Entities Disagree on WRC-19 Positions

A number of parties have weighed in on proposals and preliminary views approved recently by the FCC’s World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee (WRC-19), including proposals for which informal working groups couldn’t reach a consensus (TR Daily, Oct. 30).

For example, the Wi-Fi Alliance submitted comments in IB docket 16-185 endorsing View A of a draft proposal for agenda item 9.1, issue 9.1.5, related to the protection of radar systems in the 5 gigahertz band.

“Wi-Fi’s ability to deliver broadband connectivity and the associated socioeconomic benefits depend on spectrum access, which would be significantly undermined if the proposal included in WAC/047-View B is adopted by the U.S. for WRC-19,” the alliance argued. “At a minimum, this proposal would create a highly unstable and precarious regulatory environment for existing and future Wi-Fi operations in US and worldwide – stifling industry’s innovation, investment and development. Wi-Fi Alliance remains committed to finding workable regulatory solutions to protect radar systems in the 5 GHz band. Once these solutions are developed, there will be an opportunity to properly address protection of radar systems at the appropriate World Radiocommunication Conference. Until then, however, it is inappropriate to impose regulatory requirements that, by everyone’s admission, cannot be implemented. In the absence of a current regulatory solution, Wi-Fi Alliance urges adoption of the proposal included in WAC/047-View A.”

But Raytheon Company said it “supports View B as striking an appropriate balance between the interests of existing and future unlicensed Wireless Access Systems (‘WAS’), including Radio Local Area Networks (‘RLANs’) operations, and primary licensed radar (radiolocation and radiodetermination) operations as they have progressed and continue to evolve in the 5250-5350 and 5470-5725 MHz bands.”

Another agenda item for which there was not consensus is agenda item 1.8, which deals with the consideration of regulatory actions to support Global Maritime Distress Safety Systems (GMDSS) modernization and the introduction of additional GMDSS satellite systems.

“The Commission should support the recommendations in View A of WAC/039. The View A proposal on WRC-19 Agenda Item 1.8 is more encompassing than the View B proposal, and will provide flexibility in negotiating a regional WRC-19 proposal on this matter with our partners in CITEL,” said Iridium Communications, Inc.

But Ligado Networks Subsidiary LLC said that “View A proposes changes to the ITU Radio Regulations but omits language necessary to make the intended impact of those changes clear with respect to portions of the Big LEO band. Consequently, the View A approach creates uncertainty and invites future disputes. In contrast, View B proposes changes that achieve similar objectives, but does so in a manner that appropriately limits the impact of those changes with respect to the Big LEO band, avoiding unnecessary ambiguities in the application of the relevant rules. Because this approach would achieve the stated objectives of both draft proposals more precisely and more effectively, Ligado urges the Commission to endorse View B.”

Proposals and views on other agenda items also drew comments.

For example, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council submitted views on agenda item 1.3, “involving potentially upgrading satellite overlay operations in the 460-470 MHz band from secondary to co-primary status with respect to terrestrial land-based operations. As noted in the NTIA Draft Preliminary Views for WRC-19 which accompany the Public Notice, this proposal has the potential to adversely impact land mobile operations in the band, including public safety operations. NPSTC is concerned that the caveats and testing proposed by NTIA will become diminished through the overall WRC negotiation process. Also, any future U.S. testing should include the public safety community.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

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

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

800 MHz Band Prehearing Conference Rescheduled

FCC Chief Administrative Law Judge Richard Sippel rescheduled from Nov. 6 to Dec. 4 a pre-hearing conference to discuss issues in an 800 megahertz rebanding dispute between Sprint Corp. and the state of Indiana (TR Daily, Oct. 19).

The parties had asked that the conference be rescheduled to Nov. 27, but Judge Sippel said in an order that he is not available on Nov. 27. “The litigating parties report that one designated issue has been resolved with regard to two old terminals that Indiana has now located and returned to Sprint,” he noted in the order in WT docket 02-55. “The parties also represent that mediation discussions are ongoing and that Indiana is considering making a settlement offer to Sprint. Joint Request at 2. If the settlement offer is made and the parties agree to it, the parties estimate that it will take around two weeks to finalize a settlement agreement. Id. at 2-3. A settlement would be in the public interest.”

Courtesy TRDaily

IAFC: Congress Should Preserve T-Band

The International Association of Fire Chiefs says Congress should repeal a provision in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that requires the FCC to auction the T-band, which is used by public safety agencies in 11 major markets.  IAFC submitted a letter yesterday to the House communications and technology subcommittee, which held a hearing on the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) (TR Daily, Nov. 1).

Congress is requiring the FCC to reallocate and auction public safety spectrum in the T-band by 2021 and relocate incumbents by 2023. Proceeds from the auction can be used to cover the relocation costs of public safety licensees. The T-band encompasses TV channels 14-20 (470-512 megahertz).

In its letter, IAFC also reiterated its support for FirstNet, which has drawn criticism from some state officials for the terms of draft spectrum manager lease agreements (SMLAs).

“Public safety fought hard to establish FirstNet because we knew that we were being left behind compared to the technologies available for personal-use communications,” IAFC said. “The IAFC is united with other national public safety organizations behind the desire to see FirstNet succeed and we will continue to fight for public safety’s access to the best available technology to keep the public safe.” Continue reading

FCC Wants to See ‘Substantive Data’ In 3.5 GHz Band Proceeding

FORT WORTH, Texas – The FCC wants parties to submit “meaningful substantive data” in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking adopted by the Commission this week seeking views on whether it should modify its rules for priority access licenses (PALs) in the 3.5 gigahertz band, an FCC official said yesterday at the Competitive Carriers Association’s Annual Convention here.

Among other things, the FCC is seeking comments on whether it should modify the PAL framework so a PAL term will be 10, rather than three, years with an expectation of renewal, and PAL areas will consist of partial economic areas (PEAs) rather than smaller census tracts (TR Daily, Oct. 24).

Nese Guendelsberger, senior deputy chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, said during a session yesterday on low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum that the agency hopes to “make changes around the edges” of the PAL framework to better spur innovation and investment. “Hopefully, we will find the right balance,” she said.

While CTIA and larger carriers such as Verizon Communications, Inc., AT&T, Inc., and T-Mobile US, Inc., support the rule changes, wireless Internet service providers and rural wireless carriers complain that they could essentially make the spectrum a big carrier band, shutting out smaller players. Continue reading