FCC Schedules 800 MHz Band Coexistence Forum

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology announced today that they will host a forum Nov. 6 that will focus on improving coexistence between commercial wireless and public safety licensees in the 800 megahertz band.

The event is scheduled to be held in the Commission’s meeting room and run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In a cellular reform second report and order adopted in March (TR Daily, March 23), the FCC directed staff to convene such an event with cellular licensees, public safety licensees, and public safety equipment manufacturers. “The forum on November 6th will include the perspectives of all three groups and various other interested parties in exploring the existing 800 MHz interference environment, realistic anticipated changes in that environment, and practical options for addressing both existing and anticipated interference problems without hindering technological advances in the Cellular Service,” according to a public notice released today.

Courtesy TRDaily


Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, September 14, 2017

Public Safety Grade AT&T recently stated at a congressional hearing that there was no “real” definition for the term, “Public Safety Grade.” The public safety community responded with disbelief, led by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) which had published a paper addressing all of the issues needed to qualify as a Public Safety Grade Network. The document, “Defining Public Safety Grade Systems and Facilities,” was published in May of 2014 after much work by many people. Starting on page 108 of the document is a list of individuals and organizations that contributed to this report and the list is three pages long.

In all fairness to AT&T, at last week’s NPTSC meeting in Washington, DC, the AT&T senior vice president in charge of FirstNet stood up and apologized to NPSTC for his comments and then spoke about how AT&T is moving toward public safety grade status. His apology and comments were well received by NPSTC and the clarification was timely and well-articulated.

What he did not say and what I hope to show in this week’s Advocate is that there are differences between public safety grade for Land Mobile Radio (LMR) sites and an LTE network. It is important for LMR communications professionals to understand these differences and not hold AT&T to public safety grade for every cell site in the network. The methodology for hardening an LTE network is different but effective and it is these differences that need to be understood. Continue reading

FCC Issues Public Notice on Forum on Improving Sharing in the 800 MHz Band

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB), Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology will host a public forum on improving the co-existence of Cellular (and other commercial wireless) licensees and public safety licensees in the 800 MHz band. The forum will be held on Monday, November 6, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC.

In its Cellular Reform Second Report and Order adopted March 23, 2017,1 the Commission revised the Cellular Service power and related technical rules to provide much more flexibility in deployment of advanced broadband services and promote spectral efficiency, while taking steps to protect public safety and other systems in the 800 MHz band from potential increased interference. Recognizing that stakeholder-led efforts on the part of Cellular licensees, public safety entities, and public safety equipment manufacturers are crucial to resolving lingering concerns about unacceptable interference to public safety mobile and portable radios, the Commission directed the Bureaus to convene a forum to foster the conversation and further good-faith efforts among representatives of these stakeholders.2

The forum on November 6th will include the perspectives of all three groups and various other interested parties in exploring the existing 800 MHz interference environment, realistic anticipated changes in that environment, and practical options for addressing both existing and anticipated interference problems without hindering technological advances in the Cellular Service. A detailed agenda will be released prior to the forum.

Attendance. This forum is open to the public. Due to the high number of anticipated attendees and security check-in procedures, all attendees are advised to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the session of interest. Attendees are not required to pre-register, but may submit their name and company affiliation ahead of time by sending an email to Cecilia Sulhoff (cecilia.sulhoff@fcc.gov) in order to expedite the check-in process.

To view the webcast, go to the FCC web page at http://www.fcc.gov/live. Viewers will be able to submit questions during the forum by email to livequestions@fcc.gov.

For further information on the public forum, contact Thomas Derenge, WTB, at (202) 418-2451

or by email: thomas.derenge@fcc.gov. For logistical questions, please contact Cecilia Sulhoff, WTB, at (202) 418-0587 or by email: cecilia.sulhoff@fcc.gov. For more news and information about the Federal Communications Commission, please visit: http://www.fcc.gov.

