|Wireless News Aggregation|
|Friday — November 13, 2015 — Issue No. 683|
Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,
Welcome back to The Wireless Messaging News.
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DC Public Transportation Agency to Adopt BlackBerry AtHoc Emergency Communication System
Posted By: Mary-Louise Hoffman
Washington, D.C.’s public transportation agency has chosen a BlackBerry division to implement a unified network for agency personnel, first responders and local emergency organizations to communicate in the event of a crisis.
BlackBerry said Tuesday the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will use AtHoc ‘s Connect alerting and crisis communication platform to distribute information to and from Metro’s enterprise monitoring, help desk and customer service facilities.
“Our first priority is to ensure that critical communications are sent out reliably and securely,” said Claude Swanson, Metro’s chief of data center and infrastructures.
AtHoc’s technology works to secure personally identifiable data during crisis information exchange activities.
Metro also seeks to connect law enforcement organizations, airport operators and federal agencies into the region’s unified emergency communications network. [ source ]
Meet ‘BlackBerry Vienna:' Photos Of Alleged Second Android Phone After Priv Surface
By Pavithra Rathinavel
BlackBerry is not slowing down after releasing the slider phone Priv, which apparently is on high demand forcing a delay in the shipment date of new orders. Meanwhile, the Canadian tech giant’s second Android device codenamed “BlackBerry Vienna” is now garnering all the attention. Not long ago, BlackBerry CEO John Chen acknowledged that the company has several products lined up after Priv.
CrackBerry apparently picked up a slew of photos pertaining to the upcoming BlackBerry Vienna. The alleged new handset has a traditional bar design unlike the BlackBerry Priv, where the company used a daring design philosophy by bringing in the retro slider.
According to GSM Arena, the Vienna looks like a mix of BlackBerry Classic and BlackBerry Passport. However, the device does not look square , as in the Passport. It apparently comes with a 3:2 screen. This size is believed to help the handset in not compromising the efficiency experienced in the Passport’s display, even though it doesn’t look square. Not to forget, many critics weren’t impressed with the square design, although the handset carried top-of-the-shelf configurations.
Speaking of exterior, the BlackBerry Vienna’s back has the company logo and the panel is subtly textured or patented, similar to the BlackBerry Leap. GSM Arena, meanwhile, said the back cover may not be removable, as there is a card slot on the left side of the device. The phone will apparently come in four different hues namely White, Black, Dark Blue and Red. [ source ]
Now on to the news and views.
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Hong Kong doctors, lawmaker still swear by the old-fashioned pager
Move to reallocate pager numbers for mobile use sparks nostalgia
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 October, 2015, 12:02am
In a city where the smartphone is king and demand for digital objects of desire is borderline pathological, a clunky communications icon from a not-so-bygone era is holding its own.
Amid concerns that Hong Kong may run out of telephone numbers because of the population's passion for mobile communications, official data reveals 38,000 numbers are still in use for pagers.
It is definitely not nostalgia that has helped save the single-function, clip-on favourite from the early 1990s from total technological wipe-out; it's good old Hong Kong practicality.
Plus, the humble pager — which was so deeply ingrained in the local culture for a few brief years that it formed the narrative of a slew of highly popular films — could change your life, according to the people largely responsible for keeping the bleeping devices alive.
Pagers remain the go-to gadget for the people we depend on most when we are at our weakest — doctors.
Among its devotees is severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) hero Professor Ho Pak-leung, who is never without his trusty pager because it can go where the smartphone can't.
Ho said: “I found a pager to be more reliable than a cellphone, as mobile signals are poor around the hospital, especially underground.”
He has a habit of directing all calls to the pager since that is less disruptive to his daily life, and he can screen out unwanted cold calls.
Public Doctors' Association president Dr Pierre Chan Pui-yin estimates that as many as half of doctors may be carrying pagers, although many now use mobile phones to receive text messages from colleagues.
