|Wireless News Aggregation|
Wishing a safe and happy weekend for all readers of The Wireless Messaging News.
I think there is a major announcement coming out before Christmas from our friends at Swissphone.
A Good Laugh
My new issue of QST® Magazine came this week and I really had a good laugh while reading one of the articles about two “crackpots” who were arrested in Georgia for planning to blow up the HAARP facility in Alaska. The news article follows farther down below, but since everyone may not be familiar with HAARP, I thought a short report here on what it is might be interesting.
High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) was an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), designed and built by BAE Advanced Technologies (BAEAT).
Its purpose was to analyze the ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance. The HAARP program operated a major sub-arctic facility, named the HAARP Research Station, on an Air Force-owned site near Gakona, Alaska.
The most prominent instrument at the HAARP Station is the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), a high-power radio frequency transmitter facility operating in the high frequency (HF) band. The IRI is used to temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere. Other instruments, such as a VHF and a UHF radar, a fluxgate magnetometer, a digisonde (an ionospheric sounding device), and an induction magnetometer, were used to study the physical processes that occur in the excited region.
Work on the HAARP Station began in 1993. The current working IRI was completed in 2007, and its prime contractor was BAE Systems Advanced Technologies. As of 2008, HAARP had incurred around $250 million in tax-funded construction and operating costs. It was reported to be temporarily shut down in May 2013, awaiting a change of contractors. In May 2014, it was announced that the HAARP program would be permanently shut down later in the year. Ownership of the facility and its equipment was transferred to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in mid-August 2015.
HAARP was a target of conspiracy theorists, who claimed that it was capable of modifying weather, disabling satellites and exerting mind control over people, and that it was being used as a weapon against terrorists. Such theorists blamed the program for causing earthquakes, droughts, storms and floods, diseases such as Gulf War syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome, the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, and the 2003 destruction of the space shuttle Columbia. Commentators and scientists say that proponents of these theories are “uninformed”, because most theories put forward fall well outside the abilities of the facility and often outside the scope of natural science.
[More background information at the source.]
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Wayne County, Illinois
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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Two Arrested in Georgia for Planning to Attack HAARP Facility in Alaska
Last fall, authorities in Georgia arrested two men who said they were planning to attach the High Freq1uency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility near Gakona, Alaska. Michael Vickers, a detective with the Coffee County Sheriff's Office, told Alaska Dispatch News that the pair explained to authorities “that God told them to go and blow this machine up that kept souls, so souls could be released.”
Long of interest to the Amateur Radio community as well as a target of various mind- and weather-control conspiracies, HAARP is now operated as an ionospheric research facility by the University of Alaska—Fairbanks, which took it over last year from the US Air Force.
UAF spokesperson Marmian Grimes told Alaska Dispatch News that HAARP has been the target of previous threats, and she thanked the Georgia authorities for heading off this one. — Thanks to Alaska Dispatch News and WALB TV
QST® Magazine — Devoted entirely to Amateur Radio — January 2016 issue, page 90.
OMNI Messaging Server
MARS (Mobile Alert Response System)
STG (SIP to TAP Gateway)
The Motorola Nucleus II Paging Base Station is a great paging transmitter. The Nucleus I, however, had some problems.
One of the best features of this product was its modular construction. Most of the Nucleus' component parts were in plug-in modules that were field replaceable making maintenance much easier.
One issue was (and still is) that two of the modules had to always be kept together. They are called the “matched pair.”
Motorola used some tricks to keep people in the field from trying to match unmatched pairs, and force them to send SCM and Exciter modules back to the factory for calibrating them with precision laboratory equipment.
The serial numbers have to match in the Nucleus programing software or you can't transmit. Specifically the 4-level alignment ID parameter contained in the SCM has to match the Exciter ID parameter.
Even if someone could modify the programing software to “fudge” these parameters, that would not let them use unmatched modules effectively without recalibrating them to exact factory specifications.
So now that there is no longer a Motorola factory laboratory to send them to, what do we do?
I hope someone can help us resolve this serious problem for users of the Nucleus paging transmitter.
