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Friday — February 6, 2015 — Issue No. 643

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Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,

Welcome back. I hope you enjoy this issue of The Wireless Messaging News.

The $1 Lightning cable that's still half as good as the real thing

by Mat Smith | February 5, 2015

How do you make an iPhone Lightning cable at a tenth of the price of what Apple charges? In short, you can't. Cupertino holds claim to the design patents, not to mention that there's an authenticator chip built into the cable, which means Apple can charge to license out the design (in turn bumping up the cable's base price). However, to avoid such licensing issues, Daiso (arguably the de facto 100-yen/dollar store in Japan) has substantially tweaked the Lightning cable you once knew. This means it's roughly a tenth of the price of the cheapest Apple-certified cable on Amazon, but well, it's also only really half the cable. [source]

Exclusive: Apple's health tech takes early lead among top hospitals

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Feb 5, 2015 5:10pm EST

(Reuters) - Apple Inc's healthcare technology is spreading quickly among major U.S. hospitals, showing early promise as a way for doctors to monitor patients remotely and lower costs.

Fourteen of 23 top hospitals contacted by Reuters said they have rolled out a pilot program of Apple's HealthKit service — which acts as a repository for patient-generated health information like blood pressure, weight or heart rate — or are in talks to do so.

The pilots aim to help physicians monitor patients with such chronic conditions as diabetes and hypertension. Apple rivals Google Inc and Samsung Electronics, which have released similar services, are only just starting to reach out to hospitals and other medical partners.

Such systems hold the promise of allowing doctors to watch for early signs of trouble and intervene before a medical problem becomes acute. That could help hospitals avoid repeat admissions, for which they are penalized under new U.S. government guidelines, all at a relatively low cost.

The U.S. healthcare market is $3 trillion, and researcher IDC Health Insights predicts that 70 percent of healthcare organizations worldwide will invest by 2018 in technology including apps, wearables, remote monitoring and virtual care.

Those trying out Apple's service included at least eight of the 17 hospitals on one list ranking the best hospitals, the U.S. News & World Report's Honor Roll. Google and Samsung had started discussions with just a few of these hospitals.

Apple's HealthKit works by gathering data from sources such as glucose measurement tools, food and exercise-tracking apps and Wi-fi connected scales. The company's Apple Watch, due for release in April, promises to add to the range of possible data, which with patients' consent can be sent to an electronic medical record for doctors to view.


Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans has been working with Apple and Epic Systems, Ochsner's medical records vendor, to roll out a pilot program for high-risk patients. The team is already tracking several hundred patients who are struggling to control their blood pressure. The devices measure blood pressure and other statistics and send it to Apple phones and tablets.

"If we had more data, like daily weights, we could give the patient a call before they need to be hospitalized," said Chief Clinical Transformation Officer Dr. Richard Milani.

Sumit Rana, chief technology officer at Epic Systems, said the timing was right for mobile health tech to take off.

"We didn't have smartphones ten years ago; or an explosion of new sensors and devices," Rana said.

Apple has said that over 600 developers are integrating HealthKit into their health and fitness apps.

Many of the hospitals told Reuters they were eager to try pilots of the Google Fit service, since Google's Android software powers most smartphones. Google said it has several developer partners on board for Fit, which connects to apps and devices, but did not comment on its outreach to hospitals.

Samsung said it is working with Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital to develop mobile health technology. The firm also has a relationship with the University of California's San Francisco Medical Center.

Apple's move into mobile health tech comes as the Affordable Care Act and other healthcare reform efforts aim to provide incentives for doctors to keep patients healthy. The aim is to move away from the "fee for service" model, which has tended to reward doctors for pricey procedures rather than for outcomes.

Still, hospitals must decide whether the difficulty of sorting through a deluge of patient-generated data of varying quality is worth the investment.

"This is a whole new data source that we don't understand the integrity of yet," said William Hanson, chief medical information officer at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.


Apple has recruited informal industry advisors, including Rana and John Halamka, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, to discuss health data privacy and for introductions to the industry.

The company said it had an "incredible team" of experts in health and fitness and was talking to medical institutions, healthcare and industry experts on ways to deliver its services.

A few hospitals are also exploring how to manage the data that is flowing in from health and fitness-concerned patients, whom many in Silicon Valley refer to as the "worried well."

Beth Israel's Halamka said that many of the 250,000 patients in his system had data from sources such as Jawbone's Up activity tracker and wirelessly connected scales.

"Can I interface to every possible device that every patient uses? No. But Apple can,” he said.

Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles is developing visual dashboards to present patient-generated data to doctors in an easy-to-digest manner.

Experts say that there will eventually be a need for common standards to ensure that data can be gathered from both Apple's system and its competitors.

"How do we get Apple to work with Samsung? I think it will be a problem eventually," said Brian Carter, a director focused on personal and population health at Cerner, an electronic medical record vendor that is integrated with HealthKit.

[Source: Reuters]

Now on to more news and views.


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About Us

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.

Editorial Policy

Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association.

