Looking Back and Looking Forward. As we enter the 21st month of the 25-year contract between FirstNet the Authority and FirstNet (Built with AT&T), the last three of this year’s Public Safety Advocates will examine what has already transpired and what may lie ahead for FirstNet in 2019. As you read these three Advocates, keep in mind that had the contract been awarded to a vendor that was focused simply on building out Band 14 (the public safety spectrum), this vendor would only have been required to have 60-percent of the network built out in metro areas at this point in time.
Instead, the RFP winner, AT&T, offered up all of its existing LTE spectrum plus Band 14. This had a significant impact on public safety communications. First, today, only 21 months into the contract, FirstNet (Built with AT&T) is providing far more than 60-percent coverage in metro areas with full priority access including pre-emption where and when needed. Further, AT&T has stated that as it continues to build out its own LTE network, the FirstNet network will also have access and when it starts building out its 5G system, FirstNet will be part of that, too.
The questions I will ask and try to answer are about Push-To-Talk (PTT), both on- and off-network, coverage that still needs to be completed in metro, suburban, and rural areas, and finally what lies ahead for 2019.
All this will be weighed against goals that created FirstNet: To have a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) for public safety’s use including full pre-emption. We have not yet reached this goal but it is still in early in the development of the network. Some believe we can come close to achieving this goal but there will be some agencies that do not join FirstNet, at least in the next few years. I have to believe that as these agencies recognize the advantages of fully interoperable communications for the first time in the history of public safety communications, they will join in and this goal will eventually be realized. Read the Entire Post here. Continue reading
The FCC at its Dec. 12 meeting plans to consider items to provide additional high-cost support funding for rate of return (RoR) carriers while encouraging them to deploy faster broadband service and to establish an incentive auction format for allocating licenses next year in the agency’s spectrum frontiers proceeding.
The FCC also plans to vote on items addressing robocalling, the regulatory status of texting, a consolidated communications marketplace report mandated by Congress earlier this year, the agency’s quadrennial review of its media ownership rules, and rules governing the display of broadcast licenses.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.
“Because of the closure of the federal government for a National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush on Wednesday, December 5, the Commission has determined that it is in the public interest to delay the onset of the sunshine period prohibition contained in Section 1.1203 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.1203,” according to the “sunshine” notice, which was released one day early today because of the FCC’s closure tomorrow. “Accordingly, consistent with Section 1.1200(a) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.1200(a), the Commission has modified its rules so that the sunshine period prohibition will begin at 11:59 PM on Thursday, December 6, rather than at 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 5.”
The text of the Connect America Fund (CAF) draft report and order, further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM), and order on reconsideration in WC dockets 10-90, 14-58 and 07-135 and CC docket 01-92 is aimed at addressing “the challenges that rate-of-return carriers face by taking steps to promote broadband deployment, ensure the efficient use of resources, and provide sufficient and predictable support necessary to increase broadband deployment.” Continue reading
Presentations and Awards. On Tuesday the week before Thanksgiving, I flew to Denver to speak at a FirstNet Association (FNA) event and on Wednesday I flew home. Then on Thursday, I started out on what became a two-day trek to New York City due to weather delays. When I finally arrived in NYC, it was late on Friday so I was only able to join the Radio Club of America (RCA) board of directors meeting for the last thirty minutes. This was my last board meeting and I regret I could not have been there for the entire meeting but stormy weather and flying don’t often go well together.
FirstNet Association (FNA). The presentation I gave for attendees who came to hear the latest about FirstNet focused on coverage and the PowerPoint slides can be found here. The first slide set the level of expectations versus today’s progress. It shows that at present we are in month twenty of the contract between AT&T and FirstNet the Authority and outlined RFP-stated FirstNet milestones that would have to be met for the bidder to be compliant and on-track for building the network. When the RFP was developed, conventional wisdom was that a bidder would win the contract and deploy Band 14 (20 MHz of spectrum) for public safety over a five-year period.
Instead, when AT&T was awarded the contract, it provided public safety with full access to all AT&T LTE spectrum along with a plan to add Band 14 to its sites. The slide for month twenty states that at the end of twenty-four months of contract, “Achievement of 60% of contractor’s proposed Band 14 coverage in non-rural areas” should be complete. While only 60-percent of non-rural areas are required to be covered by Band 14 now, the FirstNet (Built with AT&T) footprint is much broader. Read the Entire Post Here. Continue reading
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has provided guidance to federal agencies to submit reports on their anticipated future spectrum requirements pursuant to a memorandum signed by President Trump last month directing the executive branch to develop a national spectrum strategy (TR Daily, Oct. 25).
In a memo dated Wednesday and released today, NTIA Administrator David J. Redl told agencies that they must submit initial reports by Feb. 21, 2019, and final reports by April 23, 2019, on their spectrum needs over the next 15 years.
