|Wireless News Aggregation|
Wishing a safe and happy weekend for all readers of The Wireless Messaging News.
Congratulations to Mercy Contreras who will be receiving the Vivian A. Carr Award at the Radio Club of America banquet tonight in New York City. This award recognizes outstanding achievements by a woman in the wireless industry, and is well deserved.
¡Felicitaciones querida Mercedes!
Expect an important article from Rex Lee next week about the “recent” revelations about pre-installed apps on our smartphones. It came in too late to include this week, but I am looking forward to reading it since “big media” is acting like they just found out and Rex has been reporting this issue for quite a while.
Apple is exploring moving iPhone production to the US: Report
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC.com
A key iPhone maker is considering moving production of the smartphone to the United States, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
" Apple asked both Foxconn and Pegatron, the two iPhone assemblers, in June to look into making iPhones in the U.S.," the Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing a source.
"Foxconn complied, while Pegatron declined to formulate such a plan due to cost concerns."
Apple declined to comment when contacted by CNBC. However, Apple has long said the barrier to moving iPhone production to the U.S. is expertise, in addition to cost.
"Foxconn follows a strict company policy of not commenting on any matters related to current or potential customers, or any of their products," a company spokesperson told CNBC via e-mail.
Taiwan-based Foxconn and Pegatron assemble iPhones in China.
The news comes following Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election. The Republican president-elect has been vocal about how U.S. companies should be building their products in America.
"We're going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries," Trump said in a speech in January .
He also said that he would slap a 45 percent import tariff on Chinese goods. Beijing hit back however. In an opinion piece published in a state-backed newspaper, the Chinese government warned that iPhone sales and other American goods could suffer if such a plan were to go through.
"A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S.," the Global Times article read .
Manufacturing the iPhones abroad allows Apple to maintain a strong margin on its product.
Apple is Foxconn's biggest customer but Chairman Terry Gou is worried about the rising production costs of such a move, the Nikkei reported, citing a source saying that costs will double. It's important to note that the discussions began in June, five months before Trump won the election.
Analysts said it is still hard to quantify what such a move would mean for Apple's finances, but warned that there will be an impact.
"If the world moves to a more nationalistic approach 'made in America, by Americans, for Americans' or 'made in China, by Chinese, for Chinese'? The unwind of these variable conditions will likely impact margins, growth and suppliers exposed to the globalization trend of the last decade. The same will likely make global tech a tougher place to invest in 2017," Neil Campling, head of global technology, media, and telecoms research at Northern Trust Capital Markets, said in a note on Friday.
Read the full Nikkei Asian Review report here .
Now on to more news and views.
Wayne County, Illinois
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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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Secret Back Door in Some U.S. Phones Sent Data to China, Analysts Say
By MATT APUZZO and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
Security contractors recently discovered pre-installed software in some Android phones that monitors where users go, whom they talk to and what they write in text messages. Credit Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press
WASHINGTON — For about $50, you can get a smartphone with a high-definition display, fast data service and, according to security contractors, a secret feature: a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours.
Security contractors recently discovered pre-installed software in some Android phones that monitors where users go, whom they talk to and what they write in text messages. The American authorities say it is not clear whether this represents secretive data mining for advertising purposes or a Chinese government effort to collect intelligence.
International customers and users of disposable or prepaid phones are the people most affected by the software. But the scope is unclear. The Chinese company that wrote the software, Shanghai Adups Technology Company, says its code runs on more than 700 million phones, cars and other smart devices. One American phone manufacturer, BLU Products, said that 120,000 of its phones had been affected and that it had updated the software to eliminate the feature.
Kryptowire, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability, said the Adups software transmitted the full contents of text messages, contact lists, call logs, location information and other data to a Chinese server. The code comes pre-installed on phones and the surveillance is not disclosed to users, said Tom Karygiannis, a vice president of Kryptowire, which is based in Fairfax, Va. “Even if you wanted to, you wouldn’t have known about it,” he said.
Security experts frequently discover vulnerabilities in consumer electronics, but this case is exceptional. It was not a bug. Rather, Adups intentionally designed the software to help a Chinese phone manufacturer monitor user behavior, according to a document that Adups provided to explain the problem to BLU executives. That version of the software was not intended for American phones, the company said.
“This is a private company that made a mistake,” said Lily Lim, a lawyer in Palo Alto, Calif., who represents Adups.
The episode shows how companies throughout the technology supply chain can compromise privacy, with or without the knowledge of manufacturers or customers. It also offers a look at one way that Chinese companies — and by extension the government — can monitor cellphone behavior. For many years, the Chinese government has used a variety of methods to filter and track internet use and monitor online conversations. It requires technology companies that operate in China to follow strict rules. Ms. Lim said Adups was not affiliated with the Chinese government.
At the heart of the issue is a special type of software, known as firmware, that tells phones how to operate. Adups provides the code that lets companies remotely update their firmware, an important function that is largely unseen by users. Normally, when a phone manufacturer updates its firmware, it tells customers what it is doing and whether it will use any personal information. Even if that is disclosed in long legal disclosures that customers routinely ignore, it is at least disclosed. That did not happen with the Adups software, Kryptowire said.
According to its website , Adups provides software to two of the largest cellphone manufacturers in the world, ZTE and Huawei. Both are based in China.
Samuel Ohev-Zion, the chief executive of the Florida-based BLU Products, said: “It was obviously something that we were not aware of. We moved very quickly to correct it.”
He added that Adups had assured him that all of the information taken from BLU customers had been destroyed.
The software was written at the request of an unidentified Chinese manufacturer that wanted the ability to store call logs, text messages and other data, according to the Adups document. Adups said the Chinese company used the data for customer support.
Ms. Lim said the software was intended to help the Chinese client identify junk text messages and calls. She did not identify the company that requested it and said she did not know how many phones were affected. She said phone companies, not Adups, were responsible for disclosing privacy policies to users. “Adups was just there to provide functionality that the phone distributor asked for,” she said.
Android phones run software that is developed by Google and distributed free for phone manufacturers to customize. A Google official said the company had told Adups to remove the surveillance ability from phones that run services like the Google Play store. That would not include devices in China, where hundreds of millions of people use Android phones but where Google does not operate because of censorship concerns.
Because Adups has not published a list of affected phones, it is not clear how users can determine whether their phones are vulnerable. “People who have some technical skills could,” Mr. Karygiannis, the Kryptowire vice president, said. “But the average consumer? No.”
Ms. Lim said she did not know how customers could determine whether they were affected.
Adups also provides what it calls “big data” services to help companies study their customers, “to know better about them, about what they like and what they use and there they come from and what they prefer to provide better service,” according to its website.
Kryptowire discovered the problem through a combination of happenstance and curiosity. A researcher there bought an inexpensive phone, the BLU R1 HD, for a trip overseas. While setting up the phone, he noticed unusual network activity, Mr. Karygiannis said. Over the next week, analysts noticed that the phone was transmitting text messages to a server in Shanghai and was registered to Adups, according to a Kryptowire report.
Kryptowire took its findings to the United States government. It made its report public on Tuesday.
Marsha Catron, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency “was recently made aware of the concerns discovered by Kryptowire and is working with our public and private sector partners to identify appropriate mitigation strategies.”
Kryptowire is a Homeland Security contractor but analyzed the BLU phone independent of that contract.
Mr. Ohev-Zion, the BLU chief executive, said he was confident that the problem had been resolved for his customers. “Today there is no BLU device that is collecting that information,” he said.
Adam Goldman contributed reporting.
A version of this article appears in print on November 16, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Text a Message, China Gets a Peek.
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 ]
Wait, how fast can Qualcomm charge a phone?: CNET Update
November 17, 2016
Charging won't be a chore with some of next year's phones. New Quick Charge 4 technology claims five hours of battery in a five-minute charge, while avoiding overheating problems.
|Source:||c|net and YouTube|
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Russian security firm says iPhone secretly logs all your phone calls
By Mike Wehner
A Russian security firm is casting doubt on just how big of an ally Apple is when it comes to consumer privacy. In a new report, the company alleges that Apple's iCloud retains the entire call history of every iPhone for as long as four months, making it an easy target for law enforcement and surveillance.
