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the wireless messaging news

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WIRELESS NEWS AGGREGATION
(With other items of interest relating to technology.)

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FRIDAY — FEBRUARY 14, 2014 — ISSUE NO. 593

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Paging and Wireless Messaging Home Page image Newsletter Archive image Carrier Directory image Recommended Products and Services
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Reference Papers Consulting Glossary of Terms Send an e-mail to Brad Dye

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Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,

This newsletter—like Public Radio and Public Television—is supported by reader/viewer/listener contributions. A PayPal Donate button is located in the column to your right. You don't have to a member of PayPal to use its service.

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Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside confirms he's leaving for Dropbox

BY TERRENCE O'BRIEN
FEBRUARY 13TH, 2014 AT 1:29PM ET

Not that we had serious doubts about The Wall Street Journal 's report, but it's nice to get confirmation of Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside's departure. Less than two years after taking over the position from Sanjay Jha, who ran the company before the Google acquisition, Woodside is stepping down to become the first COO of Dropbox. The move comes just weeks after the announcement that Lenovo would be taking Moto off of Google's hands. It also raises questions about the future direction of the brand which shifted its focus towards affordability and customization over the last year, even if Woodside assures that Motorola management "remains focused on our current strategy." Obviously there is still work to be done during the transition from one owner to another, so Jonathan Rosenberg who has been Senior Vice President of Product will be stepping in as COO of Motorola to work with the rest of the leadership team. [ source ] (Thanks to Barry Kanne, unpaid assistant editor.) (Woodside bio here .)

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BlackBerry Boosts Its Messenger With Voice Calling, Location-Sharing

Forbes | TECH | 2/13/2014 @ 5:59PM
Parmy Olson, Forbes Staff

BlackBerry has taken another step towards revamping itself by releasing a new version of its free, BBM mobile messenger, adding a raft of extra features. Four months ago BlackBerry made BBM go cross platform for the first time, making it available on iPhones and Android phones and swelling its user base to more than 80 million people. Now it's adding voice calling, conversation "channels" for brands and communities, an integration with DropBox and a partnership with the location-sharing app Glympse.

The biggest feature in today's BBM 2.0 update is a direct challenge to free, calling apps like Viber and Skype, letting users call their BBM contacts over Wi-Fi or a data connection. The "channels" feature also looks like it could be a route to bringing in ad dollars for BlackBerry: it invites users to follow and converse with brands on the service, not unlike Twitter.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is all part of BlackBerry's drive to turn BBM into a social platform, with messaging at the core. Mobile messaging competitors like LINE, KakaoTalk, WeChat and Kik have all been moving in the same direction, building out platforms for third-party developers to sell things like games and digital stickers.

Though the apps are free, the extra services bring in millions in sales. KakaoTalk is forecasting revenue of $200 million in 2013, the company tells me, half of which will be derived from games. That's quadruple the $45 million in sales Kakao made in 2012. Meanwhile Japanese chat app LINE is widely expected to be planning an IPO this year, in which it could be valued at a reported $8 billion.

BlackBerry wants to differentiate BBM by positioning it as a messenger for both consumers and enterprises users, building on BlackBerry's strong footing in the enterprise server space and security. New CEO John Chen recently put BBM under his enterprise division, installing the man who runs BlackBerry's global enterprise solutions, John Sims as its head.

"My focus on BBM is to broaden its base as much as I possibly can and add features both in the enterprise space and the retail space," Chen told me in a recent interview when asked about BBM as a potential revenue driver. While BBM doesn't make much money now, he hopes that by adding features and scaling up, BlackBerry can turn it into a viable business like Kakao or LINE over the next few years. "This is going to be a major differentiator for us in going into the enterprise, so then money will come."

Chen is well aware of how BlackBerry's market share in device sales have plummeted. Recent research from IDC shows BlackBerry now has less than 0.6% of the market. "This is why our server needs to be agnostic and our messaging system BBM needs to be agnostic," Chen said. "We still need to be able to provide those true, end-to-end secure environments for companies and governments that need it, and regulated industry that need it." [ source ]

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Now on to more news and views about Wireless Messaging and Technology.

Wireless Messaging News
  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Telemetry
  • Paging
  • WiMAX
  • Wi-Fi
WIRELESS
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MESSAGING

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About Us

A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn't fill up your incoming e-mail account.

There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world's major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It's all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

I regularly get readers' comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.

I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won't have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.

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Editorial Policy

Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association.

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Back To Paging

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Still The Most Reliable Protocol For Wireless Messaging!

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CAN YOU HELP THE NEWSLETTER?

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You can help support the Wireless Messaging News by clicking on the PayPal Donate button above.

Voluntary Reader Support

Newspapers generally cost 75¢ $1.50 a copy and they hardly ever mention paging or wireless messaging. If you receive some benefit from this publication maybe you would like to help support it financially? A donation of $50.00 would certainly help cover a one-year paid subscription. If you are wiling and able, please click on the PayPal Donate button above. Any amount will be sincerely appreciated.

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American Messaging's
Mobile and Desktop Applications
are designed to meet the highest standards
for mandatory HIPAA and Omnibus compliance.

  • Messages are sent and received using 2048-bit Encryption via HTTPS;
  • Messages are encrypted and transmitted via cellular data networks and Wi-Fi to American Messaging's hosted, secure environment;
  • Two-level client authentication is required to utilize the applications: login/Password/Token Authentication;
  • Authentication keys are controlled on the device by Account Administrators;
  • Account Administrators can manage passwords and make forced changes on an individual account basis;
  • Message retention can be set for as long as desired;
  • Message logs, receipts, and administrator actions are easily audited;
  • Continuous vulnerability monitoring is easy as applications and databases are isolated;
  • Secure, encrypted messaging paths can be defined and implemented for interconnectivity between applications, allowing customers to get messages from their system to our system in a secure and encrypted manner (WCTP, etc.);
  • Secure web applications allow custom message management for sending, receiving, and managing messages using Message Manager, our proprietary messaging software;
  • Coming soon . . . Security PIN passcode on devices.

Source: American Messaging

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ADVERTISERS SUPPORTING THE NEWSLETTER

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Please Support Our Advertisers
They Make This Newsletter Possible

Advertiser Index

American Messaging
Critical Alert Systems
Critical Response Systems
Eagle Telecom
Easy Solutions
Hahntech USA
Hark Technologies
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates
Ivycorp
Leavitt Communications
Preferred Wireless
Prism Paging
Product Support Services — (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
WiPath Communications

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IVY CORP EAGLE TELECOM

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ivy

eagle

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CRITICAL RESPONSE SYSTEMS

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More than Paging.
First Responder Solutions.

