FCC Gets Mixed Views on UAS Petition for Rulemaking

Some entities have criticized a petition for rulemaking filed by the Aerospace Industries Association seeking licensing and service rules for command and control of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the 5030-5091 megahertz band, while other parties support it.

The petition, which was filed in February, says that the FCC’s rules for control and non-payload communications (CNPC) operations should require individual licensing for UAS operators and says that the Commission should restrict the use of the UAS spectrum in the 5030-5091 MHz band to safety-of-life communications. In addition, the FCC should establish a frequency management system to assign spectrum and technical rules should be flexible, it says. The FCC also should regulate CNPC equipment under its part 87 rules and subject it to FCC equipment certification and RF exposure requirements, the petition says. The FCC also should modify its table of frequency allocations. The petition also asks the FCC to initiate CNPC link coordination with Canada and Mexico.

In comments filed in Rulemaking 11798, CTIA said that UAS operations “offer great promise in a variety of sectors, from infrastructure inspection and public safety to package delivery and mapping. In CTIA’s view, proposals made by the Aerospace Industries Association (‘AIA’) in its petition for service rules for the 5030-5091 MHz band (the ‘AIA Petition’) could compromise this potential. Before moving forward with the AIA Petition, the Federal Communications Commission (the ‘Commission’) should take account of the broader UAS context and consider approaches for the 5030-5091 MHz band and other potential UAS spectrum that are flexible, forward-looking, and technology-neutral. The right approach by the Commission will support the rapidly-evolving UAS industry.” Continue reading

Ligado Amends Applications to Protect Aviation GPS Receivers

Ligado Networks LLC today filed an amendment to its license modification applications before the FCC to protect certified aviation receivers in the wake of a Transportation Department report released last month on its GPS adjacent band compatibility assessment. Under the amendment, Ligado agreed to limit its power in the 1526-1536 megahertz lower downlink band.

“Today’s FCC filing further demonstrates our commitment to protecting GPS and to being a responsible spectrum neighbor as we prepare to deliver 5G and IoT connectivity to the industries that keep America running,” a Ligado spokesperson said. “Ligado’s filing to reduce the power levels in the downlink honors the pledge the company made in 2015 to protect certified aviation GPS receivers. Today’s filing underscores our resolve to find solutions that work for both GPS and wireless services. Ligado is poised to deploy 40 MHz of mid-band spectrum to support our nation’s critical infrastructure and help the U.S. in the global race to 5G.” Continue reading

DHS-Commerce Botnet Report Outlines Future Steps

A report on combatting botnets released today by the departments of Commerce and Homeland Security, while largely the same as a draft version issued in January, proposes continued action by the federal government, including a road map for implementing the report’s recommendations and plans for a follow-up report in a year. “This effort will not end with the publication of this report,” it says.  “There is much work to do.”

The report, titled “Enhancing the Resilience of the Internet and Communications Ecosystem Against Botnets and Other Automated, Distributed Threats,” was developed in response to a May 2017 executive order on strengthening the cybersecurity of federal networks and critical infrastructure (TR Daily, May 11, 2017).

Its conclusions and recommendations are largely the same as a draft version that was issued in January to gather public comment (TR Daily, Jan. 5).

But the final report aims to spur continued action on its recommendations.  “The departments of Commerce and Homeland Security, in coordination with industry, civil society, and in consultation with international partners, should be tasked with developing an initial road map with prioritized actions within 120 days after approval of this report,” it says.

“Government and the private sector will work together to ensure that the road map is updated and maintained as stakeholders accomplish the identified actions,” it says. Continue reading

First 800 MHz Band Mexico-Border Region Rebanded

The first 800 megahertz band region along the U.S.-Mexico border has been rebanded, David Furth, deputy chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, told the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council today during a meeting via teleconference.

“That’s a good sign,” Mr. Furth said of Arizona. “We are making progress with respect to rebanding in California and Texas and New Mexico as well.”

He said that actions to clear channels in Mexico are expected to allow a number of California licensees to complete rebanding next month.

Mr. Furth also stressed the importance of the 4.9 gigahertz band being widely utilized, which he said that it hasn’t been so far. In March, 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 MHz band.

Mr. Furth noted that the FCC is exploring a number of options, including extending the band to non-public safety entities, including by redesignating it for commercial use.

“The reason that all these options are on the table is that the one option the Commission is not willing to consider is allowing underutilization of the band to continue,” he said.

