Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, October 25, 2018

NG9-1-1, FirstNet, and LMR.  In early November, I will be at the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) Critical Communications Conference in Chicago. On the second day, I will be moderating a panel entitled, “LTE’s Interoperability with LMR and 911.” All the panelists are subject-matter experts so I have an easy job as moderator. Preparing for this panel started me thinking about what should be the true goal of an end-to-end public safety communications system. Once Next-Generation 9-1-1 has been widely implemented and the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and dispatch centers have been upgraded, the result should be a near-flawless system from the time a citizen calls 9-1-1 to the last unit on the scene being released and the paperwork completed.

PSAPs or 9-1-1 centers today, in most places, are still voice-centric in nature. The goal of NG9-1-1 is to modernize their capabilities to include incoming text messages, pictures, and videos. These can then be processed, and if needed, sent on to the responding units over FirstNet so those responding will have a better understanding of the incident and/or any vehicles or people fleeing the scene. Unfortunately, NG9-1-1 is the last piece of the puzzle for several reasons. First, many states have and continue to “re-appropriate” funds earmarked for 9-1-1 from all of our phone bills, and when Congress passed the bill that created FirstNet and allocated $7 billion for the initial costs of FirstNet, it only allocated $115 million for NG9-1-1, which is not enough to ensure NG9-1-1 upgrades for all PSAPs and dispatch centers.
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xG Technology Board Chairman

xG Technology, Inc., has appointed Sue Swenson non-executive chairman of its board. Ms. Swenson is replacing Gary Cuccio, who is stepping down.  The company added that Kenneth Hoffman is also leaving the board. The departures of Messrs. Cuccio and Hoffman are “amicable,” xG said. “These changes will all be effective October 31, 2018.” Ms. Swenson is the former chairwoman of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board and is a wireless industry veteran.

Courtesy TRDaily


Trump Memo Requires Development of National Spectrum Strategy

President Trump signed a memorandum today directed the executive branch to develop a national spectrum strategy. Among other things, the memo stresses the importance of efficient government spectrum use, spectrum sharing, and leading the world in 5G deployment.

David J. Redl, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, first mentioned the administration’s plan to develop the national spectrum strategy at an April meeting of the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) (TR Daily, April 25), but administration officials have refused to discuss the strategy planning in depth since then.

“While winning the race to 5G will require significant private sector investment, the federal government can and should make policy decisions that promote innovation and capital expenditure,” Michael Kratsios, deputy U.S. chief technology officer and deputy assistant to the president for technology policy, told reporters during a call this morning to outline the spectrum memo. “A spectrum strategy will help create a road map for industry to better guide their business decisions. Additionally, it will provide clarity to federal agencies who rely on spectrum to carry out their mission.”

Another official on the call also stressed the private-sector nature of the 5G effort, in response to a question about a proposal that was floated by a senior National Security Council official to create a government-built 5G network (TR Daily, Jan. 29).

“We very much see this as a private sector-driven 5G roll out and encourage others to see it as that also,” said the official, who also noted comments by National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow at a recent White House 5G Summit (TR Daily, Sept. 28). “This is the American way.”

Mr. Kudlow stressed the importance of relying on “the free enterprise, free market economy” to grow the economy.

“It is the policy of the United States to use radiofrequency spectrum (spectrum) as efficiently and effectively as possible to help meet our economic, national security, science, safety, and other Federal mission goals now and in the future.  To best achieve this policy, the Nation requires a balanced, forward-looking, flexible, and sustainable approach to spectrum management,” the memo released today says.

“As the National Security Strategy of 2017 made clear, access to spectrum is a critical component of the technological capabilities that enable economic activity and protect national security.  Wireless communications and associated data applications establish a foundation for high wage jobs and national prosperity.  While American industry continues to extract greater and greater value from spectrum, each technological leap also increases demands on its usage.  Those demands have never been greater than today, with the advent of autonomous vehicles and precision agriculture, the expansion of commercial space operations, and the burgeoning Internet of Things signaling a nearly insatiable demand for spectrum access,” the memo adds.  Moreover, it is imperative that America be first in fifth-generation (5G) wireless technologies – wireless technologies capable of meeting the high-capacity, low-latency, and high-speed requirements that can unleash innovation broadly across diverse sectors of the economy and the public sector.  Flexible, predictable spectrum access by the United States Government will help ensure that Federal users can meet current and future mission requirements for a broad range of both communications- and non-communications-based systems.” Continue reading

Pai Announces Appointments to Tribal Task Force

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today announced the appointment of 19 tribal members and eight FCC representatives to the agency’s renewed Native Nations Communications Task Force.  Mr. Pai named Matthew Duchesne, chief of the FCC’s Office of Native Affairs and Policy, as co-chair of the task force. Tribal members will elect a tribal co-chair. “The Commission is excited to announce the members of the Native Nations Communications Task Force,” said Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief Patrick Webre. “The Task Force will continue the work of helping the Commission design and implement policies to close the digital divide.

Too often, Tribal Nations are on the wrong side of that divide, and we look forward to receiving the Task Force’s ideas for fostering more and better communications infrastructure and services on Tribal lands. The Task Force will be an important element of our commitment to work with Tribes on a government-to-government basis to address issues of mutual interest.”