Our patented technology notifies clinical personnel immediately, while tracking who receives and responds to each alarm. Users confirm or defer each event with a single button press, and analytic dashboards display response statistics in real time, as well as historically broken down by time, unit, room, and individual.

Our systems not only notify your personnel quickly and reliably, but also provide actionable feedback to fine-tune your procedures, reduce unnecessary alarms, and improve patient outcomes.

www.criticalresponsesystems.com

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Critical Response System's

M1503 Pager Offers New Personal Distress Signal Capability

Critical Response Systems (CRS), a provider of mission-critical dispatch and notification systems for public safety and hospitals, is offering a new personal distress feature, included in the latest M1503 firmware upgrade. The new feature allows a healthcare clinician or public safety professional to send a personal distress signal by holding down the red button on the M1503 pager for three (3) seconds. This signal enables rapid initiation of appropriate department, or unit-level intervention for personal aid or rescue procedures.

M1503 Weighing only 2.5 ounces, the M1503 response pager is roughly the size of a small stack of business cards. It is typically worn on the belt, enabling quick and easy access in the event of a personal safety issue. The M1503 is part of the CRS alerting/dispatch system, which uses high-power digital transmitters to deliver critical messages to all intended recipients within five seconds, and then tracks who receives the message, who reads it, and how they will respond. The CRS system removes uncertainty, improves efficiency, and meets all HIPAA guidelines, with strong AES-128 encryption.

For more information about this new feature or the CRS Critical Alerting system and the M1503 pager, click here .

Copyright © 2014 Critical Response Systems, Inc.
Our address is 1670 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 370, Norcross, GA, 30093

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FCC promises to end net neutrality uncertainty 'in the coming days '

But it might not be quite that simple

By Chris Merriman
Wed Feb 12 2014, 14:21
The Inquirer

fcc

UNITED STATES COMMUNICATIONS REGULATOR the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said that it will roll out plans to rescue net neutrality "in the coming days".

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler told an audience at the University of Colorado, "In its Verizon v. FCC decision , the Court of Appeals invited the Commission to act to preserve a free and open Internet.

"I accept that invitation, and in the coming days, I will be outlining how I propose to proceed."

Emergency legislation to protect net neutrality has already been drafted, and meanwhile Democrats have written an open letter to the FCC asking it to act "with expediency" and insisting, "Consumers, entrepreneurs and innovators deserve to know their right to view or use the content and services of their choice online will be protected."

Legislation to rewrite the Communications Act to include protection of net neutrality could be delayed for months if not years.

Meanwhile if the FCC were to simply reclassify internet services as "communications services" as opposed to "information services", bringing them back to under its jurisdiction, internet service providers (ISPs) would almost certainly attempt to block the move with legal action that might also result in lengthy delays.

However, they might not be able to halt FCC regulation under existing law, so there's a fair chance that might go ahead while the US Congress and federal courts deliberate for months or years.

As Verizon is alleged to have begun throttling traffic already , with some viewers complaining of limited bandwidth for Netflix, which the company claims is the cause of the problem , these delays would be galling for end users, who would be stuck with uncertainty.

The letter went on to say, "Without such rules in place, internet service providers are prone to act as gatekeepers of the internet, controlling access by blocking or throttling certain content and thereby limiting the opportunities for innovation, speech, and commerce." µ

Source: The Inquirer

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leavitt

Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

UNICATIONbendix king
ZETRON

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

COMmotorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
Philip C. Leavitt
Manager
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
CONTACT INFORMATION
E-mail: pcleavitt@leavittcom.com
Web Site: www.leavittcom.com
Mobile phone:847-494-0000
Telephone:847-955-0511
Fax:270-447-1909
Skype ID:pcleavitt

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Motorola Solutions Introduces the Minitor VI Pager

02/03/2014
FireEngineering

The needs and environments of volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel are unique and challenging. Budgets are small, distances great, cellular coverage spotty — yet the mission remains critical: helping to protect communities and helping to save lives. Since 1975, generations of volunteer firefighters, EMTs and paramedics across North America have relied on the Minitor pager to receive the call for help, wherever they are. Today, Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) introduces the Minitor VI, our latest and most full-featured pager.

Small and light yet incredibly tough, the Minitor VI is built to get the job done right. Its improved receiver is designed for maximum range and intelligibility. The Minitor VI has been designed to survive the challenging conditions that first responders face in the field every day.

KEY FEATURES

The Minitor VI two-tone voice pager records and manages up to 16 minutes of messages, allowing for users to replay, skip, fast forward, rewind, lock, unlock and delete messages for quick review and prioritization of calls.

Call alerts, memo announcements and vibrate types can be customized by call address so users know immediately who is paging them.

Available in an Intrinsically Safe model for use around flammable gases, aerosols and particulates, the pager is built to be small and unobtrusive, yet tough enough to withstand searing heat, smoke, grime, water spray and many other challenges in the field.

Every Minitor VI pager is put through a series of tests that simulate seven years of operation in the field.

The Minitor VI comes with a rechargeable battery, able to last for several days and when that is not sufficient, offers an alkaline battery tray so users can change batteries in the field. Voice announcements also indicate battery levels, and an optional desktop charger with built-in audio amplifier ensures that a page can be heard throughout a home or place of business.

Source: FireEngineering

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American Messaging

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amsi

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American Messaging

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Easy Solutions

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easy solutions

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don't just fix problems...
    • We recommend and implement better cost effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor — We are a part of your team.
    • All the advantages of high priced full time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business...
    • We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure
Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
Excellent Service Contracts
Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
Contracts for Glenayre and other Systems starting at $100
Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 28 years.

Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or e-mail us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119
Website: www.EasySolutions4You.com
E-mail: vaughan@easysolutions4you.com

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Easy Solutions

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Product Support Services, Inc.

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Repair and Refurbishment Services

pssi logo

pssi

Product Support Services, Inc.

511 South Royal Lane
Coppell, Texas 75019
(972) 462-3970 Ext. 261
sales@pssirl.com left arrow
www.pssirl.com left arrow

PSSI is the industry leader in reverse logistics, our services include depot repair, product returns management, RMA and RTV management, product audit, test, refurbishment, re-kitting and value recovery.

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LEAVITT Communications

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its stil here

It's still here — the tried and true Motorola Alphamate 250. Now owned, supported, and available from Leavitt Communications. Call us for new or reconditioned units, parts, manuals, and repairs.

We also offer refurbished Alphamate 250's, Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging!