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Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
STI Engineering
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Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

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Verizon Drops Prices On Most Data Plans By $10

TECH 2/05/2015 @ 4:38 PM

Verizon Wireless has announced that they will be dropping the prices on most of their data plans by $10 per month. Now Verizon’s cheapest monthly shared data plan starts at $30 per month. The new prices — along with some additional data options — went into effect as of today. Here is a breakdown of the updated prices of the More Everything data plans and the newly added options:

  • 500MB – Unchanged at $20
  • 1GB – Now $30 – From $40
  • 2GB – Now $40 – From $50
  • 3GB – Now $50 – From $60
  • 4GB – Now $60 – From $70
  • 6GB – Now $70 – From $80
  • 8GB – Now $85 – From $90
  • 10GB – Unchanged at $100
  • 12GB – Now $110 – New Option
  • 14GB – Now $120 – New Option
  • 16GB – Now $130 – New Option
  • 20GB – Now $140 – From $150

For a limited time, the new plans also lets some customers add smartphones on Verizon Edge for $15 per month after a $25 access discount per line. This means that you can sign up for an account with two smartphones on an Edge plan and 6GB of shared data for just $100. Edge discounts are $15 per line for MORE Everything plans at 4GB and below. New customers that port-in their wireless numbers from other carriers and activate new Verizon smartphones on Edge will also receive a one-time $100 bill credit per qualified line.

“Just about a year ago, Verizon Wireless expanded what customers experience with a shared data plan when we introduced MORE Everything on the best 4G LTE network,” said Verizon Wireless chief marketing officer Nancy Clark. “As the market leader, we are committed to delivering customers the solutions and value that make sense for their lifestyles.”

Verizon Edge plans let customers pay for their smartphone over 24 months in installments. Verizon Edge customers also have the option to upgrade earlier and more often. If you sign up for Verizon Edge, then you do not have to pay for upgrade or activation fees.

The drop in price comes as a surprise because Verizon tends to stand their ground whenever a competitor offers more services for less money. Last month, Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo said ”We did not go to places where we did not financially want to go to save a customer.” This was in response to a question about whether Verizon would consider matching data rollover options that are available for T-Mobile and AT&T. Shammo insisted that Verizon is a leader, not a follower.

Do existing Verizon customers qualify for the discounted data plans? Yes. Existing customers can opt to get an additional gigabyte of data for the same amount or get $10 off their monthly bills, but they have to set it up by visiting MyVerizon or calling Verizon’s customer service.



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This App Actually Lets You Send Screenshot — Proof Messages And Photos

The Huffington Post | By Alexis Kleinman
Posted: 02/04/2015 4:56 pm EST Updated: 02/04/2015 5:59 pm EST

Got confidential information? Snapchat isn't safe. Email isn't safe. Phone calls aren’t even safe.

But there’s now a way to send confidential text messages, photos and documents without fear of the dreaded screenshot. Confide, an app that launched in January 2014 as a way to send confidential texts, just added the ability to send documents and photos.

Here’s how Confide protects your messages from being saved via screenshot: You can only view tiny pieces of the words, photo or document that you receive. In order to see a message sent to you, you have to push down on your screen with your finger. Only the portion under your finger is visible. Once you’ve read the message, it disappears completely.

Here's the app in action:

Confide, which is free on Android and iOS devices, was able to completely disable in-app screenshots for Android users. "You can set a flag on Android that stops someone from taking a screenshot,” Confide's president and co-founder, Jon Brod, told The Huffington Post in a phone interview Wednesday.

On iOS, it's possible to grab small portions of a message — but not much. If an iOS user tries to screenshot a message in Confide, they'll be able to grab just what is visible on the screen at that moment. There is no way to screenshot all of the message. Once you take a screenshot on iOS, you’re kicked out of the message and it disappears forever.

This is what it looks like when you take a screenshot:

The line of text that you're seeing is the line that I was pushing on with my thumb when I took the screenshot.

The app notifies the sender when their message is opened, and if the recipient tries to take a screenshot. (Of course, if you were really desperate to save a copy of this information, you could always get someone to take a video of you reading the message.)

On top of that, the messages are encrypted. “We use standard military-grade encryption,” Brod told HuffPost. When a message disappears, it is deleted from Confide’s servers and wiped from the phone completely, he said.

We asked Brod when the best situations to use Confide might be, and he had some suggestions for us. If you'd normally mark an email as “confidential,” you might want to send it through Confide instead, Brod told us. He also said the same goes for moments when you'd rather call someone to discuss an issue instead of email it. For example, you could use Confide to discuss a new job and send a confidential resume.

“We're trying to bring off-the-record communication online,” Brod told HuffPost.

Source:The Huffington Post 

Ivy Corp



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Unwinding The Swatch Group Smartwatch Announcement

February 5, 2015
by John Biggs

The Swatch Group dropped a bombshell — in its staid way — announcing plans to release a smartwatch in the next three months, potentially to coincide with the April launch of the Apple Watch.

First, understand that watch companies don’t know how to market to tech consumers. As I wrote here, Swatch is an integral part in the haute horology industry, a sort of heavy base for the expensive Cloisonne vase of the higher end brands. But Swatch and its associated companies offer lifestyle, not tech. Every time they have, excepting a few very specific occasions including the excellent Tissot T-Touch line, they have floundered.

The news from Swatch is fairly limited. Essentially they’re proposing a simple smart watch focused on Windows and Android interoperability that can charge itself. How? Either through a rotating weight that will charge a very small internal battery or a linear weight that will bounce inside the case. This technology isn’t new — it has been tried multiple times and Ulyssee Nardin sort of used it in their Chairman cellphone line. Seiko has made a line called the Kinetic for decades utilizing a mechanical winder to charge a small battery.

The key here, however is that the kinetic energy generated by a swiftly moving weight is very limited. The energy transfer is enough to run a small watch battery but may not be enough to run a color screen. Therefore, Swatch is limited in its possible interfaces. But, generally, can it be done? With a solid enough partnership with a tech company it should be possible but difficult.

You’ll also note the dig at Apple. Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek said that the watch is launching in April, probably around the same time as the Apple Watch. He also said it would be designed for Android and Windows Phone, an obvious choice for a company placing itself directly at odds with a big competitor.

