Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, July 20, 2017

MCPTT over LTE and Direct Mode
[Not quite] Mission Critical PTT over LTE is being tested and put into service for live network beta testing. Two things are missing from these trials and tests: a mission-critical or public safety-grade network for the Mission Critical Push-To-Talk application to run over and perhaps more importantly, the way forward to provide direct-mode communications. The UK’s LTE system for public safety to go live in 2020 and replace its existing Tetra system is probably, at the moment, the most robust of the existing LTE networks available.

Recently in France, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) held MCPTT testing sessions and a number of vendors participated to see how well they performed and if they met the 3GPP Release of LTE version 13, which includes specifications for on-network push-to-talk services but does not yet address the issue of direct-mode on and off-network communications. In many instances, direct-mode PTT is as important and in some instances, more important than network-based PTT services. While I recently wrote an Advocate about PTT over LTE and over Land Mobile Radio (LMR) that detailed some of this information, there are a number of things happening in Europe and especially the United Kingdom that could have far reaching effects on how and when PTT services are actually deployed over LTE on and off-network systems.  Read the full blog here Continue reading

FEMA Plans Nationwide EAS Test September 27

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has informed the FCC that it plans to conduct another nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on September 27. A secondary date for the test would be October 4, FEMA told the Commission in a July 14 ex parte filing in PS docket 15-94.

The second nationwide EAS test was held last September (TR Daily, Sept. 28, 2016). In April, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a report that recommended the agency take several actions in the wake of last year’s nationwide EAS test, including encouraging the use of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) as the primary source of alerts and examining how to improve and expand IPAWS alert content (TR Daily, Apr. 21).

Courtesy TRDaily


Parties Disagree on Suitability of FirstNet Interoperability Matrix

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, are urging the FCC to endorse FirstNet’s interoperability compliance matrix. But other parties are raising some concerns about it, or at least that the FCC’s review of alternative state plans will overlap with that of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

An order adopted last month setting procedures for Commission review of alternative state FirstNet plans instructed the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to seek comments on the matrix in an expedited fashion (TR Daily, June 22 and 23).

Congress has charged the FCC with reviewing whether alternative state plans would comply with minimum technical interoperability requirements. If the FCC approves a state plan, the state has to apply to NTIA for authority to secure a spectrum capacity lease agreement with FirstNet. States seeking to build their own radio access networks (RANs) may also apply to NTIA for grant funds to help cover those costs. In reviewing alternative plans, NTIA will seek to ensure that states make five technical and financial demonstrations. Continue reading

T-Mobile Offers to Pay Costs of LPTV Station Moves from Temporary to Permanent Channels

T-Mobile US, Inc., announced today that it would help pay the relocation costs of low-power TV stations that can’t relocate to another permanent channel quickly enough to accommodate T-Mobile’s deployment of 600 megahertz band licenses it won in the FCC’s incentive auction. The commitment is the latest T-Mobile has made to help facilitate the 39-month repacking transition.

In an ex parte filing today in MB docket 16-306 and GN docket 12-268, T-Mobile informed the FCC of its commitment to “pay the reasonable costs associated for such stations to move from a temporary channel to a permanent channel. While these stations are required to vacate the 600 MHz band when the broadband provider is ready to initiate service, T-Mobile recognizes that some of these stations may need to move twice, and T-Mobile is willing to go beyond what is required and compensate these stations for the additional move. T-Mobile’s voluntary commitment will significantly ease the burden on these stations and help ensure that their service to the public is not disrupted.” Continue reading

FCC Releases Revised 911 Reporting Template

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a revised reporting template for wireless carriers to use in filing live indoor 911 location accuracy call data reports. The next reports are due Aug. 1. The bureau also reminded non-nationwide carriers that their location accuracy implementation plans and initial reports are due Aug. 3.

Courtesy TRDaily

FCC Urges Adoption of Outages Best Practices

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a public notice today urging service providers to adopt best practices to avoid network outages. “Based on submissions to the Commission’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) and publicly available data, the Bureau has observed a number of major service outages caused by minor changes in network management systems,” the bureau said in the public notice, which was released in PS docket 17-68. “These so-called ‘sunny day’ outages do not result from a natural weather-related disaster or other unforeseeable catastrophe, and can result in ‘silent failures,’ which are outages that occur without providing explicit notification or alarm to the service provider. In 2014, the Bureau first highlighted the occurrence of major ‘sunny day’ outages affecting users in multiple states. These major outages continue to occur, some affecting users nationwide. Outages that impact 911 service are of particular concern, given the importance of ensuring continuity of 911 service. Continue reading

FCC Fines Robocalling Platform $2.88 M

Over the dissent of FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, the FCC today imposed a $2.88 million fine against Dialing Services LLC for “facilitating” unlawful robocalls. Commissioner O’Rielly argued that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s provisions against unauthorized robocalls apply to entities that actually place calls, whereas Dialing Services provided technology and services to customers that actually made the calls.

He said that he did “not have sufficient confidence that some of the allegations [made against Dialing Services] are correct.”  He added that the Commission “seeks to punish a technology and its operator,” rather than the companies making the unauthorized calls.  He said that the technology offered by Dialing Services could be put to legitimate uses, which “opens a huge can of worms.”

Commissioner O’Rielly also said he was concerned about the precedential value of the action, saying that “the guidance provided by this item will affect other technology platforms.” Continue reading