From the FCC Daily Digest, September 15, 2017

Released:  09/15/2017.  PUBLIC FORUM ON IMPROVING SHARING IN THE 800 MHZ BAND SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 6, 2017. (DA No.  17-895).  WTB . Contact:  Thomas Derenge at (202) 418-2451, email: Thomas.Derenge@fcc.gov. News Media Contact: Cecilia Sulhoff at (202) 418-0587, email: Cecilia.Sulhoff@fcc.gov https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-895A1.doc


PROCEDURES FOR COMMISSION REVIEW OF STATE OPT-OUT REQUESTS FROM THE FIRSTNET RADIO ACCESS NETWORK.   Order adopting remaining procedures for Commission review of state opt-out requests from the FirstNet Radio Access Network. (Dkt No.  16-269 ). Action by:  the Commission. Adopted:  09/14/2017 by ORDER. (FCC No. 17-116).  PSHSB








Wheeler Criticizes Pai FCC for not Upgrading WEAs

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has criticized the FCC for not adopting additional upgrades to wireless emergency alerts (WEAs). In a blog posting, Mr. Wheeler, a visiting fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, cited WEA improvements that the FCC adopted in 2016 (TR Daily, Sept. 29, 2016).

The order required carriers to support URLs and phone numbers in all WEAs within one year of the rules being published. Also, Commissioners added to the order a commitment to require in the future a device-based geo-targeting approach, which can allow WEAs to be more accurately targeted rather than the current framework that relies on the nearest cellphone tower. The order also increased the length of WEAs from 90 to 360 characters; created a new class of alerts called public safety messages to convey urgent messages such as the locations of emergency shelters or boil-water messages; required carriers to support alerts in Spanish; required carriers to maintain alert logs that have to be made available upon request; and facilitated state and local testing of WEAs, personnel training, and public safety awareness. Continue reading

Two-Way Database of Provider, PSAP Contact for 911 Outages Urged

Service providers and public safety officials today discussed the potential benefits of a “two-way” national database that they could use to contact each other about service outages affecting 911 calls, as well as the best ways to handle outreach to the public about such outages.

The discussions took place during an FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau’s workshop on improving situational awareness during 911 outages. The workshop followed an investigation that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asked the bureau to undertake in the wake of a nationwide 911 outage that affected AT&T, Inc.’s voice-over-LTE network in March. The bureau reported in May that the five-hour outage could have been prevented if the carrier were following network reliability best practices (TR Daily, May 18).

During remarks at the beginning of the workshop, Chairman Pai said, “This exchange comes at a critical time, as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma illustrate. Last week, I went to Texas to inspect the damage caused by Harvey and meet those engaged in recovery efforts. I heard first-hand from 911 call-takers and emergency communications personnel who worked tirelessly to serve their communities, even while their own families and homes were threatened.”

He added, “When Texans’ ability to call 911 became strained, many turned to social media. Some public safety entities used social media to tell residents to call 911 only for life-threatening emergencies and to use 311 for other purposes. These efforts yielded many success stories. For example, on social media, emergency responders asked residents who owned boats and high-water vehicles to contact fire officials to help with rescues in flooded neighborhoods. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted during the disaster that a woman was going into labor and shared the address. An hour later, he updated his followers that the woman had been taken away in an ambulance. I personally heard about other cases in which online platforms helped those in need.” Continue reading

Irma Cell-Site Outages Falling in Florida, Virgin Isles, Puerto Rico

In its latest report on the effects of Hurricane Irma on communications facilities, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau reported today that 53.8% of cell sites are out of service in the U.S. Virgin Islands, 24.6% are down in Florida, and 14.5% are down in Puerto Rico, all improvements from yesterday.  In Alabama and Georgia, included in the status update for the first time today, fewer than 1% of cell sites and 10.5% of cell sites were reported out of service.  There were a total of 29 public safety answering points (PSAPs) reported affected in Florida, up from 27 yesterday, and 2 PSAPs affected in the Virgin Islands, unchanged from yesterday.

“There are at least 7,184,909 (down from 7,597,945 yesterday) subscribers out of service in the affected areas in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia,” the report said.  “Since there are widespread power outages in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the FCC has received reports that large percentages of consumers are without either cable services or wireline service. Companies are actively working to restoring service,” it added.

Courtesy TRDaily