MEMPHIS – The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is making a $2 million grant to Tennessee’s Public Television Stations to fund a pilot project that will deliver private, secure communication between first responders and their management teams in case of an emergency or natural disaster, according to Commissioner David W. Purkey.
Arnold Hooper, Tennessee’s Wireless Communications Director for the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, says the grant will be used to install datacasting equipment and software that will leverage a portion of the broadcast transmission of each Tennessee public television station to deliver encrypted public safety video, files, alerts and other data along with regular programming. This new capability will allow public safety agencies to benefit from the existing infrastructure, licensed spectrum and ability to securely deliver content anywhere in the state to an unlimited number of specifically targeted receivers. All public safety content is secure and can only be accessed by personnel who have the credentials and receive equipment. The project will be completed in a 30 month timeline with initial stations being tested and placed into operation within six months of the grant. This first statewide datacasting system will be a model for regional and even national deployments in the future.
Using the datacasting capability and fiber connections already in place among the six Tennessee Public Television Stations, communication between police, fire, medical and government personnel can be targeted within the areas affected by a severe, life-threatening emergency or natural disaster. The six TN stations are Memphis (WKNO), Martin/Lexington/Jackson (WLJT), Nashville (WNPT), Cookeville (WCTE), Knoxville/Sneedville (East TN PBS) and Chattanooga (WTCI). Continue reading
T-Band Revisited, New FirstNet Authority CEO. Just to refresh your memories, the T-Band is the 470–512-MHz spectrum that was allocated to UHF-TV channels 14-20 that has since been made available to both public safety and, in some areas, business Land Mobile Radio (LMR) users. This was implemented in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action in 1971 and today there are eleven major metro areas that make use of the T-Band.
When Congress passed the bill authorizing FirstNet it included other provisions as well. One of these was that the T-Band would be available for spectrum auction nine years after the bill was signed. Once the auctions were over, the public safety community would have to vacate the spectrum within another two years. Those in Congress who added this provision to the bill indicated they had to have a “give-back” of some type to help them justify the release of ten additional megahertz of 700-MHz spectrum for public safety. It was not clear in the law who would pay for T-Band users to move off the T-Band nor where the FCC would find spectrum to accommodate them.
Some in Congress at the time FirstNet was passed into law believed FirstNet would be able to absorb all of the existing LMR users in these eleven metro areas. However, as of today, FirstNet is not ready to take over complete public safety-grade services including off-network voice communications and other functions needed by first responders. Therefore, as the deadline approaches, efforts to have Congress review and rescind this portion of the law have been stepped up.
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The Transportation Department today released new guidance for automated vehicles that, among other things, reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that transportation safety applications can use the 5.9 gigahertz band.
The new guidance, “Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0” “builds upon — but does not replace — voluntary guidance” known as “Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety” that was released last year (TR Daily, Sept. 12, 2017), DoT said. Last year’s AV guidance was the first for the Trump administration and followed guidance issued by the Obama administration in 2016 (TR Daily, Sept. 20, 2016).
In AV 3.0, the Transportation Department reaffirmed that “the Department is continuing its work to preserve the ability for transportation safety applications to function in the 5.9 GHz spectrum.”
“Throughout the Nation there are over 70 active deployments of V2X communications utilizing the 5.9 GHz band,” DoT said. “U.S. DOT currently estimates that by the end of 2018, over 18,000 vehicles will be deployed with aftermarket V2X communications devices and over 1,000 infrastructure V2X devices will be installed at the roadside. Furthermore, all seven channels in the 5.9 GHz band are actively utilized in these deployments. In addition to the Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC)-based deployments, private sector companies are already researching and testing Cellular-V2X technology that would also utilize the 5.9 GHz spectrum.”
DoT said that it “is continuing its work to preserve the ability for transportation safety applications to function in the 5.9 GHz spectrum while exploring methods for sharing the spectrum with other users in a manner that maintains priority use for vehicle safety communications. A three-phase test plan was collaboratively developed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the FCC has completed the first phase. Phases 2 and 3 of the spectrum sharing test plan will explore potential sharing solutions under these more real-world conditions.”
The FCC has not yet released the results of the Phase 1 testing, which was done in the FCC’s lab, on sharing of the 5.9 GHz band between DSRC and Wi-Fi operations. The next two phases of testing are expected to be done in the field. Continue reading
FirstNet’s First Hurricane. Last week’s Public Safety Advocate discussed storms, wildfires, and other reasons it is so important for as many public safety agencies as possible to be a part of the FirstNet network and ecosystem. This week, weather hit the Carolinas hard with the arrival of hurricane Florence and FirstNet (Built by AT&T) sprang into action. So far, reports coming out of the area via reporters, tweets, and other social media indicate that FirstNet moved in and met the challenges it faced.