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( pcleavitt@leavittcom.com ) for pricing and delivery information or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

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Phil Leavitt
847-955-0511
pcleavitt@leavittcom.com

leavitt logo

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
www.leavittcom.com

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Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone Remains Top Smartphone In The U.S.

by Michelle Jones
February 04, 2014, 3:57 pm
ValueWalk

The latest comScore data shows that Apple Inc. (AAPL) edged its share of the U.S. smartphone up slightly to 41.8%.

Apple Inc. ( NASDAQ:AAPL ) has made some headway in the battles against Android and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. ( LON:BC94 ) ( KRX:005930 ). The latest data from comScore shows that Android's share of the U.S. smartphone market declined .3 percentage points to 51.5%. Meanwhile, Apple's share rose 1.2 percentage points, ending the year with nearly 42% of the U.S. smartphone market.


Apple iPhone 5S gold

Apple, Samsung increase share

Although Google Inc ( NASDAQ:GOOG )'s Android operating system lost a small part of the U.S. smartphone market, Android phone maker Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. ( LON:BC94 ) ( KRX:005930 ) added to its share of the market, increasing it by 1.2 points. That gives Samsung 26.1% of the U.S. smartphone market. In spite of the small decline in share, Android still remains the top operating system in the U.S., with 51.5% of the market.

The rest of the smartphone vendors battled for scraps in the U.S. market, as Motorola held third place and LG and HTC held the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. In terms of operating systems, BlackBerry Ltd ( NASDAQ:BBRY ) ( TSE:BB ) grabbed a 3.4% share of the market and remained slightly ahead of Microsoft Corporation ( NASDAQ:MSFT )'s Windows Phone operating system, which had a 3.1% share o the market.

comScore reports on smartphone properties

comScore also provided data on the top smartphone properties and apps in terms of research, and there are no surprises here. Google Sites held the top spot under smartphone browsing and apps with 88.3%, while Facebook Inc ( NASDAQ:FB ) came in second with 86%. Yahoo Sites actually came in third on the list, while Amazon sites came in fourth and AOL came In fifth.

On the smartphone app side, Facebook's mobile app was at the top with 77.4%, while Google Play and Google Search came in second and third, respectively. Google's other apps, including YouTube, Google Maps and Gmail, also dominated on the smartphone app side of the list. Apple Maps also made it onto the list, landing in 12th place.

Source: ValueWalk

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Consulting Alliance

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Brad Dye, Ron Mercer, Allan Angus, Vic Jackson, and Ira Wiesenfeld are friends and colleagues who work both together and independently, on wireline and wireless communications projects. Click here left arrow for a summary of their qualifications and experience. Each one has unique abilities. We would be happy to help you with a project, and maybe save you some time and money.

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Consulting Alliance

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advertise

 

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HahntechUSA

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HahntechUSA

Telemetry solution

Easy Application & Better Performance

 

NPCS Telemetry Modem

BLUE LINE

(ReFLEX 2.7.5)

telemetry

finger

E-mail: sales@hahntechUSA.com

Website: hahntechUSA.com

 

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HahntechUSA

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Preferred Wireless

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preferred logo

Terminals & Controllers:
5ASC1500 Parts: ATC, Memory Cards & Power Supplies    
3CNET Platinum Controllers 
2GL3100 RF Director 
1 GL3000 ES — 2 Chassis
40SkyData 8466 B Receivers
1GL3000L Complete w/Spares
3Zetron 2200 Terminals
1Unipage—Many Unipage Cards & Chassis
9Zetron M66 Transmitter Controllers  
Miscellaneous:
4Glenayre Universal Exciters, 1 UHF, 3 VHF
5Hot Standby Panel—2 Old Style, 3 New Style
25New and Used Cabinets & Open Racks 
38Andrews PG1N0F-0093-810 Antennas 928-944 MHz, Omni, 10dBi, 8 Degree Down-Tilt
4Andrews PG1D0F-0093-610 Antennas 928-944 MHz, Omni, 10dBi, 6 Degree Down Tilt
Link Transmitters:
1QT-5701, 35W, UHF, Link Transmitter
4Glenayre QT4201 & 6201, 25 & 100W Midband Link TX
1Glenayre QT6994, 150W, 900 MHz Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
2Eagle 900 MHz Link Transmitters, 60 & 80W
8Glenayre GL C2100 Link Repeaters
2Motorola Q2630A, 30W, UHF Link TX
VHF Paging Transmitters
1Glenayre QT7505
1Glenayre QT8505
25 GLT8311
25 GLT8411
UHF Paging Transmitters:
20Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
2 Glenayre GLT8200, 25W
15 Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
3Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W
40 Motorola Nucleus 900 MHz 300W CNET Transmitters

SEE WEB FOR COMPLETE LIST:

www.preferredwireless.com/equipment left arrow

Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail

Rick McMichael
Preferred Wireless, Inc.
10658 St. Charles Rock Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63074
888-429-4171 or 314-429-3000
rickm@preferredwireless.com left arrow

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Preferred Wireless

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critical alert CA Partner’s Program
 

Providing better communications solutions to hospitals across the country — together!

For CAS, strong partnerships remain key to providing our software-based communications solutions to our customers. These solutions include:

ca dr and nurse
nurse call systemscritical messaging solutionsmobile health applications

We provide the communication, training and resources required to become a CA partner. In turn, our partners provide customers with the highest levels of local service & support. CA Partners may come from any number of business sectors, including:

  • Service Providers
  • System Integrators
  • Value Added Resellers and Distributors
  • Expert Contractors
If you would like to hear more about our CA Partners program, we’d love to hear from you. criticalalert.com

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Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP are reproduced in this section with the firm's permission.

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BloostonLaw Telecom Update Vol. 17, No. 6 February 12, 2014

Initial Expressions of Interest in Rural Broadband Experiments Due March 7

The FCC has adopted a March 7, 2014 date for the filing of non-binding Expressions of Interest (EOIs) in conducting experiments in price cap and rate of return areas. They do not to require filing entities to proceed with the submission of formal proposals for their experiments, and they are not required as a precondition for the filing of such formal proposals at the appropriate time. Since the letter of interest is non-binding, all carriers should consider filing, as the strength of the initial show of interest may have an impact on the specifics of the experiments themselves.

To this end BloostonLaw has prepared an EOI template, which we can help to further tailor to specific companies to appropriately identify the entity, service area, technology, service offerings, and other requisite information as set out in the Technology Transitions Order. Clients interested in submitting EOIs should contact the firm without delay.

