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Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,
Welcome back to The Wireless Messaging News.
Sorry for my friends on the East Coast—buried under snow. We are having a mild winter here in the Midwest. It is 42º here today and the forecast is for 57º tomorrow.
Does anyone have a 1050 Hz vibrasponder?
Now more news and views.
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.
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Tie vote delays plan to put up cell towers at two Glendale parks
By Arin Mikailian Arin Mikailian
A decision to install cellphone towers in two local parks encountered a stalemate Tuesday night as City Council members were split on the issue.
Verizon wants to install a monopole at Fremont Park and a monoshrub at Scholl Canyon Ballfield to improve coverage in the area in exchange for paying a monthly lease to the city.
However, with Councilwoman Laura Friedman absent from the meeting, a 2-2 vote was ultimately cast.
Mayor Ara Najarian and Councilwoman Paula Devine were in favor of moving forward with the installations, while Councilman Zareh Sinanyan and Councilman Vartan Gharpetian said they wanted to see reports on whether there are any health impacts from radio waves transmitted by the equipment.
"I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing," Gharpetian said. "Postponing a week or two is not going to hurt the project or make a difference for Verizon."
There are eight cellphone towers already up and running in local parks. Verizon officials said the company would pay $36,000 a year for each of the proposed facilities. That revenue would go toward maintaining the parks where the towers are erected, said Koko Panossian, the city's parks services administrator.
Resident Tony Passarella said he's worried the waves from cellphone towers could cause adverse health effects.
However, City Manager Scott Ochoa said the city is not aware of any complaints regarding the existing cellphone towers.
Wireless facilities are mostly governed by the Federal Communications Commission, which precludes local governments from denying applications based on health concerns. The only say cities have is where the equipment may be installed.
Resident Nana Stepanyan spoke against both facilities, saying they are too close to residents.
"[They] will invite more cellphone towers … There should be no place for any cellphone towers in such highly populated areas," she said.
The proposed monoshrub at Scholl Canyon Ballfield would be placed in an open-space area just outside the park. The proposed Fremont Park monopole, which would be made to resemble a tree, would be installed in a storage area away from the playground.
But Gharpetian said regardless, it's still close to homes near the park.
When asked if the facility could be placed anywhere else, Verizon Wireless representative William Desmond said Fremont Park is the target in order to fix a gap in coverage.
"[Fremont Park] affords the greatest separation from residences," he added.
Desmond said he's applied for thousands of cellphone towers that have complied with federal standards and that according to many studies they pose no health risks.
City staffers said they will bring back the reports requested by Sinanyan and Gharpetian at the next council meeting.
Najarian said he'd like to see the police and fire chiefs at that meeting as well to speak about the importance of having good cellphone reception in case of emergencies.
"The risk of not being able to place an emergency phone call, a 911 call, when a resident needs help far outweighs the claimed health risks of the radiation from the towers," he said.
|Source:||Los Angeles Times|
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President’s Life Put In ‘Danger’ By Broken Secret Service Radio Systems
By ETHAN BARTON
Broken radio systems used by the United States Secret Service (USSS) put “the president’s life” in danger, a congressional committee chairman said Friday.
A failure of the agency’s outdated radio systems could be catastrophic during an emergency, according to a Department of Homeland Security inspector general report made public by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
“Secret Service needs to upgrade the radio systems used around the White House complex, the Vice President’s residence and Foreign Diplomatic Embassies,” the report says. “We identified issues that could inhibit communications in an emergency.
“In addition, the systems are old and have been failing,” it continues. “A single missed transmission or delay could result in a national incident .”
The Secret Service’s Radio Trouble Log showed more than 100 instances in less than a year “where technical issues interrupted the radio systems and communications,” though only 3 percent of the IG’s 186 radio tests were unsuccessful, the report says.
The Secret Service’s plethora of recent failures has been a focus of the oversight committee.
“Secretary Johnson must fix the problems within USSS before the president’s life is put in further danger ,” Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says in a statement. “This is another inexcusable security vulnerability at the White House.”
The Secret Service’s outdated radios and the infrastructure “may not be working as effectively as needed,” the IG reports, though the age of the equipment was redacted.
Radios are Secret Service agents’ “first line of communication for events such as fence jumpers, suspicious packages or protests,” the report says. “These radio systems are critical for day-to-day protective operations.”
The Secret Service plans to invest $54.2 million by 2019 to upgrade its Washington radio systems, according to the report.
“This is not a lack-of-funding issue,” Chaffetz says. “This problem stems from mismanagement and poor prioritization by DHS leadership.”
The Secret Service has been given more money than requested, the Republican from Utah also notes. “They’ve had ample resources to prevent such a dangerous situation,” Chaffetz said.
The committee released a report titled “United States Secret Service: An Agency in Crisis” in December, which “highlighted serious leadership and staffing concerns” and “security breach incidents.” It unanimously approved the report.
The IG reports issues with another USSS system, but details were redacted.
|Source:||The Daily Caller|
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8 reasons I still can’t leave the iPhone and switch to Android
By Zach Epstein on Jan 28, 2016 at 9:41 AM
While Apple’s iPhones have been my main handsets since shortly after the first model was introduced in 2007, I used to carry an Android phone with me at all times until recently. Carrying two phones seems odd to most people, but there were so many important Android features that weren’t mirrored in iOS for a period of time, and I also enjoyed the variety.
Then last year, I ran out of reasons to keep using Android .
Yes, of course there are still plenty of Android features that are nowhere to be found on Apple’s smartphone lineup. But where key features are concerned — features that are truly unique and useful to mass market smartphone owners — there isn’t much on Google’s mobile platform that’s missing from Apple’s iPhones.
So I stopped carrying a second smartphone.
I obviously still continue to test Android devices for my job, but it has now been quite some time since I reviewed an Android handset . And then recently, I found myself missing the variety that carrying an Android phone afforded. So I opened “the phone closet” in my office and picked out one of the most recent devices sent to BGR for review, the Huawei Mate 8. I powered it on, set it up, popped it in my pocket and began to use it from time to time instead of my iPhone 6s.
It was awesome.
Huawei’s latest and greatest is easily one of the best phablet-sized smartphones on the market right now, despite the fact that you might have never even heard of it if you live in the United States. The metal construction is gorgeous and slim, the display is large and bright, and it’s one of the few smartphones out there powered by the latest version of Google’s Android platform, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Mate 8 has a solid 16-megapixel camera, the octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM keep it humming, and the giant 4,000 mAh battery lasts far longer than my iPhone.
To be honest, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed carrying an Android phone again. As great as the iPhone is, using the same device each and every day inevitably gets repetitive. But the more I used Huawei’s sleek smartphone, the more I realized that there’s just no way Android can be anything more to me than a part of my job.
Here are a few of the many reasons why.
First and foremost, iOS really is a pleasure to use. It’s so simple and yet so versatile. Think about how difficult is was to create a mobile platform as appealing to savvy users as it is to novices.
The platform itself is characterized by a minimalistic look and it really couldn’t be more simple to navigate. The stage is set perfectly for apps, the most important part of the smartphone experience. Developers are given tools that make it painfully easy to create user experiences that are consistent visually, and yet broad in scope in terms of functionality.
And speaking of apps, there is simply no substitute for iOS when it comes to high-quality mobile applications.
Google takes a much different approach than Apple when it comes to third-party apps, offering developers much more freedom and far fewer restrictions. As a result, the Android platform offers power users some complex apps the likes of which iOS may never see.
But those apps only truly appeal to a small subset of users. For everyone else, simplicity, efficiency, consistency and performance are far more important. And in these areas, iOS is nearly always a clear winner.
Apps that serve the same purpose on both platforms almost always offer a better user experience on iOS than they do on Android. Even when the same developer builds an app for both platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so on — the iOS version is always smoother and simpler.
Speed and Fluidity
Android has made great strides where performance and fluidity of the user experience are concerned, but it just can’t ever seem to catch up to iOS. Things as simple and integral as scrolling never exist without hiccups on even the most powerful and modern of Android devices. Meanwhile, anyone who has used an iPhone 6s or even earlier iPhone models will tell you that the iPhone’s user experience is smooth as silk.
We’ve gone over this dozens of times here on BGR, but that doesn’t make the issue any less significant. When Apple releases an update for iOS, the overwhelming majority of iPhone and iPad users have access to it instantly. When Google releases an update for Android, years go by before that new software version makes its way to the majority of smartphones and tablets.
I wrote about this issue most recently just two weeks ago . Stop for a moment to consider how crazy this is: Apple released iOS 9 in September 2015 and it’s already on 75% of iOS devices. Meanwhile, the most widely used version of Android at this very moment was released more than two years ago in 2013.
Google is Everywhere
Google’s services are often vastly superior to their Apple counterparts, but Google’s best stuff is all available on iOS. Gmail, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Now, Google Calendar, Google Hangouts, etcetera, etcetera. It’s all on iOS.
Meanwhile, Apple’s best stuff is iOS-only.
The explanation is simple: Google wants to be everywhere because its missions are to collect information about users and to show them ads. That’s how Google makes its money and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that . Apple, on the other hand, wants to sell you hardware and restricting its best services to that hardware makes financial sense.
The aforementioned service lock-in is of course the next reason I can’t quit the iPhone and jump ship to Android. I’ll refer you to a tweet I posted back in 2014:
It seems silly at first, but my friend’s comment just scratches the surface of the terrific job Apple has done of creating platform-exclusive services that are difficult to be without once you’ve experienced them. Beyond iMessage and the surrounding features, you’ve got the simplicity of iCloud, the elegant integration of FaceTime audio and video calling, the utility of Find My Friends, and so on.
All the Best Apps and Services
Years ago, it was almost impossible to find all of the best apps and services you needed on any platform other than iOS. Today, you can find at least of most of them, or decent alternatives, on Android.
But it’s still not the same.
Forgetting the issue that I already mentioned — even the same apps available on both platforms offer better user experiences on iOS — many developers still target Apple devices before Android. And we’re not just talking about small indie developers here; time after time I am given products to review by big brands that only plan to offer iOS compatibility at launch.
Last but certainly not least, I can’t switch away from Android because doing so will mean losing what might be my favorite new Apple product in years: The Apple Watch.
You can read my extensive thoughts on the Apple Watch in my earlier coverage. Long story short, I was very skeptical before the Apple Watch was released — more skeptical than I had ever been of any recent Apple device — but now I can’t live without it. I was a longtime watch collector with more than a dozen watches worth tens of thousands of dollars. With the exception of one painful day when I switched to an old mechanical watch as a test, I haven’t gone back since I bought an Apple Watch.
Maybe someday there will be an Android alternative that comes even remotely close to matching the style, quality and user experience of the Apple Watch, but I don’t envision that day arriving anytime soon. And that’s saying a lot, considering the Apple Watch is a v1 product with plenty of room for improvement.
Free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots launch in NYC
By Derek Major
The first of New York City’s LinkNYC kiosks went live for beta testing Jan. 19, marking the city’s first step in its plans to provide free, high-speed Wi-Fi.
LinkNYC aims to create a communications network with its 7,500 Link stations that will be erected across the five boroughs by 2020, with 500 being installed by this summer.
The beta phase begins a handful of operational kiosks, each of which will allow users within 150 feet to connect to the LinkNYC gigabit Wi-Fi network. The kiosks are powered by an all-new, purpose-built fiber optic network that will deliver speeds up to 100 times faster than average public Wi-Fi, LinkNYC said.
CityBridge, the consortium of technology firms building LinkNYC, is investing more than $200 million to install hundreds of miles of new fiber optic cable that will deliver gigabit connectivity to Links stations.
An Engadget writer who tested the service shortly after it became operations said he was getting 300 megabit/sec Wi-Fi access, much faster speeds than are typically available in coffee shops and most residences.
The kiosks will contain a built-in tablet allowing users to browse the web and access city services, maps, directions and a 911 emergency call button. People can charge their mobile devices through USB ports, and using the Vonage app on the tablet, can make free phone calls anywhere in the United States, including to 311, 411 and 911. Links kiosks also have two 55” high-definition digital screens used for public service announcements and advertising, which helps fund the stations.
Additional apps and services will be rolled out over the next few months, according to the LinkNYC FAQ .
LinkNYC has two networks: LinkNYC Free Wi-Fi and LinkNYC Private. The open network relies on web server-based SSL security to protect the information passing between a device and the Link. The private network secures all wireless communications between devices and the Link, regardless of whether a website uses SSL security, the FAQ explained. During the beta phase, the private network requires an iOS device and Hotspot 2.0 technology that lets a device verify the authenticity of the ‘LinkNYC Private’ network. The network is one of the first in the country to offer an encrypted public network at this scale, according to a post by Intersection on Medium .
Even so, as the kiosks will be used to browse the web via public Wi-Fi, some are concerned that they pose security risks.
Hackers can “break into them and put information on them to use as a keylogger” to collect passwords, said Tyler Cohen Wood, a cybersecurity adviser to Inspired eLearning. “If you’re on the public network and sending sensitive information, you’re on a network with potentially hundreds other people [who] have the ability to really see what you’re doing.”
To keep the Link stations secure, CityBridge will install cyber protections, including a series of filters and proxies to block anyone who tries to download malware during a browsing session, The Verge reported.
The city will also monitor traffic to stop users from receiving data from a command-and-control server. And if malware is installed on a LinkNYC tablet, it would soon be deleted. The devices go through a hard reset after 15 seconds of inactivity, according to The Verge’s report .
For those who are still uneasy about the security on public networks, Cohen Wood suggested they being wary supplying email addresses or other personal information to access hotspots.
The iPhone 7 Plus might have two rear cameras
By Jacob Kastrenakes on January 27, 2016 09:19
A new iPhone is more than half a year away, but it looks like we're already starting to hear about what's going to be in it. The frequently reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said this morning that he expects the iPhone 7 Plus to include a dual-camera system on its back, according to MacRumors . The two cameras would likely work together to form a single high-quality image, rather than producing separate images or being used for 3D image capture. Kuo also believes the two-camera design might somehow enable optical zoom, allowing the phone to narrow its field of view without losing image quality.
One of the other interesting points in Kuo's research note is that he says two versions of the iPhone 7 Plus are in development: one with a dual-camera system and one with a standard single camera on its back. That could mean that Apple still hasn't decided if the dual-camera setup is ready to go to market, but Kuo seems to think that it might mean Apple will offer both configurations. There will be "supply chain constraints" on the dual-camera modules, he predicts, and so Apple may opt to sell the dual-camera model as a more expensive option. Never doubt that Apple will pass up an opportunity to increase its average selling price, but this would be the first time that Apple has offered multiple hardware configurations for a specific model of phone (discounting storage and color, of course). It's not as though supply chain constraints haven't factored into iPhone launches before, and without leading to multiple models.
As with any early Apple leak, the predictions above may not ultimately be what Apple decides on. But signs have been pointing in this direction. In late 2014, Apple pundit John Gruber mentioned that he'd heard about work on a dual-camera system for a future iPhone. Then, last spring, Apple purchased a company that specialized in multi-camera systems. Finally, just this month, a patent application revealed some of the ideas Apple has been exploring for a two-camera setup.
It's not entirely clear how the system functions — MacRumors explored some possibilities after Apple's purchase — but the gist seems to be that phone would combine information from the two cameras to remove noise and improve clarity. The system also relies on smaller sensors and pixels, potentially allowing for a thinner camera module, which could prevent another protruding camera. Apple needs to take a big leap in camera quality if it wants to stay ahead of the best Android phones ( they've already caught up ), and it sounds like this may be its plan to do just that.
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Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.
Special Blizzard Edition
BloostonLaw Comments Offer Conditional Support Proposal; Seek to Eliminate HAC Reporting
As we recently reported in the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC is proposing to adopt a “Joint Consensus Proposal” developed by advocates for the hearing impaired and wireless trade associations which would require manufacturers and service providers (including our clients) to increase the percentage of HAC-enabled wireless devices they offer. The Joint Consensus would increase the applicable HAC benchmark percentages, culminating in a 100% compliance benchmark in eight years, subject to technical feasibility.
While the FCC seems all but certain to adopt the Joint Consensus Proposal, the Commission needs to be reminded that small carriers do not have the same purchasing power as nationwide service providers and their access to newer wireless handset models is often limited to those devices that “trickle down” to them from third-party handset distributors. This creates a very real risk of non-compliance (and substantial fines) for service providers that, through no fault of their own, do not have access to an adequate supply or selection of HAC devices. In contrast, a regime where a HAC mandate is placed on new handsets ( i.e., a requirement on device manufacturers) would relieve reporting and regulatory compliance burdens on small carriers while ensuring that compatible devices are widely available.
Our law firm was successful in having the FCC move its comment deadline by two weeks because of a conflict with the HAC reporting deadline, and the importance of these issues to small carriers. We believe it is important for our law firm’s HAC clients to make a strong showing in this proceeding so the Commission shows greater flexibility to small carriers and reduces annual HAC reporting burdens. If you wish to support this effort, please respond via email or telephone by 4 pm ET on Thursday (January 28th). Please contact us if you would like to receive a copy of the draft comments.
Forward Auction Short-Form Filing Window Opens Today; Application Deadline Extended to Feb. 10
On January 27, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that the filing window for the FCC Form 175, the short-form application to participate in the forward auction phase of the broadcast incentive auction, will open Wednesday, January 27, at noon, after a one-day delay due to severe weather in the Washington, DC area. In addition, the closing of the filing window will be extended for one day from its originally scheduled February 9 deadline to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, February 10.
All other procedures, terms and requirements as set out in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures Public
REMINDER: FCC Anticipates New Lifeline Rules to Become On or After February 4
As we reported in the January 20 edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC received approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the modifications to the Lifeline reporting requirements contained in its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Order on Reconsideration, Second Report and Order, and Memorandum Opinion and Order of June, 2015 (2015 Lifeline Reform Order ). The FCC has stated that it intends to send the OMB approval to the Federal Register on February 4 for publication, and that parties should therefore expect these rules to become effective on or after that date.
Specifically, the following rules will take effect:
Carriers that participate in the Lifeline program and have questions about the new requirements should feel free to contact the firm for more information.
Chairman Tom Wheeler Proposes to Unlock Set-Top Boxes
On January 27, the FCC’s Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the first details of an upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would, among other things, give consumers a choice of accessing programming through the Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD)-provided interface on a pay-TV set-top box or app, or through devices such as a tablet or smart TV using a competitive app or software.
According to the announcement the NPRM identifies three core information streams that must pass from MVPDs to the creators of competitive devices or apps — service discovery, entitlements, and content delivery — and proposes a number of ways to make this information available to third parties so they may create competitive alternatives. The NPRM also proposes to require MVPDs to offer at least one content protection system that is openly licensed on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
FCC Open Meeting Agenda Announced
On January 28 at 1:00p.m., Eastern, the FCC will hold an Open Meeting on the following items:
Audio/Video coverage of the meeting will be broadcast live with open captioning over the Internet from the FCC Live web page at www.fcc.gov/live .
FCC Seeks to Refresh Record on USTA Dominant Carrier Presumption Petition
On January 21, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking further comment on the December 19, 2012, United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) petition requesting that the Commission declare incumbent local exchange carriers “no longer presumptively dominant when providing interstate mass market and enterprise switched access services.” Comments are due February 22 and reply comments are due March 7.
The Bureau originally sought and received public comment on the Petition in March of 2013, and invites comment particularly on “marketplace or regulatory developments, since the filing of the Petition, that may bear on the Commission’s evaluation of the Petition” and “the practical impact and scope of the finding sought by the Petition.”
FCC Announces New Treatment of Long-Pending Antenna Structure Applications
On January 21, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that, effective immediately, any application for Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) that was not submitted with an Environmental Assessment (EA) and that has been pending for more than 10 months will be returned to applicant. If an applicant wishes to complete a returned application, it may resubmit the application within 60 days of having the application returned. An application will be dismissed if the applicant does not resubmit the application within this time period, and thereafter the applicant would need to file a new application. If an applicant does resubmit a returned application but fails to complete it, the application will be dismissed after an additional six months.
Similarly, any pending application for which (1) the applicant has not provided the material necessary to complete the agency’s environmental review, or (2) the applicant provided the necessary material and the agency issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), may be returned at any time after 24 months have elapsed since the original filing, with the applicant having 60 days to resubmit the application before it is dismissed.
According to the Public Notice, “[w]hile most applicants promptly complete the second part of the process, a growing number of applications remain pending indefinitely. By dismissing older applications that are not awaiting any Commission action, we ensure that pending applications in the ASR system do not become stale. By establishing the time limits described above, we allow enough time for an applicant to complete the application under almost any circumstance if it wishes to do so.”
FCC Adopts Broadcasting Ownership Diversification Order
On January 20 the FCC released its Report and Order, Second Report and Order, and Order on Reconsideration in the proceeding on Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, originally adopted on January 8. In this document, the FCC “acts to improve the data available to analyze issues relevant to ownership and viewpoint diversity by refining the collection of data reported on FCC Form 323, Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcast Stations, and FCC Form 323-E, Ownership Report for Noncommercial Broadcast Stations.”
Specifically, the FCC implemented a Restricted Use FRN (RUFRN) within the CORES registration system that may be used for broadcast ownership report filings in lieu of the Special Use FRN (SUFRN), alleviating the need to disclose individuals’ full Social Security Numbers (SSNs). The SUFRN will no longer be available for broadcast station ownership reports. The FCC also prescribed revisions to Form 323-E that conform reporting for noncommercial educational (NCE) broadcast stations more closely to those for commercial stations, including information about race, gender, and ethnicity of existing, reportable attributable interest holders; the use of a unique identifier; and the biennial filing requirement. Finally, the FCC also made a number of significant changes to its reporting requirements to streamline the process and improve data quality, such as extending the biennial filing deadline, reducing the number of filings required, improving the reporting of other broadcast and newspaper interests, and other modifications.
Companies with questions about the new RUFRNs should contact the firm for more information.
FCC Takes Steps to Push Licenses with Wide-Band Emission Designators to Update their Licenses
In an effort to clean up its license database and ensure that all Part 90 150-174 MHz (VHF) and 421-470 MHz (UHF) licensees are in compliance with the FCC’s narrowbanding mandate that was effective January 1, 2013, the FCC is will require the removal of wideband emissions from all Part 90 VHF and UHF licenses before further action such as a license renewal, license modification or license assignment and/or transfer can be approved. In essence, the FCC will now hold any application filed by a noncompliant licensee “hostage” until compliance is achieved. If the licensee needs to get a new facility on the air or do a merger on short notice, this could create significant problems.
Under the FCC’s current policy, applications to renew Part 90 VHF and UHF licenses that list only a wideband emission are automatically dismissed unless (a) the application also proposes to modify the license by replacing the wideband emission with the appropriate narrowband emission designator(s), (b) the applicant certifies that the station equipment meets the narrowband efficiency standard, or (c) the licensee has been granted a waiver of the January 1, 2013 narrowbanding mandate for that station.
Effective February 16, 2016 , the FCC is expanding its current policy to withhold action on all Part 90 VHF and UHF applications that only list a wideband emission. As a result, the FCC will dismiss all Administrative Update, Modification (including Renewal/Modification) and Assignment of License and Transfer of Control applications unless the applicant takes one of the corrective actions mentioned above. The FCC has also stated that it will dismiss that include a Part 90 VHF or UHF license which contains only a wideband emission, unless the applicant demonstrates that the station equipment meets the efficiency standard or that a valid waiver the January 1, 2013 narrowbanding mandate is in place. This is significant since it appears that one straggler license containing only a wideband emission designator could gum up the works for a transaction involving multiple licenses.
As mentioned, this policy change could become an impediment for those transactions with a short-fuse. This is because any VHF or UHF license with a wideband emission designator (other than those operating on dedicated paging channels) will need to be modified to replace the wideband emission with a narrowband emission designator unless you can demonstrate that a waiver is in place or the equipment meets the efficiency standards. This step could delay the filing of your license assignment or transfer of control application, which in turn, could delay your closing.
Licenses with both Wideband and Narrowband Emissions — The FCC has indicated that starting February 16, 2016, it will return any application which includes a license that contains both the wideband and narrowband emission designators with a requirement that the license be modified to delete the wideband emission. This type of license modification can be accomplished without frequency coordination or the payment of a filing fee to the FCC since the purpose of the application is to meet the FCC’s requirements.
The FCC requires an applicant for centralized trunking to obtain the consent of all “affected” licensees since centralized trunking licensees are not required to monitor prior to transmitting. In 2013, the FCC amended its rules to provide that licensees with an authorized bandwidth exceeding 12.5 kHz would not be deemed to be “affected” licensees unless the station was operating with narrowband equivalent equipment or had a valid waiver of the January 1, 2013 narrowbanding requirement. In response to a request for clarification from the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC), the FCC clarified that while frequency coordinators may ignore wideband only licenses when coordinating centralized trunking applications, incumbent stations that are in fact narrowband compliant and subsequently update their license to reflect the narrowband operation are, in fact, “affected” licensees. As a result, the FCC is encouraging frequency coordinators to contact any licensee with a wideband only emission as part of the coordination process in order to determine whether that incumbent licensee is an “affected” licensee from whom consent must be obtained.
The FCC has indicated that it plans to e-mail Part 90 VHF and UHF licensees with licenses that include wideband emission designators in order to urge them to update their licenses. For our office clients, we have been systematically updating your licenses to delete the wideband emission as part of the license renewal process. In accordance with the FCC’s new procedures that are effective February 16, 2016, we will expand this to all applications, including Administrative Updates, Modifications as well as Assignments of License and Transfers of Control.
We would like to remind our clients that absent a valid waiver of the January 1, 2013 narrowband mandate, any actual operation of Part 90 VHF and UHF systems in a wideband mode on non-paging channels is a violation of the FCC’s rules that could result in the imposition of significant fines and forfeitures or license revocation.
Please let our office know if you have any questions.
FirstNet Issues Request for Proposals for National Public Safety Network
On January 13, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) issued the full text of the official Request for Proposal (RPF) for its Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). The anticipated contract resulting from this RFP will be a single award Indefinite-Delivery-Indefinite-Quantity with fixed price payments to FirstNet by the Contractor for each of the 56 states and territories resulting from this solicitation. The deadline for submitting a proposal in response to the RFP is April 29, 2016 at 2:00 pm Eastern.
FirstNet has adopted an objectives-based approach in this RFP rather than a traditional requirements-driven model in order to provide industry the maximum opportunity and flexibility in the development of innovative solutions for the NPSBN. Providing this flexibility is supposed to allow Offerors to illustrate their intent in their proposals to meet or exceed the following high-level objectives outlined RFP:
Building, Deployment, Operation, And Maintenance Of The NPSBN: Provide nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network service that ensures network coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and complies with the technical requirements referenced herein, throughout the RFP and its attachments.
While the RFP is clearly national in scope, it does place an emphasis on the integration of assets owned and operated by rural telecommunications providers. Therefore, even small rural carriers (as well as regional carriers, manufacturers and others) will want to review the RFP and evaluate opportunities to get involved at the integration level.
Aluminum Manufacturer Agrees to Pay $135,000 Penalty for License Glitches
Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, LLC, a manufacturer of rolled aluminum products, agreed to a consent decree that requires payment of $135,000, as a means to avoid the originally proposed fine that was more than double that amount. The violations involved were failure to renew certain private, internal use licenses, and operation on the authorized frequencies after the licenses lapsed, by Constellium’s predecessor company; and the acquisition of that company by Constellium without prior FCC approval. All of these actions are violations that companies can easily fall into, especially if they hold FCC licenses incidental to their main operations (such as manufacturing), and are not focused on FCC compliance matters. The FCC also took issue with Constellium’s slowness in responding to Commission inquiries.
