Commerce Asks Judge to Dismiss Remaining FirstNet Suit Count

The Commerce Department today asked a federal district judge in Vermont to dismiss the remaining count in a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) lawsuit seeking First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) records. “For the above reasons, this Court should dismiss Count 18 for lack of jurisdiction because Plaintiffs do not have standing,” Commerce said in a supplemental brief filed in “Stephen Whitaker and David Gram v. Department of Commerce,” (case 5:17-cv-192). “In the alternative, if this Court finds that Plaintiffs have standing, this Court should grant summary judgment to DOC on the grounds that FirstNet’s collection of names of the Portal users (together with the name of their employing agency, their title, the email issued them by their employing agency and mobile phone number) for the purpose of creating their accounts for the Portal did not violate Section 208 of the E-Government Act.” Continue reading

Northern Mariana Islands Opt-in Gives FirstNet Sweep

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T, Inc., its network partner, celebrated an opt-in sweep today, with an announcement that the Northern Mariana Islands is the last state or territory to decide to have AT&T build its FirstNet radio access network (RAN). In all, 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia have opted in. “Today, Governor [Ralph Deleon Guerrero] Torres [R.] made history. With his decision to join FirstNet, we are proud to have every U.S. state and territory on the nationwide public safety broadband network,” said FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth. “Governor Torres’s decision will help enhance emergency communications across the territory’s rural and remote areas by bringing coverage and capacity to the islands. We look forward to continuing to work with public safety in the Northern Mariana Islands to help ensure that emergency first responders will have access to the most modern and innovative tools available today.”

“Opting in to FirstNet is a clear sign of Governor Torres’s commitment to public safety in the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Stephanie Tyler, president of AT&T Pacific Northwest. “First responders deserve the best possible communications platform and we’re honored to help deliver it for them.”

States and non-Pacific territories and D.C. opted into FirstNet by a Dec. 28 deadline (TR Daily, Jan. 2).

American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands had until March 12 to decide to opt in or not. On Jan. 4, Guam announced that it would opt in (TR Daily, Jan. 4), and American Samoa announced its opt in on Jan. 10 (TR Daily, Jan. 10).- Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily


Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, January 18, 2018

Interoperability:  After publishing last week’s Advocate, I received some emails and questions about the whole interoperability issue and why it is a problem for public safety and not for commercial cellular customers. The public safety community has been providing answers about interoperability for years to all who would listen and some in Congress seemed to “get it” when the bill that contained authorization for FirstNet was approved, but a number of them still do not understand the need.

It has always been difficult for those whose only exposure to voice, text, and data communications has been through their use of a cell phone and/or tablet. Commercial networks function like their wired predecessors for voice. If you want to talk to someone, you dial a 10-digit number, the phone on the other end rings, and either the person you want to talk to answers the call or it goes to voice mail. If you want to talk to multiple people at once, you need to establish a conference call, which takes even longer to set up. The advent of 2G, 3G, and 4G wireless broadband systems saw the addition of text, data, and video services but here again, you text someone by typing in their phone number and the text you want to send. If you want to watch a video, you go to a website, select a file, and it starts streaming to your phone. If you want to send a picture or video, you can send it to one person at a time if you know their phone numbers.

If this is your starting point for understanding wireless communications systems, it is no wonder you are confused about public safety’s claim that they have been unable to communicate with neighboring agencies or even between fire and police in the same city. If you can simply dial anyone, anywhere, on any network, why should public safety have this problem? The answer is a combination of the effect of spectrum allocations by government and the fact that public safety systems are designed to cover specific geographic areas. Read the Entire Post Here

Discovery Patterns Weekly News Summary Follows:

LMR licensing activity in the US reaches record-low levels in 2017, according to FCC databaseUrgent Communications
Jan 18 02:40 Overall, the FCC has approved 13,430 applications that were submitted in 2017 for new and modified licenses in the public-safety and business-industrial arenas, based on ULS data available on Wednesday. Even if all 263 of the pending 2017 license applications were granted, the number of 2017 …

