SAFECOM Nationwide Survey Is NOW Live

Please participate in this important survey now live on the SAFECOM website. The SAFECOM Nationwide Survey (SNS) is a data-gathering effort that will equip government officials and emergency responders with critical information to make decisions about future emergency communications policies, funding, and programs. SAFECOM will leverage the collected data to identify gaps and inform development of the program’s strategic priorities. It will assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) to execute the Nationwide Communication Baseline Assessment (NCBA).

SAFECOM had communicated the survey would be open for a 30-day period; however, because several areas of the country are recovering from recent hurricanes the survey will be available into February 2018, to ensure all agencies are able to respond. Information about past SAFECOM surveys can be found on the SAFECOM website. Questions on the SNS can be directed to SNS@hq.dhs.gov

From FCC’s Daily Digest, October 19, 2017

Released:  10/19/2017.  FCC ANNOUNCES THE SECOND MEETING OF THE COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY, RELIABILITY, AND INTEROPERABILITY COUNCIL SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 26, 2017 AT FCC HEADQUARTERS. (DA No.  17-1032).  PSHSB . Contact:  Jeffery Goldthorp at (202) 418-1096, email: Jeffery.Goldthorp@fcc.gov or Suzon Cameron at (202) 418-1916, email: Suzon.Cameron@fcc.gov https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-1032A1.doc, https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-1032A1.pdf

Released:  10/19/2017.  PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ENCOURAGES VOLUNTARY ADOPTION OF NETWORK RELIABILITY BEST PRACTICES BY SMALL AND RURAL SERVICES PROVIDERS. (DA No.  17-1029)  PSHSB encourages small and rural communications service providers to review and consider implementing, where appropriate, best practices recommended by CSRIC to improve network reliability.  PSHSB . Contact:  Jennifer Holtz at (202) 418-2336, email: Jennifer.Holtz@fcc.gov or Steven McKinnon at (202) 418-0390, email: Steven.McKinnon@fcc.gov. News Media Contact: Rochelle Cohen at (202) 418-1162, email: Rochelle.Cohen@fcc.gov https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-1029A1.docx, https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-1029A1.pdf

Verizon Urges NTIA to Allow Opt-Out States to Build Cores

Verizon Communications, Inc., urged the National Telecommunications and Information Administration today to permit opt-out states to build their own core networks rather than having to connect to the core of the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network partner, AT&T, Inc.

“While the law does not require states to participate in the FirstNet network at all, the opt-out provisions do guarantee that states have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the network while taking on specific responsibilities for its deployment,” Don Brittingham, vice president-public safety policy for Verizon, said during a joint hearing today held by three Pennsylvania state legislative committees. “In order for such an option to be meaningful, however, it must allow states to pick their own commercial partner to establish their own private partnership in a manner that’s comparable to the partnership established by FirstNet. It must also allow states to develop network and service arrangements that are both viable and sustainable over the long term. And critical to the viability of such an option is the ability for a state to use its own network core, or one deployed by its commercial partner.

“States should not be required to use the network core deployed by FirstNet, as such a requirement would put the state in the untenable position of being driven by the interests and decisions of FirstNet’s commercial partner – a condition that would certainly be unattractive to any prospective state commercial partner,” he added. “Unfortunately, based on recent press reports, it doesn’t appear that either FirstNet or AT&T will allow a state to use its own network core if it decides to opt out and would actually require the state’s public safety users to purchase their services from AT&T.”

Mr. Brittingham noted that the FCC in the summer released an order saying that it wouldn’t reject on interoperability grounds an alternative state plan that relied on a separate network core, but the agency saying that such a decision was outside its statutory scope of authority (TR Daily, June 22). “Verizon respects the FCC’s decision, but we hope that NTIA answers that question affirmatively in the near future, as we believe it’s important to any state considering an opt-out choice,” he added.

A summary of a draft spectrum manager lease agreement (SMLA) for Vermont, which was obtained by TR Daily, says that the state must integrate its radio access network (RAN) with the FirstNet core and must pay all costs to do so (TR Daily, Oct. 18).