Please let me know if you can help. [ click here ]
Voxpro's Kiely rows back on IPO as he plots course to become a global player
Published on December 1, 2016
Dan Kiely has changed his mind about filing for an IPO. Up until recently, the Voxpro co-founder had a plan to float his tech outsourcing company as soon as it made €100m in annual revenue.
Now that this cash target is in sight, he and co-founder wife Linda have decided to hold off. "I've revised my thinking on all of that," says the Cork entrepreneur. "We're going to hit the €100m mark sooner rather than later. In my view, we need to be a much bigger company before we consider the IPO route now. It is still something that we aspire to but at much bigger revenues than €100m."
This week, Kiely laid out some of that aspiration. Voxpro opened a new office in Dublin's Silicon Docks and announced a fresh recruitment drive of 400 people. With over 2,000 people already employed taking high-end tech support calls for Google, Airbnb and others, the husband and wife team have decided to double down on scale.
"We want to become the first Irish outsourcing company to become global," he says. "And I mean truly global. That means a presence in the four corners of the world."
Scale means a new push into Asia, he says. It also means some serious funding to fuel expansion. Kiely says that "tens of millions" is what the company may now seek. "I'm very much open to that now," he says. "Because to achieve the level of scale we're looking at over the next 12 to 18 months, you need deep pockets. Especially to do it quickly. We also need it to buy the best talent available globally." Kiely and his wife own Voxpro outright. Since its beginning in Cork 20 years ago, the company has built up expertise in high-end support for some of the world's fastest growing tech companies.
"With Airbnb, we started with a team of six but are now in the hundreds, both in the US and in Dublin," he says. "Our story has been an ability to throw our arms around them when they're growing and to provide support to small teams as they start to scale globally."
Perhaps it's hanging around with companies like this that is giving the Kielys the push to scale up themselves?
"Possibly," he says. "We're working with some of the most iconic, scaling brands in the world like Airbnb and Google. Their trajectory in terms of the next three years is phenomenal. So we'll be growing alongside them."
Voxpro has recently been signing up other up-and-comers in Silicon Valley, such as the €60m-funded stock-trading app Robinhood.
But aren't 'outsourcing' and 'support' just posh words for call centres? What does Voxpro do to differentiate itself?
"The word 'call centre' offends me," says Kiely. "We describe ourselves as a centre of excellence. What I mean by that is that we're the best performing partner for any of our clients in the world."
This, again, might sound a little buzzword-ish. But Kiely says that the proof is in the graduates they're attracting and in the offices they have constructed, including a plush new facility next to Yahoo in Dublin's Point Village. "If you can guess what we do when you walk through our door, you'd be doing well," he says. "We build out spaces that encourage people to think 'what do they do'? It could be a marketing space, a tech startup or a PR company. When people walk through the door, they say 'wow'."
Still, call centres — or "centres of excellence", in the adjusted parlance - traditionally suffer from problems such as high churn. Is that an issue at Voxpro?
"It depends," says Kiely. "On the Google contract, our retention is very high. Then you have something that's more seasonal which will have higher attrition. Recently, we were making contingencies on an account for attrition but we had to abandon them because there was no attrition at all."
Voxpro employs close to 2,000 people in Ireland and almost 3,000 worldwide. But outsourced support is sometimes seen as a business activity for developing nations instead of than top-tier ones. As Ireland climbs the industrial value chain, is it the right place to continue hosting 'centres of excellence'?
"Yes it is," he says. "If you're positioning yourself as a top-level premium player, anyway. If you're trying to compete on cost, forget it. We recruit graduates. It's premium, high-end activity. There are many partners who will pay for that."
Perhaps the biggest single issue hovering over outsourced services and customer support is robotisation and artificial intelligence. Some of the world's biggest call centres are starting to replace humans en masse with robots and beefed-up online chatbots. Will this happen to Voxpro? And if so, what happens to all those jobs?
"Automation is affecting the industry," says Kiely. "We're already looking at robotics and artificial intelligence. But I think the robots will replace the very basic transactions and interactions. The more complex technical interactions will not be replaced. In the next five years, you're still going to be dealing with a person rather than a robot."
