FCC Rejects Challenge to 800 MHz Rebanding Jurisdiction

May 22, 2017–The Policy and Licensing Division in the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today issued a memorandum opinion and order denying the state of Indiana’s motion that the agency vacate a briefing order in a dispute between the state and Sprint Corp. over “an impasse in negotiating the costs to be reconciled as part of the closing of their Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement” for 800 megahertz rebanding.

The order released today also rejected the state’s contention that the FCC does not have jurisdiction in the dispute. The order in WT docket 02-55 directed Indiana and Sprint representatives to meet “under the auspices of the Transition Administrator TA Mediator, within ten business days of the release date of this Memorandum Opinion and Order to conclude the closing and reconciliation of the Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement consistent herewith and that such meeting shall continue from business day to business day until the parties conclude that process.”

Courtesy TRDaily

FCC Release CAC Robocall Proposal

May 22, 2017–The FCC today released a proposal adopted on May 19 by its Consumer Advisory Committee recommending a number of steps the agency should take to combat robocalls (TR Daily, May 19).

The CAC recommended the following 11 FCC actions: (1) initiating and prosecuting “enforcement actions against known robocallers who are violating the law”; (2) ensuring “a system of effective enforcement, with appropriately escalating penalties against repeat violators”; (3) enhancing “its current online Unwanted Calls Consumer Guide to consolidate best practices and tips currently shared by other government agencies, and to reflect new guidance and resources emerging from industry’s work on this issue”; (4) ensuring “that the FCC’s educational resources and complaint forms are available in accessible formats, and languages other than English where appropriate”; (5) developing “educational materials specific to the impact of robocalls on consumers with disabilities”; (6) simplifying “the consumer complaint filing process for unwanted calls”; (7) creating “a separate intake portal for unwanted-call complaints”; (8) incorporating “educational information into the response sent by the FCC to consumers who submit an unwanted-call complaint”; (9) developing “an app that can be used by consumers with mobile devices to quickly file complaints for unwanted calls received on their device”; (10) building “upon the existing Memorandum of Understanding with the FTC by exploring the value and feasibility of creating a co-hosted single education and complaint portal for the issue”; and (11) exploring “making complaint data available to third parties on a near-real time basis in order to maximize its usefulness for companies whose robocall analytics engines use the data to identify telephone numbers that may be candidates for blocking or providing alerts to consumers.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

Localities Oppose “Deemed Granted” Remedy

May 22, 2017–Representatives of the National League of Cities from Arizona and Georgia told FCC staff at a recent meeting that they oppose the adoption of a “deemed granted” remedy on local antenna sitings. In an ex parte filing in WT docket 17-79 reporting on a meeting with representatives of the Wireless Telecommunications and Consumer and Governmental Affairs bureaus, the NLC said its reps “strongly opposed the proposed ‘deemed granted’ remedy to missing shot clock deadlines, or any further shortening of shot clock deadlines. We discussed the circumstances that could lead to a shot clock deadline being missed, such as missing or incomplete information providers are asked to give local governments to finish processing a siting application. We raised concerns that while the public notice requests feedback on state or local regulations that may prohibit service, it does not inquire about industry practices that may do the same. If the Commission wishes to eliminate barriers to broadband, it must include barriers to local governments’ efforts to expand broadband. We also discussed the work that local governments are doing to collaborate with wireless infrastructure providers to ensure that wireless networks are deployed in a timely and reasonable fashion.” Continue reading

LMCC Concerned with Agenda Item Planned for WRC-19

May 19, 2017–The Land Mobile Communications Council says that it is concerned with agenda item 1.3 for the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19), in which the conference plans to “consider possible upgrading of the secondary allocation to the meteorological-satellite service (space-to-Earth) to primary status and a possible primary allocation to the Earth exploration-satellite service (space-to-Earth) in the frequency band 460-470 MHz, in accordance with Resolution 766 (WRC-15)”.

In an ex parte filing today in IB docket 16-185, LMCC said that “the Resolution 766 proposal has the potential to adversely impact more than 100,000 licensed PLMR operations if not implemented in a way that ensures protection of terrestrial operations from harmful interference.”

“Resolution 766 calls for studies to determine appropriate steps to avoid interference to terrestrial operations,” LMCC noted. It called for “protective measures … as part of any expanded use of the 460-470 MHz band by satellites …” Continue reading

NLC: FCC Should Delay Adopting Wireless Siting Regs Until BDAC Recommendations

May 19, 2017–The FCC should delay adopting further wireless siting regulations until the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) has had a chance to make recommendations, according to the National League of Cities, which also said it opposed any more “restrictions on local authority.”

The group submitted an ex parte filing yesterday in GN docket 17-83 and WT docket 17-79 reporting on a meeting with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Rachael Bender, his wireless and international adviser, and Mesa, Ariz., Vice Mayor David Luna as well as another NLC representative. “We commended the Chairman for his attempt to convene a wide variety of stakeholders within the framework of the BDAC to discuss common solutions for accelerating broadband deployment to all communities, but echoed the concerns raised by Mayor Sam Liccardo’s representative during the first BDAC meeting,” the filing said. “While additional highly qualified local representatives have been appointed to several of the BDAC working groups, the National League of Cities continued to urge the Commission to increase the number and diversity of local officials on the BDAC to a level comparable with the number and diversity of industry officials. NLC asked the Chairman to prioritize gaining input from local officials throughout the BDAC’s work. Continue reading

FirstNet, NTIA Officials Stress Difficulty of States Contracting to Build RANs

May 19, 2017–Officials from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration last night said that states hoping to contract to build their own radio access networks (RANs) rather than having AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, do so will face hurdles in getting authorization from the federal government and constructing and maintaining the system.