Headlines

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FCC Identifies Potential High-Cost Areas for Rural Broadband Experiments

The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) has released a Public Notice announcing the list of census tracts that it considers to be potentially suitable for the targeted rural experiments described in the Technology Transitions Order of January 31, 2014. According to the Public Notice, the list of census tracts is also accompanied by potential support amounts, based on the most recent version of the Connect America Cost Model (CAM v4.0). The list appears to contain both price cap and rate of return areas.

Carriers should review the list of potentially eligible census tracts to determine whether any are located within their service areas and prepare a non-binding letter of interest to submit to the FCC by March 7, 2014. BloostonLaw has developed a template for the letter of interest, and is prepared to help tailor it your company's specifications. Since the letter of interest is non-binding, all carriers should consider filing, as the strength of the initial show of interest may impact the amount of funding available and other aspects of the program.

The FCC has stated that proposals in price cap territories will be entertained at the census tract level, with funding only provided for locations in eligible census blocks within that census tract. For rate of return areas, however, the FCC is considering entertaining proposals at the census block level. The eligible locations include only those in census blocks that are unserved by any provider of 3 Mbps downstream/768 kbps upstream. For purposes of the experiment, the FCC has also stated that any unserved census blocks where the average cost per location equals or exceeds the likely funding threshold would be eligible for the experiments.

For simplicity's sake, the WCB indicated it used a funding threshold of $50 to generate the list of potential high-cost areas in price cap territories. According to the Public Notice, these illustrative results do not prejudge the final funding threshold and extremely high cost thresholds for purposes of the offer of model-based support to price cap carriers.

Chairman Wheeler Reiterates Plan to Eliminate the QRA

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to letters from a number of members of Congress (Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa), Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken (Minn.), and Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Congressmen Stevan Pearce, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján (New Mexico) expressing concern with the FCC's revisions to universal service support and their impact on rural carriers.

In response to the Congressional inquiries, Chairman Wheeler reiterated his support for "all Americans to have access to high-speed broadband networks" and to the "importance of universal service." Chairman Wheeler stated that he agreed that "the Commission must make timely decisions in order to provide regulatory certainty and create incentives to further efficient investment in broadband networks" and that the FCC "must also be open to modifications to the reforms if it is clear that particular rules are not serving their intended purpose." To that end, Chairman Wheeler reiterated that he has "directed the Wireline Competition Bureau to prepare an order for the Commission's consideration that would eliminate the QRA."

Comment Sought on T-Mobile–Verizon Spectrum Sale/Swap; Transaction Could Improve Prospects for Interoperable 700 MHz Equipment and Roaming on Earlier Timetable

An FCC Public Notice issued last week ( DA 14-163 ) established a pleading cycle for petitions to deny and other comments on the proposed assignment and exchange of Lower 700 MHz, AWS and PCS licenses by and among T-Mobile US, Inc. and Verizon Wireless. Petitions to Deny are due by February 28, 2014, with oppositions due March 10, 2014 and replies due by March 17, 2014.

Under the proposed transaction, which was announced by the parties in early January, T-Mobile would pay almost $2.4 billion in cash and assign certain AWS-1 and PCS licenses to Verizon in exchange for 700 MHz A-Block spectrum in 240 metro areas covering 150 million POPs. This 700 MHz spectrum covers 8 of the top 10 markets, and 21 of the top 30 markets in the US. Verizon would get AWS-1 and PCS licenses from T-Mobile, which the parties have valued at around $950 million, including AWS spectrum in 19 markets covering 34 million POPs, and PCS spectrum in 8 markets covering 21 million POPs.

T-Mobile Proposed Lower 700 MHz A-Block Holdings

According to statements in the parties' FCC license assignment applications, the proposed transactions would provide T-Mobile with low-band spectrum associated with significant population coverage for the first time. T-Mobile currently holds a Lower 700 MHz A-Block license in Boston. The company expects that the 700 MHz spectrum would increase the reliability, performance and coverage of its networks in the subject markets, improving in-building penetration in urban areas and coverage in suburban and rural areas.

For its part, Verizon indicates it would use this spectrum to boost network capacity in various markets. In the swap, Verizon gains spectrum in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta and Detroit, according to presentation slides accompanying the deal announcement.

Assuming necessary equipment is available, T-Mobile should be able to deploy 700 MHz A-Block facilities in many markets without delay. The company indicates that potential interference from Channel 51 DTV operations covers less than 50% of the licensed POPs, and that this potential interference with the lower (uplink) segment of the A-Block will be fully resolved as part of the Broadcast Incentive Auction. A 700 MHz interoperability agreement negotiated by the FCC last fall included the requirement for Dish Network to limit power levels of its E-Block operations, for the purpose of eliminating the potential for interference to the upper (downlink) segment of the A-Block.

T-Mobile's investment in the Lower 700 MHz spectrum would appear to be good news for our clients who are Lower 700 MHz A-Block licensees, due to the increased likelihood of interoperable A-Block equipment will be available on an earlier timetable than AT&T promised last fall, and the possibility that A-Block roaming arrangements may be available on better terms with a smaller nationwide carrier. In an ex parte presentation filed with the FCC in 2012, T-Mobile argued that the FCC should adopt rules that would make all of the band classes in the 700 MHz range interoperable.

"As the commission has recognized, roaming allows carriers to be more competitive and provides important benefits to consumers," T-Mobile wrote in its filing. "Moreover, because of the concentration in the wireless marketplace, roaming is an increasingly important tool for carriers to be able to compete. Therefore, current carriers' ability to provide roaming on 700 MHz systems will promote competition in the wireless marketplace, to the ultimate benefit of wireless consumers."

Assuming there are no significant regulatory delays, the proposed transactions are expected to close by mid-2014.

Comments Filed on House Committee White Paper on Updating Communications Act

On January 31, 2014, a number of comments were filed in response to a white paper announced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) on updating the Communications Act.

Over 100 entities covering a wide variety of industry perspectives filed responses, including AT&T, ITTA, NARUC, NASUCA, NTCA, the Small Company Coalition, USTelecom, and Voice on the Net Coalition. The white paper posed a number of questions upon which commenters were invited to opine, such as: What principles should the titles of the Communications Act address? What should a modern Communications Act look like? Are the structure and jurisdiction of the FCC in need of change? How can the laws be more technology-neutral? Does the distinction between "information services" and "telecommunications services" continue to serve a purpose?

Given the sheer number of comments received, a wide array of views was espoused, and the same idea was expressed in a variety of ways. For example, AT&T proposed five over-arching principles for reform (Service to All Americans; Public Safety and Network Reliability; Competition; Consumer Protection; and Spectrum Management) while NTCA proposed three (universal service, consumer protection, and competition).