Will it work? I don’t know. All of the watch makers are going to try to build a smart watch this year. Montblanc is trying to have it both ways with their goofy smart bracelet while something called the MMT Horological Smartwatch Platform is appearing later this month that is aimed at making fancy watches smarter. In short, high-end horology is finally figuring out that they are in trouble.

We’ll have more info on the Swatch offering over the next few months but generally be prepared for a long — and confusing — battle ahead. It is the first major challenge to Switzerland in decades and it should be a wild ride. [Source: TechCrunch]

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5 Things You Need to Know About the FCC's Net Neutrality Plan


Here's what you need to know about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan for net neutrality and the open Web.

Details about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality plan emerged yesterday, and it left D.C. types all atwitter. But this is not just an inside-the-Beltway issue. It could impact how your ISP runs their network and what type of recourse you have if you think they're doing something shady.

The details are all very wonky—I can sense you all nodding off at the mention of things like Title II, forbearance, and inter-connection. But if you care about the openness of the Internet—and you should—listen up. Here are some of the most noteworthy parts of Wheeler's proposal and what you need to know about them.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

1. Reclassification
Chairman Wheeler has decided to "reclassify" broadband as a telecom service rather than an information service. What does that mean? Basically that ISPs will have to answer to the FCC more so than they do now. The FCC already handles issues related to telecom companies—like those that provide landline phone service—and it would extend that oversight to ISPs, too.

Why is this important? The FCC is trying to pass net neutrality rules that will stick. It has already been sued over previous net neutrality rules—first by Comcast and then by Verizon—and the court has sided with the ISPs both times. The court said the FCC has some authority to monitor broadband issues, but it lacks the power to hand down regulations that apply to the ISPs.

That's because the Internet is considered an “information service,” something the Supreme Court established in the 2005 Brand X case. How do you fix that? Give yourself the authority, of course. Chairman Wheeler's plan is to say that the Internet should actually be considered a telecom service, which would give the FCC much more authority to hand down net neutrality regulations and intervene if a customer has a complaint. If an ISP sues again, the FCC is also much more likely to prevail if ISPs have been reclassified as a telecom service.

ISPs won't be subject to all the rules their telecom counterparts must follow; Wheeler has said he wants to take a 21st century approach to reclassification. Namely, the FCC has promised that ISPs won't be subject to rate regulation or tariffs, last-mile unbundling, or the burdensome paperwork traditional telecom firms are subject to now.

President Obama also supports this approach (see video).

2. No Paid Prioritization
Before he landed on reclassification, Chairman Wheeler threw around a bunch of ideas, one of which was allowing paid prioritization at times when it was commercially reasonable.

The FCC never got specific on what that meant; the only real example it provided was a prioritized connection for someone with an at-home heart-rate monitor that didn't significantly impact Internet traffic to anyone else.

But paid prioritization—or the idea that a company could pay to have their traffic or content move faster than someone else—is the exact opposite of what net neutrality wants to accomplish. As a result, net neutrality advocates flipped out, and Wheeler eventually softened his approach and simply asked the public what they thought about paid prioritization during the public comment period.

The final rules get very specific: no paid prioritization. “I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services,” Wheeler wrote in an op-ed for Wired.

3. The Rules Cover the Wireless Industry
The last time the FCC passed net neutrality regulations was in 2010, and the wireless industry successfully argued that it was still growing and should not be subject to all of the rules, lest it thwart innovation.

The FCC agreed, applying only one part of its rules to mobile broadband: transparency, which meant wireless carriers had to be up front about their practices. But the industry was exempt from everything else—until now.

Going forward, the FCC's net neutrality rules would cover consumers however they access the Web: PC, phone, tablet, etc. and all Internet service providers (cable, satellite, wireless) would have to adhere to three basic rules: no blocking, no throttling specific apps or content, and no paid prioritization.

4. Showdown at the Inter-Connection Corral
Last year, you might have noticed a few stories about Netflix fighting with ISPs like Comcast and Verizon about “inter-connection” or “peering” deals. Basically, these agreements provide Netflix with direct access to an ISP's network, which speeds up Netflix's service on those ISPs. If you're a customer of an ISP that has one of these inter-connection deals with Netflix (like Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T), you're less likely to see your Netflix videos buffer or stall.

Netflix Inter-Connection Graphic

Cool, right? Not according to Netflix, which has likened these deals to extortion and called for the FCC to put a stop to them by passing strong net neutrality regulations.

At first, the FCC said it wasn't going to include inter-connection in its net neutrality rules because it already had enough on its plate there. But it did agree to investigate who was really to blame for things like Netflix slowdowns.

Fast forward to yesterday, and the FCC has decided to include inter-connection in its net neutrality rules after all. The agency is not going to ban these deals, though. Instead, it will let companies like Netflix and individuals who believe an inter-connection deal might be unfair to file a complaint with the FCC. The agency will decide whether it does anything about these complaints on a case-by-case basis.

5. ISPs, Carriers, and Republicans are NOT Happy

Not surprisingly, ISPs are irked by the chairman's plan (that's the NCTA's banner above). In general, most people involved in this debate are in favor of net neutrality. They differ, however, on how it should be preserved.

ISPs will tell you that the market has worked just fine without net neutrality rules: just look at the growth in video streams and smartphone users, they say. Consumer groups, however, argue that there's nothing to stop these ISPs from engaging in shady behavior. At least with net neutrality rules on the books, people will be able to complain to the FCC if they think something is amiss.

In Congress, the issue split right down party lines. President Obama backs reclassification, as do a number of Democrats, like Sen. Al Franken. Republicans, however, are currently working on legislation that would strip the FCC of its authority to introduce net neutrality rules like these, though it remains to be seen if that will get any traction, and Obama is likely to veto it.