ANALYSIS: Expect much smaller money in the 600 MHz
Jan 17 18:55 AT&T spent $1 billion on 600 MHz spectrum, but just announced they are selling it. In fairness, this may not mean that AT&T doesn’t want low band spectrum. They won the bid to supply First Net with a public safety broadband network and that lets them use 20 MHz of First Net’s 700 MHz spectrum when …

Cellphone jamming system tested at Maryland prisonWATE 6 On Your Side
Jan 17 16:40 FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has signaled willingness to work on the issue, telling members of Congress he would put together a working group to address “the proliferation of contraband wireless devices in prisons and the potentially devastating implications for public safety.” Williams said Justice, which …

FCC chairman: Hawaii didn’t have ‘reasonable’ safeguardsGkMen
Jan 17 07:40 The system has come under growing scrutiny in recent months, with public safety officials complaining that it requires upgrades on several fronts. Congresswoman Gabbard is with us now. Catt said. “So, there wasn’t much we could do”. Outside of the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, Gabbard said …

FCC chairman plans to boost broadband in rural AmericaAgri-Pulse
Jan 17 00:51 However, in a briefing last week, Grace Kho, the White House’s special assistant for technology, telecommunications and cybersecurity, cautioned that expanding rural broadband will take time. This is not going to be a sprint. This will be a long time of — a long process of figuring out how to exactly move …

DHS S&T and Israeli Partners Call for Proposals on Advanced First Responder TechnologiesNewswise
Jan 16 16:40 Small businesses who were awarded contracts through this partnership are working on promising cutting-edge technologies such as unmanned search and rescue systems, public safety off-network broadband communications, and a separate autonomous drone-based search & rescue solution to help …

FirstNet’s Schrier on New Public-Safety Meetings, App Interoperability and PrivacyRadioResource Media Group
Jan 16 13:53 AT&T executives will also participate in the meetings. They are not presenting or selling but determining what public safety’s needs are, he said. We’re going to listen to what their apps are today and what they need. AT&T will be at the table to ask questions. Schrier said most applications will be …

Public Safety Network: A Boon for Tower Operators in
Jan 11 08:40 Notably, in March 2017, AT&T was selected by FirstNet to build and manage the first nationwide broadband network dedicated to America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical services. As part of the 25-year contract, FirstNet will provide AT&T with a swath of 20 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz …

FCC Proposes $500M for Rural BroadbandLight Reading
Jan 18 06:30 FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to reform the universal service fund.

FCC pushes for rural broadbandBrownfield
Jan 18 05:00 The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is calling for more high-speed broadband in rural areas. Ajit Pai says there needs to be more internet access in sparsely populated areas to close the digital divide. His order would provide more than $500 million to cooperatives and small rural carriers to build more online infrastructure, create new rules to prevent abuse and reform’s the FCC’s high-cost program. Continue reading FCC pushes for rural broadband at Brownfield Ag News.

Lawmakers Blast FCC’s Mobile Broadband ProposalMediaPost Communications
Jan 17 17:00 “Without adequate service deployment and accurate data collection for both fixed and mobile, our rural and national economy will suffer,” the lawmakers add. “Every American who has ever had to ask ‘Can you hear me now?’ while on their cell phone or has had to wait for buffering when streaming a …

Wireless Narrowband Communication in the Environment of the Internet of Things and Machine toSmart Grid Demand Response
Jan 17 03:52 Salzburg Research invites to a workshop on 08.02.2018 on Wireless Narrowband Communication in the Environment of the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine Communication. Digital transformation is finding its way into almost all areas of life and industry. The development of the Internet of

Telstra adds narrowband capability to Australia’s leading IoT networkTicker In
Jan 17 00:35 Telstra announced a major step forward in the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) in Australia with the successful deployment of Narrowband technology in its IoT Network. Telstra now offers Narrowband coverage in major Australian cities and many regional towns. This is in addition to the

Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro joins lawsuit against the FCC over net neutrality rollbackPittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jan 16 23:55 In the wake of a controversial move by the Federal Communications Commission to deregulate the broadband industry, a group of 22 attorneys general including Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania has sued the commission for its repeal of net neutrality rules. The group filed a petition for review in the …

FirstNet’s availability should ‘raise all boats,’ drive public-safety innovation, competitionUrgent Communications
Jan 16 18:40 At best, by virtue of offering a new competitive choice for public-safety communications, it will be an engine for the continued development and implementation of reliable, state-of-the-art communications technologies for first responders. The availability of FirstNet in the marketplace will raise all boats and …

FCC Attempts to Weaken Broadband StandardNo Jitter via Business Communications Review
Jan 11 06:30 By Martha Buyer Rather than hold providers accountable, the Commission wants to lower speed requirements and loosen definition of competition.

The Coming Fiber Construction BoomLight Reading
Jan 11 02:35 “Americans are frustrated with the slow pace of broadband deployment” is a sad clich. According to FCC data for 2016 (the most recent available), 21% of census blocks — home to 10% of the US population — have no provider offering fixed broadband service at the Commission’s 25/3 Mbits/s standard, …

Eshoo Stresses Need for FirstNet Interoperability

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.), a senior member of the House communications and technology subcommittee, has expressed concern about a lack of interoperability between the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network being built by AT&T, Inc., and other public safety networks. “The recent wildfires in Northern California and the widespread failure of wireless networks [demonstrate] the need for interoperability between networks to ensure that first responders have the tools they need to respond to emergencies and save lives,” Ms. Eshoo said in a Dec. 21 letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, National Telecommunications and Information Administration head David J. Redl, and FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth.

Verizon Communications, Inc., has pushed to get FirstNet to commit to allowing Verizon’s planned public safety core to connect to the FirstNet core, which FirstNet and AT&T oppose, citing security and other issues. Continue reading

Richmond Testing FirstNet System

The city of Richmond, Va., is testing the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system being built by AT&T, Inc. The city and Fairfax County are the first localities in the state — which was the first state in the country to opt into FirstNet — to use the network. Police officers in Richmond and Richmond Department of Emergency Communications executives are testing FirstNet during day-to-day operations, said Jackie Crotts, deputy director-technology for the department.

Courtesy TRDaily


NTIA Declines Comment on FirstNet Board Appointments

A spokesman for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration declined to comment today on when an announcement will be made on First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board appointments. FirstNet is an independent authority housed within NTIA, and the Commerce secretary officially makes nonpermanent board appointments, with advice from NTIA. However, a Commerce Department source said today that an announcement may come as early as next week.

One of the 12 nonpermanent board member seats is currently vacant, and appointments of four other nonpermanent board members were due to expire last month, after being extended from last August. Continue reading

Seybold Criticizes Verizon’s Public Safety Offering

In his latest weekly commentary today, Andy Seybold, a wireless industry consultant and public safety advocate, took aim at Verizon Communications, Inc.’s public safety offering and its efforts to connect its planned public safety core to the First Responder Network Authority’s core, echoing complaints by others in the public safety community.

“The public safety community must stay focused on its many-year efforts to have a single nationwide public safety broadband network. As FirstNet and AT&T continue to build out the nationwide network, with much improved coverage, public safety must step up and embrace the FirstNet NPSBN and take advantage of its growing capabilities. AT&T has stated from the day it was awarded the FirstNet contract that it intends to win over the public safety community by continuing to demonstrate its commitment to the first responder community,” Mr. Seybold said.

“The Verizon request to connect its network core to the FirstNet/AT&T NPSBN is contrary to good business sense and contrary to all public safety has supported for many years,” Mr. Seybold argued. “There are clear security risks when connecting multiple cores and that, along with competitive business reasons, is why Verizon and other commercial carriers do not connect their cores today.” Continue reading