So Voxpro will still employ more humans at its centres in five years' time?
"Oh absolutely. A lot more. I don't see graduates from universities with high-end IT skills being replaced by robots in the next five years. Certainly not by us. Complex technical support and high-end customer experience will always require a human interaction in my view."
While he waits on the robot revolution to gather pace, the Kielys are mulling over the best way to raise money. Despite the need for new capital, he is cautious about its sourcing. "There's no shortage of private capital out there," he says. "But the bottom line is you have to choose someone that's a fit for you. If we were to go down the route of raising private equity, and I'm open to it, we'd never go to the highest bidder. It would have to be with someone who we feel we can work with, someone who gets us and our team. They're far more important than multiples of Ebitda."
For now, Kiely is content to push on with his new state-of-the-art office in the Silicon Docks. He says that Voxpro is beating its rivals in the tech sector because of its "agility". "We can pivot very quickly and we're flexible," he says. "There's no appreciable bureaucracy. If one of our partners wants something, we can react almost immediately. We do things differently."
This article originally appeared in The Irish Independent on 1/12/2016 by Adrian Weckler.
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Lauttamus Communications & Security Adds Staff on Increasing Sales
Thursday, December 08, 2016
Lauttamus Communications & Security is expanding and adding new staff because of sales and service demands. The company increased its employment by 25 percent.
New team members include:
“We have seen 117 percent growth in our two-way radio division over the last year and 29 percent growth in our security business unit,” President Paul Lauttamus said. “With the addition of these new team members, we expect continued growth across all business units and this also allows us to focus on strengthening our support to our customers communications and security networks and building stronger customer relations.”
Lauttamus Communications & Security specializes in building and maintaining mission-critical networks for public-safety, public health, air medical transport, government, education and manufacturing clients. The company, with its corporate office in Weirton, West Virginia, has customers in 28 states across the United States.
|Source:||Mission Critical Communications|
|Product Support Services, Inc.|
Repair and Refurbishment Services
Product Support Services, Inc.
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.
|RF Demand Solutions|
BlackBerry Signs Long-Term Smartphone Agreement With TCL
December 15, 2016 — Written By Daniel Fuller
TCL, a somewhat prominent all-around Chinese manufacturer, caught the attention of US smartphone firm BlackBerry when they decided to make an exit from the hardware market. TCL wound up manufacturing BlackBerry’s recent DTEK50 and DTEK60 smartphones, and could be the manufacturer behind a rumored upcoming BlackBerry keyboard phone. They have thus far been the only third party manufacturer to make BlackBerry branded smartphones containing BlackBerry’s licensed security and enterprise software, and it seems that it will stay that way for the foreseeable future. BlackBerry has announced that they’ve made an exclusive long-term agreement with TCL for them to be the only ones to have access to BlackBerry’s exclusive software and security suites, as well as the right to make BlackBerry-branded phones.
Per the terms of the deal, BlackBerry will supply the software for the phones, including any and all BlackBerry user experience apps like BBM, along with security software. BlackBerry will be responsible for keeping the apps and firmware for the phones up to date. TCL, meanwhile, won’t just manufacture the phones; they will also take care of selling them, and offering customer support, should something go wrong. According to the press release put out by BlackBerry, there will be a dedicated team within TCL meant to handle the logistics, publicity, and sale of BlackBerry-branded devices. It isn’t explicitly stated in the press release, but it seems that future BlackBerry devices manufactured by TCL will be Android-based, though since no OS is mentioned, the continued manufacture of handsets with BlackBerry’s own OS is a possibility.
This agreement, which will be BlackBerry’s first ever global contract, will see the Canadian smartphone maker relegated permanently to the role of software creator and maintainer, while TCL fulfills every other obligation associated with creating and selling smartphones. According to BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Ralph Pini, the change will help BlackBerry to focus more on their software chops, allowing their phones to stand out in a crowded consumer market. He called TCL the “natural choice” for the continuation of the BlackBerry legacy, and is fully confident that the phones that they manufacture hand in hand with BlackBerry will please old school BlackBerry fans.