Other pager users include lawmakers. Raymond Chan Chi-chuen of People Power said the Legislative Council Secretariat used to send messages and reminders through pagers, which were given to all councillors.
But the secretariat switched to using phone text messages about two years ago, although Chan said he could still see some legislators using the devices when he joined Legco in 2012.
His first pager was assigned to him by his first employer, Commercial Radio, soon after he graduated, and it was used for three years before the station gave him a clunky “water-bottle-like” mobile phone.
It is the city's communications watchdog that has revived memories of the long-forgotten pagers since it wants to reallocate many pager numbers to mobile services in order to meet growing demand.
The Communications Authority is proposing to reallocate two-thirds of pager numbers and some numbers starting with 70 to 73 for mobile services.
It said the measure could release 3.2 million phone numbers for mobile use and could affect two-thirds of existing paging service users.
It said 38,120 active paging numbers remained in use in July, and this figure could drop below 20,000 in 2020.
Only two telecommunications companies provide paging services at the moment — Telecom Digital, which was one of the key players in the paging marking in the mid-1990s, and Kantone.
Additional reporting by Emily Tsang.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Doctor, lawmaker still swear by pager.
|Source:||South China Morning Post|
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Voxpro plans “futuristic” Folsom call center with 750 jobs
Nov 11, 2015, 12:43pm PST
The chief executive of the incoming Irish customer service firm Voxpro said the company has an aggressive plan to bring 750 permanent jobs to Folsom, mostly as high-level technical support representatives for companies like Google and Airbnb.
CEO Dan Kiely said the Folsom facility will be designed to mirror a Google campus, with lots of open space and a “futuristic” design.
“Our mission is to change the perception of call centers. When you walk in, you won't have a clue of what business we’re in,” said Kiely, calling from the company headquarters in Cork, Ireland.
The company has already hired 40 employees for its Folsom site and plans to have 100 when it opens in the first quarter of 2016. The firm will be scouting for a second U.S location next year and ultimately plans to open multiple sites across the nation, Kiely said.
The Folsom site was secured following a six-month search and represents the fifth site for the firm, which currently operates four centers in Ireland, including a headquarters in Cork, and a small sales and marketing office in San Francisco, Kiely said.
The CEO, who founded the company with his wife two decades ago, mentioned that Bay Area clients wanted a Voxpro center that was within two hours of the Bay Area. The company expects to remain in the Sacramento region for a long time, he said.
“We put a lot of due diligence on choosing Folsom…Once we make a decision, we remain committed for years. We’ve never left a site,” he said. “That has always been in our DNA.”
The company will maintain its small San Francisco office so executives can regularly interface with clients, he said. But, depending on visas, four members of the leadership team are moving from Ireland to Folsom. The Folsom site — the location of which Kiely didn't know offhand — appealed to Voxpro for multiple reasons, he said.
“Sacramento has a very vibrant art and food culture. It's not too far from Napa and Tahoe, and an amazing talent pool — that was a big attraction,” he said.
The Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council has worked closely with Voxpro for the last six months, said Kiely, who gave a glowing review of his experience with the CEO-led nonprofit.
Barry Broome, chief executive of Greater Sacramento, was not immediately available to comment. Voxpro marks the second company relocation claimed by the nonprofit; the first was an expansion by health provider TriWest Healthcare Alliance to Rancho Cordova in September.
Kiely said didn’t know offhand what average employee salaries would be in Folsom. But he emphasized that Voxpro hires workers that share the same energy and sophistication as its global tech clients.
“Our mission is to provide beautiful customer experience for brands that are changing the world,” Kiely said. “Employees will have huge expertise in a Google product, like an IT (representative) talking to a Google customer. If you have an issue with email, you will talk to someone who can fix that problem for you.”
|Source:||Sacramento Business Journal|
EasyCall and Staff Paging deployed to Carnival Cruise lines
American owned Carnival Cruise Lines, commissioned CST, as part of its operation of improvement, to enhance the experience for cruise guests. The business came to the cruise operators’ rescue, providing a bespoke call button and staff paging system across 10 of its worldwide ships, as an innovative solution for addressing an issue with effective communication amongst the crew when on and off-loading guest luggage.
