|Wireless News Aggregation|
Wishing a safe and happy weekend for all readers of The Wireless Messaging News.
A Shocking Photo
John Parmalee a friend, and a long-time reader of the newsletter, sent in the “ PHOTO OF THE WEEK. ”
I responded with the following:
“John, you rascal, I was having a good day until you sent me this. ha ha (thanks).”
If you have ever climbed a tower this photo may remind you to be more careful the next time.
By the way, this is from Texas. Things are a little different out there.
Thank you to our Paging colleagues at Firecom in Lekkerkerk, Netherlands for their support of the newsletter.
The good guys at RF Demand Solutions have “re-upped” their advertising for Codan Paging Transmitters — much appreciated.
Oh yes, don't miss the new ad from Salcom. Without advertising support, and voluntary contributions, this newsletter wouldn't be possible. Thanks to all of you.
Now on to 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.
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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Microsoft made 'em do it: The latest Kaby Lake, Zen chips will support only Windows 10
No one knows what would happen if you tried to run an older OS on one of the new chips.
Mark Hachman | @markhachman
Microsoft is slamming the door on PC builders and upgraders who might have hoped to use the new Intel Kaby Lake or AMD Zen chips for Windows 7 or Windows 8 PCs. Sorry: Both chips are officially supported only by Microsoft’s Windows 10.
Microsoft's mandate is discreet rather than secret. In January, the company tried to shorten its support lifecycle for Intel Skylake PCs running Windows 7 and 8, a policy the company subsequently abandoned after much outcry. But Microsoft’s statements have also consistently included a critical caveat: The latest generations of silicon— specifically Intel’s Kaby Lake chip, Qualcomm’s 8996, and AMD’s Bristol Ridge silicon—will all require Windows 10.
“As new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support,” a Microsoft spokeswoman replied, when asked to confirm that that position was still in place. The goal appears to be to move forward with new features, even if it means leaving some users behind. “This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon.”
Why this matters: Microsoft's push forward, however rational from a technology standpoint, robs PC enthusiasts of their choice of operating systems—a freedom this particular sector of the community has loudly defended in the past. This could have broader implications for the PC market, too: It could be the deciding factor that finally brings about the abandonment of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. (Linux is an option, too, and nothing is precluding Apple from buying the chips for Macs, either.)
What the mandate means for PC users
AMD and Intel, for their part, appear to have had little choice in Microsoft’s decision essentially to limit the customers they can sell to.
“We are committed to working with Microsoft and our ecosystem partners to help ensure a smooth transition given these changes to Microsoft’s Windows support policy,” an Intel spokesman said.
“No, Intel will not be updating Win 7/8 drivers for 7 th Gen Intel Core per Microsoft’s support policy change,” he added in an email on Tuesday.
An AMD representative was equally neutral. “AMD’s processor roadmap is fully aligned with Microsoft’s software strategy,” AMD chief technical officer Mark Papermaster said, via a company spokeswoman.
AMD’s Bristol Ridge chip, the first to be tied to Windows 10, launched in June as its seventh-generation APU. AMD’s first member of its new Zen microprocessor family , dubbed Summit Ridge, will appear in high-end desktop PCs early next year. Neither will be officially supported by the older operating systems.
Here's the obvious question: What would happen if a naïve or not-so-naïve user attempted to run Windows 7 or Windows 8 on a Kaby Lake or Zen system? Without actual chips to test, the answer is unknown.
One source privately guessed that the processor would boot, though without driver support and security updates the experience would be “a bit glitchy.” Without specific support for a chip’s features—such as the dedicated video processing logic within Kaby Lake, for example—certain apps, if not the OS itself, might crash, another said.
However, processor analyst Dean McCarron of Mercury Research didn’t think running Kaby Lake would necessarily generate many problems, as there’s a long history of instruction set compatibility. “My expectation is ... that all the older code will run on it fine,” he said. “Likely ... there’d be third party [driver] support that would allow older OSes to run, .inf files, for example. And Intel’s going to make those.” (Editor's Note: Intel said Tuesday that it will not be updating its Windows 7/8 drivers for Kaby Lake, as noted above.)
It’s also conceivable that enthusiasts could craft “black box” or modified drivers to help the latest chips run on the older operating systems. But in reality, the scope of the task would require detailed documentation as well as sophisticated testing resources, both of which seem infeasible.
