FCC’s PSHSB Publishes: October 2018 Hurricane Michael’s Impact on Communications: Preparation, Effect, and Recovery

Read complete report here: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-report-communication-impacts-hurricane-michael

Executive Summary: Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms to make landfall in the United States, inflicted billions of dollars in damage and resulted in the loss of dozens of lives on the American mainland.[1] It is estimated the hurricane caused over $25 billion in damages[2] and resulted in 57 known deaths.[3] The storm had significant effects on communications, and also adversely affected other critical sectors including transportation, power, food and agriculture.

The storm cut a path from the Gulf Coast, up through the Panhandle, continuing into Georgia and the Carolinas, before veering off into the Atlantic just south of the Chesapeake Bay. Communications in many areas in Georgia, Alabama, and most of Florida were mildly affected by the hurricane. In these areas, communications providers rebounded within 48 hours after Hurricane Michael made landfall on October 10, 2018.  In other areas, particularly the Florida Panhandle, the effects were more pronounced. Specifically, wireless subscribers in Bay and Gulf Counties had limited service for over a week.[4]

The Bureau undertook an inquiry into what went right, and what went wrong, on various communications platforms in the areas affected by the storm. While the Bureau invited comments from all sectors of the communications industry (e.g., broadcasting, cable, wireline, satellite),[5] it was most particularly interested in the experience of mobile wireless communications. Initial reports, both in the news media and in conversations between Commission staff and representatives of the mobile wireless industry, indicated that there were, in some instances, significant lapses in consumer connectivity. The Bureau sought to understand why and how those lapses occurred, and what could be done in the future to minimize such lapses. This Report presents the Bureau’s findings and recommendations. Because the initial belief that the mobile wireless communications industry was particularly affected was borne out by outage data, the Report places special emphasis on wireless service performance before, during, and after Hurricane Michael, with an emphasis on hardest-hit Bay and Gulf Counties in Florida.

Hurricane Michael demonstrated starkly how some wireless providers in the Florida Panhandle were able to rebound from this devastating storm through foresight and appropriate planning, while others stalled in their efforts to restore full service. Some providers, working in the same area and facing the same challenges as others, were back in service considerably sooner than others.[6]

The poor level of service several days after landfall by some wireless providers cannot simply be attributed to unforeseeable circumstances specific to those providers. A lack of coordination and cooperation between certain wireless service providers on the one hand, and utilities and debris clearance crews on the other, unnecessarily prolonged critical backhaul repairs and full restoration of functioning wireless service. The Bureau learned of numerous cases in which a wireless provider had restored service to customers only to have that service brought down as third-party crews damaged communications assets while clearing trash or restoring power lines and utility poles. Such lack of coordination among wireless providers, utilities, and debris clearance crews unnecessarily prolonged the time customers lacked service.

The Bureau finds that three key factors – insufficiently resilient backhaul connectivity, inadequate reciprocal roaming arrangements, and lack of coordination between wireless service providers, power crews, and municipalities – were the predominant causes of the unacceptable lack of service. The Bureau further concludes that a lack of coordination and cooperation among wireless providers themselves (exacerbated by inadequate roaming arrangements) inhibited their ability to increase service availability via roaming. Some providers appear not to have comported with the Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework (Framework), the voluntary commitment that several nationwide service providers proposed and committed to abide by in 2016. Specifically, it appears that some wireless providers demurred from seeking assistance from potential roaming partners and, therefore, remained inoperable.

We note that certain findings in this Report are based on information submitted in the Commission’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), a voluntary web-based system allowing providers to report communications infrastructure status and situational awareness information during times of crises, or information discovered as a result of communications with providers about those filings.[7] Because information submitted in DIRS is sensitive, for national security and/or commercial reasons, DIRS filings are treated as presumptively confidential.[8]  Accordingly, the Report protects identifying information from disclosure where necessary to preserve DIRS confidentiality.

[1] National Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Assessing the U.S. Climate in 2018 (2019), https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/national-climate-201812.

[2] Id.

[3] Olivia Michael, Hurricane Michael death toll continues to rise (Jan. 11, 2019), https://www.wjhg.com/content/news/Hurricane-Michael-death-toll-continues-to-rise-504241911.html.

[4] Patricia Sullivan, Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, & Annie Gowen, “It’s All Gone”: Tiny Florida town nearly swept away by Hurricane Michael, Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/its-all-gone-tiny-florida-beach-town-nearly-swept-away-by-hurricane-michael/2018/10/12/f1a110c0-ce56-11e8-a3e6-44daa3d35ede_story.html.  Bay and Gulf Counties are located directly on the Gulf Coast where the storm first made landfall.  Bay County is home to Panama City as well as Mexico Beach, which sustained extreme damage from the hurricane.