Disaster-Proven Paging for Public Safety
Paging system designs in the United States typically use a voice radio-style infrastructure. These systems are primarily designed for outdoor mobile coverage with modest indoor coverage. Before Narrowbanding, coverage wasn’t good, but what they have now is not acceptable! The high power, high tower approach also makes the system vulnerable. If one base station fails, a large area loses their paging service immediately!
Almost every technology went from analog to digital except fire paging. So it’s time to think about digital paging! The Disaster-Proven Paging Solution (DiCal) from Swissphone offers improved coverage, higher reliability and flexibility beyond anything that traditional analog or digital paging systems can provide.
Swissphone is the No. 1 supplier for digital paging solutions worldwide. The Swiss company has built paging networks for public safety organizations all over the world. Swissphone has more than 1 million pagers in the field running for years and years due to their renowned high quality.
DiCal is the digital paging system developed and manufactured by Swissphone. It is designed to meet the specific needs of public safety organizations. Fire and EMS rely on these types of networks to improve incident response time. DiCal systems are designed and engineered to provide maximum indoor paging coverage across an entire county. In a disaster situation, when one or several connections in a simulcast solution are disrupted or interrupted, the radio network automatically switches to fall back operating mode. Full functionality is preserved at all times. This new system is the next level of what we know as “Simulcast Paging” here in the U.S.
Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.
Bluetooth technology makes it possible to connect the s.QUAD with a compatible smartphone, and ultimately with various s.ONE software solutions from Swissphone. Thanks to Bluetooth pairing, the s.QUAD combines the reliability of an independent paging system with the benefits of commercial cellular network. Dispatched team members can respond back to the call, directly from the pager. The alert message is sent to the pager via paging and cellular at the same time. This hybrid solution makes the alert faster and more secure. Paging ensures alerting even if the commercial network fails or is overloaded.
Swissphone sets new standards in paging:
Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
Verizon Agrees To Disabling The Galaxy Note 7 On January 5th
December 15, 2016 — Written By David Steele
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was originally released in August 2016 as Samsung’s late flagship model for the year. The Galaxy Note 7 is based around flagship grade components and a cutting edge design, which unfortunately may have been to the detriment of the device. The device was originally recalled because of a battery problem, which was causing devices to overheat, catch fire or even explode. The original fault was traced to a problem associated with the battery but unfortunately even after the recall, replacement smartphones were also suffering from a similar problem. For the American market, Samsung cooperated with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), carriers and retailers in order to return and either upgrade or arrange a refund for the device. We have seen Samsung release a number of upgrades for the Galaxy Note 7 device to reduce the available battery capacity and remind customers that they should return the device.
Last week, Samsung announced that they were working on a software update that would essentially disable the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The new update will stop the device from being able to accept a charge and disable the cellular radio, thus rendering the Galaxy Note 7 essentially useless once the remaining charge has run out. At the time, America’s largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, essentially said that they would not be supporting this update because they did not want to stop the device from working in the holiday season. However, it appears that in the last few days, the carrier has decided to apply the update in early January, thus not cutting customers off until after the holidays. Verizon has started emailing customers, advising them that the next update will be pushed to devices from January 5 and explaining what it will do — which amounts to the strong recommendation to power down their Galaxy Note 7 device and process an upgrade.
As part of the return, Verizon Wireless are crediting back all upgrade fees to customer accounts. Furthermore, for customers upgrading to another Samsung device, they will receive a $100 bill credit within one to two bill cycles. For customers upgrading to another brand of device, this bill credit is reduced to $25 but it will again be applied within one to two billing cycles. For customers using a Verizon-bought Galaxy Note 7 on a prepay plan, the company explains that returning the device to a Verizon store will ensure customers receive a full refund without a restocking fee.
Waiting to Exhale: Wheeler Announces January 20 Exit Date
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters after Thursday’s open Commission meeting he actually enjoyed engaging with the press in his more than three years as the appointed head of the agency. However, he declined comment on questions about his legacy and whether a Trump-led Commission might be able to roll back or reverse rulemakings it considers controversial like Net Neutrality, saying that’s an issue for the next FCC to determine.