The brief to CST was to devise a bespoke communications solution which could effectively manage the issue of luggage distribution via lifts across numerous decks. Prior to the installation, the crew were utilising the lift to move luggage, however had no means of advising the lift operator when it was needed solely for the purpose of delivering customer luggage.
The solution was to fit CST’s EasyCall ™ and Staff Paging technology via call buttons on each passenger deck. When called, the lift operator is alerted by staff pager to the request to move luggage. Now, on days when guests are embarking and disembarking, the new technology allows for the lift to be used more efficiently, whilst staff time against the task of distributing guest luggage across numerous decks has significantly improved.
Ashley Sheppard, Group Commercial Director, Call Systems Technology commented: “We took our 20 years of paging expertise, reviewing the luggage and lift issues faced by Carnival Cruise Lines. The bespoke solution we provided enhances the guest experience whilst effectively managing staff resources, resulting in better efficiencies and a significantly better customer experience. We’re currently in talks with the cruise line to see how we can assist them with further bespoke projects.”
|Source:||Call Systems Technology|
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TigerText Pulls In $50M to Accelerate Secure Messaging Market Share
by Fred Pennic 11/12/2015
TigerText, a provider of secure communications and workflow platform for the enterprise has raised $50 million in Series C funding to accelerate adoption of its secure messaging app, “TigerConnect.” The Series C round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, Invus Group and Accolade Partners, as well as existing investors Shasta Ventures, OrbiMed, and Reed Elsevier. Dr. Robert Mittendorff, principal at Norwest Venture Partners and board certified emergency physician will join the TigerText board of directors.
Clear Leader In Market Share And Mindshare
The additional capital will be used to further advance TigerText’s market penetration in healthcare where it has quickly become one of the most widely used secure messaging solutions in healthcare. A recent KLAS report identified TigetText as having the largest market share of any secure messaging vendor with more customers than the next top 6 competitors combined.
With TigerText, providers can go beyond secure, person-to-person messaging by leveraging the company’s open API that enables integrations with EMRs, PACS imaging, scheduling, paging and answering service, cloud storage, MDM, Health Information Exchanges (HIE), and others for delivering automated alerts and queries. TigerText has documented over 150 different healthcare workflows, driving productivity increases and more favorable reimbursement rates.
Extending Secure Messaging to Desktop and Wearables
In addition to its Series C funding announcement, the company has unveiled a suite of new tools to enable organizations to enjoy seamless communication on any platform and any device, even in areas with poor network connectivity.
With the TigerText Anywhere initiative, the company extends its secure messaging solution to the desktop and wearables like the Apple Watch. In addition, the incorporation of the industry’s first Low Connectivity Protocol (LCP) across its offerings ensures that messages sent using TigerText will get delivered where other messaging solutions fail.
A critical gap for healthcare workers is that many facilities do not allow nursing or lab personnel to carry personal phones while on the job. With the introduction of TigerText’s new desktop app, the entire care team can securely message from PCs, mobile phones, or tablet devices.
Optimizing Healthcare Workflows
Healthcare organizations are unlocking dramatic ROI in excess of 30x the cost of the product as TigerText optimizes healthcare workflows that often still rely on antiquated communication paths from the 1980s including paging, faxing and landline phones.
Specific results from current TigerText customers include:
TigerText Anywhere includes expanded access across multiple platforms, improved access with Low Connectivity Protocol, and significant updates to the existing mobile and web functionality:
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.
ULS Upgrades Implemented; Webinar Announced
On November 5, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announced that it will now accept geographic information system (GIS) files for partitioning and disaggregation (P&D) and leasing applications in the Universal Licensing System (ULS). The Wireless Bureau will host a webinar demonstrating the new software on November 17, 2015, at 10:30 AM Eastern Time.