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Remarks at Silicon Flatirons

On February 10, 2014, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler addressed the Silicon Flatirons at the University of Colorado Law School. The theme of the speech was taken from a quote from President Abraham Lincoln's second address to Congress: "As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew." Translation The Commission already has the legal authority to act anew to address the most pressing issues it now faces.

In the speech, Chairman Wheeler largely addressed the challenges and developments which have occurred in the years since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted, stating that when the 1996 Act was passed "Congress … did not clearly foresee the rise of broadband Internet access services, let alone their eventual centrality to all forms of electronic communications."

The Chairman stated that any Congressional update to the Communications Act "will be a long process," noting that it required eight years to draft the 1996 Act. But he emphasized that the Commission has the authority to act anew to address the contemporary issues confronting the communications industry. He noted that in the recent Verizon v. FCC decision on net neutrality, the Court "invited the Commission to act to preserve a free and open Internet. I accept that invitation, and in the coming days, I will be outlining how I propose to proceed."

According to the Chairman, in the Verizon case the Court "ruled that the FCC has the legal authority to issue enforceable rules of the road to preserve Internet freedom and openness. It affirmed that Section 706 of the [1996 Act] gives the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment and promoting competition. It also found that the goals of the Open Internet Order are within the scope of authority granted to the Commission. The court opinion specifically included that the Commission was justified in concluding that an open Internet would further the interest of broadband deployment by enabling the virtuous cycle of innovation that unites the long-term interests of end-users, broadband networks and edge-providers. After all, [the Court] explained, when edge-providers are prevented from reaching end-users, demand for both those upstream applications and for network expansion suffer. So, the preservation of an open Internet is within the FCC's authority."

He concluded by saying that "on all major issues, we will act when the record warrants and the public interest demands."

Law & Regulation

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FCC Issues Forfeiture for Form 499 Reporting, Contribution Violations

On February 11, 2014, the FCC released a Forfeiture Order assessing a monetary forfeiture of $179,000 against Unipoint Technologies, Inc., d/b/a Comfi.com, a/k/a Communications Fidelity (Unipoint).

According to the Forfeiture Order, Unipoint willfully violated a number of sections of the Communications Act by failing to: (1) apply for and obtain authorization from the Commission to provide international telecommunications service; (2) timely file its 2007 annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (Form 499-A); (3) timely make required contributions to the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund; and (4) timely file annual traffic and revenue reports for service between the United States and overseas points (i.e., international telecommunications traffic reports).

Unipoint is a Massachusetts corporation that, through the trade name Comfi.com, operates as a prepaid calling card provider reselling international and domestic telecommunications services. On October 11, 2012, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability to Unipoint which found that Unipoint had apparently willfully and repeatedly violated a number of sections of the Communications Act and the FCC's rules. Unipoint did not dispute the violations, but rather contended that its violations were not willful and requested a reduction in the forfeiture amount.

In the Forfeiture Order, the FCC rejected Unipoint's request, instead finding that the record established that Unipoint's violations were willful because "because they resulted from Unipoint's conscious and deliberate omissions." Under the Act, 'willful' means that the licensee knew that he was doing the act in question, regardless of whether there was an intent to violate the law.

Form 499-A is due annually on April 1. Carriers seeking assistance in preparing and submitting their filings should contact the firm without delay.

President Obama Signs Farm Bill, Creating Rural Broadband Pilot Program and Tinkering with RUS

On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed the Agriculture Act of 2014 (HR 2642) into law. The Act, more popularly known as the Farm Bill, includes revisions the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, which authorizes the Rural Utility Service to provide funding to support rural telecommunications.

The highlight of the Act is the creation of a "Rural Gigabit Network Pilot Program." This program will make $10 million available for each fiscal year from 2014 through 2018 (a total of $50 million) to bring "ultra-high speed service" to rural cities and towns. Ultra-high speed service is defined as 1 gigabit per second downstream transmission capacity. It may be difficult for many RLECs to qualify for the new program: In order to be eligible, service providers must: 1) demonstrate the ability to furnish ultra-high speed service to a rural area; 2) submit an application to participate when appropriate (the application itself or the timing of such is not yet available); 3) not already provide ultra-high speed service to a rural area within the same State in the proposed service territory; and 4) agree to complete buildout of ultra-high speed service by not later than 3 years after the initial date on which assistance under this section is made available.

The Act also makes some important changes to RUS' existing broadband subsidy program, most notably by specifying a minimum acceptable broadband speed of 4 megabits per second downstream and 1 megabit per second upstream, and providing that at least once every 2 years, that minimum speed must be reviewed and may be adjusted through notice published in the Federal Register. Unfortunately, this may make it more difficult for rural telcos to plan and finance their broadband buildout, as they will be presented with a "moving target" by RUS. The Act also requires, for each application for assistance, a minimum of 15 days for the voluntary submission of information by other service providers that may bear upon the eligibility of the applicant for assistance – i.e., an opportunity for incumbent service providers to challenge applications.

House Subcommittee Postpones Hearing on Broadband Stimulus

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology has postponed the hearing entitled " Lessons Learned from the Broadband Stimulus ," which was originally scheduled to take place on February 11, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.

At this time, the hearing has not been rescheduled, and a list of witnesses has not yet been released.

California Bill Proposes Mandatory Cell Phone Kill Switches

Wireless Week reports that a state legislator in California is proposing an anti-theft law that would require all smartphones and tablets sold in the state to include "kill switch" functionality that would render the device inoperable once activated.

A bill to be proposed this spring by State Sen. Mark Leno, with the support of other elected and law enforcement officials, would require wireless device manufacturers to include the function on all devices or face fines of up to $2,500 for each device sold without a kill switch. If adopted, the measure would likely result in manufacturers including the function in all devices sold nationwide.

Leno called on the wireless industry to step up as smartphone robberies have surged to an all-time high in California.

"They have a choice. They can either be a part of the problem or part of the solution, especially when there is one readily available," Leno said.

The theft of smartphones has been dubbed a "nationwide epidemic" by law enforcement officials. According to the FCC, in major cities like DC and New York, roughly 40% of all robberies now involve cell phones — endangering both the physical safety of victims and the security of the personal information on stolen devices.

Major wireless carriers and CTIA have all rejected the idea of such a kill switch, noting that once the switch is used, the device is "bricked" and cannot be reused. Opponents have also argued that a kill switch could be a target for hackers seeking to harm individuals or larger groups of users like the Defense Department, Homeland Security or law enforcement officials.

