Commissioners Seek Help From Governors on 911 Fee Diversions

FCC Commissioners Mike O’Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel sought help today from the chairs of the Republican Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association to convince states to respond to the FCC’s annual data-collection for its report on 911 fee diversions and to stop diverting funds.

In a letter to Gov. Bill Hasiam (R., Tenn.) and Gov. Jay Inslee (D., Wash.), Commissioners O’Rielly and Rosenworcel said, “Recently, the FCC began its examination of 9-1-1 fees collected in 2017. We believe it is imperative for the agency to collect this information from all states and territories and seek your assistance to help ensure that we get the responsive information we need. Moreover, we ask that you consider efforts to halt 9-1-1 fee diversion going forward and encourage those states that have diverted fees in the past to commit to corrective measures.”

A report released in January said that six states diverted 911 fees in 2016 and seven states and territories did not provide the requested information to the Commission (TR Daily, Feb. 7). Commissioner O’Rielly has followed up with states and territories that have diverted funds or not responded to the FCC’s information request.- Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily

O’Rielly Refers Proposed 911 Diversion Provisions to FCC Staff

FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly told a Communications Workers of America official today that he has referred the Public Safety and Homeland Security and Consumer and Governmental Affairs bureaus proposals advanced by the CWA to prevent the diversion of 911 funds in Puerto Rico for other purposes, to FCC Staff for review. Mr. O’Rielly’s letter to Luis Benitez Burgos, president of CWA Local 3010, responded to a July 23 letter to Mr. O’Rielly that criticized the past diversion of 911 funds for other purposes in Puerto Rico and proposed a bill to halt the practice. The CWA letter sought Mr. O’Rielly’s support for the measure.

In his letter today, Mr. O’Rielly said, “We are in agreement that diverting 9-1-1 fees is an abhorrent practice, and that state and territory emergency personnel must have access to the collected 9-1-1 funds to ensure that all American citizens have access to fully functional, reliable, and modern 9-1-1 services during their critical times of need. Sadly, Puerto Rico understands the importance of 9-1-1 services and therefore the consequences of 9-1-1 fee diversion all too well, and I have been reassured that Puerto Rico will end its fee diversion practices by 2018.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Pai: High-Cost USF Support Order Expected in 2018

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a letter released today that he plans “to circulate an order ensuring adequate and efficient funding for rural broadband deployment later this year.” The letter released today was dated July 23 and responded to a bipartisan letter sent by 130 House members urging the Chairman to address recurring short-falls in the budget for high-cost universal service support for smaller carriers electing model-based support (TR Daily, May 15).

Courtesy TRDaily



The Future of Police Radio, Police Mag Article Featuring Jason Matthews and Sheriff Grinnell

First responder cellular communications are expected to present a challenge to mission critical radio systems in the future, but it’s not time to switch over yet.

Sgt. Jason S. Matthews, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Bureau | E-911 Communications, and Peyton C. Grinnell, Sheriff.  Read article here:



Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, July 26 2018

FirstNet NOT Operational?  According to an article in Radio Resources’ MissionCritical Communications, a court case brought by two Vermonters question why the government has failed to inform the court that FirstNet was operational as it stated it would in a previous agreement. Government lawyers in U.S. District Court argue that even though the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) is in place and operational, that is only one-half of the equation, the other half being the build-out of the Radio Access Network (RAN), which the federal attorneys are claiming to mean Band 14 spectrum only.

It might come as a surprise to the approximately 1,500 agencies that are up and running on FirstNet that federal lawyers assert that the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) won’t be deemed complete until Band 14 is built. If these two had only taken the time to understand wireless broadband or talk to those who do, they might have discovered that there is no wireless broadband network in the world that the service provider would tell you is “finished.” Networks are never finished. Today, all of the network operators are adding more wide-area and in-building coverage and are starting to roll out 5G small cells.

The idea that the federal government can declare the network fully operational only when Band 14 is built out does not consider the fact that today’s FirstNet is not only about Band 14 spectrum. In its RFP response, AT&T offered up and placed in service all its LTE spectrum and has stated over and over that 5G will be added to the mix as it is deployed. The criteria should not be based on Band 14, it should be about how and where the network is operational. There are still areas where FirstNet (Built by AT&T) is having to build out more sites, and areas where it makes sense to use Band 14, but there are other areas where it is possible that Band 14 will not be needed because the AT&T LTE spectrum is sufficient for use by both public safety and AT&T paying customers.  Read the Entire Post Here

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

AT&T Deploys Band 14 Spectrum in FirstNet Build

Via Satellite Jul 23 18:25

Read More

AT&T is deploying public safety’s Band 14 spectrum as part of its FirstNet build. The build out will be validated by the First Responder Network … Continue reading

The Siren, NFGR Spring 2018 Newsletter

The Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate just published a new edition of their First Responder newsletter, The Siren. This publication features recent highlights and accomplishments. In this edition, you’ll find interesting articles about:

  • NGFR teams up with Canada to support cross-border community resilience
  • SAVER: a responder resource for technology info
  • S&T Guidance for Your Public Safety Video Needs
  • New S&T report offers first responders ways to counter false information on social media
  • S&T co-hosted the Central Florida First Responders Technology Demo Day

From the July 24, 2018, FCC Daily Digest

The first two excerpts below are two cases in which the FCC has denied a waiver of the T-Band license freeze.  The third excerpt below is an enforcement case on non-compliant LED signs/billboards.  FCC assessed a $43K penalty and the company also will implement a compliance plan.