Mr. Furth also said the FCC is likely to take action “in the next few months” to launch a proceeding that Congress has given it until September 2019 to complete regarding the consideration of rules to ensure that a dispatchable location is conveyed with 911 calls, including calls from multi-line telephone systems.

Also at today’s meeting, NPSTC approved a report on the use of drones for communications support.

Meanwhile, Kevin McGinnis, a member of the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) board, noted that AT&T, Inc., is signing up new subscribers for the network. “Be patient. Don’t sign up where’s there’s no coverage at this point,” he advised. “The coverage will come soon.”

Paul Patrick, interim chairman of FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), said that in its first in-person meeting of the year next week in San Diego, the PSAC plans to discuss, among other things, the fact that Verizon Communications, Inc., continues to market its public safety broadband offering. Mr. Patrick also said that Todd Early, who represents the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators, and Brian Howard, who represents the National Congress of American Indians, have joined the PSAC executive committee.

Meanwhile, Jim Goldstein of the International Association of Fire Chiefs said efforts continue to get a Senate companion bill to House T-band legislation. Legislation (HR 5085) introduced by Rep. Elliot Engel (D., N.Y.) in February would repeal the provision (TR Daily, Feb. 27). The bill now has 15 cosponsors – 10 Democrats and five Republicans, Mr. Goldstein noted.

Congress required the FCC to reallocate and auction public safety spectrum in the T-band by 2021 and relocate incumbents by 2023. Proceeds from the auction can be used to cover the relocation costs of public safety licensees, but not business/industrial entities in the spectrum. The T-band encompasses TV channels 14–20 (470–512 megahertz).

Mr. Goldstein noted that a Democratic senator on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has expressed interest in sponsoring a bill, but efforts are underway to find a Republican cosponsor. Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) is a possible Democratic sponsor, according to sources.

Mr. Goldstein also said that T-band legislation is of immense interest to non-public safety users of the spectrum, such as petroleum companies, universities, and hospitals. “This is an important issue for them because the law is silent on where do they go, who pays for them to move, and what happens if, in fact, an auction moves forward,” he noted. “So we’re moving forward. There’s a lot of discussion with Hill staff.”

Meanwhile, Don Root, chairman of NPSTC’s Spectrum Management Committee, welcomed fines levied by the FCC over energy-efficient lighting, which has caused interference to public safety operations.  “We are just glad to see that the FCC is taking action,” he said.- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily



Public Safety, Consumer, Federal Entities Back Multimedia WEAs

Local public safety agencies and public safety groups have renewed their call for the FCC to require wireless carriers to support multimedia wireless emergency alerts (WEAs), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service are echoing their plea. Entities representing the deaf and hard of hearing say they also support multimedia alerts.

But the wireless industry says there are technical issues that still must be addressed before multimedia alerts can be formatted, and it stresses that alert originators can include links to such content in their messages.

Comments were filed by yesterday’s deadline in PS dockets 15-91 and 15-94 in response to a public notice released in March by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau seeking to refresh the agency’s record on how it can facilitate the delivery of multimedia content in WEAs (TR Daily, March 28).

In an order released in January requiring participating carriers to transmit alerts over more precise geographic areas, the FCC directed the Public Safety Bureau to release the public notice (TR Daily, Jan. 30).

Public safety entities have pressed the FCC to mandate multimedia alerts, while wireless industry entities have expressed concern about the potential for network congestion from such WEA upgrades.

In 2016, the FCC adopted a report and order that made changes to WEAs in an effort to make them more useful to public safety agencies and the public, including requirements that wireless carriers support embedded URLs and phone numbers in alerts (TR Daily, Sept. 29, 2016).

At the time, the Commission also adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking with additional proposals, such as requiring carriers to support multimedia content in public safety messages. The FNPRM also sought views on necessary technical parameters and a compliance timeline.

In their comments filed in response to the public notice released in March, public safety entities said they still support an FCC mandate for multimedia WEAs. They said that such a capability will help save lives in disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and winter storms and when criminal suspects are being sought, and that it will help emergency managers reach people who don’t speak English, are blind, or are deaf or hard of hearing. Continue reading

From FCC’s Daily Digest, May 23


CGB. Contact: Barbara Britt at Barbara.Britt@fcc.gov or (202) 418-0323 or Greg Cooke at gregory.cooke@fcc.gov or (202) 418-2351. DA-18-537A1.docx DA-18-537A1.pdf DA-18-537A1.txt


Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, May 24, 2018

FirstNet Everywhere, Partnerships (Again)

I just returned from the largest amateur (ham) radio convention in the United States, held each year near Dayton, Ohio or, to be precise, at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio. I mention this event for a number of reasons, the first of which is that many of those attending have day jobs working for public safety as sworn personnel or in the IT or communications departments. Many who designed and built the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems used by public safety today were hams who first experienced communications as a new ham radio operator.