CTIA has outlined alternative theft-prevention measures for the wireless industry, such as creating a nationwide database to keep stolen phones from being reactivated. A national stolen phone database went online in November of 2012, however critics have claimed that the database is ineffective because many stolen phones end up overseas, and unique device identifiers can be changed by organized theft rings.

"These 3G and 4G/LTE databases, which blacklist stolen phones and prevent them from being reactivated, are part of the solution," Michael Altschul, CTIA's senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. "Yet we need more international carriers and countries to participate to help remove the aftermarket abroad for these trafficked devices."

FCC Authorizes Two TV Stations to Test Feasibility of Channel Sharing

Two TV stations in the Los Angeles area have been granted authority by the FCC for six months to test the feasibility and practicality of sharing a single 6 MHz bandwidth channel. With the advent of digital TV came the realization that the 6 MHz of bandwidth needed for a single analog TV station could accommodate at least two digital TV stations. The testing is designed to demonstrate the necessary technical and legal steps for a successful channel sharing operation and to advance the understanding of channel sharing systems, in general. If the testing proves successful, it will likely encourage more TV stations to enter the planned TV incentive auction, thereby freeing up additional spectrum for wireless broadband operations.

The two TV stations involved are noncommercial station KLCS, channel 41, in Los Angeles and commercial station KJLA, channel 49, in Ventura, CA. These two stations had responded to an FCC expression of interest in November of 2010 in authorizing one or more channel sharing pilots to demonstrate the feasibility of channel sharing. Under the plan authorized, both stations will test using the spectrum occupied by KLCS. Various multiplexing schemes and video compression formats will be explored as well as methodologies to limit viewer disruption and ensure the transmission of reliable data. In the final phase, implementation of full-time channel sharing will be tested, with KJLA remaining on-air, while KLCS transmits a shared bitstream with content from both stations using different virtual channels.

At the conclusion of the six-month test period, which is renewable, the FCC is requiring a report of the research, experimentation and results showing both positive and negative aspects of the experiment.

Industry

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U.S. Department of Labor Sues AT&T Over Worker Treatment

The Hill's Technology Blog "Hillicon Valley" reported on February 10 that the U. S. Department of Labor has filed a civil lawsuit against AT&T in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio's Eastern Division on behalf of 13 Ohio workers it claims were unlawfully punished after reporting injuries they sustained on the job.

According to the article, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has alleged that AT&T retaliated against the employees for reporting their workplace injuries by suspending them without pay, which is a violation of Federal whistleblower protection laws. Specifically, OSHA claims that in 13 separate instances from 2011 to 2013, AT&T workers were sent home without pay for reporting injuries they sustained on the job. The suspensions allegedly lasted from one to three days.

The article further reports that AT&T justified the actions by claiming that each employee had violated a corporate safety standard. However, an OSHA investigation concluded that the employees were actually suspended for reporting their injuries, not for noncompliance with any company rules.

"It is against the law for employers to discipline or suspend employees for reporting injuries," OSHA chief David Michaels said in a statement. "AT&T must understand that by discouraging workers from reporting injuries, it increases the likelihood of more workers being injured in the future. And the Labor Department will do everything in its power to prevent this type of retaliation." AT&T issued a statement saying that the suit is "without merit."

White House Announces "Made in Rural America" Initiative

The White House issued a Press Release on February 7, 2014, announcing the "Made in Rural America" export and investment initiative. According to the release, President Obama instructed the White House Rural Council, in coordination with the USDA, the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and other agencies, to "commit to connecting more rural businesses to export information and assistance through a comprehensive strategy."

The President called for several specific commitments from government agencies over the next nine months:

  • Host five "Made in Rural America" regional forums dedicated to promoting rural exports by providing rural leaders and businesses with information about federal and other resources available to help expand exports.
  • Convene an "Investing in Rural America" conference later this year to connect major investors with rural business leaders, high-level government officials, economic development experts, and other partners.
  • Host training sessions to equip local USDA Rural Development staff in all 50 states plus territories with the tools they need to counsel businesses on export opportunities and resources.
  • Provide enhanced export counseling for rural businesses to connect with foreign buyers
  • Coordinate across the Administration to promote rural-produced goods and services
  • Educate local leaders across the country
  • Use the BusinessUSA online platform to better connect rural businesses with export and investment resources and coordinate support from across the federal government.

BloostonLaw will be monitoring this proceeding for impacts on and opportunities for the rural telecommunications field.

Deadlines

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MARCH 1: CPNI ANNUAL CERTIFICATION . Carriers should modify (as necessary) and complete their "Annual Certification of CPNI Compliance" for 2013. The certification must normally be filed with the FCC by March 1. Because March 1 is a Saturday this year, per FCC Enforcement Bureau, carriers who may not be able to file on March 1 should plan to file by Friday, February 28.

Note that the annual certification should include the following three required Exhibits: (a) a detailed Statement Explaining How the Company's Operating Procedures Ensure Compliance with the FCC'S CPNI Rules to reflect the Company's policies and information; (b) a Statement of Actions Taken Against Data Brokers; and (c) a Summary of Customer Complaints Regarding Unauthorized Release of CPNI. A company officer with personal knowledge that the company has established operating procedures adequate to ensure compliance with the rules must execute the Certification, place a copy of the Certification and accompanying Exhibits in the Company's CPNI Compliance Records, and file the certification with the FCC in the correct fashion. Our clients can forward the original to BloostonLaw in time for the firm to make the filing with the FCC by March 3, if desired. BloostonLaw is prepared to help our clients meet this requirement, which we expect will be strictly enforced, by assisting with preparation of their certification filing; reviewing the filing to make sure that the required showings are made; filing the certification with the FCC, and obtaining a proof-of-filing copy for your records. Please note, that BloostonLaw will respond to any requests concerning the filing of the CPNI report within 24 hours of receipt. If you do not receive a response within this timeframe, please contact the office to ensure that your request has been received.

Clients interested in obtaining BloostonLaw's CPNI compliance manual should contact Gerry Duffy (202-828-5528). Note: If you file the CPNI certification, you must also file the FCC Form 499-A Telecom Reporting Worksheet by April 1.

Calendar At-A-Glance

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February

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Feb. 14 – Comments are due on Use of Mobile Wireless Devices on Airborne Aircraft.
Feb. 14 – Comments due on American Tower Petition for Waiver of Periodic Inspection of Marking and Lighting Alarm System Rules.
Feb. 18 – Effective date for new 911 reliability requirements.
Feb. 20
– Open Meeting.
Feb. 21
– Comments on NECA 2014 Average Schedule Formulas are due.
Feb. 21 – Reply comments due on American Tower Petition for Waiver of Periodic Inspection of Marking and Lighting Alarm System Rules.
Feb. 28
– PRA comments on Rural Call Completion are due.
Feb. 28 – Petitions to Deny T-Mobile/Verizon Spectrum Sale are due.

