monitoring the impact of the wildfires on communications services and coordinating with our government partners.  To date, we are aware of minor impacts to communications infrastructure resulting from the loss of power.  We continue to track the situation and are prepared to provide assistance to our federal, state, and local emergency first responders on the ground. Lastly, I am pleased to hear reports that Wireless Emergency Alerts have been used successfully to warn affected communities, including the use of clickable URLs in text messages that give the public direct access to additional public safety information.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Comment Sought on 2017 Hurricane Season Response Efforts

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a public notice today seeking comments on “the resiliency of the communications infrastructure, the effectiveness of emergency communications, and government and industry responses to the 2017 hurricane season.”

The public notice seeks answers to a number of questions.

“The Bureau will identify, from the comments received, areas for further exploration in workshop(s) to be held in the coming months on improving future response efforts,” it said. “While this Public Notice is primarily focused on the effectiveness of preparation and response activities for the 2017 hurricane season, PSHSB will coordinate with the Hurricane Recovery Task Force on issues or opportunities which should be addressed in long-term Hurricane Maria recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including potential recovery-focused workshop(s). The areas below focus on impacts to the communications infrastructure; FCC response efforts; and experiences of communications service users as well as communications services providers. In addition to providing comment on the specific questions below, commenters are encouraged to provide any additional information relevant to the 2017 hurricane season’s impact on communications, generally, or specific to any hurricane event. Commenters are also encouraged to include examples of effective and/or ineffective practices/methods.”

Comments are due Jan. 22, 2018, and replies Feb. 21, 2018, in PS docket 17-344.

“We want to hear from all stakeholders, including the public safety community; state, local, territorial, and tribal officials; industry; consumer groups; and federal response partners,” Lisa Fowlkes, chief of the Public Safety Bureau, said in a blog posting today on the public notice. “This input will inform the workshop(s) that we plan to hold next year to further explore the matter.  Our aim is to build on successful approaches and develop options to address shortfalls as we prepare for future disasters.  We are also considering what additional steps will assist this process.” —Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily

FCC Plans for Furloughing 1,265 Employees in Event of Funding Lapse

With funding for the federal government ending tomorrow barring congressional action, the FCC has said that 85% of its workforce, or 1,265 employees, will be furloughed and sent home in the event that agency appropriations lapse.

Among those who will not be furloughed are the five Commissioners, whose compensation is “financed by a resource other than annual appropriations,” and up to 185 employees whose “salary and expenses are not funded out of annual appropriations that will lapse on December 8 and [who] will be supporting spectrum auction-related activities,” according to the agency’s “Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations” dated Dec. 5.

“Up to 13 employees, not otherwise exempt, will be retained to protect life and property,” the plan says.  “Up to three (3) employees will be retained to provide oversight or conduct interference detection, mitigation, and disaster response operations wherever they may be needed. These will be full-time employees strategically located across the country to resolve imminent threats to the safety of life or property,” it adds.

Up to nine employees will be retained “for critical oversight/protection of life or property,” up to four will be retained “to perform international and treaty related activity instrumental in the discharge of the President’s constitutional power,” and seven will be retained “for critical Information Technology (IT) issues.”

In addition, contractors will be retained for security, IT, and facility services purposes.

Furloughed employees will be given four hours for shut down activities, such as securing materials and files, cancelling travel plans, and cancelling meetings. Furloughed employees will be expected to monitor news regarding a continuing resolution or appropriations legislation and to return to work on the next scheduled day after the furlough has ended.

A continuing appropriations bill (H.J. Res. 123) that would extend funding at current levels through Dec. 22 passed the House and Senate late this afternoon, sending it to President Trump for his signature.  —Lynn Stanton,

Courtesy TRDaily

Nielsen Sworn in as DHS Secretary

Kirstjen M. Nielsen was sworn in today as the sixth secretary of Homeland Security after the Senate confirmed her yesterday by a 62-37 margin (TR Daily, Dec. 5).

“It is my greatest honor to serve as Secretary alongside the remarkable men and women of DHS,” said Secretary Nielsen. “Our nation faces a complex threat landscape that is constantly evolving. I will do my utmost to ensure that the Department meets the threats of today and tomorrow, and to ensure our frontline personnel have the tools and resources to accomplish their vital missions.  I am humbled by the trust placed in me to lead our Department. I want to thank Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke for her exceptional leadership over the past four months – especially her work leading the response during the destructive Atlantic hurricane season. I look forward to continuing this Administration’s work to raise the standards for the security of our homeland in all areas – including securing our borders, protecting Americans from terrorist threats, and securing our cyber networks.”

Courtesy TRDaily

TAC Receives Recommendations of Five Working Groups

The FCC’s Technological Advisory Council today received a myriad of recommendations from its five working groups, including those dealing with rural broadband deployment, the removal of obsolete technical rules, mobile device theft prevention, and satellite system spectrum sharing.

The broadband deployment technical challenges working group recommended, among other things, that the FCC encourage broadband providers to use long-term technologies, consider developing an Economic Advisory Council to assist the chief economist in understanding the micro-economic operations on rural broadband deployment, and coordinate with government entities on GIS [geographic information system] modeling and an accessible database.

The working group also recommended that the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) develop a planning guide for future broadband providers and publish success stories. It also suggested that the FCC and BDAC coordinate to better identify where broadband exists today and develop partnering guidance.

The removing obsolete or unnecessary technical rules working group recommended that the FCC begin using consensus-based standards as an alternative, or in addition to, traditional regulations. To accomplish this, the FCC should engage with standards-development organizations and industry organizations, according to the recommendation, and should make public its areas of focus. Continue reading

Denver Post Reports: Traffic congestion is making it harder for Denver’s paramedics to get around. Here’s how they are coping.

In the new administrative offices of the Denver Health Paramedic Division at Sixth Avenue and Broadway, a bank of televisions hang above a U-shaped pod of desks.

One screen displays the calls ambulances are currently on; a second lists hospitals and the number of beds they have available. Josh Kennedy, a captain with the division and a 10-year veteran, gestures toward a third screen — one mapping traffic patterns throughout the city.

At midday, it shows mostly open routes. But in just a few hours, the streets on the map will turn red with backups. And that’s when the city’s paramedics will begin an increasingly complicated race: They will try to save lives while also navigating a gridlocked city. Read complete article here: