|Wireless News Aggregation|
Wishing a safe and happy weekend for all readers of The Wireless Messaging News.
Well winter has come to Southern Illinois. It's cold and snow is on its way. One of my “smart-alec” friends, who lives up north by Chicago, says you can tell when people are from Southern Illinois because they don't have all of their teeth. I will forgive him since he just doesn't know that this part of the state has always been more advanced than the northern part.
There are two schools of thought on how this “Land Between the Rivers” became known as Little Egypt. The first says the regional name developed because of the existence of Egyptian place names such as Cairo and Thebes. The second argument says the region was named after settlers in the northern part of the state had to travel to Southern Illinois to buy grain after a series of bad winters or droughts. The settlers in their wagon trains were similar to the ancient Israelites traveling unto Egypt to buy grain.
Shawneetown, located on the Ohio River in Southern Illinois, is the oldest incorporated town in the state . It has been labeled by some as the “Gateway to Southern Illinois.” Others have called it the “Gateway to the West.” There is no doubt that it led the way to the early settlement and growth of Southern Illinois.
Old Shawneetown is the site of the first bank in the State of Illinois. Local legend states that the Shawneetown Bank refused to buy the first bonds issued by the city of Chicago on the grounds that no city located that far from Shawneetown could survive. The bank building survives as the Shawneetown Bank State Historic Site.
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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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Verizon refuses to release update that would kill Samsung’s Note 7
“We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.”
by Chris Welch
Verizon will not be releasing a just-announced Galaxy Note 7 software update designed to stop the recalled smartphone from charging. In a statement, the leading US mobile carrier attributed the decision to concerns over safety for customers who might not have another mobile phone to use after the Note 7 has been crippled.
“Verizon will not be taking part in this update because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note 7 users that do not have another device to switch to,” the company’s statement reads. “We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note 7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.” The Galaxy Note 7 remains banned on airlines by the FAA and is prohibited from being used on other forms of public transit in the United States as well.
Verizon seems to think it’s already done an effective job communicating the recall to consumers alongside Samsung, but the carrier believes this update is a step too far — even for a phone that’s a very real fire hazard. The Verge is reaching out to other US providers to see whether they plan to roll out Samsung’s update to remaining Note 7 customers. Sprint has announced that it will wait until January 8th to release the Note 7 update — after the holiday season has concluded. (Samsung said the update would take 30 days to roll out across carriers, so Sprint’s plan follows that.)
Verizon’s full statement follows below.
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 ]
BlackBerry Mercury: What's the story so far?
Almost as soon as the BlackBerry Priv — the company's first Android phone — launched in 2015, there were rumours circulating about another Android-powered smartphone. At the time it was code-named Vienna, which made complete sense following on from the Priv which was code-named Venice.
Since then, the phone was referred to with code-name Rome, and more recently, Mercury. While naming is important to get a sense of this device's story, it's easy to get confused when there are three names being bandied around for a single phone.
In true BlackBerry style, the Mercury looks to offer a physical keyboard, a uniquely BlackBerry offering when paired with the Android operating system.
Since the early "Vienna" days, very little else has been said about the supposedly impending device launch. All we know is that Blackberry has passed on the hardware manufacturing side of its business to TCL (the company charged with making Alcatel phones).
If rumours are accurate, the Mercury could be the last phone developed in house by the once giant of the smartphone world.
BlackBerry Mercury: Display
Unlike classic BlackBerry handsets the screen won't be square but adopt a more regular touchscreen aspect, according to leaked images. Venture Beat's most recent report on the new BlackBerry phones suggests it won't be the usual widescreen 16:9 ratio, but rather a 3:2 ratio display. In other words: get ready for some heavy letter-boxing on your videos.
As well as having a slightly shorter display, it's claimed to measure just 4.5-inches diagonally but still pack in a panel with full HD resolution. Given that 1080p looks great on full-size 5.5-inch screens, the smaller display on the Mercury should be very crisp.
BlackBerry Mercury: Design
Unlike the Priv, the Vienna isn't likely to have a sliding display, and won't look like a traditional candybar all-touch device either. Instead, it's likely to resemble a stretched out version of the Silver Edition BlackBerry Passport.
Like traditional BlackBerry phones, and unlike the Priv, the Mercury also appears to have metal frets in between the four rows of keys on the physical keyboard. This helps space out the keys to make typing easier, as well as giving it a solid feel. Above the keys, below the display, there's the traditional Android trio of capacitive buttons.
According to the earliest mock-ups from CrackBerry it seemed like BlackBerry would release four colour variants: silver, grey, green and red. However, it's been a long time since those, and the more recent leaked renders only appear to show this silver and black model.
Those renders from both BlackBerry Central and Mondo BlackBerry show a device with what looks slight curves on the edges of the the screen to give it a seamless look and feel. The bottom edge looks to have a Type-C port in between two grilles. Presumably one of those is the microphone, while the other is a speaker.
The Mercury also has a fairly industrial looking top panel, above the screen, which looks very similar to the Passport Silver Edition. That means that, although it looks nicely curved around the edges and on the bottom, the top is completely flat and angular.
Images leaked on Weibo even more recently show a device very similar to those earlier renders, with the traditional fretted keyboard and an industrial-looking metal frame around the edges and the Silver Edition-like grille across the earpiece on the top.
BlackBerry Mercury: Hardware specs
A report from Venture Beat states that the BlackBerry Mercury will be equipped with a mid-tier Snapdragon 625 processor, as well as 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. This rumour was backed up by an entry on Geekbench, the benchmark testing website, showing exactly those specifications.
Of course, that isn't confirmed yet, but if true it definitely won't be the flagship of BlackBerry's future product lineup.
The Geekbench listing also indicated that it will launch running Android 7.0 Nougat, making it the first BlackBerry device to be loaded with the latest version of Google's mobile operating system.
It's also rumoured to feature a huge 3,400 mAh battery. With those specs, the smaller screen and modern Android software, we'd be incredibly surprised if it couldn't last two days on a single charge. There's no word on whether or not there's any Quick Charge support, but with a phone that big, we suggest that it would need something to fill it up quickly.
BlackBerry Mercury: Camera
Recent reports have claimed that we should expect to see an 18-megapixel rear camera in the Mercury, similar to the Priv which - although not incredible - was easily the best camera we'd seen in a BlackBerry up until that point. The front camera is likely to be 8-megapixels.
The mock-ups show an LED flash on the rear and also reveal a front-facing camera.
BlackBerry Mercury: Release date and price
BlackBerry's next QWERTY-equipped smartphone is due to land at some point in the first quarter of 2017. Prices are difficult to guess, early rumours suggested around $500 USD, which would suggest a price around the £400 mark in UK.
It's not a high-end device, so it's unlikely to cost anywhere near the £580 price point of the Priv. Looking at the specifications, it's probably a safe guess to assume it'll be priced somewhere between the £275 BlackBerry DTEK50 and £480 DTEK60.
Want to know more?
We'll be keeping an eye on all the rumours surrounding the BlackBerry Mercury (DTEK-something most likely, when it launches) and updating as we learn more. You can follow all the news and reviews on the BlackBerry hub!
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It Probably Won’t Save Your Life
Although colleges and universities have spent tens of millions of dollars on complex emergency communications systems to try to make campuses safer, the technology has serious limitations, warns Bill Mahon.
By Bill Mahon
At 9:56 a.m. Monday, Nov. 28, Ohio State University students and employees received an active shooter alert, but there were two key pieces of information they did not know.
One: as students rushed in total panic to build walls of chairs and desks in front of classroom doors, they did not know the alert was inaccurate. Contrary to the words in the warning, no active shooter was on the campus. He had a knife.
