National Sheriffs’ Association Stresses Need for Bands

The National Sheriffs’ Association board recently adopted resolution highlighting public safety’s need for the T-band, the 4.9 gigahertz band, and the 6 GHz band.

The resolution, which was adopted at the NSA’s annual conference in New Orleans, urged Congress to repeal a statutory requirement that the FCC reallocate and auction T-band spectrum by 2021 and relocate incumbents by 2023. The group said lawmakers should pass HR 5085, which would repeal a provision included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requiring the T-band reallocation and auction (TR Daily, Feb. 27). The resolution also encouraged the FCC to lift its T-band licensing freeze.

The T-band encompasses TV channels 14-20 (470-512 megahertz). Public safety agencies use the spectrum in 11 major markets.

The NSA resolution also said the organization “encourages Congress and the FCC to seriously consider existing and prospective public safety operations in the 4.9 GHz band spectrum before making further decisions on the band; and … encourages the FCC to ensure full protection of 6 GHz band public safety and other critical operations from interference that could occur from opening the band to unlicensed consumer use.”

The resolution said that “the law enforcement and related public safety communities [rely] on the 4.9 GHz band to support 24/7 connections to fixed surveillance cameras increasingly necessary for law enforcement protection of the public and for secure WiFi networks not shared with consumers”; “the FCC is considering allowing unlicensed consumer operations in the 6 GHz microwave band (5.925-6.425 GHz) relied on by the nation’s law enforcement and other public safety entities, utilities, railroads and other key users for links between critical fixed locations”; and “the reliability of spectrum sharing mechanisms being considered by the FCC for the 6 GHz band have yet to be proven …”

The resolution also noted that “certain FCC Commissioners have publicly expressed a strong interest in reallocating the 4.9 GHz (4940-4990 MHz) Public Safety spectrum for commercial use …”

Courtesy TRDaily

Bill Designed to Curb Diversion of 911 Fees

Legislation (HR 6424) introduced today is designed to prevent states from diverting 911 fees for other purposes. Rep. Chris Collins (R., NY) was joined by Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.) and Leonard Lance (R., N.J.) in introducing the 9-1-1 Fee Integrity Act.

The bill would direct “the FCC, in consultation with public safety organizations, and state, local and tribal governments, to determine the appropriate use of funds collected from consumers. Currently, states are able to set their own definition of what is a covered cost for 9-1-1 fees, which has allowed them to divert fees,” a news release noted. The FCC would have to adopt rules within 180 days.

“It is completely unacceptable that we have seen states diverting fees meant to make important and necessary improvements to emergency response systems,” said Rep. Collins. “Diverting these important fees puts lives in danger, especially in rural areas. I thank Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Lance for their support of this legislation and their commitment to making sure all communities across the nation can achieve the highest level of safety.”

“Our 9-1-1 call centers are the first point of contact for Americans in emergency situations, but many of these call centers rely on technology that’s been in place since the time of the first 9-1-1 call 50 years ago,” said Rep. Eshoo. “9-1-1 fees collected by states should only be used to upgrade our 9-1-1 infrastructure, not diverted to the general coffers of state governments.”

“My constituents need to know that in an emergency the 9-1-1 call is going to go through,” said Rep. Lance.  “Lawmakers in Trenton raided the fund set aside to improve the 9-1-1 system and left the account penniless – leaving public safety threatened and taxpayers on the hook.  Members of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee are seeking to end this practice.  The 911 Fee Integrity Act will empower the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on state governments that divert these funds and shortchange much needed upgrades to bring the critical 9-1-1 system into the 21st Century.  And instead of further taxing New Jerseyans, Trenton should first stop diverting the existing fees from their intended use.”- Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily



News Release: DHS to Engage Innovative Small Businesses in Pacific Northwest

Washington, DC – Small businesses in the research and development domain will have the opportunity to engage with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program representatives beginning July 17th, as part of the third of four legs of a National Road Tour sponsored by the Small Business Administration.

“The SBIR Road Tour continues to be a great way to discuss opportunities for innovative small businesses to engage on technology needs for the Homeland Security mission,” said William N. Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “By participating in this road tour and engaging with small businesses we facilitate the development of new technologies for the homeland security enterprise and support small business as a driving force for the US economy.”

The Road Tour is a national outreach effort that connects small businesses with funding opportunities provided through the SBIR/STTR programs. Small businesses in the innovation research and development domains are encouraged to participate in this opportunity to meet DHS SBIR Program representatives and learn how to help address the homeland security challenges facing the nation.


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FCC Gets Mixed Views on 911 Network Reliability Rules

The FCC has received various views on whether it should modify its network reliability rules, including outage notifications to public safety answering points (PSAPs), with some parties favoring certain revisions and others opposing them, including modifying what entities are covered by the regulations.

Comments were filed in PS 13-75 in response to a public notice released last month by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (TR Daily, June 13). Among other things, the public notice sought comment on whether the FCC should weaken the current regulations.

“Under current Commission rules, ‘covered 911 service providers’ are required to: 1) take ‘reasonable measures’ to ensure 911 circuit diversity, availability of central office backup power, and diverse network monitoring; 2) certify annually to their performance of these measures, or to alternative measures demonstrated to be reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of failure; and 3) notify PSAPs of outages that potentially affect them,” the bureau noted in the public notice. “When the Commission adopted these rules [TR Daily, Dec. 12, 2013], it committed to review them in five years to determine whether they remain technologically appropriate, and both adequate and necessary to ensure the reliability and resiliency of 911 networks. The Bureau invites interested parties to provide comments and other information regarding how effective these provisions have been in practice, and whether these provisions should be modified to adapt to advancements in technology or other changes. The Bureau will use the record from this Public Notice to recommend next steps, if any, for the Commission’s consideration.”