The firm, Elcomsoft, discovered that as long as a user has iCloud enabled, their call history is synced and stored. The log includes phone numbers, dates and durations of the calls, and even missed calls, but the log doesn't stop there; FaceTime call logs, as well as calls from apps that utilize the "Call History" feature, such as Facebook and WhatsApp, are also stored.
There is also apparently no way to actually disable the feature without disabling iCloud entirely, as there is no toggle for call syncing.
"We offer call history syncing as a convenience to our customers so that they can return calls from any of their devices," an Apple spokesperson told The Intercept via email."Device data is encrypted with a user's passcode, and access to iCloud data including backups requires the user's Apple ID and password. Apple recommends all customers select strong passwords and use two-factor authentication."
But security from unauthorized eyes isn't what users should be worrying about, according to former FBI agent and computer forensics expert Robert Osgood. "Absolutely this is an advantage [for law enforcement]," Osgood told The Intercept. "Four months is a long time [to retain call logs]. It's generally 30 or 60 days for telecom providers, because they don't want to keep more [records] than they absolutely have to."
If the name Elcomsoft sounds familiar, it's because the company's phone-cracking software was used by many of the hackers involved in 2014's massive celebrity nudes leak. Elcomsoft's "Phone Breaker" software claims the ability to crack iCloud backups, as well as backup files from Microsoft OneDrive and BlackBerry.
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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.
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BlackBerry's DTEK app is giving users incorrect device status following Android update
Posted: 16 Nov 2016, 20:14, by Alan F.
It appears that for some, BlackBerry's DTEK security app is going haywire. Following software updates to the BlackBerry Priv, BlackBerry DTEK50 and BlackBerry DTEK60 , the app alerted owners of these devices that there was an issue with their phones' operating system even though no problem existed.
While this software bug appears to have affected only a small number of BlackBerry users, the problem has been added to the BlackBerry Knowledge Base and the company says that it is working on correcting it. Whatever is causing the problem, it forces the DTEK app to show that the security status on an Android powered 'Berry is "poor" and that the integrity of the operating system is compromised.
While BlackBerry says that the issue is being looked into, it adds that there is no resolution for it at the moment. BlackBerry does list a workaround which is to complete a factory reset of the affected device. If the idea of doing that is as palatable to you as eating a bowl of broken glass for breakfast, you can just ignore the readings from the DTEK app or wait for BlackBerry to fix the problem.
The DTEK app monitors your Android powered BlackBerry phone to grade you on all of the security features you've enabled. It also monitors your camera, microphone, location data and personal information to make sure that these features aren't being tapped into by hackers.
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?
iCloud stores your iPhone’s call history for four months
Posted November 17, 2016
If you share the same Apple ID with your family, you may have noticed that the call history gets synced between those devices. The Intercept and Forbes found out that Apple stores this log on its servers for up to four months and law enforcement could take advantage of it.
Apple wants you to be able to browse your missed calls on multiple devices. That’s why the company is using iCloud to sync this data between all devices associated with the same Apple ID. As soon as you activate iCloud, your iPhone will start uploading this log. Even if you disable everything (calendars, contacts, etc.) and just keep iCloud activated, your call history will get synced. With iOS 10, VoIP apps, such as FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp and Viber also now appear in your call history. You can manually delete a call and it will get deleted on iCloud’s servers and all your devices.
That’s not necessarily an issue, until you remember that Apple holds the iCloud encryption keys. So it means that the FBI could ask for this data, and Apple is able to comply. Apple plans to make iCloud more secure to keep the government away by handing you the encryption keys, but it’s not ready yet.
Also worth remembering, if you activate iCloud backups, your iPhone will send literally everything to iCloud — your text messages, your call history, your notes… Given that it’s quite a popular feature, many already accepted to hand out their call history to Apple.
But there are still a couple of issues. First, four months seem like quite a long time for a call history. I don’t know anyone who browses back so far in the past to figure out who called them four months ago.
Second, Apple should explicitly tell you what gets synced to iCloud’s servers once you activate the feature. Many features are quite obvious thanks to settings toggles. But Apple should still educate its users about what is synced by default, even when everything seems off.
Finally, the notion of encryption keys is quite complicated. Many people don’t understand how encryption works. Sure, a hacker can’t simply hack Apple’s servers and download your iCloud data. But many people don’t know that Apple can actually decrypt their backups without your approval.
Here’s a quick rundown of what a government entity or a hacker can do to access your data. With a court order, Apple can share your iCloud data with a government entity. Apple has complied with thousands of FBI requests to access iCloud data. Many governments can also access metadata information by asking phone carriers.
Without a court order, a hacker needs your login and password to access your iCloud account. Applications like Elcomsoft’s extraction tool lets you then download some or all of this data.
That’s why it’s important to enable two-factor authentication for your Apple ID and be aware of the content of your iCloud account.
An Apple spokesperson has provided the following statement:
NAB to FCC: Wireless Companies Exaggerate Spectrum “Crisis”
NAB, and many broadcast equipment suppliers and engineers, say the FCC’s 39-month schedule for the television repack is too aggressive. The proposed schedule doesn’t fully take into account logistical and technical challenges broadcasters and suppliers will face, says NAB in comments to the agency; the trade lobby urges the Commission to re-think the deadline.
On top of all this, wireless companies are inflating how urgently they need new spectrum and are dragging out the auction, according to NAB.
Many of the Commission’s proposals for the television repack “are reasonable steps towards planning an efficient transition,” notes NAB. However a software-driven approach to categorize and assign stations to different phases is “unlikely” to produce a workable and efficient plan in practice, according to the broadcast trade lobby.
NAB and other commenters, like American Tower and T-Mobile, urge the Commission to adopt a flexible transition plan that can be changed based on particular circumstances — and unforeseen circumstances. Block Communications, for example, told the FCC at least two stations are “located at sites that may require significant tower improvements” — including potentially the need to replace the towers or find new sites, according to NAB.
Block also emphasizes the importance of getting additional information from broadcasters regarding their construction projects, some of which cannot possibly be known until after broadcasters receive their final channel assignments. For example, if a station is assigned a lower channel, it may require a larger and heavier antenna that could exceed the load limitation on the station’s existing tower.
NAB continues: “Significant tower construction work itself could easily require the full 39-month transition period to accomplish. In the event that the Commission assigns a station that requires such work to an early repacking phase, the station will have been put in a no-win situation where, through no fault of its own, the station cannot possibly meet its repacking deadline. Assigning deadlines that are unachievable at the outset is not a reasonable approach to a complex project.”
The FCC should reject the notion of false urgency, according to NAB, which says CTIA must have stepped into a time machine and recycles threats of a “spectrum crunch” and “staggering growth” in customer data use, in its comments to the agency. “This is a remarkable claim given the state of the incentive auction,” states NAB, which adds some CTIA members have left spectrum on the table through their unwillingness to bid “at a sufficiently high level” to allow the auction to end at an earlier stage.
Similarly, CCA claims the 39-month deadline shouldn’t be adjusted because broadcasters have had seven years to prepare for the repack. By the same logic, CCA members have had four years to prepare their bids, “but that has not resulted in robust bidding,” according to the broadcast trade lobby.
“Further,” says NAB, “although the broadcast industry has been aware for years that the incentive auction would occur, it remains to this day uncertain whether any individual broadcaster will be repacked, let alone to what channel that broadcaster may be repacked, which can have enormous impact on the scope and type of planning necessary. It is wholly unreasonable to assert that broadcasters should have spent the past four years preparing for a repack about which they knew so little.”
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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Radio Club of America Announces 2016 Award Recipients and Fellows
Published September 6, 2016
Shining a spotlight on outstanding achievements in the field of wireless communications, The Radio Club of America (RCA) announces its 2016 award recipients and Fellows. Winners will be celebrated at RCA’s 107 th Banquet & Awards Presentation on Friday, November 18, 2016 in New York City.
2016 RCA Fellows
|Source:||The Radio Club Of America|
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.
Rural ILEC Input Sought in Wake of Election Results
It has come to our attention in the last week that some of our rural incumbent local exchange carrier clients are projecting that they will be forced to go out of business as exchange carriers, or altogether, in the next few years. At bottom, the drastic revenue cuts of the FCC’s 2011 USF Transformation Order are reported as the cause.
We would like to hear from any of our clients who project going out of business, or whose ability to conduct business will be severely curtailed. We believe that the recent election results in which rural America played a decisive role opens up a new opportunity to correct major policy errors in the 2011 Transformation Order.
Rural Telephone Companies, the Rural Exemption and the Network Change Notification Rules
Rural Telephone Companies with a rural exemption pursuant to section 251(f) of the Communications Act (the Act), are exempt from the requirements of section 251(c) of the Act, which include the FCC's network change notification rules and the FCC's recently adopted rules that apply when copper loops are retired. Not all Rural Telephone Companies, however, retain a rural exemption under section 251(c). In a notice published in the Federal Register, the FCC estimated that 663 rural ILECs are not entitled to the rural exemption. It is not clear how the FCC arrived at this number.
However, Section 251(f)(1)(A), (B) and (C) specify circumstances under which a Rural Telephone Company is not exempt from the requirements in section 251(c) of the Act. Section 251(f)(1)(A) states that section 251(c) shall not apply to a rural telephone company until "(i) such company has received a bona fide request for interconnection, services, or network elements, and (ii) the State commission determines [under subparagraph (B)] that such request is not unduly economically burdensome, is technically feasible, and is consistent with section 254(other than subsection s (b)(7) and (c)(1)(D) thereof)."(underlining added). Section 251(f)(1)(B) provides that the State commission “shall conduct an inquiry for the purpose of determining whether to terminate the exemption under subparagraph (A).”
Section 251(f)(1)(C) limits the section 251(f) exemption when the rural telephone company provides video programming. Section 251(f)(1)(C) states that the exemption provided by section 251(f) shall not apply "with respect to a request under subsection (c) from a cable operator providing video programming, and seeking to provide any telecommunications service, in the area in which the rural telephone company provides video programming." Section 251(f)(1)(C) further states that this limitation "shall not apply to a rural telephone company that is providing video programming on the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996."
All Rural Telephone Companies should consider whether they still retain a rural exemption under these provisions and whether or not they must comply with the FCC's network change notification rules. In addition, Rural Telephone Companies that retain a rural exemption should take steps to continue to do so. In particular, there are steps that can and should be taken when a Rural Telephone Company receives a request for interconnection or a request to negotiate an interconnection agreement to retain the rural exemption.
Please contact the firm to discuss questions or concerns concerning this article, your rural exemption status and steps you can take during the interconnection process to protect your rural exemption.
Petitions for Reconsideration Filed on Technology Transitions Order
On November 9, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that two Petitions for Reconsideration of the Technology Transitions Order adopted in July have been filed — one by NTIA, and one filed jointly by NASUCA, the Maine Office of the Public Advocate, the Maryland Office of the People’s Counsel, and the Utility Reform Network. Deadlines will be established after the notice of the Petitions is published in the Federal Register.
Readers will recall that the Technology Transitions Order updated the FCC’s review and notice procedures governing the filing and processing of section 214 applications to discontinue, reduce or impair service.
NTIA argued in its pleading that the FCC should (1) clarify whether, if at all, or under what circumstances, services such as T1 and Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) fall within the meaning of “legacy voice service”; (2) reconsider its interoperability protection requirement to define a list of “low speed modems” and create a presumption that devices that use such modems are entitled to interoperability protection; (3) prescribe limited testing requirements for small carriers; and (4) use its “public interest” review of carriers’ section 214 discontinuance applications to promote greater information exchange and more cooperative planning between carriers and their federal customers about network transitions, to reduce the potential impact such transitions may have on critical government operations.
In their filing, NASUCA, et al., argued that the “technical guidance” in Appendix B of the Voice Replacement Order is inconsistent with the FCC’s rules, and does not achieve the Commission’s objective that technology transitions result in consumers receiving service with comparable service quality and performance to that provided over the Public Switched Telephone Network. Specifically, NASUCA et al argued that the technical guidance “does not recognize that the PSTN is an end-to-end-experience” and “presumes that the replacement service is an over-the-top (“OTT”) service, rather than a managed-VoIP service such as is offered by cable-based providers or incumbent ILECs.”
Commissioner Pai’s Digital Empowerment Agenda
In September, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai announced his Digital Empowerment Agenda — a plan that he claims “will allow all Americans, no matter their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, no matter where they live, no matter their personal background, to access broadband and improve their lives.” It is expected that Commissioner Pai will be the Acting FCC Chairman until President-Elect Donald Trump appoints a new Chairman (and the appointee is confirmed). Commissioner Pai and his staff have frequently spoken at Rural Association meetings and met with rural telephone company representatives. And his Digital Empowerment Agenda contains many proposals designed to impact the availability of services in rural areas. However, based on available information, the Digital Empowerment Agenda does not appear to contain anything specific to advance rural telephone company deployment of broadband. It is not clear at this time what an Acting Chairman Pai will do regarding the implementation or reconsideration of ongoing universal service reform, or how much of his Agenda he might try to enact during the interim before he or someone else becomes the new Chairman. Clearly, rural carriers will want to take the opportunity now to make sure that they are included in his Agenda, and that their other concerns are on his radar.
The plan can be summarized as follows:
Gigabit Opportunity Zones
To “bring broadband and digital opportunity to our nation’s most economically challenged areas,” Commissioner Pai proposed the creation of Gigabit Opportunity Zones. Specifically, in any area where the average household income falls below 75% of national median, state and local lawmakers would adopt streamlined, broadband deployment-friendly policies and provide significant tax incentives to spur private-sector gigabit broadband deployment. Entrepreneurs would be incentivized to create jobs in these zones through a tax credit that offsets the employer’s share of payroll taxes.
Mobile Broadband for Rural America
To “extend digital opportunity to rural America, where high costs and low population density make the private-sector case for deployment much more difficult,” Commissioner Pai would increase the build-out obligations of wireless carriers and incentivize rural broadband investment by: (a) extending wireless license terms up to 15 years; (b) moving forward with a Mobility Fund Phase II that includes tech-neutral performance metrics, eliminates duplicative support, maintains support where it is needed, subsidizes the deployment of new networks, and sizes the Fund based on current needs; and (c) creating a “rural dividend” to supplement existing funding sources by setting aside 10% of the money raised from spectrum auctions for the deployment of mobile broadband in rural America.
Remove Regulatory Barriers to Broadband Deployment
To “ease the path for the private sector to deploy next-generation broadband networks in their communities, Commissioner Pai proposed to remove state and local barriers to deployment, such as unfair and unreasonable fees, and reform pole attachment rules to reduce the costs of deployment. He also proposed that Congress should give the agency additional authority over poles owned by governments and railroads. Pai’s proposal would also have the FCC develop a model code for communities that want to encourage broadband deployment for their citizens and to attract new businesses and startups. The federal government would speed the deployment of broadband on federal lands by adopting shot clocks for approvals, minimizing fees, and mapping federal assets, among other steps. Finally, government officials would adopt “dig once” policies so that broadband conduit is deployed as part of every road and highway construction project.
Promote Entrepreneurship and Innovation
To “foster innovative services and business models,” Commissioner Pai called on governments to focus on whether consumers are benefiting from innovations, not whether legacy rules apply. The government would seek to promote entrepreneurs’ access to capital, increase the appeal and availability of investment through crowdfunding, and would consider investment-related proposals from the bipartisan Startup Act (such as an R&D tax credit and long-term capital gains exemption).
Law & Regulation
FCC Deletes All Items from Agenda for November Open Meeting
On November 16, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that it has deleted all four items it announced that it would consider just yesterday at this month’s Open Meeting, which will take place Thursday, November 17, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. Specifically, the deleted items include:
The deletion of these items comes on the heels of letters to the FCC from Representatives Walden and Upton, who are spearheading the new Communications Act efforts, asking that the agency refrain from considering “controversial items” during the presidential transition period.
The meeting, which will consist only of Consent Agenda items, will be webcast live at www.fcc.gov/live.
House Passes Rural Call Completion, Anti-Spoofing Bills
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2566, the “Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015,” and H.R. 2669, the “Anti-Spoofing Act of 2015.” The purpose of the first bill is to “ensure the integrity of voice communications and to prevent unjust or unreasonable discrimination among areas of the United States in the delivery of such communications.” The second bill is to “expand and clarify the prohibition on provision of inaccurate caller identification information.”
Specifically, H.R. 2566 would add a new Section 262 to the Communications Act entitled “Ensuring the Integrity of Voice Communications.” This new section would require an intermediate provider that offers the capability to transmit certain voice communications and signaling information from one destination to another, and that charges a rate to any other entity (including an affiliated entity) for the transmission, to: (1) register with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and (2) comply with service quality standards to be established by the FCC. It also prohibits certain long-distance voice service providers (including local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers, commercial mobile radio services, interconnected voice over Internet Protocol [VoIP] services, and certain non-interconnected VoIP services) from using an intermediate provider to transmit voice communications and signals unless the intermediate provider is so registered.
H.R. 2669 expands the prohibition on the provision of inaccurate caller identification information (which makes it unlawful to cause a caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value) to persons outside the United States if the recipient is within the United States. It also revises the definitions of "caller identification information" and "caller identification service" to include text messages sent using a text messaging service; defines "text message" as real-time or near real-time messages consisting of text, images, sounds, or other information transmitted from or received by a device identified by a telephone number; excludes from such definition a real-time, two-way voice or video communication; and expands the categories of IP-enabled voice services that are subject to such prohibition to include services with interconnection capability, whether part of a bundle of services or separately, that can originate traffic to the public switched telephone network.
Both bills will move on to the Senate for consideration.
FCC Adopts NECA Average Schedule Formula Modifications
On November 9, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau approved NECA’s proposed HCLS formula for 2017. HCLS, also known as the loop expense adjustment, provides universal service support to carriers with high loop costs based on the extent that an individual company’s cost per loop (CPL) exceeds the national average cost per loop (NACPL). On August 25, 2016, NECA filed another proposed modifications to the current HCLS formula for average schedule companies and requested that they take effect on January 1, 2017, and remain in effect through December 31, 2017. The Bureau issued a public notice seeking comment on NECA’s proposed formula, and none was received.
To estimate current year costs, NECA applies forecasted growth factors to data collected from sample average schedule carriers one and two years prior to the current year. NECA then applies cost allocation factors—developed from the cost studies of similarly-situated cost companies—to the account balances of each sample average schedule company to estimate a CPL for each of the sample companies, and uses regression analyses to predict CPLs for all average schedule carriers. Each average schedule company’s derived CPL is then used to calculate the HCLS support amount consistent with section 54.1310 of the Commission’s rules, as revised in 2014. NECA’s proposed formula for 2017 projects $15.4 million in payments to carriers serving 201 average schedule study areas.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy .
FCC Warns AT&T its Zero Rating Practice May Violate Net Neutrality
According to The Wall Street Journal , the FCC sent a letter to AT&T, Inc. expressing concerns over its “zero rating” practice — that is, the practice of exempting its own streaming services from data-usage caps. According to the letter, AT&T’s practice “may obstruct competition and harm consumers by constraining their ability to access existing and future mobile video services not affiliated with AT&T.”
The practice of zero rating essentially allows video providers to sponsor their content so that users can watch without worrying about data caps. AT&T began the practice with its DirecTV app, and does in fact charge DirecTV, which is its subsidiary. However, the FCC said AT&T’s policy of charging itself doesn’t take into account the “notably different financial impact on unaffiliated providers” because there is no cash cost for AT&T to zero-rate its own services. The agency also noted that the data usage levels could lead to significant costs for a third-party video provider.
Those charges could “render infeasible any third-party competitor’s attempt to compete with the $35 per month retail price that AT&T has announced for DirecTV Now.” “Unaffiliated video content providers appear to confront significant disadvantages,” the letter stated.
In response, AT&T said “We welcome any video provider that wishes to sponsor its content in the same ‘data free’ way,” he said. “We’ll do so on equal terms at our lowest wholesale rates.”