What might be an acceptable risk for a consumer, however, might not fly for a business where uptime and total cost of ownership are managed carefully. It’s here, McCarron said, that the transition to Windows 10 will have the most impact. “It’ll turn into [a situation where] ‘if it breaks, it’s not our problem,'’’ he said. “Which is why it’s going to be such a problem for large, multi-thousand-seat deployments” who depend on external support contracts, he said.
What’s more likely, McCarron suggested, is that PC makers and customers will commit to buying and stockpiling Skylake components and systems as a hedge against Microsoft’s support gambit. In this way, end customers will know their devices will be supported, he said.
Microsoft’s history of pushing users to Windows 10
Microsoft has laid out its rationale for encouraging users to adopt Windows 10: In short, it’s a more manageable, secure operating system with better collaboration across users and devices, the company claims. Nevertheless, a substantial chunk of users can’t see past Microsoft’s attempts to force Windows 10 upon them.
Of late, the carrots Microsoft has used to entice Windows 10 adoption—the Insider program , free upgrades from older operating systems, and synergy with Windows phones, the Xbox One, and even iOS and Android phones—have been largely ignored. Instead, Microsoft has come under fire for its ongoing program of forced upgrades , locking down Cortana to exclusively use Bing,and what some users see as a concerted attempt to mine personal data for advertising purposes.
We don't know whether terminating support for older operating systems on Kaby Lake and Zen actually means they won’t work. What seems more certain is that Microsoft’s latest strategy will be seen as just another “stick” wielded to force customers to upgrade to Windows 10.
Updated at 10:03 AM with additional details about Intel's Kaby Lake drivers. Clarification: Microsoft's support strategy applies to the use of the chips within Windows PCs, not Linux or Apple Macs.
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 ]
Apple quashes 3 zero-days with emergency Mac update
Bugs that turn iPhones into iSpies can be weaponized and used against Macs as well
Gregg Keizer By Gregg Keizer FOLLOW
Apple yesterday issued an emergency security update for the Mac, patching the same trio of vulnerabilities the company fixed last week on the iPhone.
According to one of the groups that first revealed the flaws, the vulnerabilities could have been "weaponized" for use against OS X, the Mac's operating system.
The out-of-band update was aimed at OS X El Capitan (aka 10.11) and Yosemite (10.10), the 2015 and 2014 editions, respectively. Older versions, including 2014's OS X Mavericks, went unpatched: Apple is nearing the release of its annual Mac operating system upgrade and thus the end of support for the edition of three years ago.
Like the urgent update Apple released last week for the iPhone — iOS 9.3.5 — the Mac patches quash three bugs, two in the operating system's kernel and the third in the Safari browser.
According to reports from researchers at mobile security vendor Lookout and the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, the trio of bugs were used to spy on an activist in the United Arab Emirates by turning his iPhone into a surveillance tool. Citizen Labs pointed a finger at NSO Group, a shadowy Israeli company that allegedly sells vulnerabilities and spyware to governments, as the source of the flaws.
Prior to the disclosure last week, the vulnerabilities, pegged as "Trident" by Citizen Labs, were "zero-days," or unknown to Apple, and so extremely valuable on the black market.
The same bugs had to be patched on OS X as well as iOS, said Citizen Labs.
"The Trident vulnerabilities used by NSO could have been weaponized against users of non iOS devices, including OS X," the organization said Thursday in an update to its research . "We encourage all Apple users to install the update as soon as possible."
Apple published its usual terse summaries for the vulnerabilities on its website. Mac owners running El Capitan or Yosemite can update their systems by choosing "App Store" from the Apple menu, then selecting "Updates" from the row of icons at the top of the screen.
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Smartphone apps now account for half the time Americans spend online
September 2, 2016
Here’s a stat that’s sure to worry Google: smartphone applications now account for half the time that U.S. users spend online, up from 41 percent back in July 2014, according to a new report from comScore. And when you add tablet applications into the mix, that figure rises to nearly 60 percent.
The new milestone was achieved this July, the report says, and is a testament to our increasing reliance on native mobile applications to deliver us the information we need, as well as the entertainment and distractions we crave – things we used to turn to the web for, in previous years.