Two: perhaps even more important, they had no idea the campus assailant they’d just been warned about had already died several minutes before they received the first vague danger warning at 9:54 a.m. and the second one about an active shooter at 9:56 a.m. He was shot dead by a university police officer at 9:53 a.m., about a minute after he started his attack. The danger was over when people received both of those Buckeye Alerts.
The attack at Ohio State University is a reminder that although colleges and universities have spent tens of millions of dollars during the past decade to put in place complex emergency communications systems, the technology has serious limitations. Because of the way most such attacks develop, communications will always be too slow and, at least initially, not very accurate.
Pennsylvania State University put in place one of the early text communications systems in higher education in 2006, the year before the attack at Virginia Tech. Back then it was simply another news delivery system to add to the many other advances we were making in digital communications.
I have watched as the technology has expanded, improved and been deployed to thousands of colleges and universities, hospitals, and other institutions around the nation.
Higher education systems should have such systems in place, and we should practice using them, but we need to lower our expectations for their impact. I am not aware of any such system saving lives in an active campus attack.
It is also worth remembering that although there have been some high-profile shootings on college campuses, the overall rate of campus homicides is a fraction of the rate found across the country in general. Statistically our students are far safer on the school side of College Avenue than they are on the town side.
In addition to aggressive improvements in communications, campus police around the nation have stepped up training, purchased new equipment, added officers and changed tactics. But in light of those improvements and the enormous sums being spent on new technology, it is important that students, employees and parents not be lulled into thinking technology will help keep them safe.
Imagine receiving a text message that essentially warns “Hurry up! It’s time to panic!”
And very little else. There are no details. No information on what is happening or where it is happening. No detailed description of the bad guys and what they are doing. And no specific advice on how to stay safe and alive other than an often vague message like “Shelter in place!”
The key is being fast. And not at all surprising in an emergency like the one at Ohio State, accuracy and context often come later.
Unless that smartphone sitting in your pocket happens to deflect a bullet, I’m not sure mass-alert technology will be a life-saving tool during an active shooter event on campus. Here are some of the reasons they are not perfect solutions.
Even with all those problems, and others, I still think we need robust text alert and social media systems in place on college campuses. But it is important we dial down the expectations for such systems and understand their serious limitations. The real key in limiting a mass shooting on your campus is going to be your police department — their training, size and equipment. At Ohio State, an officer was on the scene of the attack and quickly ended it.
Until something better comes along, I will continue to start the first day of class the way I always do — once we go through the syllabus and everyone in class has introduced themselves, I talk to my students for a couple minutes about their safety. I tell them where the two closest exits from the building are located and how to try to barricade the half glass door to the classroom — the one that opens outward and has no lock — to buy themselves a couple extra seconds until the police arrive. And to keep that cell phone in their pocket over their heart. It may do more good there.
Bill Mahon is a former vice president of university relations at Penn State, where he now teaches strategic communications in the College of Communications. He is a partner of University RepProtect, a suite of readiness services offered by public relations firm Ketchum.
|Source:||Inside Higher Ed|
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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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The iPhone is still the only phone that matters
Chris Smith @chris_writes
Samsung has been using OLED screens in its smartphones for years, continuously improving the quality of its displays in flagship devices like the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series. However, no matter how popular these devices are, they were not able to convince most smartphone makers to move to OLED displays. It also didn’t help that LCD screens were still a great alternative, and a cheaper one.
Come next year, the iPhone 8 will move to OLED screen, and this rumored screen technology change did not go unnoticed. Apple hasn’t even confirmed the move, and yet parts suppliers are already scrambling to meet Apple’s anticipated demand for OLED panels. And unsurprisingly, other handset makers are also considering a move from LCD to OLED.
A new report from The Wall Street Journal indicates that the iPhone is still the only smartphone that matters, important enough to cause significant ripple effects in the industry.