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Before Net Neutrality: The Surprising 1940s Battle for Radio Freedom

To fully understand what’s at stake in the fight over the future of the Internet, you have to revisit another era.

JAN 29 2015, 8:20 AM ET

Joe Haupt/Flickr/The Atlantic

In 1947, near the 40th anniversary of his invention of the Audion tube, Lee de Forest, “the father of radio,” addressed a message to the National Association of Broadcasters that was widely circulated and printed in Time magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and other news outlets:

What have you gentlemen done with my child? He was conceived as a potent instrumentality for culture, fine music, the uplifting of America’s mass intelligence. You have debased this child…made of him a laughing stock… The occasional fine program is periodically smeared with impudent insistence to buy or try… Soap opera without end or sense floods each household daily.

De Forest’s anguish over radio’s lost democratic potential echoed across a chorus of media criticism.

His position also evokes a more contemporary debate about a much newer technological infrastructure and its cultural purpose. Recent policy battles over net neutrality may seem unprecedented, but we’ve faced similar moments in American history.

As we again set policies that define core power relationships for a new medium, we might look to our past to discern lessons for charting our future. For the media system we’ve inherited—one dominated by a small number of corporations, lightly regulated in terms of public interest protections, and offset by weak public alternatives—was not inevitable or natural; it resulted from the outcomes of specific policy battles, and from specific logics and values triumphing over others.

The country’s media infrastructure has undergone periodic confluences of technological, political, and social changes—what historians sometimes call “critical junctures.” These moments create rare windows of opportunity for activist interventions and radical ideas. By crystallizing a social contract between commercial media institutions, government, and the public, policy decisions at these junctures can profoundly shape our information system’s trajectory.

One such inflection point occurred in the 1940s during policy battles over radio, which resulted in America’s preeminent medium being largely captured—and some would say degraded—by commercial forces. With the public airwaves marred by excessive advertising and low-quality programming, many felt that radio’s revolutionary promise was being squandered to over-commercialization. This growing anger was experienced most acutely among African Americans, labor unions, and intellectuals who felt excluded and powerless as commercial media neglected or misrepresented their voices and viewpoints. To advance their politics they needed to change the system, and to do so they needed to change media policy.

A spirited media-reform coalition of activists and average listeners entered policy debates and targeted the Federal Communications Commission with letters and petitions.

One letter from a returning World War II veteran noted that racist radio programming like the popular Amos ‘n’ Andy evidenced an “American Fascism.” Many decried radio’s anti-labor slant. Pleading that “labor and capital both be heard equally,” one representative letter asked that radio not be “utilized so exclusively for sheer advertising and propaganda purposes.” A self-described housewife urged the FCC, “Please keep up the fight. If it means government control, better that than [advertiser] control.” These letters certainly did not represent all or even most listeners, but they gave voice to a palpable disgust with what had become of American radio.

This surge in criticism and engagement with policy—what Fortune dubbed “The Revolt Against Radio”—coincided with a rare progressive bloc at the FCC. Even as the New Deal project was in various stages of retreat elsewhere, a social democratic vision arrived later and stayed longer at the FCC. The liberal faction was led by two southerners, FCC chairman Larry Fly from Texas, and the commissioner Clifford Durr from Alabama. To defend democracy and the public interest they aggressively went after commercial broadcasters. Bolstered by grassroots pressures, the FCC launched a number of progressive initiatives throughout the decade aimed at reining in the power of media monopolies and defining public service responsibilities for broadcasters. These policy interventions resulted in forcing NBC to divest itself of one of its two networks (which is how ABC was formed), mandating that broadcast license renewals be dependent on meaningful public interest obligations (the FCC’s infamous “Blue Book”), and establishing the much maligned and misunderstood Fairness Doctrine (which was actually a consolation prize in the fight for stronger regulations).

If history is any lesson, reforming our media system will require continued public pressure from below, and not just from political elites.

Most of these reform efforts ultimately were defeated or fell short, largely at the hands of red-baiting. Reformers were charged with “BBC-izing” American radio, an argument made plausible by the convenient fact that the Blue Book’s primary author was Charles Siepmann, one of the BBC’s early programming directors. Conservatives and commercial broadcasters accused the FCC of having socialist sympathies, and incessantly attacked Durr and Siepmann. By the end of the decade the Red Scare had taken its toll; few reformers remained in positions of influence, and many were now blacklisted and scattered across the country. If anti-communist hysteria hadn’t shifted the political landscape we may have a very different media system today. At the very least, the libertarian assumption that government had little legitimacy in shielding a media system from undue commercial pressures might not have triumphed. Beyond revisiting roads not taken, a number of contemporary parallels can be drawn from this history.

Today, millions of Americans are engaging with technical policy issues like net neutrality, whose loss could fundamentally change the nature of the Internet by creating fast and slow lanes.

Beyond threats to an open Internet, America’s broadband speeds and prices are atrocious when compared to many other democratic nations. The “digital divide,” which sounds like a throwback to the 1990s, is still a major problem in the United States. In a series of “FDR moments,” President Obama has confronted some of these challenges, making two dramatic YouTube interventions in recent months and pledging to promote a free, open, and fast Internet in his State of the Union address. But if history is any lesson, reforming our media system will require continued public pressure from below, and not just from political elites. And it will require removing the intellectual and ideological constraints that prevent our government from taking on media monopolies. Policy battles from the 1940s suggest that media corporations cannot simply be shamed into being good.