FCC Issues Consumer Alert on Utilities Call Scam
On November 15, the FCC issued a Consumer Alert urging consumers to be on the lookout for callers pretending to be utility company employees demanding immediate payment, often by prepaid debit cards, credit cards, or gift cards.
If consumers receive a call warning them of a balance they do not believe they owe their utility, they should hang up, independently look up their utility company’s phone number on a recent statement or legitimate website, and call that number to verify the legitimacy of the call.
In this scam, the caller typically poses as a representative of the consumer’s actual local utility, stating that immediate payment will ensure that the consumer’s heating service will not be disconnected. The scammers are known to spoof utility company telephone numbers so the caller ID makes it appear to be a call from the utility company. These scammers often use automated interactive voice response calling systems that mimic legitimate providers’ calls. After consumers, many of whom are older adults, follow instructions via interactive prompts, they are connected to a live “customer service representative” who asks for the access code for a credit, debit, or gift card. This information allows the scammer to cash out the card or sell it to a third party.
Anyone who believes they have been targeted by this scam should immediately report the incident to their actual utility company, to local police, to the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant, and to the FCC’s Consumer Help Center .
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 Commission’s enforcement policy calls for multiplying the $15,000 per-handset fine by the number of months of the deficiency, creating the potential for very steep fines. It is therefore crucial that our clients pay close attention to their HAC regulatory compliance, and monthly checks are strongly recommended. In this regard, we have prepared a HAC reporting template to assist our clients in keeping track of their HAC handset offerings, and other regulatory compliance efforts. ALL SERVICE PROVIDERS SUBJECT TO THE COMMISSION’S HAC RULES — INCLUDING COMPANIES THAT QUALIFY FOR THE DE MINIMIS EXCEPTION — MUST PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL HAC REPORTING. To the extent that your company is a provider of broadband PCS, cellular and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using newly licensed (or partitioned) AWS or 700 MHz spectrum, you and your company will need to be familiar with the Commission’s revised rules.
|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 email@example.com .|
|Friends & Colleagues|
Wireless Network Planners
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
I may have sent off that message too soon. I should have included the pre-message explanation and a bit of further information. I added a line to the Word.doc stating that not only did I have full maintenance responsibility on these systems but installed most (not all) of them myself.
In the spirit of paging history, I put my experiences together to submit to your newsletter.
Please edit as you see fit if published as it has become a bit fragmented.
Jerry Griffith, Project Manager (retired)
A Bit of my Paging History 2 and all the rest
I was responsible for the maintenance of all these. I personally installed all these except the Amcor, CommTerm and the Motorola N50xx terminals.
I also personally installed all these systems except the Amcor, CommTerm and N50xx paging terminals.
Amcor 2003A (American Controls of Raleigh)
CommTerm Voice Storage for Amcor
Motorola N50xx series relay/vacuum tube terminals
Motorola “L09” as above but solid-state tone generation and timing.
Motorola MODAX 500
Motorola MODAX 500+
Motorola MODAX 100
BBL System 3 + VRS (Bill, Bob and Lloyd)
PageBridge I and II
My background is similar to that of Jerry Griffith's.
As you know, Multitone built the World’s first Paging System in a British Hospital in 1958.
In 1963 I joined them as they opened their North American office in Toronto.
The paging systems consisted of a loop of wire around every second floor of the building and the Paging calls were simple audio tones fed into the loop.
Those were fun to troubleshoot. I found a system that would not work because the loop had a short to ground.
With an ohm meter and long leads I could see that one of the loop was near Ø Ω (zero ohms) to ground. I found the wire going into a conduit that lined up perfectly with a door stop on the floor. I measured to the screw in the door stop which was mounted to cement and Found that I could get a reading. I removed the screw and the short disappeared. Someone had installed a doorstop directly over the loop wire.
In 1965 we installed the first Radio Paging System in The Hospital for Sick Children on 27.255 MHz. A much simpler way to send paging calls as The Paging History all began.
We are still installing today as we just installed a radio system yesterday in a Nursing Home.
I enjoy reading your comments.
|UNTIL NEXT WEEK|
|THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK|
“No one knows what he can do till he tries.”
|PHOTO OF THE WEEK|
Aiding a Comrade
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