“As a threshold matter, the Bureau seeks comment on the effectiveness of the existing 911 reliability rules. Have the Commission’s 911 reliability requirements for covered 911 service providers been effective in safeguarding the nation’s legacy, transitional, and Next Generation 911 (NG911) networks from preventable outages?” the bureau asked. “Are there examples of specific circuit diversity, central office backup power, and network monitoring measures that have been taken because of the Commission’s 911 reliability rules? Do the Commission’s current 911 reliability requirements adequately encompass transitional and NG911 networks? What are the most effective measures that covered 911 service providers have implemented to prevent and mitigate outages in networks that include transitional or NG911 elements? Commenters are also invited to submit any information or materials that demonstrate improvements in 911 network reliability since the 911 reliability rules’ effective date, including any contribution by the rules to those improvements. If the rules have not resulted in measurable improvements to 911 reliability, how should the Commission change these requirements?” Continue reading

States Look to Mississippi’s Efforts on Illegal Robocalls

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Illegal robocalls are becoming more of an issue, which is why states such as Mississippi are stepping up their investigations and enforcement actions, and are starting to see some success in addressing the issue.

A robocall investigator from the Mississippi Public Service Commission shared with other state commissioners his state’s process to go after illegal robocallers during a morning discussion at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners 2018 Summer Policy Summit.

There are an estimated 30 billion robocalls being made each year, and unwanted calls are the number one consumer complaint to the FCC and to state commissions.  Commissioner Chris Nelson, a member of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, said recent reports show that the number of robocalls is up 40 percent this year compared to last year.

“Robocalls are the bane of telecommunications,” Commissioner Nelson said. “I have an itch and a passion to help fix this particular problem.  People have probably thrown away their landlines because of this issue more than any other issue. It’s a shame that people think that the only way to get rid of robocalls is to get rid of their telephones.” Continue reading

States Ramp Up Pole Attachment Proceedings

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Several states have either implemented new rules surrounding pole attachments or are currently conducting proceedings to address certain issues attachers and pole owners encounter as they enter pole attachment agreements in an effort to help expedite broadband deployment. “It’s really gratifying to see that a lot of states are really paying attention to our concerns,” said Benjamin Aron, director-state regulatory affairs at CTIA, during a late Monday panel at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners 2018 Summer Policy Summit.

States including Maine, California, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, have recently revised their pole attachment rules to address issues such as nondiscriminatory access to utility poles, make-ready work, and overlashing.

“As an industry we are looking at new technologies and a new way of getting our broadband out to customers,” Mr. Aron said. “These technologies more and more involve infrastructure, including poles.”

Mr. Aron said there were two keys to pole attachments in the wireless industry: rates and access. “Rates have to be compensatory.  The access piece is more complicated,” he said.  “It is highly specific to the electric utility you are dealing with.” Continue reading

FirstNet Reacts to Colorado Interoperability Request

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has issued a statement in response to a request filed by the state of Colorado regarding interoperability and roaming between the nationwide public safety network being built for FirstNet by AT&T, Inc., and wireless carriers (TR Daily, July 9). The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology has asked the FCC not to take any action at this time in response to the recent request by the Colorado Public Safety Broadband Governing Body (CPSBGB) that had asked the Commission to clarify guidelines and requirements concerning interoperability and roaming between the nationwide public safety broadband network and wireless carriers (TR Daily, July 16).

“Public Safety and Congress were clear in the goal, vision and mandate of FirstNet to be a single nationwide public safety network.  That mandate is being fulfilled and the state of Colorado is an integral part of that success,” a FirstNet spokesman said. “Through our on-going consultation and advocacy efforts with Colorado, and every state and territory, we are confidant these efforts will help guide current and future network advancements and drive innovation for public safety. No other network has this — it is unique to FirstNet — and we look forward to continuing to work with the state.”

Courtesy TRDaily

FCC to Hold Tribal Workshop in Wisconsin

The FCC announced today that it plans to hold a tribal workshop July 31 on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in Wisconsin. The event is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and “will include an introduction about the mission and work of the Commission and a presentation on the process for challenging areas initially deemed ineligible for universal service funding in the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) reverse auction.

There will also be presentations on other Commission proceedings and programs of Tribal interest, including overviews of the Universal Service Fund, the Tribal Radio Priority, and the Tribal Engagement Obligation. In addition, there will be an opportunity for government-to-government consultations with Tribal leaders or their designees in a collaborative and constructive environment,” a public notice said.


Colorado Withdraws FirstNet Interoperability Request

The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology has asked the FCC not to take any action at this time in response to a recent filing by the Colorado Public Safety Broadband Governing Body (CPSBGB) that asked the Commission to clarify guidelines and requirements concerning interoperability and roaming between the nationwide public safety broadband network being built by AT&T, Inc., for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and wireless carriers (TR Daily, July 9).

In a filing late Friday in PS dockets 16-269, 12-94, and 06-229 and WT docket 06-150, the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology (Colorado Broadband Office), said it “acknowledges the interoperability concerns raised by the CPSBGB in this filing. However, on behalf of the CPSBGB, we request that the Commis[s]ion not take any further action on this matter at this time.

“Consistent with Colorado’s decision to Opt-In to the NPSBN [National Public Safety Broadband Network] on December 18, 2017, the Broadband Office will work collaboratively with the CPSBGB and FirstNet to resolve the concerns raised regarding interoperability and ensure the Colorado first responder community has access to a state of the art communications system,” the filing added. “We remain committed to support the mission set forth by FirstNet to deploy, operate, maintain, and improve the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.” Continue reading