FirstNet Seeks Expressions of Interest for Board

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is seeking expressions of interest to serve on its board. They must be postmarked or e-mailed to by May 21. “One of the 12 appointments of nonpermanent members to the FirstNet Board, expiring August 2019, is currently vacant,” noted a “Federal Register” notice issued by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration today on behalf of FirstNet.

“Additionally, four of the 12 appointments of nonpermanent members to the FirstNet Board expire in August 2018, creating a total of five available appointments to the FirstNet Board.”

Courtesy TRDaily


FCC Official Stresses Importance of 4.9 GHz Band Utilization

The chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today stressed the importance of the 4.9 gigahertz band being widely utilized, which she stressed that it hasn’t so far. Last month, Republican FCC Commissioners emphasized the potential benefit of repurposing the band for commercial purposes, or at least opening it up to additional usage, citing the fact that the spectrum has not been heavily used since the Commission made it available for public safety agencies in 2002 (TR Daily, March 22).

Their comments came as Commissioners unanimously adopted a sixth further notice of proposed rulemaking in WP docket 07-100 seeking views on ways to promote more intensive use of the 4940-4990 megahertz band.

During luncheon remarks this afternoon at the annual meeting of the Land Mobile Communications Council, Lisa Fowlkes said that “public safety’s use of the 4.9 GHz band has fallen short of its potential. The further notice seeks ways to reverse this trend.”

Among the options the FCC is seeking comments on are extending use of the band to utilities are repurposing it for commercial use, she noted. “But let me be clear: all options for this band are on the table, except … for the option of allowing underutilization of the band to continue,” she said. “It is important that we hear from the LMCC and its members on the proposals and options.” Continue reading

LMCC Elects Board of Directors

The Land Mobile Communications Council today announced its new board of directors. David Smith of the Forest Industries Telecommunications is president, Brett Kilbourne of the Utilities Technology Council is vice president, and Mark Crosby of the Enterprise Wireless Alliance is secretary/treasurer. The other board members are Doug Aiken of the International Municipal Signal Association, Jim Goldstein of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and Farokh Latif of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International.

Keith Named COPS Director

The AP  (4/16) reports that “a former Tennessee police chief has been named to a new post in the U.S. Justice Department.” The department “said in a news release that Phil Keith will be director of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS.” Keith “spent 17 years as chief of police in Knoxville and has more than 47 years of experience in criminal justice, public safety and business administration,” and “he was also commissioner of the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission.”


NIST Researches Large Antenna System

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are working on new antenna measurement methods for 5G systems.  “NIST’s new Large Antenna Positioning System (LAPS) has two robotic arms designed to position ‘smart’ or adaptable antennas, which can be mounted on base stations that handle signals to and from huge numbers of devices,” NIST said in a news release.  “Measurements of antenna signals are a great use for robotics,” NIST electronics engineer Jeff Guerrieri said.

“The robotic arms provide antenna positioning that would be constrained by conventional measurement systems.”  The release said that “NIST researchers are still validating the performance of the LAPS and are just now beginning to introduce it to industry.”

Courtesy TRDaily


FCC Urges Providers to Follow Best Practices

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a public notice today to detail “lessons learned from major network outages” and remind providers “to review industry best practices to ensure network reliability.”

“Based on its recent analysis of several major network outages that affected subscribers, including those calling 911 for emergency assistance, Bureau staff determined that the outages could likely have been prevented or mitigated if the provider had followed certain network reliability best practices,” the public notice said. “Therefore, the Bureau encourages communications service providers to implement the following industry best practices, as previously recommended by the Commission’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council: 1. Minimize Impact of Maintenance Windows. Network operators and service providers should be aware of the dynamic nature of peak traffic periods and should consider scheduling potentially service-affecting procedures (e.g., maintenance, high-risk procedures, growth activities) to minimize the impact on end-user services. 2. Monitor 911 Network Components. Network operators, service providers, and public safety entities should actively monitor and manage the 911 network components using network management controls, where available, to quickly restore 911 service and provide priority repair during network failure events. When multiple interconnecting providers and vendors are involved, they will need to cooperate to provide end-to-end analysis of complex call-handling problems. 3. Ensure Real-World Testing Conditions. Service providers and network operators should consider validating upgrades, new procedures and commands in a lab or other test environment that simulates the target network and load prior to the first application in the field.” Continue reading

Ligado Asks Officials to Disregard GPS Testing Report

Ligado Networks LLC has asked the FCC and the Defense and Transportation departments to reject a recent report by the Space-Based Positioning Navigation & Timing National Systems Engineering Forum (NPEF) assessing whether there are gaps in testing of adjacent-band interference to the Global Positioning System L1 band (TR Daily, March 20).

The NPEF was tasked with doing the assessment by the National Executive Committee for Space-Based PNT, an intergovernmental agency body. The analysis evaluated tests done by an FCC-mandated technical working group, the NPEF, the Department of Transportation, Roberson and Associates LLC for Ligado, and the National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network (NASCTN).

