AT&T Executive Says He’s Not Surprised by Verizon Announcement

DENVER – An AT&T, Inc., executive said today that he is not surprised by Verizon Communications, Inc.’s announcement that it plans to offer priority service and preemption to public safety customers while building a dedicated public safety core (TR Daily, Aug. 15). He also said that first responders will benefit from AT&T’s plan to use a variety of bands to best meet their needs and not just Band 14. In an interview this morning with TR Daily in conjunction with the APCO 2017 show here, Chris Sambar, AT&T’s senior vice president-FirstNet, was asked if he expects states to try to get better pricing, coverage, and other terms from AT&T, which is the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network partner, in light of the new competition from Verizon, which is seeking to match AT&T’s plan to offer priority access to opt-in states immediately and preemption by the end of this year while deploying a public safety core next year.

“I think regardless … of what Verizon announced, states are going to try and get good deals for themselves,” Mr. Sambar said. “That’s just human nature. So that’s not unexpected. And the fact that Verizon is going to be aggressive and try and keep their customers … is also not a surprise to us.”

But he added that some people “are probably a still little unclear as to what exactly they are going to be providing. I think we’ve been extremely clear on what we’re providing because it’s all contract-based.”

Mr. Sambar also responded to questions about AT&T’s plan for Band 14 in the wake of complaints from some in the public safety community and elsewhere that first responders did not fight for that band to be reallocated for public safety use only to have a commercial carrier decide to deploy it selectively. Continue reading

Bratcher Cites Benefits of Public Safety Being Able to Access All AT&T LTE Bands

DENVER – First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Chief Technology Officer Doug Bratcher today touted the benefit of first responders in opt-in states being able to access more than 100 megahertz of spectrum on AT&T, Inc.’s LTE network, rather than just the 20 MHz of Band 14 spectrum licensed to FirstNet. AT&T, FirstNet’s network partner, says that public safety agencies in opt-in states that sign up for service can immediately access all of the carrier’s LTE bands, with priority service right away and preemption by the end of this year.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from public safety: they don’t care about what band … they’re on. They just want the network to work when they need it,” Mr. Bratcher said during a session this morning at the APCO 2017 show here.

In response to a question about any technical tradeoffs of public safety using Band 14 or other AT&T LTE spectrum, Mr. Bratcher replied, “The methodology that we’re driving with AT&T is that low-band spectrum – that 700 MHz spectrum or 800 [MHz spectrum] – is always used or driven in those areas. They’re adding Band 14 in those to drive some of the capacity needs. But, again, with the priority/preemption on all the LTE bands that AT&T has today, the need on that Band 14 push is not as great as it was before we announced our partnership with AT&T.” Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 10, 2017

Why Public Safety Devices Need a New SIM Card This week’s PSA is based on a question I hear nearly every day. It started when AT&T won the FirstNet contract and offered up its own LTE networks in addition to what it will build out on FirstNet Band 14 spectrum. AT&T is offering early opt-in state and territories (at least 11 so far) the use of its AT&T network on a priority access basis with full pre-emption on the entire AT&T LTE network by the start of 2018.

AT&T says it is easy to start using the AT&T network for public safety. Once a state has opted in, each public safety entity will decide if it wants to join the FirstNet system and become users on the AT&T broadband network. If the answer is yes and the pricing is acceptable to the agency, all that is needed, according to AT&T, is to install a new SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) into the mobile device to be instantly considered a public safety user on the AT&T network and on Band 14 as it is built over time.

The question about why you need to install a new SIM in your device is based on a number of factors. The most important of these is that the new SIM identifies the device (and the user) as a member of the public safety community. The network is then notified that when this device is on the network, in addition to normal AT&T capabilities, the user will have access to all additional capabilities and information being made available only to the FirstNet public safety community. The AT&T network and soon FirstNet Band 14 recognizes a user as a public safety user by the SIM in the device and the information it contains. Read the Entire Blog Here  Continue reading

Inmarsat Reiterates Ligado Support

Inmarsat, Inc., has reiterated “its support for prompt Commission action on Ligado’s Modification Applications.” In an ex parte filing yesterday in IB dockets 11-109 and 12-340, Inmarsat said it was responding to a June filing (TR Daily, June 21) by aviation and aerospace industry interests that mentioned their concern “about the potential impact to Inmarsat’s systems that might be caused by Ligado’s proposed terrestrial deployment.” Inmarsat said that the parties incorrectly said that Inmarsat had expressed concern about Ligado’s planned network in response to a consultation by the United Kingdom’s Office of Communications (Ofcom).

