Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 19, 2018

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FCC Official Stresses Importance of 4.9 GHz Band Utilization

The chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today stressed the importance of the 4.9 gigahertz band being widely utilized, which she stressed that it hasn’t so far. Last month, Republican FCC Commissioners emphasized the potential benefit of repurposing the band for commercial purposes, or at least opening it up to additional usage, citing the fact that the spectrum has not been heavily used since the Commission made it available for public safety agencies in 2002 (TR Daily, March 22).

Their comments came as Commissioners unanimously adopted a sixth further notice of proposed rulemaking in WP docket 07-100 seeking views on ways to promote more intensive use of the 4940-4990 megahertz band.

During luncheon remarks this afternoon at the annual meeting of the Land Mobile Communications Council, Lisa Fowlkes said that “public safety’s use of the 4.9 GHz band has fallen short of its potential. The further notice seeks ways to reverse this trend.”

Among the options the FCC is seeking comments on are extending use of the band to utilities are repurposing it for commercial use, she noted. “But let me be clear: all options for this band are on the table, except … for the option of allowing underutilization of the band to continue,” she said. “It is important that we hear from the LMCC and its members on the proposals and options.” Continue reading

Ligado Asks Officials to Disregard GPS Testing Report

Ligado Networks LLC has asked the FCC and the Defense and Transportation departments to reject a recent report by the Space-Based Positioning Navigation & Timing National Systems Engineering Forum (NPEF) assessing whether there are gaps in testing of adjacent-band interference to the Global Positioning System L1 band (TR Daily, March 20).

The NPEF was tasked with doing the assessment by the National Executive Committee for Space-Based PNT, an intergovernmental agency body. The analysis evaluated tests done by an FCC-mandated technical working group, the NPEF, the Department of Transportation, Roberson and Associates LLC for Ligado, and the National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network (NASCTN).

The NPEF report faulted the Roberson and NASCTN tests for not using a 1 dB increase in the noise floor as the threshold for assessing harmful interference to GPS receivers, as the other tests did. It said that the other tests “included sufficient scope and methodology in compliance with the PNTAB’s [Space-Based PNT Advisory Board] set of recommendations, namely the DOT ABC, NPEF, and FCC TWG tests.”

But in a letter Monday to Patrick M. Shanahan and Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy secretaries of the Defense and Transportation departments who chair the National PNT Committee, Ligado President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Smith said there were “fundamental flaws” in the NPEF report.

He said that the report failed to mention that major GPS equipment manufacturers have signed agreements with Ligado stating they will not oppose the company’s planned LTE network deployment as long as certain technical parameters are met.

Mr. Smith also said that the NPEF’s report “is flawed because it is based on criteria that simply have no basis in spectrum regulation.” In particular, he complained that it “concludes that the only testing that matters is the testing for a change of 1 dB in the noise floor caused by operations in adjacent bands, and it gives no value to almost 1,500 hours of testing done by” the NASCTN.

Mr. Smith added, “The metric of a 1 dB change in the noise floor is appropriately used by regulators to govern users who share a band, sometimes referred to as a ‘co-channel interference.’ While Ligado’s operations and GPS are near each other (but not exactly ‘adjacent’ given the 23-megahertz guard band), the truth is that under all spectrum regulations GPS and Ligado do not share a band. That is a fact that some GPS advocates seem unwilling to accept.”

GPS equipment makers Garmin International, Inc., Deere & Co., Trimble Navigation Ltd., TopCon Positioning Systems, Inc., and NovAtel, Inc., have reached agreements with Ligado under which they will not oppose Ligado’s network, but those agreements don’t cover use of the 1 dB threshold, which most of the companies support.

Mr. Smith’s letter was attached to an ex parte Ligado filing with the FCC yesterday in IB docket 11-109 that also criticized the NPEF report.

“We encourage the Commission, as the expert spectrum agency in consultation with NTIA, to consider the full record before it, which shows that Ligado can both protect GPS devices and enable the use of prime mid-band spectrum to enhance American competitiveness and security, invest in American infrastructure, and create thousands of new jobs,” Ligado said.- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

 

 

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 12, 2018

Batteries in the Field:  When we add smartphones and tablets to the mix of public safety communications devices we are adding yet another set of devices that run on batteries that need to be recharged. While there are a number of companies working on charging these devices from the radio energy that is transmitted from a cell site, which could make recharging a non-issue, that appears, once again, to be well into the future. In the meantime, how are these devices to be charged along with the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) handheld radios?

Comparing LMR to LTE Devices:  LMR devices are generally designed for battery life of over a shift, which is ten hours or so. But this is with a duty cycle that is generally light. The norm is 80-percent standby (lowest power requirement) to 10-percent receive (mid-power requirement) and 10-percent transmit (highest power usage). The batteries for LMR radios are removable and replaceable and can be run through a “fast charge” system to replenish them in short order. There are also what are known as “clam-shell” battery cases that are designed to be used with disposable batteries, usually a number of AA cells. During major wildland fires when the forest services issue their cache of radios, they are mostly powered by throw-away cells. The batteries used in LMR radios are usually on the bottom of the radio, are easy to take off, and have a lot more battery capacity than batteries that are not removable.