Courtesy TRDaily


House Report Cites Need for Reliable Communications During Disasters

A report by the Republican staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that was released today criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government agencies for failing to ensure they have resilient communications systems to respond to disasters. “Ensuring resilience and redundancy in communications infrastructure must be a priority at all levels of government,” the committee said in a news release about the 46-page report. The committee launched its FEMA oversight after 2016 flooding in Baton Rouge, La., and extended its review through last year’s hurricane season. “The importance of reliable communications systems should not have been surprising in light of the lessons-learned during the Hurricane Katrina response and the response to the 2016 Baton Rouge flood,” the report said.

Courtesy TRDaily


FCC Releases 6 GHz NPRM

Comments on a 6 gigahertz band notice of proposed rulemaking adopted by the FCC yesterday (TR Daily, Oct. 23) are due 60 days after “Federal Register” publication and replies are due 30 days after that in ET docket 18-295 and GN docket 17-183. The item was released this afternoon.

Courtesy TRDaily

Auto Alliance Worried About Ligado Network

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in an ex parte filing that it is concerned about the proposal of Ligado Networks LLC “to reallocate satellite spectrum near Global Positioning System (‘GPS’) signals.  The proposal seeks to accommodate the addition of an ancillary terrestrial component (‘ATC’) which could pose a significant risk of harmful interference to current and future critical transportation safety applications that utilize GPS signals. GPS is a critical technology for many current and future vehicle safety systems, including both Advanced Driver Assist Systems (‘ADAS’) and Automated Driving Systems (‘ADS’).  The availability and accuracy of GPS offers increased safety for vehicles and other road users traveling on our nation’s roadways”.

“Many of today’s vehicles are equipped with ADAS safety features or other systems that rely on precise GPS signals for position, navigation, in-vehicle security, remote diagnostics, emergency services and other applications.  Ligado’s proposal could jeopardize the ability of GPS receivers to obtain an accurate signal, thereby putting such vehicle safety systems at risk.”  In the submission filed yesterday and posted today in IB dockets 12-340 and 11-109, the alliance urged the FCC “to deny Ligado’s pending license modification as proposed, until testing and data validates that transportation safety applications will be protected from harmful interference.”

Courtesy TRDaily

DSRC Advocates Stress Importance of 5.9 GHz Band

Advocates for dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology today reiterated their call for the FCC to ensure that transportation safety applications are protected from interference in the 5.9 gigahertz band if the agency permits sharing with Wi-Fi devices.

“Our members are actively developing technologies, and own and operate critical highway and other transportation infrastructure that connects vehicles to vehicles, to other road users, and to their environment to help reduce crashes. Connected vehicle and infrastructure technology includes vehicle communication with bicyclists, pedestrians, traffic lights, and advanced alerts of hazards like ice on roadways, commonly known as vehicle-to-everything (V2X). Additionally, they can enhance automated driving systems, which hold the promise to provide numerous economic, environmental, and societal benefits, such as decreased congestion and fuel consumption, and increased access for the elderly and disabled,” the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of Global Automakers, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the 5G Automotive Association, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials said in a joint statement. Continue reading

Localities File Legal Challenges to FCC’s Small Cell Item

Legal challenges were filed today on behalf of more than two dozen Western localities and municipal groups to the small cell declaratory ruling and third report and order adopted last month over the partial dissent of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (TR Daily, Sept. 26).

The item bars states and localities from adopting rules that prohibit the deployment of wireless infrastructure, imposes limits on the fees that municipalities can charge for reviewing small cell deployments, sets shot clocks for acting on small cell applications, and provides guidance on when non-fee requirements such as aesthetic and undergrounding requirements may amount to an effective prohibition on service.

The item drew praise from the wireless industry, which says it will help the U.S. lead the world in 5G deployment, but widespread criticism from groups representing states and localities and numerous localities themselves.

“The Ruling exceeds the FCC’s statutory authority; is arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion; and is otherwise contrary to law, including the Constitution of the United States,” said a petition for review (“City of San Jose, et al. v. USA, et al.”; no 18-72883) filed today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco) on behalf of 20 localities in California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon. “The Petitioners respectfully request that this Court hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin, and set aside the Declaratory Ruling; and grant such other relief as it may deem appropriate.” Continue reading

Free Webcast, November 7, 10:00 A.M. PDT on Understanding Grants Process for FirstNet Projects

Understanding the Grants Process for FirstNet Projects (Part 1)

About this Webinar

Seeking and applying for a grant can be a daunting process. This three-part free webinar series will help state, local, and tribal entities, public safety entities, and public safety consultants navigate and understand the finer aspects entailed in applying for grants.

In Part I, the focus will be upon the steps necessary to complete before submitting the grant application. This webinar series delves into greater detail of all the topics covered previously in the first webinar to enhance the potential for success of a grant application. The subject areas will be reviewed in more detail at a granular level. If you missed the first one, Funding FirstNet Communications Projects with Federal Grants, we encourage you to view the slides prior to this webinar.
Discussion Topics

•    What does this look like?
•    What should be considered?
•    What and who is needed in the grant?
•    Who should be involved in the process?
•    Where to look for grants and what you need to know before you apply.
•    Mandatory requirements for consideration.
•    Good to know before you write your grant.