“The federal spectrum assessment is one of several tasks in the Presidential Memorandum aimed at building a sustainable, forward-looking national strategy to ensure America’s continued leadership across technology sectors. Transparency in how spectrum is being utilized and collaboration among stakeholders are key elements of the Administration’s approach,” Mr. Redl said. “To that end, NTIA intends to post a public summary of the reports on its website to the extent permitted by law.”
“For this task, NTIA defines ‘future spectrum requirements’ as any additional spectrum access required when planned systems become operationally fielded during the time period specified below,” Mr. Redl said. “A planned system is a spectrum-dependent, communications- or noncommunications-based system that is at one of several stages of actual development (e.g., conceptual, research, testing, etc.), but is not yet operational. As such, a planned system does not yet have, but will need, final authorization to operate via NTIA’s spectrum certification and/or frequency assignment processes. It is important to ensure that future spectrum requirements are based on tangible and documented needs for each planned system. NTIA therefore requests that each agency provide requirements-type technical information and supporting documentation demonstrating, for example, that specific operating features have been identified, budgets have been approved for system-specific research and development, plans are in place for early-stage testing and evaluation, or significant steps have been taken toward acquisition and procurement of the planned system.” Continue reading
The Mobility Division of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today granted Sprint Corp. a waiver modification request to allow the carrier to deploy 800 megahertz band wideband operations in additional counties in the southern California NPSPAC before 800 MHz band retuning has been completed in the region. The waiver will allow Sprint to deploy LTE in portions of seven additional counties, including Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. Currently, Sprint is permitted to deploy LTE in portions of three counties north of Los Angeles.
The 5G Automotive Association has filed a petition for a waiver to deploy cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology in a 20 megahertz channel in the 5.9 gigahertz band. The channel would be in the 5905-5925 MHz band of the 5850-5925 MHz band.
“As supported by the attached 5GAA test report, C-V2X represents a significant advancement in connected vehicle technology and is the first step towards leveraging 5G to increase road safety and to maximize the myriad other benefits of connected vehicles on America’s roads,” the petition said.
“Built upon earlier efforts to develop Intelligent Transportation System (‘ITS’) services and leveraging advancements in cellular technologies, first 4G and ultimately 5G, C-V2X is a modern, standards-based connected-vehicle communications technology,” the petition added. “C-V2X enables direct, peer-to-peer mode communications between vehicles themselves (‘V2V’), vehicles and vulnerable persons such as pedestrians and cyclists (‘V2P’), and vehicles and transportation infrastructure (‘V2I’), as well as communications between vehicles and mobile networks (“V2N”). These communications can help enable important improvements in safety, traffic efficiency, mobility, and energy efficiency on America’s roads.” Continue reading
FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mike O’Rielly today reiterated their support for the FCC’s pursuit of a rulemaking to free up at least some of the 5.9 gigahertz band for unlicensed use, and they welcomed a study that estimated that allowing Wi-Fi operations in the band could add more than $100 billion annually to the U.S. gross domestic product.
During a joint appearance this afternoon at the Wi-Fi Summit, which was organized by WifiForward, Ms. Rosenworcel noted that she and Mr. O’Rielly both support taking a “fresh look” at the 5.9 GHz band, which is allocated to dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology, “and I think we need to do that sooner rather than later.”
“The message is resonating,” Mr. O’Rielly added.
Ms. Rosenworcel also called “extraordinary” the conclusion of a study released by the RAND Corp. today that estimated that opening the band for Wi-Fi could add from $59.8 billion to $105.8 billion to the annual U.S. GDP. The study also predicted that Wi-Fi use of the spectrum could also provide economic gains in consumer surplus and producer surplus of $82.2 billion to $189.9 billion. The study didn’t estimate the potential economic impact of continuing to use the 5.9 GHz band for DSRC operations.
Mr. O’Rielly said the study was “incredibly insightful” in providing information on the benefits to the public of Wi-Fi use of the 5.9 GHz band.
The RAND study, whose lead author was Diana Carew, an assistant policy researcher, was sponsored by the Comcast Innovation Fund. The cable industry is lobbying the FCC to open the spectrum to Wi-Fi use.
“RAND’s analysis demonstrates that the FCC could generate billions of dollars of value for the U.S. economy each year by opening the 5.9 GHz band to Wi-Fi. It also confirms that unlicensed spectrum is the incubator of wireless innovation, and at the center of the emerging Internet of things,” said Ellen Satterwhite, spokesperson for WifiForward, “This research is a leap forward in how we think about unlicensed and shared spectrum allocations and should be helpful to making balanced spectrum policymaking in the United States.” Continue reading