“Sitting in this chair has been the greatest privilege of my professional career. It’s been a team effort. When you put five type-A personalities together, lots of interesting things happen. The headlines got built around our differences, but the facts are we accomplished a lot,” he said during the meeting.
He told reporters afterwards: “Agency bureaucrats are frequently disparaged. The FCC punches above their weight because of their dedicated application and their considerable capabilities.”
Doing what’s right for everyone is hard, Wheeler said, while making decisions that benefit one side is easy.
The former telecom lobbyist was asked repeatedly why he chose yesterday to announce he intends to leave the commission on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017; some lawmakers believe if he had been more clear about his intentions to step down, GOP members of the Senate such as Commerce Committee Chair John Thune of South Dakota would have been more willing to re-confirm Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel for another term.
Because Wheeler was not publicly plain about his intentions, GOP lawmakers were angered and held-up Rosenworcel’s confirmation. The Senate didn’t approve her for a new term before it left town for recess last week, and she will have to leave the Commission by January 3, when the current session of Congress adjourns.
Wheeler said yesterday he has been clear, saying repeatedly he had publicly committed to “assist in the transition, do what the transition team found helpful and I would adhere to tradition.” Ranking Member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) “was clear” some of the GOP Senators “didn’t want to confirm Rosenworcel because that would create a 2-1 Commission,” Wheeler said, meaning a Democratic majority. “I was asked if I would step down the moment she was confirmed and I said ‘of course,’” he said.
He did mention he anticipated a different outcome in the election.
Now, the FCC will have two Republicans, (Ajit Pai, who is likely to be appointed interim Chairman, and Michael O’Reilly) and one Democrat (Mignon Clyburn). Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker believes this bodes well for the industry because the Commission make-up is not uncertain anymore and the new Republican majority “would allow for expedited deregulation,” rather than needing to wait until further out in 2017.
Wireless Communication Solutions
USB Paging Encoder
Paging Data Receiver (PDR)
Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.
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Cellphones never got text message to evacuate horrific Tennessee wildfire
USA TODAY NETWORK
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Local, state and federal officials confirmed that the order to evacuate Gatlinburg amid Monday night's deadly firestorm was not sent to mobile devices in the area.
The reason for the failure, however, remains unclear.
John Mathews, director of the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, said at a news conference Friday morning it was his understanding that an evacuation alert had been sent to mobile devices.
"If people did not receive the message we sent out, of course we are unsatisfied with it," Mathews said in response to pointed questions.
The citywide evacuation was broadcast only on area TV and radio. And when it came — at 9:04 p.m. Monday, according to Tennessee Emergency Management Agency records — it was several hours after the flames had swept into Gatlinburg.
Mathews said he had relayed to TEMA Gatlinburg city officials' decision to evacuate as flames began to overrun the tourist mecca. TEMA spokesman Dean Flener previously said records show the Sevier County EMA had asked the National Weather Service office in Morristown to announce the evacuation.
"I did not call National Weather Service — I called TEMA," Mathews told the News Sentinel on Friday.
And as far as Matthews understood, he said, TEMA fulfilled the request.
A TEMA representative was among 60-some officials inside a local command post at the Gatlinburg Fire Department the night of the firestorm. Given the stress created by the fast-moving flames, though, Mathews admitted he doesn't remember specifically to whom or how he communicated the request.
"It got so bad we had to leave the command post . . . we had to evacuate ourselves," Matthews said, adding that the command staff was forced to relocate to a nearby community center.
Anthony Cavallucci, NWS-Morristown's warning coordination manager, confirmed that his office issued an Emergency Alert System message announcing the evacuation shortly after 9 p.m. That alert was broadcast via TV, radio and weather radio through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS.
Various agencies, such as TEMA and the National Weather Service, are authorized to issue alerts through IPAWS, which can broadcast the messages on TV and radio, as well as send wireless text alerts to all mobile devices in a given area during an emergency.
But depending on the nature of the alert, different agencies have different levels of IPAWS access.
The National Weather Service, for instance, can only send wireless text alerts specific to weather-related events, such as tornado or flash flood warnings, Cavallucci said.