With fines reaching such significant levels for what the business world would likely to consider understandable and inadvertent violations, it is more important than ever for licensees to have a system in place (such as Blooston’s license retainer arrangement) to track and renew their licenses, and otherwise stay apprised of FCC compliance requirements.
FCC Grants 800 MHz Rule Waiver
The FCC has recently granted a request for rule waiver in order to permit the relocation of two 800 MHz SMR transmitters in western Colorado. Under the FCC’s Rules, the channels were only available to public safety or Critical Infrastructure Industry (CII) applicants. None-the-less, due to the unique circumstances presented, the FCC permitted DPE, LLC to relocate its existing transmitters to new sites that were located outside of its operational area.
As part of the 800 MHz rebanding effort, the Commission stated that channels vacated by Sprint would be available first to public safety applicants for three years and then CII applicants for an additional two years before the spectrum would be opened up to any eligible applicant at the five-year mark. Here, DPE was licensed to operate an SMR system in western Colorado. It filed an application to relocate two transmitters to replace two locations that had otherwise become unusable, either due to loss of an antenna site lease or governmental restrictions which prevented access to the site by air. While DPE was able to locate alternate sites, it was not able to contain the respective service and interference contours within its existing foot print, even with directionalized antennas.
In making its request, DPE provided a study which demonstrated that there was an abundance of spectrum for public safety in western Colorado and that there were no SMR frequencies available at the proposed sites. Additionally, the FCC noted that DPE would be surrendering the spectrum associated with the two sites so that there was essentially a “zero-sum gain” and that the problems at the two sites were not of DPE’s making. As a result, the FCC found that it would be inequitable and unduly burdensome to make DPE wait until 2017 (the end of the five-year period) to relocate its operations and change frequencies on which hundreds of mobile units operate.
Wireless Bureau Announces New Policy for Treatment of Long-Pending ASR Applications
The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has announced that it will now return to the applicant any application for Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) that was not submitted with an Environmental Assessment (EA) which has been pending for more than ten (10) months.
Under the FCC’s Rules, registration of an antenna structure is a two-part process. In the first step, the applicant provides basic information regarding the proposed antenna structure, including structure type, location, and obstruction marking and lighting so that the FCC will have enough information for the national notice for environmental impact comment. Before national notice can be effective, the applicant must also publish a notice in a local newspaper of general circulation. Once the notice process has been completed, the applicant must, in the second step, provide the date local notice was completed and certify that the proposed antenna structure will have no significant effect on the environment (which the applicant should be able to do, unless notified to the contrary by the FCC). Thereafter, the FCC will be in a position to grant the ASR for the proposed antenna tower.
The FCC is making this change because it is finding that applicants are either not completing the second step of the application process or are not withdrawing applications for projects that will not be implemented for whatever reason. The FCC believes that a ten-month time period is sufficient for most applicants to complete their ASR registrations.
The FCC will now also consider, on a case-by-case basis, the return of long pending applications that were submitted with an EA. Under this policy guidance, any pending application may be returned to the applicant at any time after 24 months have elapsed since the original filing where (a) the applicant has not provided the necessary material to complete the environmental review or (b) the applicant provided the necessary information and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued. If the applicant does resubmit the application, the FCC will dismiss the application after 12 months from the re-submittal date if the applicant fails to provide the necessary information to complete the environmental review or register the antenna structure despite the issuance of the FONSI.
|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 .|
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Wireless Network Planners
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|THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK|
“You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself.”
|PHOTO OF THE WEEK|
Blizzard blasts the East Coast
A man walks along a street covered by snow during a winter storm in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 23, 2016. A winter storm dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on the suburbs of Washington, D.C., on Saturday before moving on to Philadelphia and New York, paralyzing road, rail and airline travel along the U.S. East Coast.
|Source:||NBC News||CARLOS BARRIA/Reuters|
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