Senate Panel Schedules Robocall Hearing

The Senate communications, technology, innovation, and the Internet subcommittee has scheduled an April 11 hearing to examine the FCC’s first report on robocalls and to “review the steps Congress is currently taking to provide consumers relief from illegal robocalls.”  Scheduled witnesses are Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson; Kevin Rupy, a partner in law firm of Wiley Rein LLP, representing the U.S. Telecom Association; and Margot Saunders, counsel for the National Consumer Law Center.  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

GovLoop: The Impact of Drones on Public Safety — and Why They’re Here to Stay by Charles Werner

In 2015, I purchased my own personal DJI Phantom 3 Advanced unmanned aircraft system (UAS) — also known as a drone. I was also the fire chief in Charlottesville, VA. I purchased my drone to explore its utility in the public safety environment. It was $799 for the drone (and two extra batteries) which came with a controller, battery and high-resolution camera capable of digital images and real-time video.

After several days of flying as a hobbyist at a nearby rural park, it was clear that drones would have a huge impact on public safety operations — but even I couldn’t have imagined how much.

The next steps of moving forward were difficult due to the concern over privacy policy and in 2013 Charlottesville and the Commonwealth of Virginia had set a two-year moratorium (no drone zones, with exceptions) on the use of drones by public agencies. The other challenge until 2016 was the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations which required either a manned pilots license or completion of flight ground school.

My evaluation was clear — the cost was affordable for a public agency; flight control and operations were easy and user-friendly; GPS would hold the drone in position so if signal was lost it would return to home and land; and the digital imagery/video was exceptional.

Read complete article on GovLoop.com at https://www.govloop.com/community/blog/the-impact-of-drones-on-public-safety-and-why-theyre-here-to-stay/

 

Bill Schrier Reports AT&T Announcements

AT&T made a number of announcements today.  FirstNet Assist is an app available later this year to allow extended primary users to request priority uplift during an incident.   FirstNet Single-Sign-On will allow a user to logon with credentials once and have those credentials transferred to other apps on the device.   The other apps do need to be modified with a software development kit (SDK) for that to work, and no apps presently have done that.   But there are now about 60 apps in the FirstNet App Catalog and others in the pipeline.  There’s also an API in the development ecosystem which will allow apps to modify their own priority under certain circumstances.   I don’t have a lot more detail on these functions/features yet, but wanted you to know they have been announced.

https://about.att.com/newsroom/2019/firstnet_anniversary.html

Parties Debate 911 Fees on VoIP Service

Providers of VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) service are urging the FCC to clarify what services qualify as interconnected VoIP services and to clarify the extent of its preemption of state and local 911 charges for VoIP service that are greater than 911 charges for similar telecom services, and to do so in ways that will ease the onslaught of lawsuits they are facing from local and state agencies arguing that they are underpaying 911 fees.

Parties were responding in WC docket 19-44 to conflicting petitions for declaratory ruling filed in January by BellSouth Telecommunications LLC and several of the Alabama 911 districts asking the Commission to issue a declaratory ruling responding to a primary jurisdiction referral from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. “The District Court’s referral arises from a dispute between the parties regarding BellSouth’s billing of 911 charges for its business telephone service and the Alabama 911 Districts’ position that such service qualifies as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or similar service pursuant to Alabama’s 911 statute,” the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau had noted in inviting comments (TR Daily, Feb. 26).

NCTA said that it “agrees with BellSouth and urges the Commission to declare that state and local governments are preempted by federal law from collecting 911 charges for VoIP services that, in total, exceed the 911 charges applicable to comparable telecommunications services.” Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, March 28, 2019

Return of FirstNet Authority and More. Sounds like a strange title until you realize that once the contract was awarded to AT&T to build and maintain the network, those in the field deploying the FirstNet network kept up the pace while the organization’s management seemed to disappear into obscurity. However, at the FirstNet Authority board of directors’ meetings last week, the acting CEO and the board developed a plan to move forward proactively in many new and positive ways.

Ed Parkinson, acting CEO and long-time public safety supporter, has done a great job putting together this plan and the board has responded in a positive way. There have been several times when the FirstNet Authority has been slowed by circumstances not under its control. The first incidence, in late 2013, slowed progress by almost a full year. In the latest case, there was not a CEO or President to drive it forward and the board of directors was short a few members. Now we have a full board and, from what I have seen, an acting CEO with a vision of where The FirstNet Authority needs to go, how to help continue building out the network, and identifying additional pieces and parts that make sense.

Instead of The FirstNet Authority management simply watching over the contract vendor, the new plan is to include the public safety community as more of a partner in this private/public partnership. Edward Horowitz, chairman of the FirstNet board, is quoted as saying at the meeting, “As we strive to fully realize the promise of FirstNet, we are engaging with public safety to chart a path forward for the network. Using their feedback, our Roadmap will advance the network and guide our investments over the next several years and beyond.” Read the Entire Column Here . Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, March 21, 2019

Drive Tests, IWCE, and Palmyra Atoll.  After a two-week interruption in my scheduled Advocates, this one will hopefully serve to get back on schedule and to convey what we have been doing and why. First up is that Michael Britt and I drove to a number of areas in southern Arizona, then into California, and finally to Las Vegas and back to Phoenix. We were drive testing using the Sierra Wireless MG90 installed in my car to measure FirstNet and Verizon coverage along this route. The results and some of the maps that were generated are discussed below. Next came the IWCE Conference, once again well done. This year we decided to begin offering our “best of show” selections, also listed below.

One day after returning home, Linda and I left for Hawaii, where she stayed in Honolulu for the week I flew down to the Palmyra Atoll, about 1,000 miles and worlds away from Hawaii. This Atoll was used during WWII as a gun emplacement but is now jointly owned by the federal government and a non-profit preservation organization. The Atoll is being returned to its original state, which means eradicating thousands of coconut palm trees and other non-indigenous foliage. Our task is to review and recommend replacement of their older communications systems with a new Atoll-wide Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system, new marine and aviation radio equipment, some newer radar, and other items.

While the Palmyra Atoll is an unincorporated U.S. Territory, FirstNet will not build there. The average population on the island is about eight people, swelling to twenty-four, and falling to as low as four, depending on the time of year. I took my Sonim XP8 since I was told the Atoll is not gentle with electronics because of the rain (144 inches a year) and very high humidity. While there is no cell coverage on the Atoll, there is some WiFi and an older satellite service. Using ESChat PTT (Push-To-Talk), I was able to communicate with several people on the mainland. The XP8 came through the test of the weather and humidity perfectly. Planning a new communications system will be a real challenge but rewarding.

Read the Entire Column Here .Here are the articles I have selected with the help of Discovery Patterns artificial intelligence. Continue reading