[5] See Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment on Hurricane Michael Preparation and Response, Public Notice, PS Docket No. 18-339, 33 FCC Rcd 11239 (2018) (Public Notice).

[6] The storm was the most intense storm to make landfall on Florida, the third most intense hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States, and the fourth most intense storm to make landfall based on windspeed.  National Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Assessing the U.S. Climate in 2018 (2019), https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/national-climate-201812.

[7] See The FCC’s Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Launches Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), Public Notice, 22 FCC Rcd 16757 (PSHSB 2007) (DIRS Public Notice).

[8] DIRS Public Notice, 22 FCC Rcd at 16758.

 

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, May 9, 2019

Feds, States in Rural Broadband Push. I recently saw a posting on Twitter from the governor of South Dakota announcing her state is requesting proposals to cover “all corners” of the state with broadband. By the time I saw the announcement, the time period for submitting proposals had passed but it started me thinking once again about rural broadband and FirstNet (Built with AT&T).

We all should know that when FirstNet was created by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the then President in February of 2012, one requirement called for the FirstNet organization to provide coverage to public safety agencies in rural America. When FirstNet the Authority issued its Request for Proposal (RFP), it stated that Band 14, the public safety broadband spectrum, was to be built out in metro and rural areas essentially at the same time. This was to ensure the winning bidder did not build out Band 14 only in metro areas where it could resell unused spectrum to recoup its costs and that Band 14 would be built out everywhere.

As it turned out, AT&T won the RFP and is not only building out Band 14 public safety, it is providing full pre-emptive access for public safety to all AT&T LTE spectrum. As we continue to conduct our drive tests and follow the build-out, it is clear this mandate is being followed by FirstNet (Built with AT&T). However, where Band 14 is available in rural areas, two things are being missed by those offering grants and loans to various organizations wanting to build out rural broadband.

As I have stated before, the number of different grants from different agencies within the federal government is staggering and they are all different. Some are outright grants, some are low-interest loans, and some are a mixture of the two. The grant applications are all different and most do not provide any ongoing funding for continued operation of the broadband services once the build has been completed. To my way of thinking, another issue is that many of these grants focus only on fiber to the business, house, or farm. Repeating myself, farmers would rather have wireless broadband covering their fields so they can continue to automate their machines and other devices.  Read the Entire Column Here .

Here are the articles I have selected with the help of Discovery Patterns artificial intelligence

FirstNet surpasses 600K connections

RCR Wireless News May  7 12:55

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AT&T executives have credited the FirstNet build-out with recent improvements in network performance rankings. CEO Randall Stephenson also said …

More than 600000 connections made under FirstNet platform

Homeland Preparedness News May  8 17:20

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More than 600,000 devices used by more than 7,250 public-safety agencies have connected to the FirstNet communications platform. FirstNet is …

Pai Lays Out Plans for New Spectrum Auction, 5G Rollout

TV Technology May  8 15:25

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In addition, Pai spoke as to why the FCC denied China Mobile USA’s application to provide international telecommunication services in the U.S., citing …

FCC Drone/Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policy

FC Cincinnati May  8 13:15

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In the interest of public safety, privacy and security, please be advised that FCC prohibits any unauthorized media and/or individuals from operating …

CBRS Getting Closer; 800 MHz EB/GB Coordination Update; NIST Privacy Framework; Rural …

Lexology May  7 10:20

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CBRS Getting Closer. On May 1 the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) concluded its testing stage of five Spectrum …

AT and T Adds IP Access to FirstNet Dealer Program

MissionCritical May  7 10:05

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IP Access International joined AT&T’s First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Dealer Program. As a FirstNet dealer, IP Access International can now sell FirstNet services to eligible public-safety customers. read more

FirstNet Association Changes Name

MissionCritical May  7 10:05

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The FirstNet Association changed its name to the Public Safety Broadband Technology Association (PSBTA) to avoid confusion between the association and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). read more

GD e-Bridge Telemedicine App FirstNet Listed in App Catalog

MissionCritical May  2 10:05

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General Devices (GD) announced that its GD e-Bridge application is now certified First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Listed and available via the FirstNet App Catalog. read more

May 1 Deadline for WEA Improvements

MissionCritical May  2 10:05

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The FCC reminded commercial mobile service providers participating in wireless emergency alerts (WEA) of their obligations beginning May 1. The carriers must now support longer WEA messages, from 90 to 360 characters, for 4G and future networks and support a new class of alerts, called public-safety messages, to convey recommended actions for saving lives or property. read more

KT, Samsung to expand public safety LTE network coverage in South Korea

Telecompaper May  2 08:30

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In addition, the two companies will provide what they call the world’s first narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) service through the PS-LTE network.