With old problems affecting new media, Americans sit at a crossroads. Like in the 1940s, again there is concern over whether a revolutionary medium will fulfill its democratic promise or instead be dominated by commercial interests. Again we are facing the insurmountable market power of enormous monopolies over our media infrastructure. And again we are looking to the FCC to defend the “public interest.” Can this quaint-sounding principle survive into the digital age?

Unlike in the 1940s, we are not in the throes of a Red Scare, but market fundamentalism still prevails in Washington. The question remains: Can we rescue a potentially democratic medium from commercial capture? The former FCC commissioner Michael Copps has called the net neutrality decision expected next month “The Biggest FCC Vote Ever.” How this debate plays out may determine whether we follow the path of broadcasting or begin to create a media system worthy of its democratic promise.

Source:The Atlantic

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Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


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Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.

BloostonLaw Telecom UpdateVol. 18, No. 5February 4, 2015

March 16: Deadline to Notify AT&T of Service Provided in Modified CAF Phase I Census Blocks

On January 16, AT&T modified its Connect America Phase I, Round 2 incremental broadband deployment plans to include an additional 7,931 census blocks. Since these census blocks are not eligible for CAF funding if they are already served, the FCC has established a deadline of March 16, 2015 for carriers that may be serving the newly-identified blocks to notify AT&T of the existing service. Existing providers must offer broadband at speeds of 3 Mbps or higher in order for the census block to be deemed served. A list of the 7,931 census blocks that AT&T now intends to serve can be found here. Carriers offering service in these blocks should feel free to contact the firm for more information.


FCC Releases Fact Sheet for Upcoming Net Neutrality Order

On February 4, the FCC issued a fact sheet outlining Chairman Wheeler’s proposal “to preserve and protect the open Internet as a place for innovation and free expression,” on which the full Commission will vote at the February 26 Open Meeting.

As many news sources have recently teased, the draft Order reclassifies broadband Internet access service, i.e., “the retail broadband service Americans buy from cable, phone, and wireless providers,” as a telecommunications service under Title II. The type of broadband service made available to edge providers also may be covered if a court finds it necessary. The Chairman also intends to rely on Section 706 in addition to Title II because that section does not have the ‘common carriage’ limitation of Title II that ultimately led to the D.C. Circuit vacating the previous Net Neutrality order. Provisions on mobile broadband will also rely on Title III of the Communications Act. The FCC states, however, that some data services do not go over the public Internet and, therefore, are not "broadband Internet access" services subject to Title II oversight, such as VoIP from a cable system.

The provisions of Title II that will be applied to broadband include:

  • Prohibition of “unjust and unreasonable practices” (Sections 201 and 202);
  • Investigation of consumer complaints under section 208 and related enforcement provisions (Sections 206, 207, 209, 216 and 217);
  • Protection for consumer privacy (Section 222);
  • Fair access to poles and conduits (Section 224);
  • Protection for people with disabilities (Sections 225 and 255); and
  • Universal service fund support for broadband service in the future (partial application of Section 254).

Provisions of Title II that will not apply and will be subject to forbearance include rate regulation (tariffs or other form of rate approval and unbundling) and Universal Service Contributions (i.e., the Order does not require broadband providers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund). The Order also will not impose any “burdensome” administrative filing or accounting standards.

Regarding Net Neutrality itself, the draft Order bans blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization practices (including “fast lanes” and prioritization of content and services of affiliates). It also enhances the existing transparency requirements. The Order does permit “reasonable network management” that is primarily used for and tailored to achieving a non-commercial, “legitimate network management” purpose. For example, according to the fact sheet a provider could not cite reasonable network management to justify reneging on a promise to provide “unlimited” data.

AWS-3 Auction Closes With Record $41.3 Billion in Net Revenues to US Treasury

After 45 bidding days and 341 rounds completed, bidding in the FCC’s AWS-3 auction (Auction 97) ended last Thursday with a total of $44.899 billion in gross winning bids. Taking into account bid credits, the auction generated net proceeds to the US Treasury of $41.329 billion. Big winners were as follows:

  1. AT&T (bidding under the name AT&T Wireless Services 3 LLC) paid approximately $18.2 billion for 251 winning bids.
  2. Verizon (bidding under the name Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless) paid approximately $10.4 billion for 181 winning bids.
  3. DISH (participating through Alaska Native companies Northstar Wireless, LLC and SNR Wireless LicenseCo, LLC) paid just under $10 billion (after receiving $3.3 billion in small business bid credits) for 702 winning bids.
  4. T-Mobile (bidding under the name T-Mobile License LLC) = $1,774,023,000

A Public Notice issued last Friday (DA 15-131) established February 13, 2015 as the deadline for post auction down payments (20% of net bids) and filing of long-form applications. Final license payments (balance of net bids) will be due March 2, 2015. There is a ten-day Petition to Deny period that will begin after long-form applications appear on Public Notice.

“Today we closed bidding Auction 97 — by far the highest-earning spectrum auction the United States has ever seen. But it was much more than that," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last Thursday. "This auction also marked a new era in spectrum policy, where a collaborative and unprecedented effort resulted in new commercial access to federal spectrum bands.”

In all, 65 MHz of AWS-band spectrum was auctioned, including 50 MHz of paired channel spectrum and 15 MHz of unpaired spectrum for supplemental uplink operations. Out of a total of 70 eligible bidding entities, a little under half (just 31) came away from the auction with winning bids. Other notable bidders included US Cellular (bidding as small business Advantage Spectrum, LLC), which bid $338.3 million for 124 licenses, and America Movil-backed Puerto Rico Telephone Company, which had $170.9 million in winning bids.

