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

Nelson, Klobuchar Introduce Bill to Spur NG-911 Deployment

Sens. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) introduced legislation (S 2061) today to accelerate the deployment of next-generation 911 (NG-911) services. Among other things, the Next-Generation 9-1-1 Act of 2017 would expand a federal NG-911 grant program, although it doesn’t include a specific authorization level, would establish an advisory board to recommend updates to the definition of NG-911, and would state that it is the sense of Congress that the NG-911 transition “is a national priority and national imperative” and that it should be completed within a decade.

Sens. Nelson and Klobuchar had circulated a draft version their legislation in February (TR Daily, Feb. 28).

“Upgrading the nation’s 9-1-1 system is literally a life and death matter that must become more of a national priority,” said Sen. Nelson, who is ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.  “In this digital world, Americans must have more than one way to access the 9-1-1 assistance they need and expect when emergencies occur.  No plea for help should go unanswered because a call center doesn’t have the technology to receive a text, video or picture.” Continue reading

SIA Stresses Importance of Satellites After Hurricanes

The Satellite Industry Association has released a document stressing the importance of satellites before and after hurricanes. “Since the first weather satellite was launched in 1960, satellites have been helping to save lives by supporting meteorologists, federal, state and municipal disaster planning and recovery agencies, first responders and private consumers,” said Tom Stroup, president of SIA. “Over the past few months, millions of Americans in the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean have been reminded of the devastating impacts that can result from tropical cyclones.

Fortunately, satellites operate far above the earth’s surface and therefore they are uniquely qualified to reliably operate when terrestrial land-based weather radar, communications, connectivity and data services may be damaged or destroyed by weather related events.”

Courtesy TRDaily

US President Trump Signs Executive Order To Allow States To Test Expanded Drone Use

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing states and local governments to apply for waivers with the FAA that would allow for the creation of pilot programs for an expanded range of drone testing, including long-distance flights, night flights, and flights over populated areas.

The Washington (DC) Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/25, Laris) reports the order authorizes Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to create a program allowing state, local, and tribal governments to submit applications to create “innovation zones” to conduct the tests, with the first pilot program to be approved within one year. The Post says the innovation zones can be as large as an entire state. The Post reports the order instructs Chao, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, to take “necessary and appropriate” steps to “mitigate risks” to the public and national security when establishing the zones

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, October 26, 2017

Now That Your State Has Opted-In. As of today, 27 states and territories have opted in to FirstNet and it appears as though more are preparing to make the move. Once your state opts in, what do your local, regional, and state agencies do? There are four options:
• Keep using the network operator that is providing you with broadband service. If it is not AT&T, that is fine according to the law.
• Move over to AT&T now and start receiving the full advantages of the FirstNet ecosystem as it is rolled out over the next few years.
• Adopt a wait-and-see attitude and watch how the network evolves.
• Don’t use any broadband data and continue to rely on voice services-only as you always have.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to decide at an agency or multi-agency level, all these options need to be considered as well as pricing. However, if your city or county’s elected or appointed officials will be making the decision based on other factors, such as an existing overall contract with a broadband vendor, and/or what appear to be price differences only, the best you can do is prepare a case for the solution you think is best for your agency and work to gain support among those who will be making the decision. Hopefully, you will be able to make the decision based on the factors that most impact your agency and, of course, the price you will have to pay for the service each month. Continue reading

Spectral Efficiency Factor in Drone Pilot Partner Selection

President Trump signed an executive order today directing the secretary of Transportation to launch an initiative to pilot and validate advanced drone operations in partnership with certain state and local governments. In choosing proposals to pilot, the secretary should consider, among other things, the commitment of state and local governments and drone operators to use “radio spectrum efficiently and competitively,” according to the executive order.