Chinese telecom carriers to conduct massive 5G tests

NEWS-DETAIL-CCTVPLUS May  9 05:25

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Various of official from China Mobile making announcement about 5G planning 4. Officials of telecom carriers at 5G exhibition 5. Official from China …

China leads 5G patent race

Chinadaily USA May  9 05:25

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Chinese companies lead in global 5G patent applications with Huawei …

A retrospective look at the future of communications: Dave George

The Internet Of All Things May  9 03:25

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… primarily driven by the advent of FirstNet and other LTE networks. …

DNA Finand Tests Fixed 5G Broadband Service using 3.5GHz Frequency

The Fast Mode May  9 02:45

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DNA Finand said it has been testing fixed 5G broadband service in Vantaa in a residential area with detached houses using the actual 3.5GHz 5G …

Waymo CTO: 5G will be a self-driving car ‘accelerator and enabler’

VentureBeat May  9 01:25

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Waymo CTO Dmitri Dolgov thinks that 5G and next-generation cellular networks will be an enabler of the company’s autonomous car fleets, he told …

FCC Commissioner O’Rielly condemns government-led wholesale 5G proposal

FierceWireless May  8 22:00

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Over the last few months, various ideas have been floated about the offering of 5G wireless services via a government-sponsored network, O’Rielly …

Telus CTO: 5G is Letting Us Down

Light Reading May  8 17:15

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Above all, if the edge means deploying the telco cloud and IT resources at customer premises, such as a sports stadium, then where is what Gedeon …

Service Providers Look to Enterprises for 5G ROI

Light Reading May  8 16:55

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But panelists said customized enterprise services offer a greater potential for revenue from 5G. These may include wireless control of robots on factory …

NIST is preparing recommendations for power companies to protect IIoT devices

HACKER NEWS May  8 16:10

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Public discussion of the project will last until June 5 of this year. The National Cyber Center of Excellence (NCCoE) of the US National Institute of …

How Smart Cities Will Be Transformed by 5G Technology

Innovation & Tech Today May  8 16:00

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While this may be tolerable for consumers, dropped signals are unacceptable for the mission-critical data in smart city IoT deployments.

Virgin Mobile invites customers to experience the power 5G

Tahawul Tech May  8 13:15

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Virgin Mobile has announced that it is offering its customers the chance to be amongst the first to get connected on the new 5G network via a …

Wi-Fi 6 and 5G explained

Cisco Newsroom May  8 13:00

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What you need to know about the new wireless technology from Cisco’s Matt MacPherson and Greg Dorai. To learn more, check out how Wi-Fi 6 and …

Mission Critical Communications Reports: Report Says More Work Needed on Dispatchable Location Database, Public Safety Voices Concerns

Report Says More Work Needed on Dispatchable Location Database, Public Safety Voices Concerns, By Sandra Wendelken, Editor, May 7, 2019

Only 38.7% of valid test calls conducted during recent dispatchable location testing for 9-1-1 calls produced a result that meets the requirements for actionable dispatchable location as defined by Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) standards. Dispatchable location testing in the E9-1-1 Location Technologies Test Bed was conducted during the second half of 2018.

The reference point density in the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) database is not yet at sufficient levels to assure optimum performance, according to conclusions in a report on the testing filed by CTIA with the FCC…… [ more]

The report, titled “E911 Location Test Bed Dispatchable Location Summary Report,” uses two definitions for dispatchable location, a process public-safety groups have roundly criticized.

In the report, dispatchable location level 1 (DL1) refers to “medium-level performance. DL1 indicates that the reported dispatchable location is known to the quadrant or zone of the building on the correct floor or on the floor immediately above or below the correct floor.” Dispatchable location level 2 (DL2) refers to “the highest level of performance. DL2 indicated that the report dispatchable location is known to the specific unit number.”

DL Level 1 is not consistent with the definition in the commission’s rules and is unacceptable from a public-safety standpoint,” the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) said last year. “Furthermore, having these two definitions is likely to create confusion. NPSTC therefore urges the commission to maintain its current definition of dispatchable location, regardless of any apparent attempts by carriers to dilute that definition…..[more]

“Back in 2014 – 2015, public safety had concerns of how successful the NEAD would be, and this report does not do anything to alleviate those concerns,” NPSTC’s Goldstein said. “While the report does not say it directly, it seems that the carriers want more testing. It has been four years since the order and DL was promised as the gold standard, which replaced many of the more stringent requirements proposed by the FCC but not included in the final order based on the promise of DL.