Responding to the more than $3 billion in small business credits garnered by DISH (which has annual revenues of nearly $14 billion), FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai on Monday issued a strongly-worded statement slamming the FCC for allowing companies like DISH to abuse the Designated Entity (DE) program, and urging the FCC Chairman to immediately launch an investigation.

“The Commission must reform its rules to stop abuse of the DE program,” said Commissioner Pai. “Unfortunately, the agency is currently headed in the opposite direction, having issued proposals last October that would jettison even more of the DE program’s safeguards and make it even easier for giant corporations to engage in these types of shenanigans. We must change course, and soon, by closing loopholes that allow big businesses to rip off the American people to the tune of billions of dollars.’

The Commission is making available information previously withheld under the limited information procedures for Auction 97. Results files that include the identities of bidders and the net amounts of bids are now available on the web page for Auction 97 ( and in the FCC Auction System ( Applications to participate in the auction (FCC Forms 175) now display the licenses that were selected by each applicant as well as any application exhibits that may have been suppressed during the auction. Applications are viewable in the FCC Auction System via the Auction Application Search. (

FCC Adopts New Indoor Location Accuracy Requirements for Wireless E911

The FCC last week adopted amendments to its Enhanced 911 (E911) rules, incorporating indoor location accuracy standards because location accuracy technologies optimized for outdoor calling often do not work effectively or at all when calls are made indoors.

According to the FCC, the new rules establish clear and measurable timelines for wireless providers to meet indoor location accuracy benchmarks, both for horizontal and vertical location information. The Commission said that its requirements and timeframes give similar weight to proposals agreed to last November by the four nationwide CMRS providers in conjunction with APCO and NENA, as well as a separate submission by the Competitive Carriers’ Association (CCA). The Commission noted that no single technological approach will solve the challenge of indoor location, and no solution can be implemented overnight. The new requirements therefore enable wireless providers to choose the most effective solutions and allow sufficient time for development of applicable standards, establishment of testing mechanisms, and deployment of new location technology.

A complete text of the Fourth Report and Order (FCC 15-9) was released today and we are reviewing the fine print for any surprises.

FCC Seeks Comments on Letter of Credit Requirements

On January 30, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the Alliance of Rural Broadband Applicants’ Petition for Waiver of certain letter of credit requirements for provisionally selected rural broadband experiment applicants. Importantly, the Bureau is also seeking comment on how the issues raised in the Petition for Wavier may be relevant to the upcoming CAF Phase II competitive bidding process. In other words, comment is also invited on the letter of credit requirement generally as it may apply to CAF Phase II. Comments and reply comments on the Petition for Wavier are due on February 6 and February 14, respectively, while a deadline for general comments has not yet been established.

Separately, the FCC denied the Alliance’s request to extend the February 3 deadline for Rural Broadband Experiment provisionally winning bidders to submit a letter from an acceptable bank committing to issue a LOC in the amount of the first year of distributed support.

FCC Issues List of Next-In-Line Entities for Rural Broadband Experiment Funds

On February 3, the FCC issued a list of entities that are eligible to receive the Rural Broadband Experiment funding that became available due to the defaults of certain initially selected provisionally winning bidders. The list, which includes a number of rural providers, is available here. Once the FCC determines exactly how much additional funding is available due to defaulting provisionally winning bidders, new provisionally winning bidders will be selected from the list.

Back in December, the FCC instituted a process by which applicants for Rural Broadband Experiment support that were not selected as provisionally winning bidders could maintain their eligibility for funding in the event a provisionally winning bidder defaulted by submitting three consecutive years’ worth of audited financial reports to the Commission. This list is comprised of entities that the FCC indicates have successfully met that requirement.

The announcement comes on the heels of the denial of a number of petitions for waiver of the FCC’s audited financial report requirement for Rural Broadband Experiment funding, resulting in default by 15 provisionally winning bidders. Therefore, the potential for “next-in-line” funding is good.

Law & Regulation

Wireless Bureau Extends Filing Deadlines for Review of Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules

Acting on its own motion, the FCC’s Wireless Bureau last Friday extended the deadlines for comments and replies in response to the Part 1 NPRM (FCC 14-146) by two weeks. Comments are now due by February 20, 2015, and reply comments are due by March 6, 2015. The Part 1 NPRM seeks to revise certain of the Part 1 competitive bidding rules and Designated Entity (DE) provisions to provide small businesses greater opportunity to participate in the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction (BIA) and thereafter in the provision of 600 MHz band services.

FCC Issues Enforcement Advisory on Interference with Wi-Fi Hot Spots

On January 27, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued an Enforcement Advisory stating that no hotel, convention center, or other commercial establishment, or the network operator providing services at such establishments, may intentionally block or disrupt personal Wi-Fi hot spots on such premises, including as part of an effort to force consumers to purchase access to the property owner’s Wi-Fi network. According to the Bureau, such action is illegal and violations could lead to the assessment of substantial monetary penalties.

The Advisory is a direct result of an investigation by the Bureau of Marriott International, Inc., which had deployed a Wi-Fi de-authentication protocol to deliberately block customers seeking to connect to the Internet through their own personal Wi-Fi hotspots while on Marriott property. Marriott settled the investigation by paying a civil penalty of $600,000.

Following the investigation, the Bureau reportedly received a number of additional complaints suggesting that other commercial Wi-Fi network operators may be doing the same. The Bureau indicated it is investigating these complaints and will take appropriate action against violators.

Sen. Sanders Introduces Bill to Fund Further BIP and BTOP Grants

On January 27, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced the introduction of new legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member of the appropriations committee, which, among other things, appropriates $5 billion for broadband deployment initiatives for fiscal years 2015 through 2019. If the bill is passed, the appropriated funds will be made available through the existing Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) in equal measure ($2.5 billion per program per year).

