Mission Critical Communications Reports: Report Says More Work Needed on Dispatchable Location Database, Public Safety Voices Concerns

Report Says More Work Needed on Dispatchable Location Database, Public Safety Voices Concerns, By Sandra Wendelken, Editor, May 7, 2019

Only 38.7% of valid test calls conducted during recent dispatchable location testing for 9-1-1 calls produced a result that meets the requirements for actionable dispatchable location as defined by Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) standards. Dispatchable location testing in the E9-1-1 Location Technologies Test Bed was conducted during the second half of 2018.

The reference point density in the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) database is not yet at sufficient levels to assure optimum performance, according to conclusions in a report on the testing filed by CTIA with the FCC…… [ more]

The report, titled “E911 Location Test Bed Dispatchable Location Summary Report,” uses two definitions for dispatchable location, a process public-safety groups have roundly criticized.

In the report, dispatchable location level 1 (DL1) refers to “medium-level performance. DL1 indicates that the reported dispatchable location is known to the quadrant or zone of the building on the correct floor or on the floor immediately above or below the correct floor.” Dispatchable location level 2 (DL2) refers to “the highest level of performance. DL2 indicated that the report dispatchable location is known to the specific unit number.”

DL Level 1 is not consistent with the definition in the commission’s rules and is unacceptable from a public-safety standpoint,” the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) said last year. “Furthermore, having these two definitions is likely to create confusion. NPSTC therefore urges the commission to maintain its current definition of dispatchable location, regardless of any apparent attempts by carriers to dilute that definition…..[more]

“Back in 2014 – 2015, public safety had concerns of how successful the NEAD would be, and this report does not do anything to alleviate those concerns,” NPSTC’s Goldstein said. “While the report does not say it directly, it seems that the carriers want more testing. It has been four years since the order and DL was promised as the gold standard, which replaced many of the more stringent requirements proposed by the FCC but not included in the final order based on the promise of DL.

“This makes it even more important to have the Z-axis. The carriers are relying on commercially available technologies such as Wi-Fi. It appears there are other technologies that are available be used to supplement Wi-Fi, but those may only provide the location of a caller and will cost the carriers addtional funds.”

Read complete report at Mission Critical Magazine, https://www.rrmediagroup.com/Features/FeaturesDetails/FID/920



Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, May 2, 2019

FirstNet Gains, Some Throttling Broadband, More. The latest numbers are out for FirstNet (Built with AT&T) and as expected, they are really good. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, FirstNet reports its Band 14 buildout is at 53-percent of the total coverage called out in the contract. And the balance of AT&T’s LTE assets are being used daily by FirstNet customers. FirstNet also states more than 7,000 agencies representing 570,000 public safety personnel are onboard (a 33-percent growth over Q4 2018).

It seems every week in the news and on allthingsfirstnet.com there are announcements of more agencies joining FirstNet. These include Anchorage police Department, Alaska, the Navy and Marines, Brazos County, TX Sheriffs Department, Elmore County, Idaho, and more. This bodes well for FirstNet. These agencies are now recognizing the value of FirstNet when they are engaged in multi-agency incidents and rely on FirstNet as the common interoperability network during the event. This is precisely what public safety sought when it went to Congress to carve out this broadband spectrum.

Push-To-Talk—LMR, FirstNet, and Interoperability. The vision of FirstNet was to provide a nationwide network to which all first responders could connect. It started as data and video-centric, but after FirstNet was formed by the federal government, Push-To-Talk (PTT), text, and dial-up voice were added into the mix. This, of course, makes FirstNet a perfect fit to augment Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems. As I have mentioned before, now that push-to-talk over FirstNet is available from three vendors—Motorola (Kodiak), ESChat, and Orion Labs—public safety agencies can continue to use the flavor of PTT they already use or choose to implement another PTT flavor they deem best suited for their needs. Read the Entire Column Here

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Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 25, 2019

Waiting on Mission Critical Push-To-Talk (Data, Video). According to Motorola, its Kodiak Networks has developed the first Push-To-Talk (PTT) application for on-network use. On-network means the network hosts the application as opposed to an over-the-top application such as ESChat or Orion Labs, the other FirstNet-approved options. Motorola’s claim is that the Kodiak PTT solution as deployed in both the AT&T and Verizon networks (though not compatible across the two, I am told) is close to meeting the Mission Critical Push-To-Talk specification released by the 3GPP standards organization.

All that is needed, claims Motorola, is for companies to start producing Proximity Services (ProSe) chipsets, which Motorola claims remains the greatest hurdle to being fully MCPTT-compliant. I am using Motorola as an example here since it recently stated its PTT solution for FirstNet (Built with AT&T) works and is embedded in the FirstNet network. ESChat and Orion Labs are also certified on FirstNet. I find Motorola’s comments about ProSe to be peculiar coming from one of the premier Land Mobile Radio (LMR) companies in the world that for many years has built mobile and handheld radios that provide push-to-talk on public safety and business radio networks and further provides the capability for off-network push-to-talk.