During today’s hearing, which was held by the Pennsylvania state Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Senate Communications & Technology Committee, and the House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, lawmakers asked a myriad of questions about the FirstNet system and the Dec. 28 deadline that governors face to seek to opt out and have their states build their own RANs.  A number of questions showed lawmakers’ confusion about the process being used. So far, 25 states and two territories have opted in. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, October 19, 2017

The Opt-In/Opt-Out Clock Is Ticking! States have until December 28, 2017, to decide to either opt in or opt out of FirstNet. There is a third option available, which is a passive opt in, meaning that if a governor does nothing by the deadline the state is considered as an opt-in state. So far, one territory (Puerto Rico) and 26 states have opted in. A number of states have issued RFPs for comparison of what FirstNet is offering and what another vendor might offer them. New Hampshire’s governor already awarded its RFP to Rivada in the event it opts out, but since then formed a committee to weigh opt-in/opt-out pros and cons (the state staff had voted to recommend opting out). Unless something changes and New Hampshire opts in, Rivada may have at least one state to build out.

Some of FirstNet’s detractors are claiming that other states should follow New Hampshire’s lead, but no one outside the state knows exactly what was proposed in the RFP responses, nor do we know if the state’s requirement of income for New Hampshire from the proceeds of the FirstNet network was addressed in writing in the RFP response. The best information I have is that a state may not profit from the proceeds of the FirstNet network except to reinvest any funds derived from secondary use of the spectrum back into the network.

I have to wonder who will have to fund any shortfall in income from the network—the vendor or the state. Our most recent review of all ten of New Hampshire’s counties shows none have sufficient numbers of first responders to fund the network and none are in need of the spectrum on a secondary basis. Thus it appears New Hampshire will face a substantial shortfall. The question of the day is if there is a shortfall, who pays for it? Read the Entire Blog Here . Continue reading

Clyburn, McSweeny Call for Action on Inmate Calling Rates

In an op-ed article that ran in “Wired” today, FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn and Federal Trade Commissioner Terrell McSweeny called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to keep his public commitment of four months ago to address high inmate calling service (ICS) rates.  Blaming the new Republican majority at the FCC for declining to defend aspects of a 2015 FCC order on ICS rates, the two Democratic regulators said that “the current majority at the FCC remains silent, while one of the clearest cases of market failure continues to harm our nation’s most vulnerable.

After the FCC’s court loss, FCC chair Ajit Pai publicly committed … that he would act to address these issues. Four months later, and the only thing of note is the FCC’s refusal to enforce its rules regarding the collection of video visitation call data.”

Courtesy TRDaily

70% of Cell Sites in Puerto Rico Out of Service

About 70% of the cell sites were down in Puerto Rico today because of Hurricane Maria, the FCC reported, although about 61% of the population was still reported covered by wireless carriers due to roaming agreements. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 52.1%, down from 55.4% yesterday, of cell sites were down, including all of the sites in St. John, up from 88.9% yesterday. But about 88% of the population was covered by wireless carriers.

As for cable and wireline systems, at least two switches were out in Puerto Rico due to SS7 or toll isolation. No changes were reported today in the operational status of broadcast stations in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

NG911 Institute Board Members

Joe Marx, assistant vice president-federal regulatory for AT&T, Inc., and Rebecca Murphy Thompson, executive vice president and general counsel of the Competitive Carriers Association, have been elected chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Next Generation 911 Institute board of directors.

Newly elected members include  D. Jeremy DeMar, public safety emergency communications supervisor for the Rochester (N.Y.) Emergency Communications Department, and Curtis Sutton, executive director of the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, for the member-at-large (public safety) category; Brian McNealy, vice president-sales for Comtech Telecommunications, and April Heinze, industry affairs specialist for INdigital, for the vendor (public safety) category; and Neil Horden, chief consultant for Federal Engineering, Inc., for the member-at-large (general) category.

Courtesy TRDaily