Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, June 15, 2017

The Art of Opting In to FirstNet Introduction On or about June 19 (next week), the state Single Points of Contact (SPOCs) will be given access to a web portal where they will find the state plan proposals as provided by the FirstNet/AT&T team. This is the first step in the opt-in or opt-out process and the SPOCs will have 45 days to provide FirstNet and AT&T with the state’s questions, comments, and suggestions. FirstNet has made it clear that if a state is happy with the state plan as delivered it can opt in right away and start making use of the AT&T network with priority access (pre-emptive priority to follow at the end of the year), and taking advantage of the cost savings promised during the SPOC meeting last week in Dallas. At the PSCR meeting in San Antonio this week I attended for only two days and I heard rumors there is a race to see which state will be first to opt in. Even so, most states will want to take the entire 45 days and hopefully involve the customers of the network, the public safety community within that state. Read the entire article . Continue reading

Rosenworcel Term Would End in 2020

The White House today forwarded to the Senate President Trump’s nomination of former FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to fill the currently vacant term that began July 1, 2015, when her previous term officially expired.  He announced his intention to nominate her yesterday (TR Daily, June 14).

Courtesy TRDaily


Southern Linc, CO FirstNet Entity Criticize FirstNet, AT&T Arguments on Draft FCC Order

Southern Linc and the FirstNet Colorado Governing Body (FirstNet Colorado) have submitted filings at the FCC criticizing arguments made by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T, Inc., in the agency’s proceeding in which it plans to adopt an order at its June 22 meeting to establish procedures for reviewing alternative plans filed by states that want to “opt out” and contract to build their own radio access networks (RANs) rather than have AT&T, FirstNet’s partner, build them (see separate story).

In an ex parte filing yesterday in PS docket 16-269 and GN docket 17-83, Southern Linc complained that FirstNet “recently submitted a notice of ex parte presentation that once again seeks to erect unnecessary procedural barriers to a state’s choice to opt-out from the FirstNet radio access network. While purporting to implement the Spectrum Act, FirstNet offers unduly rigid interpretations of the state opt-out process that neither reflect the statutory text, nor honor Congress’s decision to permit states a measure of autonomy on how to support public safety officials in their state. The draft order circulated by Chairman [Ajit] Pai, by contrast, implements the plain language of the statute by not imposing artificial obstacles to a state’s effort to invoke its opt-out rights under the law. Southern Communications Services, Inc., d/b/a/ Southern Linc (Southern Linc) therefore encourages the Commission to adopt the draft Order as written.” Continue reading

FCC to Consider Public Safety, Broadband Items at June 22 Meeting

The FCC announced today that it plans to consider at its June 22 meeting three public safety items dealing with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), a new Emergency Alert System (EAS) notification, and the agency’s caller ID rules to help authorities investigate threatening calls. Also on the eight-item agenda are items dealing with granting a company access to the U.S. market for a satellite broadband network, facilitating greater consumer choice for broadband deployment in multiple tenant environments, eliminating payphone regulations, and clarifying information that cable providers must provide subscribers. Commissioners also are scheduled to consider an enforcement action.

In the FirstNet report and order in PS docket 16-269, the Commission plans to establish procedures for reviewing alternative plans filed by states that want to “opt out” and contract to build their own radio access networks (RANs) rather than have FirstNet’s partner, AT&T, Inc., build them. The Commission also plans to consider a notice of proposed rulemaking in PS docket 15-94 that proposes to amend the agency’s EAS rules to add the event code “BLU” for Blue Alerts. The new alert would enable the dissemination of information when law enforcement officers have been killed or seriously injured, are in imminent danger, or are missing. Continue reading

DHS OEC Posts FY 2017 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is pleased to announce that the FY 2017 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants (SAFECOM Guidance) has been posted to the SAFECOM website at: Guidance is updated annually to provide relevant information on policies, eligible costs, technical standards, and best practices for state, territorial, tribal, and local grantees investing federal funds in emergency communications projects.

In its eleventh edition, SAFECOM Guidance continues to evolve to meet the needs of the public safety community.  This year’s Guidance reflects the current emergency communications landscape, investment priorities, technical standards that help to ensure interoperability, and available supporting materials for implementing emergency communications grants. Key changes to the Guidance include additional cybersecurity resources, FirstNet guidance on broadband projects, and implications of data information sharing.

To members of the SAFECOM/NCSWIC, thank you for your contribution to this year’s Guidance and helping us ensure that emergency communications policy is consistent across the Federal Government.  The efforts of the SAFECOM/NCSWIC Funding and Sustainability Committee shaped the Guidance so that it better serves our community.  For questions or additional information on the FY 2017 SAFECOM Guidance, please email OEC at:

S&T Snapshot: Newly Transitioned Hurricane Decision Support Platform Gives Emergency Managers More Capabilities

On October 1, 2016, Hurricane Matthew became the first category five storm in the Atlantic Ocean in nearly a decade when Hurricane Felix blew through with sustained winds of 160 miles per hour. As a result of Matthew, 47 Americans died. Damages in excess of 10 billion dollars made it the most expensive storm since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Matthew damaged homes and infrastructure from the Caribbean to the Canadian Maritimes. Domestic response to the hurricane included widespread evacuations. Extensive areas of the coast were evacuated because of predicted high wind speeds and flooding, especially in Jacksonville, Florida. One million Floridians lost power as the storm passed to the east, with more than 400,000 losing power in Georgia, North and South Carolina. Widespread torrential rains and flooding spread inland in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Hurricane Matthew was one of the first operational uses of The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) HURREVAC-eXtended (HV-X) platform. The HV-X platform integrates forecast and planning data to provide emergency managers decision support tools for use in advance of and during tropical weather. Development began in 2013 and since then, S&T identified the need for a comprehensive hurricane decision platform that encompassed all phases of planning and evacuations. Collaborating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) via the National Hurricane Program (NHP) Technology Modernization initiative, DHS S&T worked to streamline the currently available HURREVAC storm tracking and decision platform. The result of this collaboration is HV-X. Continue reading

Waiver Request for Maritime Radio Draws Support

A waiver request submitted by Icom America, Inc., that would permit the manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of a medium frequency/high frequency digital selective calling (DSC) radio has drawn supportive comments. Such devices “are used by ship stations to communicate with other ship stations or coast stations for safety, navigation, and weather information,” the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau observed in a recent public notice (TR Daily, May 9). “A waiver is required because the M802 does not comply with the relevant technical standard now incorporated by reference in the Commission’s rules. … Icom now requests a waiver to permit manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of the M802 until 2020, by which time it expects to have available an MF/HF DSC radio that complies with the current standard.” Continue reading