COMMISSIONERS OF FIRE DISTRICT NO. 1, FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, SOMERSET COUNTY, NEW JERSEY; REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF T-BAND SUSPENSION NOTICE. Denied the waiver request. Action by: Chief, Policy and Licensing Division Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Adopted: 2018-07-23 by ORDER. (DA No. 18-763). PSHSB. DA-18-763A1.docx DA-18-763A1.pdf DA-18-763A1.txt

COUNTY OF UNION, NEW JERSEY; REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF SECTION 90.305(A) OF THE COMMISSION’S RULES\r\n. Denied the waiver request. Action by: Chief, Policy and Licensing Division Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Adopted: 2018-07-23 by ORDER. (DA No. 18-764). PSHSB. DA-18-764A1.docx DA-18-764A1.pdf DA-18-764A1.txt

THINKSIGN OPTOELECTRONICS, INC. A/K/A THINKSIGN INC. Resolves an investigation into whether ThinkSign Optoelectronics marketed LED signs used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications, in violation of the Commission’s equipment marketing rules. Action by: Deputy Chief, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted: 2018-07-24 by Order/Consent Decree. (DA No. 18-757). EB. DA-18-757A1.pdf DA-18-757A1.txt

Event Highlights IoT Security, Privacy Concerns

As an ever-increasing number of connected devices expands the Internet of things (IoT) there needs to be a focus on security and privacy by manufacturers and consumers, new FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and panelists said today during a New America event.

“It’s important that consumers have meaningful, accurate information about their device security, as well as data sharing, to make informed decisions,” Commissioner Slaughter said during a speech. “We are at a critical point in the IoT era in terms of getting privacy and security right. At the precipice of exponential growth, we have the opportunity both to thoughtfully develop products that start and stay secure and to educate consumers early on about how to assess the risks of connected devices, how to choose brands that take privacy and security seriously, and how to maintain device security with patches over the lifespan of the product. I cannot overstate the importance of getting this right, now.”

Consumer trust can be fostered by “ensuring that the devices are reasonably secure” and “ensuring consumers have a clear and accurate picture” of what data their devices collect and how that data is stored and used. “With all of this cutting edge and truly transformative technology comes legitimate concern about the potential risks these devices pose to our safety, our autonomy, and our privacy,” she said. “The many benefits of IoT devices may be delayed or foreclosed if consumers cannot trust them.” Continue reading

Gabbard, Hanabusa Offer Bill to Address False Emergency Alerts

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) and Colleen Hanabusa (D., Hawaii) have introduced a bill that would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create best practices for state, tribal, and local governments to use for issuing emergency alerts, avoiding false alerts, and retracting false alerts if they occur.

The proposed Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act (HR 6427), which was introduced July 18 and which was referred to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittee on economic development, public buildings, and emergency management, would also direct FEMA to create best practices for alert origination training and to develop plans for officials to contact each other and federal officials during emergencies, according to a press release issued by Rep. Gabbard’s office today.

A false ballistic missile alert was sent in Hawaii in January over the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and by wireless emergency alert (WEA) by a shift warning officer at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) who thought the alert was real instead of only a test. It took the agency 38 minutes to send a corrected alert, although authorities used social media and the news media to get the word out earlier that the alert was not correct.

The READI Act would also “[e]stablish a reporting system for false alerts so the FCC can track when they occur and examine their causes,” according to the press release.

It would also “[e]nsure more people receive emergency alerts by eliminating the option to opt out of receiving certain critical federal alerts, including missile alerts, on mobile phones; [r]equire active alerts issued by the President or FEMA to be repeated. Currently, alerts on TV or radio may only be played once; [e]xplore establishing a system to offer emergency alerts to audio and video online streaming services, such as Netflix and Spotify; [and e]ncourage State Emergency Communications Committees to periodically review and update their State Emergency Alert System Plans, which are often out of date.”

The bill would amend the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate, according to the press release. —Lynn Stanton,

Courtesy TRDaily


Report: Encryption Not Biggest Digital Evidence Challenge

While encryption is frequently cited as an obstacle to law enforcement agencies using digital evidence, the inability to access unencrypted data is a larger problem, according to a report published today by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Our survey of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials suggests that challenges in accessing data from service providers — much of which is not encrypted — is the biggest problem that they currently face in terms of their ability to use digital evidence in their cases,” said the report, titled “Low-Hanging Fruit:  Evidence-Based Solutions to the Digital Evidence Challenge.”

“Specifically, the inability to effectively identify which service providers have access to relevant data was ranked as the number-one obstacle in being able to effectively use digital evidence in particular cases,” the report said.

The report notes that efforts to teach law enforcement officials how to effectively gather digital evidence are disjointed and underfunded.  It calls for the establishment of a National Digital Evidence Office that would work with law enforcement and tech companies to make it simpler to fulfill lawful requests for electronic data.

“There is much work that can and should be done to facilitate law enforcement access to data that is unencrypted or otherwise available in a way that is consistent with privacy and civil liberties, even as the policy discussions about potential decryption mandates, lawful hacking, and data retention continue,” the report said.

The report’s authors — William Carter, deputy director of the Technology Policy Program at CSIS, Jennifer Daskal, a senior associate in the Technology Policy Program, and William Crumpler, a research assistant with the Technology Policy Program — interviewed law enforcement officials, tech company representatives, and members of civil society and reviewed budget and training documents. —Tom Leithauser,

Courtesy TRDaily