The NPEF report faulted the Roberson and NASCTN tests for not using a 1 dB increase in the noise floor as the threshold for assessing harmful interference to GPS receivers, as the other tests did. It said that the other tests “included sufficient scope and methodology in compliance with the PNTAB’s [Space-Based PNT Advisory Board] set of recommendations, namely the DOT ABC, NPEF, and FCC TWG tests.”

But in a letter Monday to Patrick M. Shanahan and Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy secretaries of the Defense and Transportation departments who chair the National PNT Committee, Ligado President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Smith said there were “fundamental flaws” in the NPEF report.

He said that the report failed to mention that major GPS equipment manufacturers have signed agreements with Ligado stating they will not oppose the company’s planned LTE network deployment as long as certain technical parameters are met.

Mr. Smith also said that the NPEF’s report “is flawed because it is based on criteria that simply have no basis in spectrum regulation.” In particular, he complained that it “concludes that the only testing that matters is the testing for a change of 1 dB in the noise floor caused by operations in adjacent bands, and it gives no value to almost 1,500 hours of testing done by” the NASCTN.

Mr. Smith added, “The metric of a 1 dB change in the noise floor is appropriately used by regulators to govern users who share a band, sometimes referred to as a ‘co-channel interference.’ While Ligado’s operations and GPS are near each other (but not exactly ‘adjacent’ given the 23-megahertz guard band), the truth is that under all spectrum regulations GPS and Ligado do not share a band. That is a fact that some GPS advocates seem unwilling to accept.”

GPS equipment makers Garmin International, Inc., Deere & Co., Trimble Navigation Ltd., TopCon Positioning Systems, Inc., and NovAtel, Inc., have reached agreements with Ligado under which they will not oppose Ligado’s network, but those agreements don’t cover use of the 1 dB threshold, which most of the companies support.

Mr. Smith’s letter was attached to an ex parte Ligado filing with the FCC yesterday in IB docket 11-109 that also criticized the NPEF report.

“We encourage the Commission, as the expert spectrum agency in consultation with NTIA, to consider the full record before it, which shows that Ligado can both protect GPS devices and enable the use of prime mid-band spectrum to enhance American competitiveness and security, invest in American infrastructure, and create thousands of new jobs,” Ligado said.- Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily



FCC: 2017 EAS Test ‘Largely Was a Success’

The third nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) last September “largely was a success,” but some stakeholders reported experiencing problems, according to a report released by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today. The report cited a number of metrics from the Sept. 27 test to highlight what the bureau said was its overall success. Continue reading

Communications Outage Info Needs to Be ‘Actionable,’ Responders Say

Public safety and emergency response officials suggested today that the information on communications facilities status provided by the FCC during disasters such as last year’s hurricanes could be more timely and presented in a way to emphasize “actionable” information.

In remarks at the beginning of the workshop, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said, “The ability to communicate information is critical during emergencies—it’s what helps us warn communities, dispatch assistance, and more.”  He added that the agency has already received input in response to a public notice released in December on its performance during the 2017 hurricane season and said the agency the workshop would provide “a candid discussion about what information the Commission could or should provide to help improve disaster response and recovery efforts.”

During the first panel, officials from federal agencies with missions related to emergency and disaster response noted that information in the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) is 24 hours old by the time they get it and may not include information from all providers, since compliance is voluntary.

“We can’t just change” DIRS reporting to “mandatory, FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Associate Chief Jeff Goldthorp noted. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 12, 2018

Batteries in the Field:  When we add smartphones and tablets to the mix of public safety communications devices we are adding yet another set of devices that run on batteries that need to be recharged. While there are a number of companies working on charging these devices from the radio energy that is transmitted from a cell site, which could make recharging a non-issue, that appears, once again, to be well into the future. In the meantime, how are these devices to be charged along with the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) handheld radios?

Comparing LMR to LTE Devices:  LMR devices are generally designed for battery life of over a shift, which is ten hours or so. But this is with a duty cycle that is generally light. The norm is 80-percent standby (lowest power requirement) to 10-percent receive (mid-power requirement) and 10-percent transmit (highest power usage). The batteries for LMR radios are removable and replaceable and can be run through a “fast charge” system to replenish them in short order. There are also what are known as “clam-shell” battery cases that are designed to be used with disposable batteries, usually a number of AA cells. During major wildland fires when the forest services issue their cache of radios, they are mostly powered by throw-away cells. The batteries used in LMR radios are usually on the bottom of the radio, are easy to take off, and have a lot more battery capacity than batteries that are not removable.

There are a number of different scenarios for LMR radio distribution. In police departments, most LMR handhelds are staged in gang chargers and as patrol officers exit the station for a shift they will grab a radio and sometimes a spare battery for use on their shift and then replace the units in the charger at the end of their shift. In the fire service, since there are normally four assigned to an engine, radios are sometimes in chargers near one of the engine’s rear doors and are picked up as needed when arriving on a scene. Most EMS personnel have radios issued to them at the start of each shift. Of course, there are many variations of this including some departments where the LMR handheld is the only radio each person carries. Read the Entire Post Here Continue reading