OLED displays are “thinner, more flexible and give better contrast,” the Journal explains, and they will replace LCDs in the future. Companies like Applied Materials and Coherent have seen a big jump in orders for the equipment necessary to manufacture OLED displays. Samsung will be the first big winner in Apple’s OLED revolution, but the company won’t be able to handle all of the demand expected to come from Apple and other smartphone makers.
Samsung will likely supply most of Apple’s OLED panels for the iPhone 8 initially, which will leave many phone makers scrambling for LCD alternatives for next year. Even Apple won’t be able to equip all 2017 iPhones with OLED screens, and some versions of the phone will reportedly still use an LCD display.
Meanwhile, other screen manufacturers including Japan Display, LG, and Sharp are investing millions in ramping up their OLED capacities to prepare for future OLED demand; Samsung is also investing in expanding its OLED operations. Most plants won’t mass-produce OLED displays until 2018 or even later.
More OLED supply will lead to lower prices, and some of these screen makers may suffer because of that, the Journal says. Samsung is seen as one company that can afford lower prices for OLED screens in the future. Of course, LCD prices are also expected to drop once there’s enough OLED supply. Currently, LCD prices have increased thanks to strong demand from Chinese smartphone vendors. Rumors say that two of Apple’s three new iPhone models in 2017 will stick with LCD screens, which should also help keep LCD prices up.
No smartphone but the iPhone can have such a big impact on the mobile industry, component suppliers included.
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?
Twitter 'Accidentally' Killed @ Usernames
BY STEPHANIE MLOT
We got a glimpse into a world where usernames don't count toward Twitter character limits.
Oops: Twitter on Thursday "accidentally" removed the @ identifier from the start of iOS users' tweet responses.
Citing an "experiment around replies," the company gave folks a glimpse into a micro-blogging world where usernames don't count toward character limits.
The change was quickly rolled back, amidst negative fan feedback.
"Hated it," Michelle Jones wrote in response to the Twitter Support notice.
"How dumb are you that this experiment even left the whiteboard," Sam Sabri added.
"Removing the Twitter handle makes it so much harder to identify people and properly follow a conversation," Angel Dominguez said.
Luckily for all the haters out there, Twitter said it is listening and taking stock of "helpful feedback."
The social network in May tipped changes to its username system, suggesting ditching the ".@" convention, used by many to ensure tweets directed at or citing people show up in the timelines of all followers.
But the feature was notably absent from a September revamp, in which Twitter loosened its restrictions, allowing photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets to no longer count toward the 140-character limit.
"One of the biggest priorities for this year is to refine our product and make it simpler," company head Jack Dorsey said in May. "We're focused on making Twitter a whole lot easier and faster." It remains unclear, however, whether this week's gaffe signals an upcoming adjustment to the system, or another internal trial that will end up on the cutting room floor.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Folks often forget that the popular social media site was conceived nearly a decade ago as an SMS-Web hybrid platform: The seemingly arbitrary 140-character limit corresponds to the 160-character SMS ceiling (saving an additional 20-character buffer for usernames)
No to Tower but a “Monopine” is Fine, Says Texas Town of Conroe
Most people may not notice the cell tower off Wilson Road in Conroe, and that is exactly what the City Council had hoped. The 100-foot “monopine” is a compromise between the city and North Carolina-based Eco-Site who installed the $38,000 tower for T-Mobile, reports the Conroe Courier.
“No city wants to have an abundance of cell towers sticking up everywhere; but on the other hand, we do not want to be the city where cellular service is substandard,” Director of Community Development Nancy Mikeska told the Courier. “The camouflage struck a balance that serves both concerns. Concealing the tower was a specific directive from the council. I think the end result is better than everyone involved could have imagined.”
The council originally said “no” to Eco-Site’s tower permit but negotiations continued until a more scenic-friendly solution was found.
“Absolutely it satisfies our concerns,” Councilman Duke Coon told the Courier. “Hopefully this will be something the council will adopt moving forward. We are going to give this more study. This is just one of those success stories,” Coon said.