PSHSB Seeks Comment on FirstNet Incumbent Relocation Proposal
On November 5, the FCC’s Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) issued a public notice seeking comment on an ex parte proposal made by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to facilitate the relocation of incumbent public safety communications systems operating in the 758-769/788-799 MHz spectrum band (Band 14) in advance of the deployment and operation of FirstNet’s nationwide broadband public safety network. Comments will be due 14 days after the Public Notice appears in the Federal Register.
In its ex parte filing, FirstNet stated that its Board recently approved a Spectrum Relocation Grant Program designed to facilitate the relocation of Band 14 incumbents, and that it expects a Federal Funding Opportunity for the grant program to be released in early 2016. As such, FirstNet requested “that the continuation of Commission licenses or other authorizations under Band 14 by any incumbent be conditioned upon the requirement that no operation on Band 14 be permitted without the express consent of FirstNet after July 31, 2017.” FirstNet also requested that “[i]n addition or in the alternative, . . . the Commission consider conditioning any continued operation on Band 14 on the cessation of all operations on Band 14 within 90 days written notice to the Band 14 incumbent(s) from FirstNet that deployment of the [nationwide broadband public safety network] is to begin in its State.”
In 2013, the FCC sought comment on “the appropriate mechanism to transition incumbent narrowband operators out of [Band 14] and on the timeframe by which such a transition should be accomplished,” asking whether it could require FirstNet to manage this transition process, or to provide funds for the process, and whether it should establish a hard deadline by which relocation should be accomplished. Through the instant Public Notice, the Bureau seeks comment on FirstNet’s request in light of this existing proceeding.
FCC Announces First Cable Privacy Enforcement Action
On November 5, the FCC entered into a consent decree with Cox Communications, Inc. (Cox) to settle an investigation for failing to properly protect the confidentiality of its customers’ proprietary information (PI), proprietary network information (CPNI),and personally identifiable information, and failing to promptly notify law enforcement authorities of security breaches involving CPNI, as required by Commission rules.
To settle the matter, Cox will pay a civil penalty of $595,000 and develop and implement a compliance plan to ensure appropriate processes and procedures are incorporated into its business practices to protect consumers against similar data breaches in the future. In particular, Cox will be required to improve its privacy and data security practices by: (i) designating a senior corporate manager who is a certified privacy professional; (ii) conducting privacy risk assessments; (iii) implementing a written information security program; (iv) maintaining reasonable oversight of third party vendors, to include implementing multi-factor authentication; (v) implementing a more robust data breach response plan; and (vi) providing privacy and security awareness training to employees and third-party vendors. Cox will also identify all affected consumers, notify them of the breach, provide them with free credit monitoring, and file regular compliance reports with the FCC.
According to the Consent Decree, Cox’s electronic data systems were breached in August of 2014 when a third party pretended to be from Cox’s information technology department and gained access to data systems containing Cox customer information by “convincing a Cox customer service representative and a Cox contractor to enter their respective account IDs and passwords into a fake website, which the third party controlled.” Since the data systems did not have technical safeguards to prevent the compromised credentials from being used to access the PI and CPNI of Cox’s customers, the Consent Decree continues, the third party was able to make use of the credentials to view personal data of Cox’s current and former customers, including sensitive personal information such as name, home address, email address, phone number, partial Social Security Number, partial driver’s license number, and telephone customers’ account-related data. The third party then reportedly posted some of the personal information of at least eight of the affected customers on social media sites, changed the passwords of at least 28 of the affected customers, and shared customer personal information with another alleged hacker. Finally, Cox failed to report the breaches through the Commission’s breach-reporting portal.
Law & Regulation
Court Delays Sprint from Shutting Down Clearwire WiMax Network in Some Areas
A Massachusetts court is barring Sprint from shutting down its WiMAX service in certain markets because it has an obligation to continue providing service to certain Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licensees from which it leases 2.5 GHz spectrum.