This shift towards apps is exactly why Google has been working to integrate the “web of apps” into its search engine , and to make surfacing the information hidden in apps something its Google Search app is capable of handling.
Our app usage has grown not only because of the ubiquity of smartphones, but also other factors – like faster speeds provided by 4G LTE networks, and smartphones with larger screens that make sitting at a desktop less of a necessity. In addition, the app stores have grown to house millions of downloads – so there really is an app for just about anything you need.
In terms of which apps are most popular, a prior comScore report offers some insight.
The list of top apps by unique visitors is dominated today by the big players, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Pandora, Snapchat and newcomer Pokémon Go.
The apps with the most usage, in order, are: Facebook, Messenger, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Search, Google Play, Gmail, Pandora, Instagram, Amazon mobile, Apple Music, Apple Maps, Pokémon Go, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
What’s surprising about this list is Pokémon’s ranking – something that proves there’s still room for new apps to become giants in what’s now a saturated market. ComScore says that, for as long as it has been measuring digital audiences, there isn’t even a remotely comparable instance of a website or app capturing as large an audience as Pokémon Go did in such a short time.
The closest example was Walmart’s app when it debuted its Savings Catcher, which grew by 4 million users to 24 million over the course of 4 months.
Pokémon Go, however, became the 13th largest mobile app with 55 million unique users (U.S.) across smartphones and tablets in its first month – or more than 30 percent of the total mobile population. It also ranked 4th in total time spent in app, behind Facebook, Pandora and YouTube. Over a third of its users visited the app daily, too.
The latest report from Sensor Tower indicates that Pokémon Go has now surpassed 180 million downloads worldwide, and the average U.S. iOS user is playing the game for 32 minutes per day. It’s also raking in over $4 million in net revenue daily.
While Pokémon may be more the exception than the rule, consumers’ app usage has been steadily climbing over the years.
This figure grew from 34 percent in 2013, to 41 percent the following year and has now reached 50 percent. In the near-term, comScore expects apps to grow beyond the 50 percent mark as well, but says that both desktops and tablets will continue to maintain critical roles in consumers’ lives for the foreseeable future.
|Macworld Product Support Services, Inc.|
Repair and Refurbishment Services
Product Support Services, Inc.
PSSI is the industry leader in reverse logistics, our services include depot repair, product returns management, RMA and RTV management, product audit, test, refurbishment, re-kitting and value recovery.
|RF Demand Solutions|
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?
[Methow] Valley and county to get modern emergency communications
by ADMIN on Sep 1, 2016 • 12:20 pm
New structures, improved technology for several sites
By Marcy Stamper
A 40-foot-tall wooden pole and a yurt that have housed the Methow Valley’s emergency communications equipment for half a century are being replaced over the next few weeks with new structures and modern wireless technology.
Once completed, the system will use microwave transmission instead of the existing system, which relies on physical wires that run underground, across bridges or in the air — all of which were vulnerable to damage from fires or other natural disasters, said Mike Worden, chief deputy of communications for the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department.
“In a nutshell, what we had is very basic and limited — a ‘legacy’ system,” said Worden. Okanogan County’s needs for communications in an emergency have exceeded the old technology on a regular basis, he said.
“The microwave network will send audio signals and data from one side of the county to the other,” said Worden.
Moreover, because of the county’s topography, it’s important to have modern equipment that can send signals from one mountaintop to another. “We need to design for geography,” said Worden.
“The yurt is not a reasonably modern facility — it looks like the top of a grain silo,” he said. The wooden pole — basically a telephone pole — was replaced last week with a metal tower.
The project includes new microwave antennas on Flagg Mountain above Mazama, Goat Mountain near Alta Lake, and at a site in the eastern part of the county that will be shared with Ferry County. Okanogan County will also erect new towers on Tunk Mountain and Pitcher Hill above Okanogan to handle communications for the central and northern parts of the county.
While public-safety radio communications in the county were already transmitted wirelessly, Worden called it “dumb” wireless. “You couldn’t tell if the repeater was having technical problems or if the power was out,” he said.
The new technology will give emergency managers the capacity to monitor all functions. “We’ll be able to tell everything — is the door open, are the batteries going, is work necessary?” said Worden.
