Vermont Senators, Congressman Press FirstNet

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.) wrote First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth today asking him for more information on the network. “While we fully understand that the opt-in/opt-out decision rests solely with the state of Vermont, we have heard concerns from some constituents, including from some first responders themselves,” the lawmakers said.

They asked Mr. Poth to commit to ensuring that questions from the state’s Public Safety Broadband Network Commission are addressed, noting that it wrote FirstNet earlier this month “with a proposed list of sites that could be built-out to significantly improve network coverage throughout the state.”

They also said the state and residents “have raised concerns that the current coverage plan is inadequate to meet Vermont’s basic needs” and they asked FirstNet to “provide Vermont’s first responders with maps showing detailed signals levels” and inquired what recourse the state would have if AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, fails to deliver the promised coverage. In particular, they asked about penalties that AT&T would face.

The lawmakers also asked what penalties AT&T would have to pay for failing to sign up enough subscribers and asked if those funds would “be returned specifically to Vermont for reinvestment to improve the network?”

They also asked if AT&T would provide “reliable pricing and rate information” and whether FirstNet would work with Vermont if it opts out. —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

 

 

NARUC Adopts Resolution to Improve Direct Dialing of 911

BALTIMORE — The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Board of Directors today adopted a resolution addressing E911 access and enterprise communications systems during its 2017 annual meeting and education conference being held here this week.

It was the only resolution that was advanced by NARUC’s Committee on Telecommunications this week. Two other proposed resolutions — dealing with the federal Lifeline fund — were withdrawn and were not considered by the committee or the board.

The passed resolution aims to ensure that direct dialing for 911 can move forward. The adopted resolution supports federal and state actions to require enterprise communications systems (ECS) manufacturers, installers, and operators “to design and configure ECS to allow direct dialing of 911, route 911 calls to the proper PSAP regardless of the particular location of the extension used to call 911, provide the PSAP with location information specific and accurate enough for first responders to locate the caller, and to support on-site notification.”

The resolution (TC-1), which was sponsored by Commissioner Wendy Moser of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, states that “consistency, uniformity, and ubiquity of service is highly desirable in the dialing of 911” and that “voluntary efforts among ECS manufacturers, installers, and operators are laudable but may leave many 911 callers vulnerable.” Continue reading

NARUC Telecom Committee Advances E911 Resolution

BALTIMORE – The Telecommunications Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) today unanimously passed a resolution addressing enhanced 911 (E911) access and enterprise communications systems during its 2017 annual meeting and education conference being held here this week.

Two other proposed resolutions – dealing with the federal Lifeline fund – were withdrawn and were not considered by the committee today.

The passed resolution aims to ensure that direct dialing for 911 can move forward. The proposed resolution supports federal and state actions to require enterprise communications systems (ECS) manufacturers, installers, and operators “to design and configure ECS to allow direct dialing of 911, route 911 calls to the proper PSAP regardless of the particular location of the extension used to call 911, provide the PSAP with location information accurate enough for first responders to locate the caller, and to support on-site notification.”

The resolution (TC-1), which is sponsored by Commissioner Wendy Moser of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, states that “consistency, uniformity, and ubiquity of service is highly desirable in the dialing of 911” and that “voluntary efforts among ECS manufacturers, installers, and operators are laudable but may leave many 911 callers vulnerable.” Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, November 10, 2017

FirstNet’s Competition. The law that created FirstNet is very clear when it comes to states and territories opting in or out of FirstNet. There are two ways to opt in: The governor of the state or territory decides to opt in by the December 28, 2017 deadline, or the governor simply does nothing in which case the opt in for that state is automatic. Opting out requires the state to provide the FCC, within 180 days, a plan demonstrating that the Radio Access Network (RAN), the only portion of the network authorized by law for states to build on their own, will be 100-percent compatible with the FirstNet network. The state will then negotiate a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for some of the network. As a final step, there must be a spectrum lease agreement between the state and FirstNet. All of this is called out in the law Congress passed in 2012. These are not conditions imposed by FirstNet.

Now if a state opts out, the FirstNet mandate is that the radio access network provided by the state or its vendor must be connected to the FirstNet core when public safety users populate the FirstNet network. FirstNet has also said that secondary users may, in fact, be routed to a different core located within the state or operated by the vendor. Again, ALL public safety traffic is to be routed to the FirstNet core. This makes sense when you understand this is to be a nationwide network sharing resources and applications that is usable across the entire nation.

Once a state has opted in there are no additional federal rules that impact public safety agencies within the state. Each agency has the option to join the FirstNet system, with its existing broadband provider, or to not use any broadband services. This local level is the area in which competition is occurring. Verizon has said it will actively seek to keep its existing public safety customers and to add more customers. It is also trying to obtain permission to host its own public safety core. Both FirstNet and AT&T are opposed to this with good reason. Having multiple standalone cores does not lend itself to fulfilling the goal of full interoperability this network was envisioned to provide. I have been told by experts in the field that if the cores are connected to each other the overall system will be more difficult to secure from a cybersecurity perspective, which is high on the list of network priorities.  Read the Entire Blog here Continue reading

Poth Confident on Additional Opt-Ins

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth said today that he is confident that the 29 states and two territories that have opted in to the network so far will be joined by many others leading up to the Dec. 28 deadline for governors to decide whether to opt out. In the text of prepared remarks for IWCE’s Critical LTE Communications Forum in Dallas today, Mr. Poth also said that even after governors make their decisions, FirstNet will continue to consult with states and territories to ensure the network continues to improve and is updated.

In other remarks at today’s event, Chris Sambar, senior vice president-FirstNet for AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, touted the benefits to states and territories of opting in and first responders signing up for service and defended the hiring of former state officials who are experts in public safety, according to AT&T.

Courtesy TRDaily

APCO Canada, iCERT Announce Partnership

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials Canada and the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies announced a partnership today to promote public-private collaboration for advancing emergency communications technologies.  “The partnership will entail ongoing examination of critical communications issues and implementation of advanced technology services for public safety, from both the technical and policy driven perspectives,” according to a news release. “The partners will also look to foster public awareness and understanding as new technologies replace legacy services, and as Canadians take a leading role in nationwide implementation of NG911 and public safety broadband services.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Spectrum, Infrastructure, Lifeline Items Set for Nov. 16 FCC Votes

The FCC announced today that it plans to vote at the agency’s Nov. 16 meeting on eight items, including an order to make more than 1,700 megahertz of spectrum available for 5G and other terrestrial wireless uses, as well as making 4 gigahertz of spectrum available for core satellite uses; efforts aimed at easing deployment of wired and wireless infrastructure; a Lifeline item; and an item on unlawful robocalls.

Also planned for votes at the meeting are items dealing with a new broadcast TV transmission standard; petitions for reconsideration from the agency’s last two quadrennial reviews of its media ownership rules; and a request for comments on a proposal to eliminate a requirement for cable TV system operators to file a particular form.

Regarding the spectrum allocation second report and order, order on reconsideration, and memorandum opinion and order in GN docket 14-177, IB dockets 15-256 and 97-95, and WT docket 10-112, the item also would “adopt, refine, or affirm” rules adopted last year in the FCC’s spectrum frontiers proceeding (TR Daily, July 14, 2016), the “sunshine” notice noted.

Regarding the deployment of wireless infrastructure, the FCC plans to consider a report and order in WT docket 17-79 that would “eliminate the requirement for historic preservation review where utility poles are replaced with substantially identical poles that can support antennas or other wireless communications equipment,” the agenda noted. Continue reading