“This makes it even more important to have the Z-axis. The carriers are relying on commercially available technologies such as Wi-Fi. It appears there are other technologies that are available be used to supplement Wi-Fi, but those may only provide the location of a caller and will cost the carriers addtional funds.”

Read complete report at Mission Critical Magazine, https://www.rrmediagroup.com/Features/FeaturesDetails/FID/920

 

 

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, May 2, 2019

FirstNet Gains, Some Throttling Broadband, More. The latest numbers are out for FirstNet (Built with AT&T) and as expected, they are really good. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, FirstNet reports its Band 14 buildout is at 53-percent of the total coverage called out in the contract. And the balance of AT&T’s LTE assets are being used daily by FirstNet customers. FirstNet also states more than 7,000 agencies representing 570,000 public safety personnel are onboard (a 33-percent growth over Q4 2018).

It seems every week in the news and on allthingsfirstnet.com there are announcements of more agencies joining FirstNet. These include Anchorage police Department, Alaska, the Navy and Marines, Brazos County, TX Sheriffs Department, Elmore County, Idaho, and more. This bodes well for FirstNet. These agencies are now recognizing the value of FirstNet when they are engaged in multi-agency incidents and rely on FirstNet as the common interoperability network during the event. This is precisely what public safety sought when it went to Congress to carve out this broadband spectrum.

Push-To-Talk—LMR, FirstNet, and Interoperability. The vision of FirstNet was to provide a nationwide network to which all first responders could connect. It started as data and video-centric, but after FirstNet was formed by the federal government, Push-To-Talk (PTT), text, and dial-up voice were added into the mix. This, of course, makes FirstNet a perfect fit to augment Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems. As I have mentioned before, now that push-to-talk over FirstNet is available from three vendors—Motorola (Kodiak), ESChat, and Orion Labs—public safety agencies can continue to use the flavor of PTT they already use or choose to implement another PTT flavor they deem best suited for their needs. Read the Entire Column Here

Here are the articles I have selected with the help of Discovery Patterns artificial intelligence Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 25, 2019

Waiting on Mission Critical Push-To-Talk (Data, Video). According to Motorola, its Kodiak Networks has developed the first Push-To-Talk (PTT) application for on-network use. On-network means the network hosts the application as opposed to an over-the-top application such as ESChat or Orion Labs, the other FirstNet-approved options. Motorola’s claim is that the Kodiak PTT solution as deployed in both the AT&T and Verizon networks (though not compatible across the two, I am told) is close to meeting the Mission Critical Push-To-Talk specification released by the 3GPP standards organization.

All that is needed, claims Motorola, is for companies to start producing Proximity Services (ProSe) chipsets, which Motorola claims remains the greatest hurdle to being fully MCPTT-compliant. I am using Motorola as an example here since it recently stated its PTT solution for FirstNet (Built with AT&T) works and is embedded in the FirstNet network. ESChat and Orion Labs are also certified on FirstNet. I find Motorola’s comments about ProSe to be peculiar coming from one of the premier Land Mobile Radio (LMR) companies in the world that for many years has built mobile and handheld radios that provide push-to-talk on public safety and business radio networks and further provides the capability for off-network push-to-talk.

Off-network push-to-talk, which I have written about over the years, is critical to the ability of those in the field to communicate with others even when a network is not available—either because they are out of network range or because they are deep inside a structure and cannot reach the network that may be available on the street. Simplex, talk-around, or whatever you want to call it is vital to the operation of the public safety community. It is used every day by police, fire, and EMS personnel. Simplex provides one-to-one and one-to-many communications to any unit in range of the transmitting unit. Read the Entire Column Here .
Continue reading

NIST Issues Guidance on IoT Security

Guidance designed to make Internet of things devices more secure was issued today by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  The new publication, “Securing Small-Business and Home Internet of Things (IoT) Devices: Mitigating Network-Based Attacks Using Manufacturer Usage Description (MUD),” recommends that IoT device makers use a MUD architecture that limits the ability of devices to communicate.  The MUD architecture provides “a standard way for manufacturers to indicate the network communications that each device requires to perform its intended function,” NIST said.  “When MUD is used, the network will automatically permit the IoT device to send and receive only this required traffic.” NIST is accepting comments on the publication through June 24.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

FCC Grants T-Band Waiver

The Policy and Licensing Division of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released an order today in file 0006440207 conditionally granting a waiver to the Rose Tree (Pa.) Fire Company allowing it to modify a public safety radio station by raising the antenna height of a base station using the 470-512 megahertz T-band.

Courtesy TRDaily