The replacement of the tower and yurt and installation of new radio and microwave equipment on McClure will be completed before it snows. Once the physical infrastructure is installed, technicians will be able to continue with some upgrades remotely, said Worden.
A second phase of the project, which won’t be finished until next year, will allow the county to re-route emergency telephone circuits if needed so that 911 calls can still reach the dispatch center, said Worden. Under the existing system, if the fiber-optic network that carried 911 calls was out of commission, a dispatcher had to physically come to Twisp to answer the phone, he said.
The microwave system will carry communications for first responders such as law enforcement, fire districts, EMS, utilities and public works. The changes do not affect radio and TV broadcasts, cell-phone towers or internet transmissions, which also have towers on McClure, said Worden.
The county has been studying ways to create a modern, highly functional system to handle daily and emergency traffic for all types of emergencies since 2012, from “several collisions and house fires at once — or the whole damn valley’s on fire,” said Worden.
The county already has some microwave communications technology, which was installed eight years ago as part of beefed-up border protection in conjunction with the Vancouver Olympics, said Worden. The new microwave towers will complete this web countywide. The new microwave network is being constructed in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), as was the border-protection project eight years ago.
The $3-million project is being paid for primarily through grants. The majority of that — $1.85 million — is from the Washington State Military Department disaster recovery account. The McClure upgrades are supported by a $400,000 grant from the Washington Department of Commerce. The remainder is from an Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department reserve fund and from WSDOT, said Worden.
Still on the county’s wish list is a larger dispatch facility, an emergency operations center, and modernized information technology that could run all county functions. Worden said they are taking their time to accurately define their needs and the cost of such a large project.
“We have needs but it’s important not to rush — we have to take our time and do it right,” said Worden.
|Source:||Methow Valley News|
David Sams, SBA VP of Risk Management confirmed to Inside Towers that they issued a ‘stop work’ order earlier yesterday when the recall of the ubiquitous “safety grab” device was sent out by 3M. Tower tech workers for SBA were asked to stop any climbing activity unless an alternative method is found that requires 100% tie-off such as twin leg lanyards or a back-up life line. Those methods, however are more time consuming than the ‘safety grab’ which is used throughout the industry. “We use it,” said Sams.
The press release from 3M stated:
Capital Safety/3M recently reviewed the performance of the original Lad-Saf sleeve in the field, including a limited number of incidents involving a serious injury or death in the United States while using the sleeve. Although our review did not reveal product hazard or risk scenarios that would arise in the ordinary and proper use of the product, it did reveal potential misuse scenarios that could result in serious injury or death. The potential misuse scenarios include interference with the braking mechanism (such as entanglement with cords, lanyards, clothing or other materials, or grasping the sleeve prior to or during a fall), or result from the user attaching the sleeve upside down (user inversion). No safety regulator has made a finding that the design of the original Lad-Saf sleeve is defective.
At 3M, customer safety and confidence are high priorities. In light of the reported incidents and potential misuse scenarios, we have discontinued sale of the original Lad-Saf sleeve, and are voluntarily initiating a full recall of all original Lad-Saf sleeves.
Owners / Users of original Lad-Saf sleeves must:
|Source:||InsideTowers||(Republished from the InsideTowers newsletter with permission.)|
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.
SEE WEB FOR COMPLETE LIST:
Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.
The BloostonLaw Telecom Update newsletter will be on our traditional August recess, in light of the usual slowdown in the news cycle at this time of year. We will resume publication on September 7. Meanwhile, we will keep clients apprised of significant developments via memos and special supplements.
Year End Reminder: Ownership Changes May Require FCC Approval
We want to remind our clients that many types of reorganizations, estate planning and tax savings activities and other transactions require prior FCC approval; and given the frequent need to implement such transactions by the end of the year, companies engaging in such transactions should immediately determine whether they must file an application for FCC approval, and obtain a grant, before closing on a year-end deal. Transactions requiring prior FCC approval include ( but are not limited to ):
Fortunately, transactions involving many types of licenses can often be approved on an expedited basis. But this is not always the case, especially if bidding credits and/or commercial wireless spectrum licenses are involved. Also, in some instances Section 214 authority may be required, especially in the case of wireline and other telephony services. Clients planning year-end transactions should contact us as soon as possible to determine if FCC approval is needed.