March

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Mar. 1 – Annual CPNI Certification is due.
Mar. 3 – Copyright Statement of Account Form for cable companies is due.
Mar. 3 – FCC Form 477 (Local Competition & Broadband Reporting) is due.
Mar. 3 – Comments on the Wireline Competition Bureau's VoIP Numbering Trial Report are due.
Mar. 3 – Reply comments on Public Knowledge's Petition for Declaratory Ruling on CPNI are due.
Mar. 7
– Initial expressions of interest in rural broadband experiments are due.
Mar. 7
– Reply comments on NECA 2014 Average Schedule Formulas are due.
Mar. 10 – Oppositions to Petitions to Deny T-Mobile/Verizon Spectrum Sale are due.
Mar. 10 – Electronic filing deadline for Form 497 for carriers seeking support for the preceding month and wishing to receive reimbursement by month's end.
Mar. 17 – Reply comments are due on Use of Mobile Wireless Devices on Airborne Aircraft.
Mar. 17 –
Replies to Oppositions to Petitions to Deny T-Mobile/Verizon Spectrum Sale are due.
Mar. 31
– FCC Form 525 (Delayed Phase-down CETC Line Counts) is due.
Mar. 31 – FCC Form 508 (ICLS Projected Annual Common Line Requirement) is due.

April

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Apr. 1 – FCC Form 499-A (Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Apr. 1 – Annual Accessibility Certification is due.
Apr. 1 – PRA comments on Form 477 (Local Telephone Competition and Broadband Reporting) are due.

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm. For additional information, please contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or halmor@bloostonlaw.com .

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Future Cars Will Talk To Each Other

claburn2/4/2014
09:37 AM
InformationWeek
By Thomas Claburn

NHTSA gives the green light to develop rules for vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems which let cars converse. Will this prevent crashes?

Drivers today may fume at each other in fits of road rage, but within a few years their cars will be negotiating to avoid accidents.

On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), part of the US Department of Transportation (DOT), said it will move ahead with a plan to draft rules covering the implementation of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for crash avoidance.

US Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement that the technology will play an important role in getting people to their destinations safely while ensuring continued US automotive industry leadership.

Unlike the technology behind Google's self-driving cars, V2V communication is not intended to replace human drivers with automated braking or steering (though the NHTSA is investigating active sensors). Rather, in conjunction with V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) systems and GPS data, it's designed to augment situational awareness. It does this by transmitting speed and position data 10 times every second over a dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) network.

DSRC is similar to WiFi but it operates over a different portion of the radio spectrum: a 75-MHz band around 5.9 GHz. It was chosen over the unlicensed 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz WiFi bands because the proliferation of WiFi-enabled devices could lead to network congestion and interference. In addition, DSRC has been designed to prioritize data associated with safety applications and to handle outdoor networking between vehicles moving up to 120 mph. WiFi was designed for indoor usage at walking speeds.

With V2V and V2I data, the NHTSA believes it can identify risks and help drivers avoid collisions. Two of the potential V2V applications being explored are dynamic speed harmonization and queue warning. Dynamic speed harmonization calculates optimal speeds for vehicles to avoid highway congestion, for automatic or manual speed adjustment. Queue warning checks for car queues in the roadway ahead and provides information about slowdowns.

The NHTSA is still finalizing the results of a year-long pilot study of V2V technology and expects to publish its findings in a few weeks. David Friedman, acting administrator of the NHTSA, in a blog post said the technology "has the potential to help drivers avoid or mitigate 70% to 80% of vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers, and that could help prevent many thousands of deaths and injuries on our roads every year."

[This may be a case of public safety vs. personal privacy. See Do Drivers Need More Privacy Protection ?]

Though the technology will take decades to become commonplace, its privacy implications can be expected to stir contentious debate. For instance, deploying police officers to catch speeders becomes unnecessary when cars broadcast their speed data 10 times a second — tickets could be emailed the moment a car exceeds the legal limit. Alternately, cars could have their speed limited to what the law allows, which would cut revenue from moving violation fines, leaving municipal leaders searching for new taxes to cover the shortfall. Or insurance companies might require speed limit compliance monitoring as a condition of a favorable rate, if the option to exceed speed limits remains in human hands.

Cars will soon be talking to one another using V2V communications, but it remains to be determined who or what will be listening and whether cars, their drivers, and other interested parties will be required to act on what's said.

Find out how a government program is putting cloud computing on the fast track to better security. Also in the Cloud Security issue of InformationWeek Government: Defense CIO Teri Takai on why FedRAMP helps everyone.

Source: InformationWeek

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PRISM PAGING

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Verizon confirms 'More Everything,' brings price cuts, more data, global texting

The nation's largest wireless carrier is finally responding to the cuts taken by T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint.

by Roger Cheng
February 13, 2014 4:24 AM PST


Verizon's destination store in Minneapolis.
(Credit: Verizon)

Verizon Wireless is finally getting its hands dirty in this price war.

The company on Thursday officially introduced "More Everything," a plan that promises more data, 25GB of cloud storage, and unlimited international messaging. Most important, it finally gives customers who have opted for its Edge monthly installment plan a break in their monthly bill, moving to a standard pricing model embraced by every other carrier. The changes going into effect today.

Details of new plan had been leaked early on Wednesday.

"More Everything" is Verizon's return salvo following a recent flurry of activity from rivals AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. That Verizon, which has largely stayed above the fray with its claims of network superiority, was motivated to introduce this plan underscores the intensifying competitive environment in the wireless world. The reality is that there are fewer consumers up for grabs, and the carriers are getting more aggressive in picking off subscribers from each other.

Under "More Everything," participants with Edge — a monthly payment installment plan that allows customers to upgrade to a new phone early — will get $10 off of their monthly access charge if they choose up to 8GB of data. The discount doubles to $20 when a customer chooses a data bucket of 10GB or higher, a move designed to get families to bundle their accounts together. The discount only applies to the monthly access fee — customers still need to pay a separate charge for data, phone calls, and text message.

In addition, single users signing a two-year agreement may get a discount depending on their plan. The discount ranges between $5 and $10, and only affects the lower tier options. Verizon also introduce a new 3GB, $100 plan with a two-year contract.