In addition to allowing the installation of the tower, Mikeska said, the council unanimously approved changes to its ordinance on telecommunications, including giving the council final authority on all permits for cell towers, and increased the test fall radius on towers to 800 feet, regardless of height.
Wireless Communication Solutions
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.
SEE WEB FOR COMPLETE LIST:
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.
HAC Report Deadline Approaching – January 17, 2017
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, 2016. All service providers subject to the FCC’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, AWS, 700 MHz and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using, you and your company will need to be familiar with the FCC’s HAC rules and filing requirements.
Given the complicated nature of the report and the approaching holidays, we recommend clients start the information gathering process now and contact our firm with any questions. Cary Mitchell will be circulating this year’s questionnaire to those clients for whom we have traditionally filed HAC reports. Any clients wishing to obtain the questionnaire and related memo should contact Cary at (202)828-5538 or email@example.com.
WCB Issues Guidance on Access Charge Tariff Filings for Broadband Only Loop Service
On December 1, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) issued a Public Notice providing further instructions to rate-of-return regulated incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs) regarding access charge tariff filings introducing Consumer Broadband-only Loop Service. Rate-of-return LECs choosing to offer Consumer Broadband-only Loop service beginning January 3, 2017, whether on a tariffed or detariffed basis, are required to file pertinent access charge tariffs and/or Tariff Review Plan (TRP) worksheets on December 19, 2016 or December 27, 2016, depending on the type of changes proposed. The WCB instructs that all rate-of-return LECs that wish to introduce Consumer Broadband-only Loop service, including those that elected the initial offer of A-CAM support, should prepare and file information assuming that they will be receiving Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS) rather than model-based support as of January 1, 2017.
FCC Releases Sixth “Measuring Broadband America” Report
On December 1, the FCC released the results of its ongoing nationwide performance study of consumers’ fixed broadband Internet access service in its sixth “Measuring Broadband America” report. This year’s report highlights the following findings:
The FCC began measuring broadband performance in response to recommendations in the National Broadband Plan. The FCC released the first Measuring Broadband America Report in August 2011. The complete 2016 Measuring Broadband America report is available here.
FCC Grants in Part, Denies in Part Lifeline Waiver Requests
On December 1, the FCC issued an Order granting in part and denying in part ten requests for waiver of the effective date of rules adopted in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order, including the FCC’s Lifeline eligibility rules and port freeze rules, which took effect on December 2, 2016. The petitions were filed by the United States Telecom Association (USTelecom), and the states of California, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon.
The FCC partially granted the petitions or requests for waiver of effective date in the following states: California, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to give the states and Lifeline providers more time to implement the FCC’s amended Lifeline eligibility rules. Each of these states operates its own Lifeline eligibility verifier or database, and has not yet been able to align its criteria with the amended federal eligibility criteria. However, the FCC denied USTelecom’s request for waiver of the effective dates of certain sections of the FCC’s Lifeline eligibility rules in the remaining states and territories. The FCC found that these states were without such a process or database, or the record otherwise does not show good cause to delay the implementation of the amended Lifeline eligibility rules.
The FCC also granted the petitions of California and Oregon requesting a waiver of the effective date of the FCC’s port freeze rules. The port freeze was adopted to provide service stability for Lifeline subscribers, and to incentivize Lifeline providers to offer quality services to their consumers. Both states had opted out of the National Lifeline Accountability Database, but required more time to get their own databases in order.
Law & Regulation
FCC Announces Capital Investment Allowance for 2017
On December 6, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) issued a Public Notice announcing that the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has published the final Capital Investment Allowance (CIA) amounts for each rate-of-return carrier in 2017. These final results replace the previously published illustrative results.