At an event on FirstNet organized by the Federal Communications Bar Association’s engineering and technical and homeland security and emergency communications committees, Jason Karp, FirstNet’s chief counsel, said, “When we say opt out, what we’re saying is the state is going to make the decision to take on the operational, financial, technical responsibility to build, deploy, maintain, and upgrade the radio access network portion of the nationwide network in their state for the life and perpetuity of that network. That’s what it means. It’s a big undertaking.”

He also said, “When we say opt out … that’s a poor term because no one’s opting out of anything. This is intended to be a nationwide network.”

Marsha MacBride, NTIA’s associate administrator-Office of Public Safety Communications, stressed the difficulty that states will face in securing a spectrum lease to operate their own RAN. Continue reading

FirstNet and Public Safety Broadband Data Implications for Rural EMS Organizations Published

This Week is National Emergency Medical Services WeekThis year’s theme is “EMS STRONG:  Always in Service.” National Emergency Medical Services Week brings together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “front line.” The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) was instrumental in establishing EMS Week when President Gerald Ford declared November 3-10, 1974, as the first National Emergency Medical Services Week. This annual observance continued for 4 more years and was then reinstituted by ACEP in 1982. May 21 to 27 is National Emergency Medical Services Week 2017.

FirstNet and Public Safety Broadband Data Implications for Rural EMS Organizations Published. NPSTC‘s EMS Communications Working Group includes representatives of NPSTC and National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO). This white paper highlights unique issues facing rural EMS agencies and examines how public safety broadband communications may be used to support and enhance EMS service delivery.

Rural EMS providers have unique challenges that are vastly different from their urban and suburban sister agencies. These challenges exist in three areas:  time, resources, and incident types. Access to high-speed public safety broadband services will provide solutions to mitigate some of these issues while enhancing EMS operations and patient care. As a result, it is likely that rural EMS providers will enjoy a greater benefit from public safety broadband wireless communications systems. For many, what was once perceived as a futuristic technology, such as in-the-field ultrasound examination of a trauma patient or live video consultation with a pediatrician, is now becoming a reality.

In 2015, NPSTC initiated a questionnaire, asking how EMS and hospitals will use telemedicine, and replies were received from more than 670 agencies. Published in 2016, the EMS Telemedicine Report: Prehospital Use of Video Technologies is a comprehensive report on the use of video technology by EMS agencies, hospitals, and trauma centers. In 2013, the NPSTC Broadband EMS Working Group created the EMS Broadband Application List for FirstNet PSAC. This document highlighted 37 software applications designed to support EMS and was provided to FirstNet to help illustrate the critical role that applications will play. The group is currently working on updates to that report.

FCC Seeks Comment on Accelerating Broadband Health Technologies Availability. The FCC recently released a Public Notice (PN), seeking comment on a wide range of issues involving access to broadband and its impact on healthcare solutions and technologies, especially in rural and other underserved areas of the country. The FCC expects to use this information to identify actions that the Commission can take to promote this important goal. Portions of the PN speak to the need for rural areas to have access to broadband, and other sections seek information on how hospitals are using broadband. Comments are due May 24, and Reply Comments are due on June 8.

Join the Broadband Emerging Technologies Working Group on Wednesday, May 24, at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The group will host guest speaker, Laurie Flaherty, National 9-1-1 Coordinator, who will discuss new NG9-1-1 Legislation, an NG9-1-1 Grant Program Update, a Cost Study Report Update, and Integration with FirstNet and Federal 9-1-1 Centers. Information on the conference line and access codes are available on the NPSTC Public Safety Calendar.

SAFECOM and NCSWIC Encourage Public Safety to Adopt Trustmark Framework. SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) Executive Committees unanimously approved a position paper encouraging public safety agencies to adopt and leverage the Trustmark Framework. In 2016, SAFECOM and NCSWIC established the Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) Working Group to help address ICAM-related issues that impact emergency communications and information sharing. The ICAM Working Group quickly recognized that interoperability and scalability between ICAM solutions are critical for the future of secure information sharing within the public safety community. Read more on NPSTC’s blog, and visit the SAFECOM website to learn more about the ICAM Working Group, ICAM, and the Trustmark Framework.

Please join NPSTC for any of these Committee and Working Group meetings that interest you. NPSTC is holding the following meetings this week, which are open to anyone who is interested in public safety communications. The full schedule is available on the NPSTC Public Safety Calendar, including conference lines and access codes.

Tuesday, May 23

2:00 p.m. EDT, Interoperability Committee

Wednesday, May 24

12:00 p.m. EDT, Broadband Emerging Technologies Working Group

Thursday, May 25

3:00 p.m. EDT, Radio Interoperability Best Practices Small Writing Group