In response to the Inmarsat filing, a Ligado spokesperson said today that the company “is pleased industry leaders such as Inmarsat support our proposal and are urging the Commission to take action. Inmarsat not only corrected the record, but together with the filing made recently by Metro Aviation, Inmarsat’s filing makes clear that assertions made by ASRI [Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc.] in their filings are not representative of the views of the entire aviation industry. Our proposal is the product of significant collaboration and compromise with many stakeholders, and we are confident the Commission will make a decision based on fact and the public’s interest.”

Courtesy TRDaily

LPTV Proposal Envisions Use of T-Band Spectrum

A low-power TV proposal “ending the vacant channel war” would involve use of T-band channels that Congress has directed the FCC to auction by 2021 while relocating public safety and industry incumbents by 2023, according to an ex parte filing by the LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition. The coalition has said it has declared a “truce” in its fight with tech companies that support unlicensed use of TV white spaces, particularly on the issue of whether the FCC should reserve an additional white spaces channel in each market for unlicensed devices (TR Daily, Aug. 1).

The coalition’s ex parte filing yesterday in GN docket 12-268, ET docket 14-165, and MB docket 15-146 reported on an Aug. 1 meeting with 17 representatives of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force, Media Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology.

The redacted filing stressed the need for a five- to seven-year “bridge” for a legislative solution for holding an incentive auction of T-band spectrum. The FCC has the authority to conduct additional incentive auctions through fiscal year 2022, but it can’t hold additional auctions of TV spectrum, including in the T-band, without congressional approval.

In the Aug. 1 meeting, the coalition also reiterated its call “for a post-auction economic analysis of the impacts of repacking on non-eligible-for-the-auction LPTV and TV translator license and construction permit holders,” according to the ex parte filing.

Relocating public safety T-band incumbents from the 11 metro areas where they use the spectrum would cost more than $5.9 billion, according to a 2013 report by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (TR Daily, March 15, 2013).

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requires 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 the law doesn’t say anything about relocating non-public safety licensees.

The T-band is in TV channels 14-20 (470-512 megahertz).

Some public safety advocates have suggested the community lobby Congress to eliminate the mandate that the T-band be auctioned or at least to delay the deadline. —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

Ligado Stresses Need for Infrastructure

Ligado Networks LLC President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Smith stressed in a blog posting today the importance of digital infrastructure.  “Policy-makers must help foster efficient use of spectrum and digital infrastructure growth.  In embracing the future of digital infrastructure, we can improve our physical infrastructure, including our crumbling roads and bridges, grow our economy, revitalize and expand our workforce, and catalyze even more private sector investment, creating a virtuous cycle of innovation and opportunity,” Mr. Smith said.

“Ligado and other companies are prepared to put idle spectrum to work to develop and deploy new technologies to add billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, to create hundreds of thousands of skilled and unskilled jobs, and to invest in America’s digital infrastructure.  These investments will not only benefit our communities, make our economy more competitive, create new opportunities for our workers, and allow the U.S. to maintain its leadership position, but it will signify a return to the American tradition of striving to meet and exceed modern demands.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Comment Sought on Request for Extra Time to Build Out 700 MHz Band Licenses

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau sought comment today on a request for an extension of time or a waiver to give 700 megahertz band guard band A-block licensees additional time to make their “substantial service” construction showing.  Comments are due Sept. 6 and replies Sept. 21 in WT docket 17-201.  The request was filed by FELHC, Inc., BPC Spectrum LLC, Dominion 700 Inc., and Access 700 LLC.  “The license terms in this case expire on June 13, 2019.

The parties explain that the licenses will be deployed as a private, internal radio system to support utility operations and the reliable monitoring and control of electrical equipment at thousands of locations across several states,” a public notice observed.  “The parties seek an extension of time or waiver until Dec. 31, 2022, to transition from legacy copper communications facilities to the planned 700 MHz Guard Band A Block-based wireless system.  In addition, the parties seek clarification regarding the construction metric that will be used to demonstrate compliance with the substantial service performance requirement.”

Courtesy TRDaily