Reports: iPhones will share your exact location with 911.

Apple is rolling out a new feature in its next iPhone software update to send emergency responders instant, precise location information in the US. The update, coming in iOS 12 later this year, calculates a caller’s location based on data collected from WiFi access points, nearby cellular towers, and GPS. Read complete article here.


RCA Honors Chief Harlin McEwen in New Feature on Members

RCA has added a new feature to its website–a short feature on a current member, what they are doing, and what their wireless interests are.  The member that is featured will be changed regularly.  This month RCA honors Chief Harlin McEwen.

Harlin R. McEwen, Chief of Police (Ret)  Chief McEwen brings more than 60 years of experience both as an advocate for public safety telecommunications issues and as a career law enforcement officer and administrator.  He served as a Chief of Police for more than 20 years, last serving as Chief in the City of Ithaca, NY.  He also served as Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and Director of the Bureau for Municipal Police.

Chief McEwen then served as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, DC.  He provided oversight for new FBI Criminal Justice Information Services such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) 2000 Project, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), and the Law Enforcement Online (LEO) system.  He also traveled extensively both in the U.S. and internationally speaking at police conferences.  He served as Chair of the Communications & Technology Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) for more than 36 years until 2015. Continue reading

FCC Seeks Comments on 911 Network Reliability Rules

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a public notice today seeking comments on the agency’s network reliability rules, including outage notifications to public safety answering points (PSAPs). Among the questions the bureau asked is whether the agency should weaken the current regulations.

“Under current Commission rules, ‘covered 911 service providers’ are required to: 1) take ‘reasonable measures’ to ensure 911 circuit diversity, availability of central office backup power, and diverse network monitoring; 2) certify annually to their performance of these measures, or to alternative measures demonstrated to be reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of failure; and 3) notify PSAPs of outages that potentially affect them,” the bureau noted in the public notice in PS docket 13-75. “When the Commission adopted these rules [TR Daily, Dec. 12, 2013], it committed to review them in five years to determine whether they remain technologically appropriate, and both adequate and necessary to ensure the reliability and resiliency of 911 networks. The Bureau invites interested parties to provide comments and other information regarding how effective these provisions have been in practice, and whether these provisions should be modified to adapt to advancements in technology or other changes. The Bureau will use the record from this Public Notice to recommend next steps, if any, for the Commission’s consideration.” Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, June 14, 2018

FirstNet and Interoperability.  During speeches at the recent PSCR meeting in San Diego, two people made points that started me thinking about what lies ahead for FirstNet. The first was the Chair of The FirstNet Authority, Sue Swenson, who talked about FirstNet ending Chapter One on a high note and starting Chapter Two. The second was TJ Kennedy, who announced formation of the Public Safety Technical Alliance (PSTA), a non-profit that has been formed to work with the public safety community, vendors, and others to ensure components for FirstNet (Built by AT&T) meet the open standard mandate put into place by FirstNet the Authority.

Sue talked about the first chapter for FirstNet being a long one for many of us, spanning more than ten years. However, it concluded with the network in place, all 56 states and territories opting in, a large number of public safety agencies joining FirstNet (Built by AT&T), more approved devices coming to market, and momentum that will carry us into Chapter Two. As promised, the network is nationwide, it provides end-to-end encryption, has its own core, and delivers full pre-emption for the first responder community. Chapter Two then will be about what runs on the network and how to maintain full interoperability. The rationale for FirstNet was to provide a coast-to-coast and border-to-border network where vehicles and people could move into other jurisdictions to assist in an incident and not only have a common network but to be assured that what rides on the network in terms of applications, data access, and voice are all fully interoperable.

To this end, TJ Kennedy and a host of others formed the PSTA to work with FirstNet, public safety, vendors, and others to make sure what flows over the network is “operable” for all. However, before we start on Chapter Two, we must first understand that like any broadband network, it will never be truly finished. It will continue to grow, new sites will be added as needed, and it will encompass 5G small cells, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other related purposes for the network. AT&T recently committed $2 billion to building out FirstNet in rural America, which will also enable rural businesses and citizens to gain access to broadband they have never had before. Even after the 25-year contract is over, the network will continue to grow and expand using whatever new technology replaces 4G and 5G.
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Apple’s iOS 12 to Share Location Data with PSAPs

Apple, Inc., announced today that users of iPhones with iOS 12 will automatically share the location information of the devices when users call 911 beginning later this year.

“Approximately 80 percent of 911 calls today come from mobile devices, but outdated, landline-era infrastructure often makes it difficult for 911 centers to quickly and accurately obtain a mobile caller’s location,” Apple noted in a news release. “To address this challenge, Apple launched HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) in 2015, which estimates a mobile 911 caller’s location using cell towers and on-device data sources like GPS and WiFi Access Points. Apple today announced it will also use emergency technology company RapidSOS’s Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to quickly and securely share HELO location data with 911 centers, improving response time when lives and property are at risk. RapidSOS’s system will deliver the emergency location data of iOS users by integrating with many 911 centers’ existing software, which rely on industry-standard protocols.”

“Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal,” said Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. “When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance.” Continue reading

O’Rielly Presses Rhode Island to Stop 911 Fee Diversions

FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly today renewed his call for Rhode Island to stop diverting 911 funds for other purposes. In a letter to Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D.) and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D., 15th District), Mr. O’Rielly asked the officials to “restore the sanctity of 9-1-1 fees within the state.

“In April, I read comments by both of you, and received a personal commitment from Governor Raimondo indicating support for ending the state’s longstanding diversionary practice. I was heartened by this response, believing that with the support of both of you, as well as Republican State Representative Bob Lancia, there appeared to be a unique opportunity to explore the proper and necessary range of options to get this accomplished. Unfortunately, it seems my hope for a quick correction was misplaced,” Mr. O’Rielly said.

“Specifically, I have just reviewed the pertinent section of the latest version of the Rhode Island budget made available, and, it seems to vastly miss the mark,” Mr. O’Rielly complained. “Instead of ending the practice of 9-1-1 fee diversion, it appears that the state plans to paper over its practices by changing the name of the consumer E911 charge. While this may alleviate the deception imposed on your citizens, it does nothing to address the funding needs of you 9-1-1 call system. To put it bluntly, your state is diverting 60 percent of the funds intended and necessary for public safety purposes to your general fund, and no amount of relabeling will resolve this reality.” Continue reading

FirstNet Board, Committees to Meet Wednesday

The board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and its four committees plan to hold a joint meeting next Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. The meeting will be held via teleconference and WebEx. The public can listen by dialing 1-888-324-9653 and using passcode 4609182. To view the slide presentation, the public can visit and enter conference number PWXW7524794 and audience passcode 4609182.