The NWS, however, is not equipped to send wireless alerts to mobile devices for civil emergencies, including calling for evacuations, he explained.
Cavallucci said his office had been in ongoing communication throughout Monday with the Sevier County E-911 dispatch center, relaying updated wind and weather forecasts.
"911 was acting as kind of a relay among (Sevier County) EMA, Gatlinburg Fire Department and us," he explained Friday.
The weather service office contacted E-911 dispatch about 8:45 p.m. that night, asking if there was any message NWS could communicate to the public, and NWS officials were asked to relay the evacuation order.
"(E-911) told us they wanted the message sent and they told us what they wanted us to put in the message," Cavallucci said. "Once that was communicated to us and typed into our system ... it was sent out through the Emergency Alert System to TV, radio and weather radio."
Who E-911 dispatchers were relaying the request from isn't clear.
Further complicating matters, Flener said the National Weather Service alert still may have reached certain mobile devices that are equipped to receive weather alerts.
"If you were in Sevier County and you have a (newer) phone with the technology to receive those weather alerts, or an app enabled on your phone to receive National Weather Service alerts, you would have received the evacuation message — unless the cellphone tower in your area was damaged or destroyed," the TEMA official said.
Meanwhile, TEMA was able to use its access to IPAWS to send a wireless message to mobile devices at 10:40 p.m. on behalf of the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, but only to warn the public to stay off the mobile phones unless it was an emergency.
None of the evacuees interviewed by the News Sentinel as of Friday said they had received a text alert announcing the evacuation, although some said they were notified by police officers who went door to door.
Jeff Carter, a maintenance worker at Brookside Resort and Event Center, said he didn't receive any notification. He went to sleep at 7 p.m. Monday, and woke at midnight to flames erupting near his apartment.
"No text alerts, not anything," he said. "And you get Amber alerts on the phone."
Others were critical of city officials' timing altogether.
Deborah Morrison, who was visiting Gatllinburg from Middle Tennessee, said she called ahead to her hotel Monday and was told it was still OK to come. Shortly after she checked in, though, hotel staff told her to evacuate.
Gatlinburg visitor Ed Carnes received the text alert warning him to stay off his phone as he and his wife sat stranded in a line of cars blocked by a fallen tree on a winding mountain road above town, surrounded by thick smoke and flames.
Carnes, a U.S. appeals court judge from Montgomery, Ala., knew about the wildfire burning nearby in the Chimney Tops area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, he said. And he only learned about a voluntary evacuation urged for people in the Mynatt Park area across town while watching a TV newscast earlier that night.
But he said he never got word of the mandatory evacuation order issued for Gatlinburg before his wife opened the drapes of their condo at Highland Condominium Rentals and screamed.
"There was a wall of fire outside the condominium," Carnes said.
"Tennessee obviously has a system to send an alert to me — and I'm from out of state. . . No criticism of the folks up there, but in the future, if they've got the technology they need to put the alerts, voluntary or mandatory, on the (wireless) alert system."
Flener said a wireless text wasn't the best means of announcing the evacuation anyway, due to the constraints of IPAWS, which limits the messages to 90 characters.
"You cannot just tell them (to evacuate.) You have to tell them what to do," Flener said. "People will panic more and you will get people in dangerous situations because you have not told them more.
Carnes said he and several others sheltered in their vehicles along Campbell Lead Road until about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when emergency crews cleared the downed trees. He credited their survival to rain that fell during the night. The Highland Condominiums, owned by Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner, were among more than 1,000 structures in Sevier County destroyed by the fire.
The wildfire, which killed at least 13 people, has been described by emergency officials as a "perfect storm" that grew exponentially in a rare mix of low humidity, drought conditions and erratic winds that suddenly doubled in speed to produce hurricane-force gusts up to 87 mph.
The blaze initially was reported as a 3-acre fire near the summit of the Chimney Tops on Nov. 23.
By midday Monday, Great Smoky Mountains National Park spokeswoman Dana Soehn said the fire had grown to approximately 500 acres, crossing Newfound Gap Road into the Twin Creek area on the flanks of Mount LeConte.