The lawsuit and emergency motion were brought by Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen, nonprofit groups backed by some of the nation’s largest EBS and Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS) licensees, who are also Sprint’s WiMAX network partners. The groups say that Sprint has failed to honor its contractual obligations under the various lease agreements, making it impossible for them to migrate their users over to Sprint’s LTE network prior to the November 6 deadline.
Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen told the court they rely on Sprint’s fixed wireless network – which was previously marketed under the Clearwire brand – to provide unlimited broadband service for just $10 a month to 429 schools, 61 libraries and 1,820 nonprofit organizations across the country. These organizations, in turn, extend service to students, the elderly and disabled and other segments of the population who can’t afford Internet service at the customary prices offered by commercial providers.
“Today, the courts preserved a lifeline for the communities and families we serve,” said Katherine Messier, managing director of Mobile Beacon. “We hope Sprint will now work with us to ensure the elderly, disabled, students and other vulnerable populations who rely on our service can transition to LTE quickly and avoid any disruption in service.”
“The injunction compels Sprint to honor its professed commitment to closing the digital divide,” said John Schwartz, the founder and president of Mobile Citizen. “It’s unfortunate it took a court order to stop Sprint from shutting off 300,000 children, families, teachers and community members from access to the American dream. But we look forward to moving ahead positively with Sprint and ensuring that everyone in our community can keep the service they rely on to connect to the larger world around them.”
The emergency relief orders Sprint to maintain the WiMax network in certain areas for 90 days to allow Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen time to migrate their users to Sprint’s LTE network. Sprint has said that it would comply with the court’s decision to delay WiMAX decommissioning where it could affect current Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen customers only.
"We do hope that Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen will take this time to work cooperatively with Sprint to resolve the contract dispute," Sprint said. "Our goal is to ensure that our EBS partners and our subscribers can use Sprint’s best 4G LTE advanced broadband services as soon as possible."
Senate Discusses Draft MOBILE NOW Act
On November 6, The Wall Street Journal reported that a draft Senate committee bill titled “Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act” was circulated for discussion last week. The bill would reportedly “expand the nation’s wireless capacity, including freeing up more underused radio spectrum that is assigned to federal agencies.”
According to the article, one highlight of the bill is “a system of financial incentives for federal agencies to give up more of their underused spectrum.” Another would “codify the Obama administration’s long-term goal of clearing out 500 megahertz of spectrum by 2020.” The bill would reportedly also “establish deadlines for federal decisions on whether private-sector entities can build transmission facilities on federal lands.”
A copy of the discussion draft can be found here .
Bureau Denies Petition to Regulate Edge Providers
On November 6, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau adopted an Order denying Consumer Watchdog Group’s petition to “initiate a rulemaking proceeding requiring ‘edge providers’ (like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, and LinkedIn) to honor ‘Do Not Track’ Requests from consumers.” In denying the petition, the Bureau emphasized that “The Commission has been unequivocal in declaring that it has no intent to regulate edge providers.”
Earlier in the year, when the FCC reclassified broadband Internet access service (BIAS) as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, it declined to forbear from applying section 222 to BIAS providers. It did, however, forbear from applying the section 222 rules to BIAS services, “pending adoption of rules to govern broadband Internet access service in a separate rulemaking proceeding.” In doing so, the FCC stressed that it was not “regulating the Internet, per se, or any Internet applications or content” because its reclassification of BIAS “ involves only the transmission component of Internet access service.” As such, the Bureau found that Consumer Watchdog Group’s petition “is inconsistent with the Commission’s articulation of the effect of its reclassification of BIAS and the scope of the privacy practices it stated that it intends to address pursuant to that reclassification.”
FCC Commissioner Identifies Policy Priorities for Transition to 5G
In remarks delivered at the 4G Americas’ Technology Symposium last week, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai identified what he sees as three key areas where the FCC can help ensure that 5G services will develop quickly in the United States. In short, Pai believes the Commission’s policy priorities should be (1) freeing up more spectrum for commercial use; (2) removing barriers to infrastructure deployment; and (3) promoting innovation and investments in networks and mobile technologies.