According to the FCC storm reports and verified elsewhere, 14 percent of the existing cell sites were out of service while more than 164,000 customers were out of cable, broadband services, and phones. Putting this another way, according to Tower Daily News and as reported by WWAY-TV, 86.4 percent of the cell towers remained in operation serving the public and the public safety community. As of last Sunday, the number of cell sites still down was reduced to 787, as compared to the 1,063 sites that were out of service a few days earlier.
In South Carolina, 98.3 percent of the 4,107 cell sites were operational going into last weekend, and by Sunday the number of sites down in the state had been reduced to 68 or 1.7 percent. On other communications services, the FCC’s latest report shows that 47 TV stations were on the air with only four being down, and 100 FM stations were broadcasting with only 20 off the air. On the AM side of things, 28 AM stations were broadcasting, leaving only three off the air. It is important to realize information about the number of cell sites and other communications facilities are generally furnished by the site owners, station owners, or others with knowledge of the current situation rather than numbers that are generated by the FCC directly.Read the Entire Post Here
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NTIA’s Redl Says Spectrum Sharing Is The Future Of 5G
Law360 Sep 19 21:25
Law360 (September 19, 2018, 7:29 PM EDT) — For National Telecommunications and Information Administration head David Redl, the government’s … Continue reading
The FCC could permit land and marine ESIMs (earth stations in motion) in the 29.25–29.3 gigahertz band “at this time, but defer consideration of aeronautical ESIMs to a further stage of the proceeding,” representatives of Iridium Communications, Inc., told Rachel Bender, a legal adviser to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, during a Sept. 19 ex parte meeting regarding the IB docket 17-95 proceeding on facilitating the use of ESIMs in fixed satellite service frequency bands.
The FCC is scheduled to consider a report and order and further notice of proposed rulemaking in the proceeding at its Sept. 26 meeting.
“[A]eronautical ESIMs can be situated directly in-line with the Iridium feeder-link main beam, and thus produce even greater levels of interference into Iridium satellites,” the company’s representatives said during the meeting, according to an ex parte notice filed yesterday. Continue reading
Wi-Fi devices can share the 5.9 gigahertz band without impacting the safety of dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) operations, according to a paper. “We observe that DSRC SAFR (safety alert failure rate) is not impacted by the presence of Wi-Fi traffic in the adjacent channel,” said the paper, which examined the results of an open-source vehicular traffic simulator to study 20,000 vehicles during rush hour in Bologna, Italy. “We also observe that the SAFR is above the levels deemed by DSRC architects to be harmful to system performance in the majority of locations simulated; however, since this result is not due to Wi-Fi interference, we conclude that it is most likely attributed to DSRC system instability in high vehicular traffic scenarios. We perform a number of checks to demonstrate the robustness of these conclusions. Our results therefore suggest that regulators can successfully enable Wi-Fi use of the 5.9 GHz band without impacting DSRC safety efficacy. This finding provides the necessary technical foundation for policy in an important frequency band, and provides a valuable case study for rigorous analysis in spectrum sharing scenarios more generally.”
The paper was written by Yimin Pang from the University of Colorado Boulder Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering and Joey Padden and Rob Alderfer of CableLabs. The paper is scheduled to be presented next week at the Research Conference on Communications, Information and Internet Policy in Washington.
Weather to Move to FirstNet
To all my readers who delight in finding errors in my articles (for which I am grateful), “weather” in the title is correct as this week’s Public Safety Advocate deals with storms, wildfires, volcanoes, and all forms of nature-made and man-made disruptions to our normal lives. This is also the week we all remember where we were on that tragic 9/11 day, which in some ways underscores the work public safety had begun in the search to find a way to provide better interoperability between and among agencies.
For the public, the 9/11 Commission, and the U.S. Congress, what happened in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and how many lives were lost that might have been saved began to bring home an awareness of the plight of public safety and the inability to communicate from department to department or even in some cases between fire and law in the same jurisdiction. This was followed by Katrina and other major incidents requiring multi-agency responses, all of which were hampered by the lack of inter- and intra-agency communications.
The 9/11 attacks took place in 2001, but FirstNet was not formalized by Congress and the President until February 2012. Today, seventeen years later, it is real. FirstNet is up and operational providing vital additional communications services to the public safety community in the way of data and video to and from the scene of an incident. It is also capable of non-mission-critical Push-To-Talk (PTT), which is and should be considered as an important piece of the interoperability puzzle. FirstNet has been designed as the nationwide broadband system for public safety. Most interesting to me is that a team of people and their vehicles can be dispatched across multiple states and remain in touch with their local dispatch center for the entire trip. When they arrive, they can become part of the incident communications efforts and still report to their own dispatch center thousands of miles away. This is certainly not the case with Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems in general although there are nationwide channels available for LMR use. Read the Entire Post Here Continue reading