A number of federal government employees and contractors also attend. I was amused that AT&T had a booth in one the buildings and I went to visit it only to find this was the DirectTV group and not the wireless group. The interest in FirstNet was high this year and I had many discussions with those I met about the progress FirstNet and AT&T are making. I especially enjoyed talking with a group of fire and other public safety personnel in a flea market booth. They read my articles and were very interested in my perspective on FirstNet. I also enjoyed talking about the Harris XL-200 4-band handheld I was carrying and my Sonim XP8 phone.

I was happy to see so many pubic safety people there who knew about FirstNet. In previous years they would look confused until FirstNet was explained to them but this year I did not have to do much explaining. When talking with some federal employees and contractors, I learned one of the contractors retired from his federal job and is now a consultant to the same agency. Our discussion was disturbing to say the least. It turns out that the federal government wants to redo its communications contracts and stop using wired connections. This may be the wave of the future, but it appears as though none of those suggesting the changes to the contracts or changes in vendors truly understand that eliminating the need for copper wires is not simply about replacing them with fiber and Voice over IP (VoIP).

Read the Entire Post Here

Here are the articles I have selected with the help of Discovery Patterns artificial intelligence:

Continue reading

9News.com Reports: Underwater drone to help with Summit County rescue missions

The Summit Country Sheriff’s Office is the first in Colorado to use an underwater drone to help in their investigations. At the Dillon Reservoir, deputies with the Summit County Sheriff Department are training with something new for their underwater missions.

“This is really a unique thing,” Sergeant Mark Watson said. It’s a Remote Operated Vehicle, or ROV Underwater System. Read article here.


Official: Some Agencies in North Carolina ‘Scared’ of FirstNet

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -— Some public safety agencies in North Carolina, particularly small agencies in rural areas, are “scared”  of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and are unlikely to subscribe anytime soon to the service that AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, is offering, a state official said here today.

The comments came at the North Carolina Public Safety Broadband Summit, which was held in conjunction with the 2018 Connectivity Expo, which was organized by the Wireless Infrastructure Association. “In certain parts of North Carolina, I don’t think they’re ready, so they’re scared,” Gregory Hauser, North Carolina’s statewide interoperability coordinator, said during a session this afternoon. He said that feeling is particularly prevalent in rural areas.

“For now in North Carolina … this is going to be a metro advancement,” Mr. Hauser said of FirstNet subscribership, citing major cities such as Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro.

Asked what the concerns were for public safety agencies in rural areas, he said “coverage” and cost were the two largest. “We’re going to need some help,” Mr. Hauser said of the cost issue, adding that grant or other funding would be necessary for some agencies.

“We’re going to get there. I think we all realize that,” he added. “How we get there is going to be pretty painful.” Continue reading

AT&T Reps Highlight Benefits of FirstNet Offering

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –— AT&T, Inc., representatives, including former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis, argued today that AT&T’s public safety broadband offering for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is far superior than any other option available to public safety agencies, and Mr. Davis suggested that police agencies will choose FirstNet because they “follow the law.”

Mr. Davis, an AT&T consultant, and Chad Tucker, a FirstNet consultant manager for AT&T, discussed AT&T’s offering during a keynote session this morning at the 2018 Connectivity Expo, which was organized by the Wireless Infrastructure Association. AT&T’s FirstNet brand is featured prominently at the show here this week. It is a sponsor of the overall show, and the collocated North Carolina Public Safety Broadband Summit.

Mr. Davis stressed the benefits that the FirstNet system would have provided it if had been available after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, including offering priority and preemption for first responders when cellular networks were overloaded as well as broadband access and interoperability. He also said that the network will allow public safety agencies to take advantage of the innovation of a Fortune 500 company.  “There has never been a research and development arm of policing in the United States,” he added.

Mr. Tucker suggested that AT&T’s preemption is being done in a way that no one else is doing, even though Verizon Communications, Inc., also offers priority service and preemption for its public safety broadband offering that is competing with that of AT&T’s for FirstNet. Mr. Tucker also stressed that AT&T has a “dedicated core,” for public safety, “not a virtual core,” and “end-to-end encryption.” Continue reading