Off-network push-to-talk, which I have written about over the years, is critical to the ability of those in the field to communicate with others even when a network is not available—either because they are out of network range or because they are deep inside a structure and cannot reach the network that may be available on the street. Simplex, talk-around, or whatever you want to call it is vital to the operation of the public safety community. It is used every day by police, fire, and EMS personnel. Simplex provides one-to-one and one-to-many communications to any unit in range of the transmitting unit. Read the Entire Column Here .
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NIST Issues Guidance on IoT Security

Guidance designed to make Internet of things devices more secure was issued today by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  The new publication, “Securing Small-Business and Home Internet of Things (IoT) Devices: Mitigating Network-Based Attacks Using Manufacturer Usage Description (MUD),” recommends that IoT device makers use a MUD architecture that limits the ability of devices to communicate.  The MUD architecture provides “a standard way for manufacturers to indicate the network communications that each device requires to perform its intended function,” NIST said.  “When MUD is used, the network will automatically permit the IoT device to send and receive only this required traffic.” NIST is accepting comments on the publication through June 24.

Courtesy TRDaily


CTIA: Carriers Waiting on FEMA to Test WEA Upgrades

Wireless carriers have taken the needed steps to deploy wireless emergency alert (WEA) upgrades required by a May 1 FCC deadline, but they can’t do so until the Federal Emergency Management Agency facilitates the necessary testing, CTIA told the FCC yesterday in an ex parte filing in PS dockets 15-91 and 15-94.

“Per the Commission’s rules, by May 1, 2019, participating commercial mobile service providers (CMSPs) are required to support (1) 360-character WEA messages, (2) Spanish-language WEA messages, (3) Public Safety WEA messages, (4) Alert Message prioritization, and (5) consumer opt-in capabilities for receiving State/Local WEA test messages (collectively WEA 2.0). CTIA respectfully submits this letter to update the Commission that participating CMSP member companies have taken the necessary steps to meet the May 1, 2019 deadline, but cannot deploy the new WEA 2.0 capabilities until Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) has the capability in place to support and complete its required testing for these new features,” CTIA said in its filing.

“Participating CMSPs and handset manufacturers have taken the steps within their control to support WEA 2.0 features by the May 1, 2019 deadline, including updating the relevant standards, implementing WEA 2.0 capabilities into their networks and deploying WEA-capable wireless handsets utilizing both Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS that support WEA 2.0,” CTIA added. “However, CTIA has recently confirmed that FEMA’s IPAWS gateway will not be ready to test WEA 2.0 by May 1, 2019. Once FEMA’s IPAWS gateway is capable of testing WEA 2.0, CTIA’s participating member companies are ready to test as soon as practicable and deploy the capability in coordination with FEMA. In the meantime, the Commission and FEMA should coordinate efforts to inform federal, state and local alert originators about the status of WEA 2.0 enhancements and effective utilization of WEA’s existing capabilities, including geotargeting and embedded links.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 18, 2019

Updates on What Public Safety Needs from Congress. This week APCO sent out an email asking for all of us to support the 9-1-1 Saves Act. This bill will upgrade 9-1-1 professionals and reclassify them as Protective Service employees. This should have been done years ago and I hope the re-designation will carry forward to non-sworn public safety dispatchers. There is a link for this important bill and a guide for you to follow on how to notify your U.S. Senators and Representatives, so please do so.

This is only one of the significant pieces of legislation that should be passed by Congress and signed into law. The issues I am concerned about include the T-Band, NG911, and 4.9 GHz if the FCC doesn’t leave it alone. The most recent bill introduced in the House replaces H.R.3994, which was passed in 2018 but died in the Senate where no vote was taken. This year it is back as H.R.1328 and must once again make the rounds.

I believe H.R.1328 is of vital interest to the public safety community. It is the Access Broadband Act that would create a single organization for tracking and helping implement rural and poverty-level broadband. Today there are numerous federal and state agencies involved in grants and loans, but there seems to be a serious lack of coordination. The Access Broadband Act is extremely important to rural broadband coverage and as such should be supported by the public safety community. Currently, its odds of gaining passage are slight unless more sponsors from both parties join the effort.
Read the Entire Column Here. 

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sUS Business Journal: Unmanned Aircraft Systems for News Coverage

Unmanned Aircraft Systems for News Coverage: An Interview with Greg Agvent, Senior Director of National News Technology, and lead of the newly created CNN Aerial Imagery & Reporting unit, CNN AIR.

By Chief Charles L. Werner (Ret.), Chair-National Council on Public Safety UAS, Chief of Public Safety-DroneUp

In 2018, CNN received the first FAA waiver to fly over people. This interview provides an informative look at the process, challenges, benefits and lessons learned. An excellent model for others that plan to implement an unmanned aircraft system program