Application Filing Fee Increase Effective August 26
The FCC filing fee increase that we announced last month became effective on August 26, 2016. Specifically, the FCC increased application fees to reflect the net change in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”) of 1.8 percent, an increase of 4.292 index points calculated from October 2013 (233.546) to October 2015 (237.838).
Some items of note include:
In addition to the fees associated with private radio facilities, the FCC also raised all other application filing fees, including: Commercial Mobile Radio Services, Common Carrier Microwave, Section 214 applications, Satellite services as well as for actions and audits related to common carrier services under Title II of the Communications Act.
FCC Extends 800 MHz Freeze in Mexican Border Area to Feb 1, 2017
The FCC has issued a Public Notice extending the freeze on the acceptance of new 800 MHz applications along the US-Mexican border until February 1, 2017. The FCC has extended the freeze because it has determined that additional time is necessary to preserve vacant channels for licensees retuning their systems in accordance with the updated 800 MHz band plan for the border area.
The border area includes five NPSPAC regions — Arizona (Region 3), Southern California (Region 5), New Mexico (Region 29), West and Central Texas [Midland Area] (Region 50) and Southern Texas [San Antonio Area] (Region 53).
In extending the freeze on the acceptance of applications for new stations or modifications of existing stations, the FCC noted that many licensees in the Mexican border region have not yet completed the required retuning of their systems. As a result, in order to preserve currently vacant channel for use by those licensees and in order to prevent the potential for harmful interference down the road, the FCC is extending the ban on the acceptance of non-rebanding applications for 800 MHz licenses to operate in the Mexican border area. In addition, the freeze will also apply to applications for stations outside the border area, to the extent that a proposed station is within 70 miles of the border area boundary. In particular, the freeze will only apply to applications for new facilities or license modifications that involve a change of frequency or otherwise expand a station’s existing coverage area. Thus, applications for license renewal, administrative update, and assignment of license or transfer of control are not subject to the freeze and may still be filed, since these actions to not impact frequency selection or affect the station’s service area.
There are special circumstances under which the FCC could permit special temporary authority or a waiver of its rules to permit licensees to expand their service area. Those clients with post-rebanding channels should contact our office.
Canadian Pacific Railway Pays $1.21 Million to Settle Licensing Violations
The FCC has recently announced that Canadian Pacific Railway will pay $1.21 million to the FCC in order to resolve numerous licensing violations, including: failure to obtain FCC consent to the acquisition of various railroad companies since 2008 that held FCC radio licenses as well as obtaining authority from the FCC to construct, relocate, modify or operate more than 100 wireless facilities — going as far back as 1979.
In addition to paying a $1.21 million settlement, Canadian Pacific Railway is required to establish a compliance plan that will be monitored by the FCC for a 3-year period. This compliance plan requires the appointment of a senior corporate manager as a compliance officer; establishment of operating procedures that require employees to receive specific training in the areas of unauthorized transfers and operations, the maintenance of compliance checklists ensure that covered employees follow specific steps in initiating wireless communications; establishment of a compliance manual which explains the Commissions requirements that are applicable to the Company and the institution of a compliance training program for covered employees. Finally, Canadian Pacific Railway is required to report any violation to the FCC within 15 calendar days of discovery.
It is obvious from the settlement amount that the FCC determined that Canadian Pacific Railway’s violation (and that of its predecessors and subsidiaries) was egregious. The compliance program, however, is standard for the most part — although it is for 3 years rather than the 2 years we have previously seen.
Given the FCC’s action in this case, we remind our clients that it is critical to be proactive in all facets of licensing — whether it be transfers and assignments or operational (such as licensing new transmitters, license renewal and/or modification).
FCC Modifies MTA 220 MHz License to Provide for Positive Train Control in New York Metro Area
Pursuant to a request from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the FCC has modified the license for 218-220 MHz Service station KIVD0002 in order to ensure the deployment of Positive Train Control throughout the New York metropolitan area by providing the commuter railroads operated by the MTA and NJ Transit with sufficient spectrum to deploy wireless Positive Train Control throughout their service areas.
In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which was amended by the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015 following the fatal train collision outside of Philadelphia. As a result, Congress is requiring all passenger service trains as well as freight trains hauling toxic and poisonous-by-inhalation hazardous materials to implement Positive Train Control systems by December 31, 2018. The American rail industries’ solution is to implement a Positive Train Control system which creates wireless networks with the capacity to enable real time information sharing between trains, rail wayside devices and back office applications concerning train movement, speed restrictions, train position and speed and the state of signal and switching devices. Like Amtrak, commuter railroads serving the Northeast Corridor between Washington, DC and Boston are using a system that relies on spectrum in the 216-222 MHz band.
In order to fully deploy its Positive Train Control system, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority determined that the license for station KIVD0002 did not have sufficient spectrum in all of the necessary counties. Having sought the required spectrum on the secondary market and finding none available because it was not currently licensed by the Commission, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority requested modification of its license in order to obtain the necessary spectrum from the Commission’s inventory in exchange for a return of unneeded spectrum. This being a matter of public safety, the Commission determined that the public interest would be served by the license modification proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
FCC Grants US Coast Guard Request for Blanket Waiver to Permit Use of Class D VHF Digital Selective Calling Equipment
The United States Coast Guard has requested a waiver in order to permit certain passenger carrying vessels to utilize Class D VHF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) equipment instead of Class A equipment.
DSC is an internationally approved system for contacting vessels. This allows vessels to instantly send an automatically formatted distress call to authorities anywhere in the world in the event of an emergency as well as initiate or receive distress, urgent, safety and routine radiotelephone calls to or from any similarly-equipped vessel or shore station without requiring either party to be near a radio loudspeaker.
Under the FCC’s Rules, only Class A VHF-DSC equipment meets the VHF-DSC carriage requirement. Class A equipment is intended for large, ocean-going ships in order to meet the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) requirements. In this regard, while Class A equipment may be preferable, the Coast Guard requested a blanket waiver to allow affected vessels that only make domestic voyages (i.e., not international voyages) to utilize Class D equipment in order to meet the VHF-DSC requirement. While not as robust as Class A equipment, Class D equipment is still capable of providing minimum capability for VHF-DSC distress, urgency and safety communications as well as routing calling and reception. Additionally, Class D equipment is less costly than the Class A equipment required under the FCC’s Rules.
In justifying the blanket waiver request, the Coast Guard noted that Class A and Class D radios have the same basic capabilities to instantly send an automatically formatted distress alert to rescue authorities and to initiate or receive distress, urgency, safety and routine radiotelephone calls to or from any similarly equipped vessel or shore station. Additionally, the Coast Guard stated that both Class A and Class D radios meet the Coast Guard’s GMDSS-Compatible Rescue 21 Distress System (which is the Coast Guard’s advanced command, control and direction finding communications system that was created to locate mariners in distress).
In granting the Coast Guard’s request, the FCC noted that the purpose of the VHF-DSC carriage requirement for passenger ships and small passenger ships is to promote maritime safety by including a common GMDSS distress and safety system. Inasmuch as the Coast Guard and commenters in the proceeding all agreed that both Class A and Class D equipment meet this requirement, the FCC concluded that requiring only Class A equipment for domestic voyages would not serve the purpose of the VHF-DSC carriage requirement.
FCC Amends Programmatic Agreement Concerning the Co-Location of Small Wireless Antennas
On August 3, 2016, the FCC, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers amended the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas in order to define the requirements for review of small wireless antennas in and around historic properties and districts.
In order to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act, the FCC has incorporated the Act’s requirements into its environmental rules. In authorizing small antenna deployments, like Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and small cell facilities, the Commission recognized that these sorts of facilities are a fraction of the size of traditional cell tower deployments and can often be installed on utility poles, buildings and other existing structures with limited or no adverse effect on historic properties. As a result, the Commission eliminated some of its historic preservation review requirements by adopting two “targeted” exclusions for certain small-facility co-locations on utility structures and buildings and other non-tower structures — provided certain criteria are met.
Exclusion for Collation of Small Wireless Antennas and Associated Equipment on Buildings and Non-tower Structures Outside Historic Districts and on Non-historic Properties.
This amendment creates a new exclusion for collocations of small antennas on buildings or non-tower structures that are more than 45 years old if the property is not historic and is located outside of a historic district. In particular, a small wireless antenna may be mounted on an existing building or non-tower structure regardless of the structure’s age, without historic preservation review unless: (a) the building is located inside the boundaries of a historic district; (b) the building or non-tower structure is a designated Historic Landmark or (c) the building or non-tower structure is listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. For purposes of this exclusion, small wireless antennas or small cells are low-powered wireless base stations that function like cells in a mobile wireless network that typically cover targeted indoor or localized outdoor areas ranging in size from homes to offices to stadiums, shopping malls, hospitals and metropolitan outdoor spaces.
Exclusion for Collocation of Small or Minimally Visible Wireless Antennas and Associated Equipment on Structures in Historic Districts or on Historic Properties.
This amendments would exclude from review the collocation of a DAS or small cell site on a building or non-tower structure that is a historic property, or inside or within 250 feet of a historic district boundary, provided that the property on which the equipment is located is not a designated National Historic Landmark. Under this exclusion, the equipment and/or antenna enclosure must be the only equipment that is visible from ground level, and the antenna or antenna enclosure may not exceed 3 cubic feet in volume and must be installed using recognized concealment techniques that match or compliment the structure on which it is being deployed. Finally, no other antenna or equipment may be visible from the ground.
Deployments on utility poles and electric transmission towers located within or near a historic district will also be excluded, provided that the utility pole or electric transmission tower is being used by a utility company and the deployment does not exceed the specified volume limits. In the case of traffic lights, light poles, lamp posts and other structures whose primary purpose is to provide lighting, the exclusion will be available only on a case-by-case basis.
Replacements of Small Wireless Antennas and Associated Equipment
The replacement of equipment will be excluded from review when the support structure is (a) a historic property, (b) inside or near a historic district or (c) over 45 years of age. The replacement will be excluded from review regardless of visibility provided that: (a) the antenna deployment being replaced has previously undergone a Section 106 review in the first instance (unless a review was not required when the equipment was first installed) and (b) the equipment is an in-kind replacement of an existing facility and (c) the new deployment does not exceed the specified size limits for being treated as a small wireless antenna system.
Collocations on the Interior of a Building
Collocations on the interior of a building will generally be excluded from review, regardless of the age of the building and its location in or near a historic district provided that the building is not a Historic National Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register. A collocation in a building that is listed in the National Register is excluded from routine historic review, but must still comply with strict visibility limits. Additionally, the property may not be a designated National Historic Landmark and it may not be located in or near a Historic District.
Installations in or on Historic Buildings or Structures
Antennas and associated equipment installed in buildings and other structures or in the interior of buildings must be installed in a manner that will not cause damage to the historic materials and permit removal of the facilities without causing damage to the historic materials.
In the event that the licensee or owner of the building or non-tower structure has received written or electronic notification that the FCC has received a complaint that a collocation would have an adverse effect on one or more historic properties, the proposal will not be eligible for any of the exclusions established under the recently adopted amendment.
State and Local Government Authorities
It is important to note that the FCC’s Programmatic Agreement does not preclude state and local governments from enforcing their own requirements even if they conflict with the Programmatic Agreement. Thus, it is critically important that you consult with the relevant stake holders in order to ensure that your proposed installations comply with all historic preservation requirements.
|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 .|
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“The Curse of the Engineer”
|PHOTO OF THE WEEK|
Snakes on a cell tower: T-Mobile photo full of nope nope nope
Paging Samuel L. Jackson! You're needed immediately at a T-Mobile cell tower to deal with some $@*$%!# snakes.
August 26, 2016
There are some things you just hope to never see while you're working. A writhing bundle of snakes is one of those things (unless you're a herpetologist). A T-Mobile field engineer climbed up a cell tower and made a discovery that will give some people nightmares: a mass of snakes all coiled around each other and the tower equipment.
T-Mobile posted the image to Twitter on Tuesday and challenged its followers to come up with some movie titles based on the photo. T-Mobile's suggestion is "Snakes on an Array." Twitter users did not disappoint. Potential film titles included “Tower Medusa,” “High Power Coils,” “Snakenado,” ”Towering Inserpento” and “Slithering Heights.”
While a lot of snakes tend to dwell at ground level, some snakes will climb trees (and other tall objects) to catch prey or avoid predators.
T-Mobile confirmed the image is real, but didn't share any further details other than that is was taken at a height of 125 feet (38 meters) up on the tower. The field engineer appeared to be a reasonable distance away from the snakes when the photo was taken, if that makes you feel any better.
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