Starting with spectrum, Commissioner Pai believes the FCC has fallen behind its own goals for repurposing spectrum for mobile broadband, and that the Commission must free up more of this invisible resource in order to enable 5G technologies.
“The FCC’s 2010 National Broadband Plan called for the agency to make 300 MHz of spectrum available by 2015. But it’s almost 2016,” said Pai, “and the Commission has moved less than half of that amount into the commercial marketplace.”
Pai believes the FCC has left “far too many spectrum bands on the cutting room floor,” identifying so-called “millimeter wave” spectrum in the 24 GHz, 32 GHz, 42 GHz, and the 70 and 80 GHz bands as spectrum the Commission should have teed up for commercial use. While nobody knows at this point what spectrum bands will prove to be good homes for 5G, he believes the FCC should “think big” and “let engineers and innovators tell us what will work and what won’t.”
With respect to lower band spectrum, the Commissioner told symposium attendees that he supported making up to 195 megahertz of 5 GHz band spectrum available for unlicensed use. He also used the example of technical glitches that delayed a recent FCC webinar to remind the audience of the complexity of the upcoming incentive auction, suggesting he might support a delay of the incentive auction start date if this was necessary to ensure the new bidding and repacking software and IT systems worked properly.
“If we can get everything done in time to start the auction as scheduled on March 29, that would be great. But March 29 wasn’t etched onto a tablet, Biblical or electronic,” said Pai.
Because many more “small cells” will be needed for 5G networks, Commissioner Pai believes the FCC needs to make removal of barriers to infrastructure deployment a greater priority.
The Commission last year took important steps to reform its environmental and historic preservation rules in order to make it easier for carriers to deploy small cells and collocate antennas on existing structures. It also clarified that its “shot clock” rules apply to small cells and distributed antenna systems (DAS). However, Pai believes there is more work to be done. Among other things, he said he was “optimistic that we will have good news to report” on efforts to further streamline the process for deploying small cell technologies, and expressed support for a “deemed granted” remedy when local governments don’t meet shot clock deadlines that the FCC adopted and that the US Supreme Court approved.
Innovation and Investment
In discussing what he sees as a third key piece of the 5G regulatory framework, Commissioner Pai spoke of a light touch approach to mobile broadband has resulted in massive public sector investment – citing over $33 billion in capital expenditures by U.S. providers in 2013. This is twice as much per person as carriers in Europe ($110 versus $55). When compared to all regions, U.S. providers spent on average about four times more per subscriber on network infrastructure.
Pai also noted that America’s leadership in wireless broadband has helped us to become the epicenter for mobile innovation, with the “app economy” being just one example.
To create an environment for continued leadership, the Commissioner stressed the importance for 5G engineers and technologists to be able to rely on “permissionless innovation,” and he took the opportunity to criticize the FCC’s decision to apply Title II to the Internet, including mobile broadband.
In closing, Pai stressed the importance of the FCC returning to a “light-touch” approach that allowed the U.S. to become the world leader in 4G.