Verizon is also increasing the amount of data for some plans, making the cheaper options a bit more attractive. The $40 plan, which had offered 500MB of data, will now come with 1GB of data, while the $50 plan shifts up from 1GB plan to 2GB, and the $60 plan bumps up from 2GB to 3GB. Customers will see their data allowances doubled automatically.

At first glance, the new offer isn't quite as attractive as AT&T's recently reduced plans, and is still higher than the plans offered by T-Mobile. A 10GB plan for four people would cost $180 a month (as well as the device cost). AT&T's comparable plan is $160, while T-Mobile's plan (which provides 2.5GB per person before it throttles the connection) costs $140 a month.

Verizon has long positioned itself as the premium carrier, and these changes reflect that continued belief.

"The danger of charging too little is always that people think there is a catch, because there is usually a catch," said Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere was on Twitter to criticize the new plan, calling it a copy of AT&T's recent cuts.

"The copy of a copy never looks good," he tweeted.

Source: c|net News

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WiPath Communications

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Intelligent Solutions for Paging & Wireless Data

WiPath manufactures a wide range of highly unique and innovative hardware and software solutions in paging and mobile data for:

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Postal
Address:
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4845 Dumbbarton Court
Cumming, GA 30040
Street
Address:
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Hark Technologies

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USB Paging Encoder

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Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Contact
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717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
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Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
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Web: http://www.harktech.com left arrow CLICK

hark David George and Bill Noyes
of Hark Technologies.

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Internet firms release data on NSA requests

The Associated Press

FILE — This June 6, 2013, file photo, shows a sign outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. Freed by a recent legal deal with government lawyers, major technology firms released new data Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, on how often they are ordered to turn over customer information for secret national security investigations. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr all unveiled new figures showing that the government collected data on thousands of Americans.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

By STEPHEN BRAUN and MICHAEL LIEDTKE
Associated Press
February 4, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Major technology firms have released new data on how often they are ordered to turn over customer information to the government for secret national security investigations, resulting in the collection of data on thousands of Americans.

That release came after the companies were freed by a recent legal deal with government lawyers.

The publications disclosed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr provided expanded details and some vented criticism about the government's handling of customers' Internet data in counter-terrorism and other intelligence-related probes. The figures from 2012 and 2013 showed that companies such as Google and Microsoft were compelled by the government to provide information on as many as 10,000 customer accounts in a six-month period. Yahoo complied with government requests for information on more than 40,000 accounts in the same period.

The companies earlier had provided limited information about government requests for data, but an agreement reached last week with the Obama administration allowed the firms to provide a broadened, though still circumscribed, set of figures to the public.

Seeking to reassure customers and business partners alarmed by revelations about the government's massive collection of Internet and computer data, the firms stressed details indicating that only small numbers of their customers were targeted by authorities. Still, even those small numbers showed that thousands of Americans were affected by the government requests approved by judges of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The data releases by the major tech companies offered a mix of dispassionate graphics, reassurances and protests, seeking to alleviate customer concerns about government spying while pressuring national security officials about the companies' constitutional concerns. The shifting tone in the releases showed the precarious course that major tech firms have had to navigate in recent months, caught between their public commitments to Internet freedom and their enforced roles as data providers to U.S. spy agencies.

In a company blog post, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith scolded the U.S. and allied governments for failing to renounce the reported mass interception of Internet data carried by communications cables. Top lawyers and executives for major tech companies had raised alarms previously about media reports describing that hacking by U.S. and United Kingdom spy agencies and cited them during conversations with U.S. officials during President Barack Obama's internal review of planned changes to the government's spying operations.

''Despite the president's reform efforts and our ability to publish more information, there has not yet been any public commitment by either the U.S. or other governments to renounce the attempted hacking of Internet companies,'' Smith said in a Microsoft blog release. He added that Microsoft planned to press the government ''for more on this point, in collaboration with others across our industry.''

The new figures were released just a week after major tech firms announced a legal agreement with the Justice Department. But lawyers and executives for the companies openly vented their discomfort with the government's continuing insistence that they could only provide broad ranges instead of the actual numbers of government requests.

The companies said they would press for narrower data ranges that would offer more details. ''We will also continue to advocate for still narrower disclosure ranges, which will provide a more accurate picture of the number of national security-related requests,'' said Erika Rottenberg, LinkedIn's general counsel.

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on the companies' releases and comments. The spokesman pointed to a late January statement by DNI James Clapper and Attorney General Eric Holder that said the agreement would allow the firms to ''disclose more information than ever before to their customers.''

Google and all the other companies denied that they gave any government unfettered access to their users' info. The companies are worried more people will reduce their online activities if they believe almost everything they do is being monitored by the government. A decline in Web surfing could hurt the companies financially by giving them fewer opportunities to show online ads and sell other services.

The companies can only reveal how many total requests they receive every six months, with the numbers in groupings of 1,000. And even those general numbers must be concealed for at least six months after any reporting period ends. That restriction means the FISA requests for the final half of last year can't be shared until July, at the earliest.

The data released Monday indicated the U.S. government is digging deeper into the Internet as people spend more time online.

Most of the companies showed the number of government requests fell between 0 and 999 for each six-month period. But the numbers of customers affected by those searches ranged more widely.

Google, for instance, has seen the number of people affected by FISA court orders rise from 2,000 to 2,999 users during the first half of 2009 to between 9,000 and 9,999 users during the first half of last year. The company showed an unusual spike in the number of Americans whose data was collected between July and December 2012. During that period, metadata was collected from between 12,000 and 12,999 users. Under the restrictions imposed by the government, no explanation was provided for that anomaly.

Yahoo listed the highest number of people swept up in FISA requests for online content during the first half of last year. The orders seeking user content spanned 30,000 to 30,999 accounts, according to the company. The requested content could have included emails, instant messages, address books, calendar items and pictures.

All the companies also received FISA requests that weren't aimed at scooping up online communications or photos. Those demands sought things such as billing information and locations of where people made an Internet connection.

Google described Monday's disclosure as a positive step while promising to keep fighting for the right to provide more precise numbers about the FISA requests and more specifics about the data being sought. ''We still believe more transparency is needed so everyone can better understand how surveillance laws work and decide whether or not they serve the public interest,'' Richard Salgado, Google's legal director of law enforcement and information security, wrote in a blog post.

Even if the companies can share more information about the FISA requests, they still might face doubts raised by other National Security Agency documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden asserting that the U.S. government has found ways to tap into the lines transmitting personal information between data centers. The companies are trying to thwart the hacking by encrypting most, if not all, the data stored on their computers.

Liedtke reported from San Francisco.

Source: boston.com

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