Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, October 26, 2017

Now That Your State Has Opted-In. As of today, 27 states and territories have opted in to FirstNet and it appears as though more are preparing to make the move. Once your state opts in, what do your local, regional, and state agencies do? There are four options:
• Keep using the network operator that is providing you with broadband service. If it is not AT&T, that is fine according to the law.
• Move over to AT&T now and start receiving the full advantages of the FirstNet ecosystem as it is rolled out over the next few years.
• Adopt a wait-and-see attitude and watch how the network evolves.
• Don’t use any broadband data and continue to rely on voice services-only as you always have.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to decide at an agency or multi-agency level, all these options need to be considered as well as pricing. However, if your city or county’s elected or appointed officials will be making the decision based on other factors, such as an existing overall contract with a broadband vendor, and/or what appear to be price differences only, the best you can do is prepare a case for the solution you think is best for your agency and work to gain support among those who will be making the decision. Hopefully, you will be able to make the decision based on the factors that most impact your agency and, of course, the price you will have to pay for the service each month. Continue reading

61% of Cell Sites in Puerto Rico Still Down

About 61% of the cell sites were down in Puerto Rico today because of Hurricane Maria, the FCC reported, although about 64% of the population was reported covered by wireless carriers due to roaming agreements. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 49.6% of cell sites remained out, including 88.9% of the sites in St. John. About 93% of the population was covered by wireless carriers.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

CSRIC Working Groups Tee Up Plans for Recommendations, Reports

Working groups of the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council today offered early status reports on their initial research toward developing recommendations and reports due to be presented in 2018 and 2019. Speaking at CSRIC’s meeting at the FCC’s Washington headquarters this afternoon, Farrokh Khatibi, director-engineering at Qualcomm Technology, Inc., chair of Working Group 2, which is focused on Comprehensive Re-imagining of Emergency Alerting, said the group’s objective is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of emergency alerting and emerging technologies that may result in new alerting capabilities.  The group plans to “evaluate existing techniques and propose potential improvements.”  It plans to deliver a report on reimagining alerting in June 2018 and another on authentication and validation in December 2018.

Mr. Khatibi said the working group is currently conducting a “landscaping” effort to better understand the various technologies and getting presentations from various groups.  The next steps for the group involve additional presentations and then developing a work plan to accomplish the group’s goals.

Budge Currier, branch manager of the California 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Branch of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, asked if the working group would be addressing the needs of the hard of hearing, noting that the Northern California wildfires had proven that alerting to the hard of hearing was an issue that needs more attention. Continue reading

66% of Cell Sites in Puerto Rico Still Down

About 66% of the cell sites were down in Puerto Rico today because of Hurricane Maria, the FCC reported, although about 64% of the population was reported covered by wireless carriers due to roaming agreements. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 52.1% of cell sites remained out, including 88.9% of the sites in St. John. About 93% of the population was covered by wireless carriers. As for cable and wireline systems, seven major switches were reported being toll isolated in Puerto Rico.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

65% of Cell Sites Out in Puerto Rico

Sixty-five percent of the cell sites were down in Puerto Rico today because of Hurricane Maria, the FCC reported, although about 64% of the population was reported covered by wireless carriers due to roaming agreements. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 52.1% of cell sites were out, including 88.9% of the sites in St. John. About 93% of the population was covered by wireless carriers. As for cable and wireline systems, no major switches were out of service or toll isolated in Puerto Rico.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was asked at a news conference after today’s meeting how long FCC staffers will remain in Puerto Rico.  “There’s no particular end date to our presence in Puerto Rico,” he added. “We’re working collaboratively with FEMA.”

Courtesy TRDaily

FCC Clears Law Enforcement to Unblock Caller ID for Threat Calls

The FCC today unanimously approved an order (Common Carrier docket 91-281) to enable law enforcement and private security personnel to obtain the calling party number (CPN) on calls sent with caller ID blocking so that they can investigate threatening calls. “This is a narrow, tailored exemption of privacy protections under the commission’s current rules, which recognize a caller may have a legitimate interest in blocking caller ID,” Nellie Foosaner, attorney advisor for the Consumer Policy Division of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, said during an open commission meeting.

A threatening call is any call that “conveys an emergency involving danger of death or physical injury to any person requiring disclosure of information without delay related to the emergency,” she said.

To protect against use by “bad actors,” the rule requires that caller ID unblocking requests be made by law enforcement on behalf of the threatened party, Ms. Foosaner said. The order also limits the distribution of the caller ID information obtained to the investigating law enforcement and security personnel, she said.

The order, stemming from an NPRM the FCC adopted in June (TR Daily, June 22), changes FCC rules prohibiting terminating carriers from providing the called party with the number from which an interstate call originated if the caller has invoked caller ID blocking for the call or the line.

The NPRM left in place a temporary emergency waiver granted earlier this year to Jewish community centers (JCCs) after a flurry of threatening calls. But that waiver is no longer in place with the adoption of the broader rules, Foosaner said. Continue reading

Cell Site Outages Drop in Puerto Rico

About 66% of the cell sites were down in Puerto Rico today because of Hurricane Maria, the FCC reported, although about 63% of the population was reported covered by wireless carriers due to roaming agreements. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 55.4% of cell sites were out, including 88.9% of the sites in St. John. About 91% of the population was covered by wireless carriers. As for cable and wireline systems, at least one switch was out in Puerto Rico due to SS7 or toll isolation. The FCC also said that 62 TV stations in Puerto Rico had special temporary authority (STA) to be offline.

Courtesy TRDaily