JANUARY 15: HAC REPORTING DEADLINE. The next Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) reporting deadline for digital commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers (including carriers that provide service using AWS-1 spectrum and resellers of cellular, broadband PCS and/or AWS services) is Friday, January 15, 2016. Non-Tier I service providers must offer to consumers at least 50 percent of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the M3 rating, and at least one-third of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the T3 rating. Month-to-month handset offering information provided in annual reports must be current through the end of 2015. With many of our clients adjusting their handset offerings and making new devices available to customers throughout the year, it is very easy for even the most diligent carriers to stumble unknowingly into a non-compliance situation, resulting in fines starting at $15,000 for each HAC-enabled handset they are deficient. Following the T-Mobile USA Notice of Apparent Liability (FCC 12-39), the Commission’s enforcement policy calls for multiplying the $15,000 per-handset fine by the number of months of the deficiency, creating the potential for very steep fines. It is therefore crucial that our clients pay close attention to their HAC regulatory compliance, and monthly checks are strongly recommended. In this regard, we have prepared a HAC reporting template to assist our clients in keeping track of their HAC handset offerings, and other regulatory compliance efforts. ALL SERVICE PROVIDERS SUBJECT TO THE COMMISSION’S HAC RULES — INCLUDING COMPANIES THAT QUALIFY FOR THE DE MINIMIS EXCEPTION — MUST PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL HAC REPORTING. To the extent that your company is a provider of broadband PCS, cellular and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using newly licensed (or partitioned) AWS or 700 MHz spectrum, you and your company will need to be familiar with the Commission’s revised rules.
FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.
FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT. Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by February 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers are required to include their FCC Registration Number (FRN). Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org .|
|Friends & Colleagues|
Wireless Network Planners
How to Plan for Unified Emergency Communications on K-12 Campuses
Here’s how your school can develop the infrastructure and protocol needed to assure effective delivery of information in both daily and emergency operations.
By Brian Armes and Guy Bliesner
Without communication there is no command and control. This axiom is equally applicable for a first lieutenant leading troops in Iraq or a principal leading students and teachers in a suburban elementary school. In both cases, effective communications will be the basis for effective operations. Given this, communications planning should be a foundational piece of any school’s operational platform.
Communications planning can be a bit of a slippery term. In some cases it means considering the message and crafting it with a quasi-marketing type approach. While that type of messaging is important for schools, this is not what we will be covering in this article. Here we will be examining the planning required for infrastructure and protocol that will assure effective movement of information to create a common operating picture (COP), in both daily and emergency operations for k-12 schools. In fact, your communications in daily operations are the operational practice for your communications during an incident.
Terms, Concepts Drive Process
While working with schools and districts, we stress the unified nature of the planning that is required for effective communications. As a part of that planning process, we always begin with a discussion of some essential terms and concepts that, once understood, will help to drive the process.
Modality: By this we mean how the message is delivered from the sender to the receiver. This can be a land line, a cell phone, a two-way radio, a public address system or an intercom. The message could also travel via email, text messaging or social media, and in a K-12 school, the tried and true note home in a student’s backpack. All of these and a number of others… in fact, any way you can send information is a mode of communication. Any communications modality has five key elements.
The first element is the type. There are only three types to consider: one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many. The terms here are self-explanatory. Any message between one person and another is a one-to-one type. Any message from one person to a group is a one-to-many type. If you send a one-to-many message and it is relayed on to others, it is a many-to-many message. Many-to-many types are often a secondary effect that can follow the use of social media in messaging. It should be noted that some modalities are better suited to one type over the others.
The second element is the format. This is not the arrangement of the information contained in the message, but the medium in which the information will be transferred. This may sound complicated, however, it is really fairly straight forward. There are only three types of mediums that need to be considered. The question to ask here: “Is the message you wish to send voice, print or some type of data transmission?”
Directionality is the third element to consider for effective communications planning. This is a simple idea as there are only two possibilities: unidirectional or bidirectional. Some examples of the unidirectional or one way types are public address announcements, mass text messages or robo-call type phone messages. This works well for the delivery of specific information to a large group where a response is not required. Bidirectional is the back and forth exchange of information between individuals or groups.
Time sensitivity is the next element. Most messages have some degree of time sensitivity, and in most cases, sending the message well prior to the needed action will address this concern. The real consideration here is the time from transmission to reception of the message. If the message you need to send requires an immediate action, then the mode of communication you choose should deliver the message as immediately as possible.
Security is the last element. This refers to the likelihood that a person or persons for whom the message was not intended may inadvertently or with intent intercept the information being transmitted. In other words, can you send a confidential message with assurance that it will be transmitted to the intended recipient in a secure manner?