The bill would also invest $735 billion to repair roads, bridges and transit systems; $15 billion a year to improve intercity passenger and freight rail, including high-speed rail; $2.5 billion a year to implement improvement projects at airports across the country; $3.5 billion a year to accelerate deployment of NextGen satellite technology to improve air travel safety and increase airport capacity; $145 billion in water infrastructure over five years; $3 billion a year to improve inland waterways and coastal harbors; and $3 billion a year to improve our National Parks, Monuments, Heritage Areas and Landmarks.

USAC Files Second Quarter 2015 Universal Service Support Mechanisms Fund Size Projections

On January 30, USAC filed its Second Quarter 2015 Federal Universal Service Support Mechanisms Fund Size Projections with the FCC. According to the filing, the Second Quarter funding requirements are projected as follows: $185.34 million for HCL Support (+0.9% from last quarter); $223.30 million for ICLS (-0.45%); $260.11 million for frozen Price Cap Carrier Support (+1%); $148.95 million for frozen CETC Support (-1.1%); $102.80 million for CAF/ICC Support (-0.26%); and $204.50 million for the CAF reserve account (-0.38%); resulting in total High Cost Support Mechanism projected demand of $1.125 billion.


Cablevision to Offer Wi-Fi Only Phone Service

Cablevision has announced that it will be rolling out a Wi-Fi alternative to traditional cell phones and data plans. Dubbed “Freewheel,” the service will rely on the Motorola moto g smart phone and be powered by “millions of Wi-Fi hotspots that extend from . . . home to the coffee shop to your office to your school.” While the Freewheel service will not be able to connect to mobile carriers’ systems in areas where Wi-Fi is not available, the cost will likewise be relatively inexpensive at $9.95 per month for current Cablevision subscribers and $29.95 per month for new subscribers. Freewheel claims that subscribers will have unlimited talk, data and text.

News reports indicate that the Freewheel service is a turn on mobile carriers in general and Verizon in particular since Verizon has gone after cable business with its FiOS service. Here, Cablevision, which competes with Verizon in its home market, will be trying to steal away customers from Verizon by offering mobile phone service in addition to its cable, phone and Internet services.

It remains to be seen if this business model will work — especially where the mobile device is only able to work if it has access to a Wi-Fi network. With access to Mi-Fi hot spots and the coming of 4G access in automobiles, the Freewheel service could portend a change in future mobile telephony and data communications if Freewheel is able to overcome any data usage limitations in these mobile environments.

Calendar At A Glance

Feb. 4 – Oppositions are due on AT&T/Verizon Applications for Review of T-Mobile Data Roaming Petition.
Feb. 5 – Comments are due on Technology Transitions NPRM.
Feb. 5 – Comments are due on Windstream Petition for Declaratory Ruling on DS1/DS3 Access.
Feb. 6 – Comments are due on Unlicensed Use of TV Band and 600 MHz Band Spectrum.
Feb. 6 – Comments are due on Alliance of Rural Broadband Applicants’ Petition for Waiver.
Feb. 9 – Reply comments are due on CFC Bank Eligibility Waiver Request.
Feb. 9 – Comments are due on the IntraMTA Petition for Declaratory Ruling.
Feb. 14 – Reply comments are due on Alliance of Rural Broadband Applicants’ Petition for Waiver.
Feb. 17 – Filing deadline for Community Connect grant applications.
Feb. 20 – Comments are due on Part 1 Competitive Bidding NPRM.
Feb. 25 – Reply comments are due on Unlicensed Use of TV Band and 600 MHz Band Spectrum.
Feb. 27 – Deadline for Special Access Data Collection for small businesses with less than 1,500 employees.
Feb. 27 – Reply comments are due on the FCC’s Incentive Auction Procedures.

Mar. 2 – Copyright Statement of Account Form for cable companies is due.
Mar. 2 – Annual CPNI Certification is due.
Mar. 2 – FCC Form 477 (Local Competition & Broadband Reporting) is due.
Mar. 6 – Reply comments are due on Part 1 Competitive Bidding NPRM.
Mar. 9 – Reply comments are due on Technology Transitions NPRM.
Mar. 9 – Reply comments are due on Windstream Petition for Declaratory Ruling on DS1/DS3 Access.
Mar. 9 – Comments are due on 911 Outage NPRM.
Mar. 11 – Reply comments are due on the IntraMTA Petition for Declaratory Ruling.
Mar. 16 – Deadline to notify AT&T of Service Provided in CAF Phase I Deployment Census Blocks.
Mar. 31 – FCC Form 525 (Delayed Phasedown CETC Line Counts) is due.
Mar. 31 – FCC Form 508 (ICLS Projected Annual Common Line Requirement) is due.
Mar. 31 – International Circuit Capacity Report is due.

Apr. 1 – FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Apr. 1 – Annual Accessibility Certification is due.
Apr. 7 – Reply comments are due on 911 Outage NPRM.

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 .

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Lechmanski provides solution to high band conversion costs

by Julie Lane
Shelter Island Reporter
02/04/15 12:00pm

Fire Commissioner Larry Lechmanski outlined a plan to spread the costs of converting to high band communications over several years. JULIE LANE PHOTO

Word that Suffolk County is moving forward faster than expected in converting its radio communications system from low band to high band could have been a more than $300,000 expense for Shelter Island Fire Commissioners. But the ongoing efforts of one commissioner seems to have found a means of coping with the transition. Commissioner Larry Lechmanski has been attending meetings throughout the county for months to follow the progress of the communication system conversions. He told his colleagues Tuesday night he’d learned that a simulcasting system could be the interim step for Shelter Island, allowing firefighters to receive both high and low band alerts while the district gradually transitioned to the high band pagers.