The CIA is the maximum amount of capital investment expenses that a rate-of-return carrier may include for purposes of calculating High-Cost Loop Support (HCLS) and Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS). As adopted in the Rate-of-Return Reform Order, the CIA will first apply to investment made in 2017. USAC has published a worksheet that allows a carrier to calculate the CIA based on its own inputs. Using this worksheet, a carrier may replicate the 2015 results and test alternate investment plans. USAC has also published documentation of the CIA methodology to accompany the final results and template. The final results, the template, and the documentation of the methodology are available at http://www.usac.org/hc/tools/default.aspx.
FCC Proposes $390,000 Penalty Against NECC for Apparent USF Overcharges
On December 2, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against NECC Telecom, Inc. (NECC) proposing a penalty of $392,930 for apparently “charging excessive universal service fees to its international long distance customers, for transferring substantial control over its authorizations to provide international and domestic telecommunications service without prior Commission approval, and for failing to timely pay regulatory fees to the Commission.” Specifically, the FCC found that NECC apparently violated the Communications Act and the FCC’s rules when it included USF surcharges on customer bills for international service while it was exempt from contributing to USF based on those revenues. The FCC also found that its unauthorized transfers of substantial control of the company, including its federally-granted authorizations, also apparently violated the Act and the Rules and prevented the FCC from evaluating possible risks to competition and consumers, as well as other adverse consequences that might have resulted from the transfers. And by failing to fully pay its regulatory fee obligations as an interstate telecommunications provider, NECC deprived the FCC of the funding necessary to cover the costs of a wide variety of regulatory functions.
The NAL specifies that NECC generally qualified for what is known as the LIRE exemption, because its interstate revenue equaled less than 12 percent of its combined interstate and international revenue. However, upon investigation, NECC apparently billed customers for USF contribution obligations on those revenues. NECC did not report any revenues from those surcharges, but a sample of invoices demonstrated they were in fact being collected.
FCC Sends Another Letter Against Zero Rating, Causing Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly to React
News sources are reporting that on December 1, the FCC sent a letter notifying AT&T that it has preliminarily concluded that the practice of “zero rating” violates Net Neutrality. According to CNET, the FCC’s letter indicates that based on the FCC’s investigation, “AT&T seems to present the unaffiliated provider with a choice that is unreasonable on its face: either pay a Sponsored Data rate . . . that would make it very difficult, if not infeasible, to offer a competitively priced service, or instead require its customers to pay significant amounts for their own usage of data while AT&T's zero-rated DirecTV Now service offers customers the same usage for free." A similar investigation has reportedly been initiated against Verizon.
As we reported in the November 16 edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, this is not the first letter the FCC has sent AT&T regarding zero rating. At that time, the FCC sent a letter to AT&T, Inc. expressing concerns over its “zero rating” practice – that is, the practice of exempting its affiliated streaming services from data-usage caps.
On December 2, FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly issued separate statements regarding the apparently ongoing investigation by FCC staff into ‘zero-rated’ offerings — i.e., offerings that are subsidized by the content creator so the content does not count against data caps.
Commissioner O’Rielly said, “It would be difficult to come up with a better example of a complex, controversial policy at the current Commission than this attempt to intimidate providers in order to shut down popular offerings to consumers.” Commissioner Pai said, “[t]his end-run around Congress’s clear instruction [not to pursue controversial matters until the transition is complete] is sad—and pointless. For any unilateral action taken by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau at the Chairman’s direction in the next 49 days can quickly be undone by that same bureau after January 20, 2017.”
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.
BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
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|
Just to let you know that I got a call yesterday from Jimmy Acosta (son) and he told me his dad, Santiago (Jimmy) Acosta, passed away last week.
From a previous message: Santos Mateo died in October of 2011.
Editor's note: These were two really great guys and my good friends. They were business partners and pioneers in the Paging and Two-Way Radio industries in Puerto Rico. I first met them in 1974 and count it a privilege to have known them and their families.
|UNTIL NEXT WEEK|
|THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK|
“Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.”
|PHOTO OF THE WEEK|
The Poetics of Place
|Source:||PDN Photo Of The Day|
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