Understand the Pros, Cons of Various Modalities
There is a vast difference between modalities. The differences between cell phones and two-way radios — both of which are generally voice formats — can be instructive as an example. Cell phones are best suited to messages that are one-to-one and need a high level of security. Radio traffic is best suited to messages that need to go from one person to many at the same time and require an immediate response or action.
To illustrate this difference consider the following examples from school daily operations:
The old saying that goes “if you fail to plan, you will plan to fail” is nowhere more appropriate than in K-12 school communications planning. The following five general communications planning steps will provide a general framework as you embark on this process.
Don’t Expect Perfection
As you undertake this process there are a few things to remember. First, don’t expect perfection. If the first iteration of your plan is perfect and addresses all the needs and situations that your school or district will ever encounter, congratulations! Your plan is the first to do so.
Second, this will be an ongoing process. As you encounter unexpected situations and after the dust settles, review your response and update your communications plan. If it happens once it (or something very like it) can happen again. Use the lessons you’ve learned to drive improved planning for the future.
This may seem like a lot of work for something as seemingly simple as communications. Do the work. It will bear fruit in improved daily operations, and the real benefit will manifest in emergencies when the need for clear communications is the most critical.
Brian Armes and Guy Bliesner are co-founders of Educators Eyes. Armes previously was a teacher and school principal, while Bliesner was previously an educator and health, safety and security coordinator for a school district in Idaho.
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
I read your Thought of the Week for Oct 30, 2015 regarding the Internet of Things as well as the Email from Noel Gouldin and I agree that paging should have been the medium for supporting the Internet of Things.
Several of us tried many years ago, such as a former company of mine “ON Networks”, to establish this market. But carriers just would not price their services at a cost that made sense and so the technology did not take off.
IoT is normally characterized by a pretty low data rate and a minimal amount of data. If carriers would keep prices at low levels for such a service, there is still an opportunity for paging to capture a portion of the 26 billion devices that your article points out.
To give an example of what is going on, a company called Particle ( www.particle.io ) has developed a $19 computer that communicates over WiFi to their IoT cloud. From there, these little devices can send and receive data from anywhere on the Internet. I myself wrote a personal IoT app for the device to send me a text message (SMS) if I leave my garage door open too long. The Photon device watches my garage doors and via the WiFi network, sends a message to a handy website called IFTTT.com which listens for messages from the device and forwards them to Gmail which then forwards them to my cellular carrier for posting on my mobile and my wife’s mobile.
But now Particle is about to release a cellular version of the device, the Electron for $39. For $2.99/month you can transfer 1Mb. They believe that represents about 20,000 messages sent each month. Then it’s $0.99 per additional Mb. This is essentially a gateway from an Electron device to just about anywhere, communicating through the Particle cloud and to anywhere on the Internet.
How about if a carrier, or an independent developer, created a ReFLEX version of the Electron and directed all messages to a centralized server connected to the paging network, which could then communicate with any site on the Internet. This is exactly what we attempted to do in 2002 at ON Networks. That is 13 years ago. Create a small device that could be embedded into other products and essentially give them Internet connectivity. But again, data pricing from the carriers at that time, made the product infeasible.
Maybe it’s time to look at this again.
Dear Mr. Dye,
Dietmar asked me to send you the attached press release (as information for your weekly newsletter I suppose). It is in German but it basically says that our French partners were able to seal a deal with the Parisian firebrigade. It is the largest firebrigade in Europe, employing around 8700 persons reaching out to 7 Mio. inhabitants and 800 square kilometres, and is, from now on, using our paging services. e*Message France also has the firebrigade Marseille as one of their clients, already since 2011. Both the Parisian and Marseille firebrigade are organised in military structures.
For further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
Geschäftsführer: Dr. Dietmar Gollnick
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|PHOTOS OF THE WEEK|
Another Photo From The CMA Conference
Paul Lauttamus addresses the CMA members
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