Suffolk County dispatchers intend to continue to use low band alerts until that system “explodes,” forcing its abandonment, rather than putting a great deal of money into trying to repair it.

“They’re going to keep it running as long as it runs,” Mr. Lechmanski said.

Southold, which dispatches for Shelter Island, backed up by Suffolk County, is still on low band service, but that, too, won’t last.

There are approximately 80 pagers in the district. The cost of converting to a reliable Motorola high band pager would be $4,000 per unit or $320,000 for the full conversion.

“You’re talking a ton of money,” Mr. Lechmanski said, explaining why he sought advice on how to convert over a seven or eight year period instead of having to hit taxpayers with a huge bill this year.

The commissioners will set a meeting with Integrated Wireless, the company that has been advising them on communications systems, to further explore costs associated with installation of a simulcast system.

“Right now, we’ve got to invest our money into simulcast,” Mr. Lechmanski said. “We can do it piecemeal without hitting the taxpayers with a big nut right out of the box.”

Source:Shelter Island Reporter

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RadioShack files for bankruptcy as Sprint eyes its stores

by Richard Lawler

[Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

February 5, 2015

As expected, RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today. The electronics store has had 11 unprofitable quarters in a row that apparently even Weird Al and a drone, concept stores and Arduinos couldn't turn around. We've seen many electronics retailers fade out over the last few years, but most don't have a 94-year history behind them. In the immediate future, Reuters reports the company has a deal with its largest shareholder, Standard General to sell between 1,500 and 2,400 of its 4,000 stores. In turn, Sprint has an agreement to expand to about 1,750 of those stores, taking up about one-third of the space. TechCrunch posted a copy of the filing, and right now it's expected that the remaining stores will be closed, assuming the store's lenders approve of the deal — leaving us with one fewer place to go when need a battery right now.


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From:InfoRad Wireless Messaging Software
Subject: InfoRad / Verizon Support Notification: Verizon discontinues Dial-up modem (TAP) support
Date:February 3, 2015
To:Brad Dye

InfoRad Wireless Software Verizon Support Options:

As of 1/31/15 Verizon Wireless has discontinued support for text messaging via dial-up modem (TAP protocol) to Verizon Wireless cell phones.

Options for sending messages other than dial-up Modem/TAP include messaging via internet protocols:

Information on using InfoRad Messaging Software for Text Messaging to Cell Phones

Test Messaging to Cell Phones using SMTP Messaging Service

Text Messaging to Cell Phones using Enterprise Messaging services

Text Messaging to Cell Phones using SMS Aggregate services (requires v10.4.0*)
(* TeleMessage SMS Aggregate also supported in version 10.3.x, 10.2.x)

Additionally one of the supported SMS Aggregate services – TeleMessage – supports dial-up TAP. However, if you desire TAP service, TeleMessage requires a “Business” level account – for more information see:

There may be additional 3rd party TAP support services. Contact Verizon Wireless for more information on additional 3rd party TAP services: Enterprise Messaging Help Desk @ 800-525-0481; or contact your business sales team, or customer support at 1-800-922-0204 for assistance.

For SMS Aggregate information and pricing, please see the links in the SMS Aggregate Service Providers information page

InfoRad TechSupport

From:Erick Álvarez <>
Subject: Need a C-2000 manual
Date:February 3, 2015
To:Brad Dye

Good day, Mr. Dye

I´m Erick Alvarez from SkyAlert, I´m looking for some help, I hope you can help me with the GL-C2000, I need the user manual. I have a device here at work but I need the whole information about this device.

I hope you can help me, if this manual has a price, let me know.

Thanks in advance!


From:Jim Tucker
Subject: Newsletter early this AM
Date:January 30, 2015 at 7:56:41 AM CST
To:Brad Dye

WOW, you got up early.  Easy to see why you sent the letter so early in the day as it will take all day to read it!  Hah!

Will advise when I have finished the read!  OOPS, I will forget to advise you.  One of the problems with gray matter.

Best to you on Friday, the 30th,

Jim T

Dear Mr. Tucker,

I apologize for you getting The Wireless Messaging News so early yesterday, but it was all my fault. I woke my custodian Brad up very early so he could take me out to pee. I just couldn’t wait so I barked and barked until he finally got up and took me out.

I am not a bird dog or anything. Brad adopted me from a rescue kennel. They think I am part Rottweiler and part Labrador Retriever. I have web feet so that explains the Lab part. They found me and my brother holed up in a culvert. My ears were all chewed up but they are OK now.

They say I am as crazy as a pet coon, but honestly I don’t think I am related to a raccoon at all.

Anyway I hope you continue to enjoy Brad’s newsletter.

Sincerely “Duke”

Dear Duke,

You must be living a horrible life.  Probably about like the Boston Terriers that lived and controlled the Tucker household for a lot of years.  Ouch!

Keep after the master of the house.



The Wireless Messaging News

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Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven't met yet!

I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.

Wouldn't it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes; come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller!


Mexico Raises Death Toll to 4 From Gas Explosion at Hospital

MEXICO CITY — Feb 4, 2015, 12:13 PM ET

In this Jan. 29, 2015 photo, search and rescue workers comb through the rubble of a maternity hospital which collapsed when a gas tank truck exploded outside the hospital, in Cuajimalpa on the western edge of Mexico City. The explosion, which shattered the majority of the building, occurred early Thursday morning when workers were making a routine delivery of gas to the hospital kitchen. Several deaths were reported and dozens were injured. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Source:ABC News

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