The flames had yet to pose a danger to any park structures or areas outside the park boundaries as federal, state and local firefighters began converging on the area. Soehn noted that wind gusts up to 85 mph were possible throughout the rest of the day.
"We sent out an alert to all of our local communities, particularly the Gatlinburg community, so they're well aware of any potential threats that could come to structures and facilities on the park boundary," Soehn said during a Monday news briefing on the lawn outside park headquarters.
By Monday afternoon, the city was recommending people leave the Mynatt Park area, according to TEMA logs. Around 5 p.m., city officials issued a news release assuring that no structures had caught fire within Gatlinburg.
Then, within the hour, the winds picked up tremendously, blowing flames and embers into town and bringing down power lines, which in turn ignited more spot fires.
"We went from nothing to over 20-plus structure fires in a matter of minutes, and that grew and that grew and that grew," Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said during a Thursday morning news conference.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash said park personnel had been working with city officials
"I don't have the jurisdiction to evacuate a town," Cash said during a Friday news conference. "We work collectively and that's exactly what we did on Monday, working with the city manager, myself, the fire chief, saying, 'OK, this is within a certain proximity; it is prudent for us now to start thinking about what would be. ..."
Cash was interrupted by a reporter during the news conference, which was then cut short by Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters.
Waters said a full evaluation of the decision-making process would be made in due time.
"We're not going to get into Monday morning quarterbacking right now," he said.
Patrol officers quickly were told to spread the evacuation order door to door.
Contributing: Megan Boehnke and Tyler Whetstone, Knoxville News Sentinel; and Adam Tamburin, The Tennessean.
|Source:||USA TODAY||(Thanks to Lowell Todd)|
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.
Stage 4 of the Reverse Auction Begins with 84 MHz Clearing Target
On December 13, Stage 4 of the FCC’s reverse auction began with a new clearing target of 84 megahertz. Based on the previous stages in the reverse auction, we expect Stage 4 of the reverse auction may take 2 to 4 weeks, at which time we will learn the band clearing cost. According to the FCC, forward auction bidding should begin approximately four business days after reverse auction bidding ends. Taking into account the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, this would put the estimated start date for Stage 3 of the forward auction in mid- to late-January. When forward auction bidding resumes, bidders will need to be active on 95% of their bidding eligibility (same as before) and the FCC will use a five percent increment to set new clock prices in Round 1 of Stage 4.
The Stage 4 band plan will yield seven (7) paired channel blocks for forward auction bidding, consisting of 2,912 Category 1 blocks with zero percent impairment. The Stage 4 band plan is shown below:
The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau also remind each reverse and forward auction bidder that “it is solely responsible throughout the auction for investigating and evaluating all legal, technical, and marketplace factors and risks that may have a bearing on the bid(s) it submits in the incentive auction” and that each remains “subject to the Commission’s rules prohibiting certain communications in connection with Commission auctions.”
BloostonLaw contact: John Prendergast.
FCC Issues Agenda for December 15 Open Meeting
On December 8, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the official agenda for its December Open Meeting, currently scheduled to take place at 10:30 am on Thursday the 15th. At the Open Meeting, the FCC will consider:
The Open Meeting will be webcast live at www.fcc.gov/live.
Senate Adjourns Without Appointing Rosenworcel to Second Term
On December 9, the U.S. Senate adjourned the final session of this Congress without appointing FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to the second term to which she had been nominated, leaving the FCC in a potential deadlock until President-elect Donald Trump nominates his own pick for Commissioner Rosenworcel’s seat. Commissioner Rosenworcel’s term officially ends on December 31, leaving the FCC in a two Democrat-two Republican standoff (unless something is done).
Republicans had previously stated that Commissioner Rosenworcel would not be confirmed unless Chairman Wheeler agreed to resign, as at least one Democrat must leave the FCC to give way for a third Republican. Late last week, Chairman Tom Wheeler finally made that commitment to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, but it apparently came too late. According to the Washington Post, “Reid and his Republican counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, were said to be working on a deal to confirm Rosenworcel late last week. But in the closing hours on Friday, Senate aides said there did not appear to be enough time.”
President Obama nominated Commissioner Rosenworcel for her second term back in May of 2015, but her confirmation has been kept in limbo ever since due to a number of “objections” by several Republican Senators and, recently, Democrat Senators.
Traditionally, FCC Chairpersons resign after a new president takes office. In Chairman Wheeler’s case, however, doing so would leave Republicans with a 2-1 majority. Since his term doesn’t expire until 2018, Rosenworcel’s departure makes it likely that he will remain for at least some of the Trump presidency in order to preserve the 2-2 deadlock.
Enhanced Transparency Exemption to Expire December 15
The small provider exemption from the enhanced transparency rules adopted in the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order is set to expire on December 15, 2016. However, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not yet approved the enhanced transparency rules. Therefore, although the exemption will expire, the enhanced transparency rules will not go into effect until OMB approval is received.
Originally set to expire on December 15, 2015, the FCC included in the 2015 Open Internet Order an exemption for providers with less than 100,000 broadband connections from its enhanced transparency rules. On the day it was set to expire last year, the FCC issued a report and order to extend the exemption to 2016. At that time, the FCC stated that the extension was granted because it required more time to proceed through the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) process for the enhanced transparency rule, which involves estimating the burden of complying with the transparency rule enhancements for providers of all sizes and obtaining approval from OMB. The FCC sought comment on the PRA aspect of the rule back in May of 2015, and expected the process to be completed before the new December 2016 exemption deadline. The FCC submitted the rule to the OMB on August 11, 2016, but OMB has not yet issued its approval.
Last year, House Energy and Commerce and Small Business Committee leaders expressed disappointment at the FCC’s failure to make the exemption permanent. “Permanent protection should have been an easy call, but the FCC fumbled it,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). Since then, a number of bills aimed at making the exemption permanent were proposed, but none have been passed into law.
U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and U.S. Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Bob Latta (R-OH) sent a letter to Chairman Wheeler this week urging the FCC to “extend the enhanced transparency exemption and begin the process of considering whether the exemption should be made permanent and whether the definition of the small business entities to which the exemption applies should be modified.”
FCC Announces Deadline for Notification of Service in Frontier CAF Territory
On December 14, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice announcing that existing providers in census blocks in which Frontier Communications Corp. seeks CAF Phase I incremental broadband support have until Monday, January 30, 2017 to notify Frontier that they currently offer Internet service at speeds of 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream or higher in the newly identified census blocks. A machine readable list of the census blocks Frontier intends to serve is available at https://transition.fcc.gov/wcb/CAF I.2 Census Block Update.xlsx.
On December 8, 2016, Frontier notified the FCC that it intends to modify its CAF Phase I incremental broadband deployment plans, and submitted a list of 515 census blocks that it had not previously identified with its initial election where it now intends to serve locations using Phase I incremental support. Under the requirements for Phase I incremental support, other providers now have 45 days to indicate that they already serve the identified blocks, and Frontier must certify that to the best of its knowledge the locations it plans to serve are in fact unserved before it may commence construction.
JANUARY 17: 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 Tuesday, January 17, 2017 (by operation of FCC rules, the Sunday, January 15th date is pushed to the next business day and Monday the 16th is the Martin Luther King Day federal holiday). 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 2016. 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 FCC’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 FCC’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
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
Thought this article on failure of the Gatlinburg Emergency Alert Network during their fire this week would be of interest.
I sure hope the tornado alerts I get here in Illinois arrive before the tornado.
|UNTIL NEXT WEEK|
|THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK|
“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know oneself.”
|PHOTO OF THE WEEK|
Published on Dec 15, 2013 HD 720! Tine Thing Helseth and Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra (KORK) at Norwegian Opera House in Oslo 2008/11/1. Conductor Andrew Manze: Alessandro Ignazio Marcello (1673 - 1747): Concerto in C Minor – 3: Allegro. Originally Concerto in D Minor for oboe, strings and basso continuo.
|Source:||YouTube||Click here for a video of Tine Thing Helseth telling (in English) about her three favorite pieces of music.|
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