There are a number of different scenarios for LMR radio distribution. In police departments, most LMR handhelds are staged in gang chargers and as patrol officers exit the station for a shift they will grab a radio and sometimes a spare battery for use on their shift and then replace the units in the charger at the end of their shift. In the fire service, since there are normally four assigned to an engine, radios are sometimes in chargers near one of the engine’s rear doors and are picked up as needed when arriving on a scene. Most EMS personnel have radios issued to them at the start of each shift. Of course, there are many variations of this including some departments where the LMR handheld is the only radio each person carries. Read the Entire Post Here Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 5, 2018

For the past two weeks I have been sidelined with a nasty infection I appear to have brought home as a souvenir from IWCE in Orlando. Many important things happened during this time so this week I will recap some of them and attempt to catch up. Some of the news has to do with the fact that FirstNet completed its Evolved Packet Core (EPC) for use by only the first responder community, Verizon says its core is up and running and the FirstNet core is “vaporware,” the FirstNet Authority tasked FirstNet to build out public safety band 14, AT&T has stated that the FirstNet network build-out will happen a lot quicker than five years, and much more.

FirstNet Core:  Let’s start with the FirstNet core. The core of an LTE network is the brains of the network. AT&T has been offering up all of its LTE spectrum with full priority and pre-emption for public safety and now the redundant brain of the network is also up and running. This means several important things. First, the public safety network is really end-to-end and available for public safety only, and the core is hardened and separate from AT&T’s customer core, ensuring Public safety traffic will remain separate and apart on the overall AT&T LTE network and band 14 (the FirstNet spectrum). The core is the final step in the end-to-end encrypted LTE network. Because public safety devices have their own SIM identification number, they are instantly identified as members of a network riding on a network. Public safety users, while on the same LTE spectrum AT&T is using for its commercial users, are segmented so public safety users have priority, better data encryption, and access to the public safety core. Even when AT&T’s secondary (commercial) users are sharing bandwidth they have no access to the FirstNet core or any way to intermingle with FirstNet users.
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FCC Daily Digest, April 2, 2018, Items of Interest

Released:  03/30/2018.  PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO CMRS PROVIDERS REGARDING UPCOMING CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE WITH THREE-YEAR E911 LOCATION ACCURACY BENCHMARK AND REMINDS CMRS PROVIDERS OF ADDITIONAL LOCATION ACCURACY DEADLINES IN 2018. (DA No.  18-323). (Dkt No 07-114 17-78 ).  PSHSB . Contact:  Brenda Boykin at (202) 418-2062, email: Brenda.Boykin@fcc.gov https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-18-323A1.docx

FULL SPECTRUM, INC.   Proposed $22k fine against Full Spectrum for apparently willfully and repeatedly causing harmful interference to 200 Verizon Wireless sites in CA.; operating equipment without a license; operating equipment without FCC equipment authorization. Action by:  Regional Director, Region Three, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted:  03/30/2018 by NAL. (DA No. 18-322).  EB  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-18-322A1.doc

ANTHEM DISPLAYS, LLC.   Resolves an investigation into whether Anthem marketed LED signs used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications, in violation of the Commission’s equipment marketing rules. Action by:  Acting Deputy Chief, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted:  03/30/2018 by Order/Consent Decree. (DA No. 18-310).  EB  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-18-310A1.doc

Congress Urged to Pass T-Band Legislation

The Congressional Fire Services Institute is urging Congress to pass legislation to repeal a provision included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that would require the T-band to be reauctioned by the FCC for commercial use.

The Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act (HR 5085), introduced by Rep. Elliot Engel (D., N.Y.) last month, would repeal the provision (TR Daily, Feb. 27).

Congress required 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, but not business/industrial entities in the spectrum. The T-band encompasses TV channels 14–20 (470–512 megahertz).

Public safety agencies use the spectrum in these 11 major markets: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Washington. Ninety million people live in counties that use T-band spectrum for public safety use.

In 2013, a report by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) estimated the cost of relocating public safety T-band operations to other spectrum would be more than $5.9 billion and cited the lack of alternative spectrum (TR Daily, March 15, 2013).

“Public safety organizations use the T-Band spectrum to support both day-to-day operations and regional interoperability. Because of the mission-critical nature of the communications required, local public safety organizations have spent many years and millions of dollars in federal, state, and local taxpayer funds to plan and build out T-Band networks that are tested and designed for the operational needs in each of these metropolitan areas,” the Congressional Fire Services Institute said in its legislative outlook for the second session of the 115th Congress. “It is essential for Congress to pass H.R. 5085 and preserve the T-band for public safety operations.” —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily