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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — January 13, 2017 — Issue No. 740


Wishing a safe and happy weekend for all readers of The Wireless Messaging News.

New Windows 10 build is a monster update

First update of the year adds more new features than any previous build.

JAN 13, 2017 4:47 AM PT
By Andy Patrizio

Credit: Adam Patrick Murray

Microsoft called a halt to releasing new builds of Windows 10 in mid-December for logical reasons. The holidays were upon us and who cared to test beta software? Well, the holidays are over and Microsoft has returned with a vengeance, dropping a new build of Windows 10 so full of updates it's like a whole new OS.

Build 15002 was released to the Fast Ring of Insider builds, meaning it's known to be buggy and unstable. This is an early version of the Creators Update due in April. The list of changes, additions, and improvements is enormous.

Microsoft Edge continues to improve

Despite its paltry usage numbers, Microsoft isn't giving up on Edge. It has several new features. First is what Microsoft calls the "set aside" tab feature, where you close a tab you no longer need. In Chrome or Firefox, you would hit ctrl-shift-T to restore the closed tab, but Edge has a tiny icon for closed tabs that you click to reopen.

Edge also now offers a tab preview where if you click a small caret symbol, you’ll get a carousel of what each tab is currently showing. It's reminiscent of the tab preview window in the Vivaldi browser.

Edge in Build 15002 also features auto-blocking of Flash. Edge already auto pauses Flash but this goes one step further by not loading a Flash image at all unless you explicitly tell Edge to do so.

UI enhancements

Windows 10 phones have a feature where you can drop several tiles into a custom folder on the Start menu, and now that is coming to Windows desktops. Just drop one app on top of another and it forms a folder, similar to what iOS does on the iPhone.

For laptop users, when you re-dock your laptop, your icons might get a little messed up. Build 15002 tries to solve that problem with an improved scaling options. Windows has better placement of icons and smoother resizing of desktop apps.

Windows Ink boasts a new stroke erase feature, something it needed.

OneNote 2016’s popular screenshot feature, which lets you take just a portion of your screen as a screenshot instead of the entire screen, is now built into Windows 10. You use Win+Shift+S to capture a region of your screen and copy it to the clipboard for pasting into any app.

Cortana Update

Cortana now features easier discovery of app-specific commands. App developers have added commands to Cortana for faster app launching or other actions. These apps will now also bubble up suggested commands as you type the app name in Cortana. Clicking a particular suggestion launches the app with that command.

Microsoft has also added more recurrence options for Reminders. Cortana will now give reminders for every month or every year so you (hopefully) don't forget that anniversary or bill.

Finally, the keyboard shortcut has changed to WIN+C for easier launch.

Windows Defender

Windows Defender has new options to run full, quick, or advanced scans, with a report on your PC’s health. But the biggest change is the addition of the Windows 10 Refresh Windows command within Defender itself.

Refresh Windows is one step short of a reinstall of the vanilla OS. It's for times you may have screwed up the OS with junk app installs or maybe blew off some important system files, or generally made a mess of your computer and it's running poorly. This removes all apps and restore it to its original state, although your data files are preserved. Interesting that they put it in the antivirus program, but then again, a virus may be the reason you need to refresh your system in the first place.

Other Changes

App throttling is one of the more interesting and potential disastrous new features in Build 15002. App throttling does what its name implies: It chokes background apps so that foreground apps get more CPU resources.

Given the performance of modern PCs, this is likely meant for older PCs, but Microsoft is also reportedly planning on a "game mode" for Windows 10, which would dial back all the background apps and services to give as much CPU power to the game as possible. This might be an early version of it.

Blue-light controls: An interesting addition, one based on science. Blue light exposure after sundown can mess with your circadian rhythms, preventing you from getting a good night's sleep. So Microsoft has added the option to tell Windows to automatically decrease the amount of blue light in your display after dark.

Windows Updates pauses: Don't want your PC to update on Patch Tuesday, especially given the number of bad updates over the years? You can pause updates for up to 35 days before allowing them to be installed. But for some reason, this feature is only on Windows Pro, Enterprise, and Education, not Home.

There's more, much more, but for now let's just go with this long list and look forward to the huge update coming in April.

Wayne County, Illinois

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This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.

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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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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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The Wireless Messaging News
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Prism Systems International
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The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.

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Press Release

Samstagern, 9. January 2017


Industry expert Graeme Hull signs contract with Swissphone Wireless AG

Swissphone proves forward strategy by bringing Graeme Hull on board

Swissphone is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Graeme Hull as Director of Market Development. From January 2017 Mr. Hull will focus on assisting the existing team in Windsor, Colorado, to build on Swissphone's successes in the North American Market, while also planning future strategy for growth in other markets.

Recognising the importance of Swissphone's North American business, Graeme Hull's appointment will strengthen and support the presence in the market. “I am honored to be joining Swissphone at this very exciting time. Swissphone has an enviable, worldwide reputation for their innovative and high-quality solutions and I am looking forward to working with the best team in the industry to bring these to a wider market,” says Mr. Hull.

Over 25 years in-depth knowledge of market
Mr Hull has more than 25 years' experience in the Wireless Communications industry globally and has successfully led teams to deliver solutions to some of the world's biggest customers in Healthcare, Government, Retail, Petrochemicals and Public Safety.

About the Swissphone Group

The Swissphone Group is a leading international provider of highly modern and reliable alerting and communication solutions. We focus on the entire alerting chain in the industry, from producing robust pagers for emergency services organisations and designing reliable alerting systems through to developing innovative software solutions for resource management. We have always prioritised two attributes in our work: top quality and absolute reliability. We are proven experts in designing and creating wireless communication systems, with a wealth of know-how based on our almost 50 years of experience.

The family business, founded in 1969, has its headquarters and production facilities in the Swiss town of Samstagern, and employs 250 people. Swissphone also has subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, France and the US. Swissphone is the European market leader in alerting devices used by emergency services organisations.

For further information:
Swissphone Wireless AG
Corporate Communication
Fälmisstrasse 21
CH-8833 Samstagern

Tel.: +41 44 786 77 70



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A Problem

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]

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Blackberry is quietly trying to make a comeback

— but not with phones

Business Insider
Danielle Muoio
January 11, 2017

justin trudeau blackberry

(Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits Blackberry's autonomous research center. Reuters/Blair Gable)

Blackberry has had quite the fall from grace.

What was once the world's biggest smartphone maker is now out of the phone manufacturing business altogether. Since 2009, its market share has fallen from 20% to just .1%.

But Blackberry is looking to stage a comeback, just not with smartphones. Blackberry has been quietly ramping up its self-driving car software efforts to compete with the likes of Apple down the line.

Before you completely dismiss the old handset maker, it's worth remembering that Blackberry owns the QNX Operating System. That's the operating system Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system runs on, as well as General Motors' new OnStar system and the Audi TT virtual cockpit. It also supports Apple's CarPlay.

Blackberry QNX is running in more than 60 million vehicles as of the end of 2014, with over 40 automakers relying on the software platform, Grant Courville, senior director of product management at QNX, told Business Insider.

Colin Bird, senior analyst of automotive technology at IHS Markit, told Business Insider that Blackberry QNX is currently the leader in the connected car space, which includes infotainment, navigation, telematics, and rear-seat entertainment. QNX has a market share of about 47% and its closest competitor is Linux with 20% market share.

Blackberry is now modifying its QNX platform so it can run self-driving car tech as well.

The idea is to give automakers a secure platform to run their self-driving car software. Since self-driving cars are still in their early days, many automakers are running the software on massive computers sitting in car trunks.

Blackberry is looking to get a slice of the self-driving car space by offering a secure, integrated platform to support self-driving car software later on. (Doing so also gives Blackberry some cushion to ensure its product stays in cars as they evolve.)

"We’re not building a car and we’re not building hardware," Courville said. "Our ultimate goal is to provide a software platform for the car ... become essentially the OS for the car."

lincoln mkz blackberry

(The self-driving Lincoln MKZ running on Blackberry QNX.Blackberry)

As part of that aim, Blackberry has opened an Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre in Ontario, where it was also approved to test self-driving cars on public roads. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an appearance on the center's opening day.

A self-driving Lincoln MKZ running on Blackberry QNX software also drove itself on a test track at CES this year.

"It’s us planting a stake in the ground in a much more public way than we’ve traditionally done and showing people we are absolutely committed to this and we do want to be that software platform for the car," Courville said.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen

(Blackberry CEO John Chen.AP)

It looks like Blackberry's focus on software is starting to pay off. Although the company missed on revenue in the third quarter, Blackberry posted a profit and raised its earning outlook for the 2017 fiscal year.

Blackberry gets more than half of its total revenue from its software products and plans to increase its software revenue by 30% this fiscal year.

Blackberry does not break out its QNX financials. But Bird said Blackberry gets anywhere between $5 to $15 in royalties per vehicle with the system.


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The Safer Buildings Coalition focuses on the adoption of in-building communication capabilities for public safety. This article looks at the role this technology can play in senior living facilities.

January 4, 2017

This article is contributed by Jeff Hipchen, Board President of the Safer Buildings Coalition. Founded in 2012, this coalition has a mission that is concise, with a focus on public safety — to ensure that appropriate wireless communication technology is leveraged to help keep people safe.

By Jeff Hipchen

Uninterrupted in-building and external communications can be the literal difference between life and death during emergencies. First responders and other public safety personnel are called upon during emergencies to make certain that appropriate measures are taken to protect people inside buildings.

Mass notification can send messages to individuals or groups using lists or geographical coordinates and provide instantly delivered messages to a multitude of different devices. Everything from text to speech conversion in multiple languages to Short Message Service (SMS) messaging to social media alerts to other multi-modal delivery methods can be leveraged to communicate critically important messages.

A particularly vulnerable demographic in an emergency event is the elderly and frail population residing in a retirement home or similar convalescent facility.

Emergencies can come in any number of different scenarios: natural disasters like floods or fires; power grid failures; structural failures; and hostage situations or terrorist events like random shootings.

Each of these scenarios requires adequate wireless communications with affected citizens so that they can take necessary precautions. First responders must be informed of the nature of the emergency and identify the citizens who require safe passage or protection from a hazardous situation.

Take some particularly extreme examples into consideration. What if a rapidly spreading fire was engulfing a convalescent facility where the inhabitants were immobile and unable to leave without assistance? Mass notifications could help prepare for the evacuation of the immobile and give first responders a quick heads-up where their help is immediately required.

Combine that disaster with a failure to communicate among first responders attempting and you have the potential for multiplying the tragedy of the situation with an unnecessary and avoidable loss of life. Likewise in a rapidly rising flood situation like we experienced during hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Patients in hospitals and residents of nursing facilities are dependent upon the heroic life-saving efforts of the first responders. Efforts that must be conducted quickly and coordinated well to save as many lives as possible. And their success is exponentially more likely with a combination of mass notifications to the relevant facilities and effective communications with and between first responders during the emergency situation.

Wireless emergency communications can be problematic in large buildings. Many structures have dead spots where signal strength is less than ideal. Newer buildings which use low-emissivity (low-E) coating on the windows can obstruct radio signals. Older structures may have dead areas where wireless signals are impeded by building design and impermeable building materials.

Fortunately, there are technical solutions for these design challenges. Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) is a common approach that can be installed to eliminate dead spots and work as a complement with other wireless technologies. Instead of relying on a single, powerful antenna to provide a signal to an area, DAS utilizes multiple, low-power antennas to cover the same area but without penetration and fade depth issues. This approach provides a more consistent signal coverage and much greater capacity.

The Safer Buildings Coalition is dedicated to ensuring that various technologies that provide the required in-building communication capabilities for public safety are adopted. The Coalition focuses on three areas that are critical for the public safety of all citizens:

Fire code development: The Coalition collaborates with the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to propose effective code development to support public safety communication within buildings.

Recent examples include responding to and recommending proposed changes to the International Fire Code. The SBC seeks to clarify “grey areas” in the code and strengthen public safety in-building communications by clarifying permit language; ensuring adequate radio and data signal strength; specifying system testing and monitoring and many other aspects designed to ensure public safety.

Model ordinances drafting: Safer Buildings Coalition develops model ordinances that help Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) comply with new codes and support public safety in buildings. Examples include informing AHJs of relevant code legislation that define permits required for installing emergency responder radio coverage systems and other code amendments that are designed to keep them informed of the rapidly changing code and legislation environment.

Training and education: The Safer Buildings Coalition offers a “Public Safety In-Building Communications” course to gain an understanding of decision-making regulatory and organizational entities and to provide understanding of emerging technologies for Public Safety including 911 and location-based services.

When the public can use mobile phones to call for help, receive notifications when there is an emergency, and know that emergency personnel can communicate inside the building where an emergency is taking place, we will have fulfilled our mission.

Regardless of whether the facility uses DAS, small cell, Wi-Fi, or a combination of multiple types of access nodes — referred to as a “HetNet” or heterogeneous network — effective wireless communication is essential for all citizens confronted by an emergency situation. It is especially relevant for those least able to fend for themselves: the elderly, ill and those unable to relocate to a safe place without assistance.

Hipchen is Board President of the Safer Buildings Coalition and Executive Vice President at RF Connect, a global company that designs, optimizes, and manages high performance wireless networks. With more than 20 years of experience as an executive and entrepreneur, Hipchen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Oakland University.
Source: Facility Executive

Prism Paging

Speaking of Science

A super-cool science story about a really cold thing

By Sarah Kaplan
The Washington Post
January 11

(Benjamin C. Tankersley for The Washington Post)

“Absolute zero” isn't just cold — it's still. It is the point at which the motion of the atoms that make up an object stops completely, when the object has no energy left to give.

The rules of physics say it's impossible to cool an object to absolute zero, to remove all thermal energy until its atoms come to a standstill. But researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are getting really close. In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, they describe using a laser to make a microscopic aluminum drum colder than anything like it has been cooled before. In doing so, they defied the quantum limit for supercooling mechanical objects.

The new technique will allow physicists to make stuff colder than previously thought possible, said lead author John Teufel, a physicist at the NIST facility in Boulder. It opens the door to building instruments of unprecedented sensitivity, and to understanding quantum mechanics — one of physics's most mysterious branches — better than ever before.

Gives you chills, doesn't it? (Sorry, guys, I had to.)

Recall that everything in the universe is in motion. Not just on broad scales — planets orbiting suns, galaxies turning — but on the smallest ones. Even the most seemingly impassive object buzzes with internal activity. The atoms that make up a piece of aluminum, like the one in Teufel's experiment, are always bumping into and bouncing off one another, jumping, spinning, spreading out and pressing together. This is what physicists are referring to when they talk about temperature: not some abstract idea of an object's “warmth” but a measure of the thermal motion of its atoms.

Physicists are interested in supercooling for two reasons. First, if you can remove the thermal energy from an object, it becomes much more sensitive to outside perturbations. Researchers like those at LIGO — the lab that detected gravitational waves last year — want their instruments to be as cool as possible so they can be sure that any tiny fluctuations are a result of vast cosmic forces, and not just boring thermal motion.

In addition, eliminating the distraction of an object's thermal motion allows scientists to finally see the motion that results from quantum energy, which is much more interesting. It will give insight into the forces that dictate how the universe functions at atomic and subatomic scales.

Researchers have managed to cool individual atoms and even a quantum gas until they near or sink below absolute zero. But supercooling larger, solid objects — which will be essential to building better instruments and understanding quantum mechanics at a macroscopic level — has proved harder.

The best technique for removing thermal energy from objects is called sideband cooling. It uses an array of lasers to slow the atoms down. This may seem counterintuitive — we're used to light warming things up, like the sun — but in sideband cooling, the carefully calibrated angle and frequency of the light allows photons to snatch energy from the atoms as they interact.

“If you shine exactly the right light in the right way you can make sure the light is always pushing against the motion of the atoms,” Teufel said. (For an in-depth explanation of the process, see this great video from PBS.)

Scientists have been cooling atoms with lasers for several decades, but there was a limit to how cold they could get. Quantum mechanics tells us that's because of the way light works. Instead of flowing in a continuous stream, it travels in discrete packets, called quanta. Each packet “gives a little kick” as it arrives, Teufel said, meaning a little bit of heat gets added even as you remove energy over all. It's like trying to keep a leaf suspended in the air with several sputtering hoses — every time the stream falters, the leaf drifts.

The microscopic drum that John Teufel and his colleagues used in their cooling experiments. (NIST-Boulder)

Using sideband cooling, researchers at NIST had previously cooled their quantum drum — a microscopic aluminum membrane that vibrates like a drumhead — to its lowest energy “ground state.” At that point, the drum's thermal motion was one-third the amount of its quantum motion. Some thought this represented the “quantum limit” — the coldest temperatures that could be achieved according to the laws of quantum mechanics.

“The limit of how cold you can make things by shining light on them was the bottleneck that was keeping people from getting colder and colder,” Teufel said. “The question was, is it fundamental or could we actually get colder?”

He had a hunch that colder was possible, if scientists could eliminate the “kicks” from the packets of light.

To do this, Teufel and his colleagues “squeezed” their lasers, using a special kind of superconducting circuit to produce a light beam in which the quanta were forced to follow one another in orderly fashion. This didn't eliminate all of the “kicks” from the lasers, but it got rid of a lot. When the scientists tried again to cool their drum with squeezed light, they got it so that thermal motion was one-fifth the magnitude of quantum motion. That's a million times colder than room temperature, 10,000 times colder than the vacuum of space, and colder than any object like this has been before.

Now that it's proven to work, Teufel says the technique can be refined to get objects even colder — maybe even as cold as absolute zero.

“In principle if you had perfect squeezed light you could do perfect cooling,” he said. “No matter what we’re doing next with this research, this is now something we can keep in our bag of tricks to let us always start with a colder and quieter and better device that will help with whatever science we’re trying to do.”

Source: The Washington Post  

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Consumer Reports now recommends Apple’s new MacBook Pro after software update

The 13-inch model supposedly got 18.75 hours on a charge

by Nick Statt
Jan 12, 2017, 6:38pm EST
The Verge

Photo by Vjeran Pavic

Following a public back-and-forth over the veracity of its battery claims, Consumer Reports now recommends Apple’s new MacBook Pro. According to Apple, the laptops used by the consumer product testing agency suffered from a software bug in the Safari browser that was causing battery irregularities in Consumer Reports’ test (though not, Apple says, in normal usage). Apple worked closely with Consumer Reports to identify the issue and then patched the bug. Now, it appears the organization is willing to reverse course.

“With the updated software, the three MacBook Pros in our labs all performed well, with one model running 18.75 hours on a charge,” Consumer Reports wrote in a post on its website. “We tested each model multiple times using the new software, following the same protocol we apply to hundreds of laptops every year.” The 18.75-hour figure is for the 13-inch MacBook Pro without the new Touch Bar. These results came from its battery test, which involved loading websites in Safari with web caching turned off.

Consumer Reports originally said the new MacBook Pro suffered from wildly inconsistent battery life in its test, with metrics ranging from four to as many as 20 hours on a single charge. This led to low overall scores and the first time the organization said it was unable to recommend a Mac laptop. That declaration created a bit of controversy, with many diehard Apple fans and critics alike eager to denounce the company’s new line of laptops as both overly expensive and out-of-touch with the modern needs of professionals.

Whatever your take on the new MacBook Pro, it’s clear Apple was upset with the turn of events. The software update that supposedly fixes the Safari bug is still only available in the latest macOS beta, so it has yet to be released to general consumers. However, the bug is said to only affect Safari’s developer mode, so it’s unclear if everyday users were ever really experiencing a similar issue.

For what it’s worth, Consumer Reports now says that not a single one of Apple’s new laptops falls below 15.75 hours on a single charge. Of course, real-world usage won’t be the same as an in-the-lab battery test, so perhaps take this whole episode with a grain of salt. And maybe ask a friend who owns the product about their personal experience — that’s a more surefire way of figuring out if this new MacBook Pro is for you.

Source: The Verge  

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Samsung foldable phone could become reality this year, finally

The phone will have a flexible display that folds open into a 7-inch tablet, according to a report from Korea.

by Steven Musil
January 11, 2017 5:41 PM PST

Samsung seems to have worked out the wrinkles on its much-rumored foldable phone and could unveil such a handset later this year, according to a report from Korea.

The electronics giant is working on a phone with a flexible display that folds open into a 7-inch tablet, the Korea Herald reported Wednesday. It is expected to ship more than 100,000 units during the third quarter, sources described as familiar with the matter told the newspaper.

Will consumers flip for a foldable phone?
Photo by Samsung promo video 2014

Korea-based Samsung had initially focused on a fold-in phone but abandoned the plan out of concern that people would find it inconvenient to unfold the phone every time they wanted to use it, the Herald reported.

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The smartphone market has cooled off in recent quarters, as developed countries have reached a saturation point and as new models have become largely incremental upgrades from their predecessors. That's dinged Samsung's sales, though the company says it's expecting a respectable performance from the final quarter of 2016.

Innovative designs could help spark a new wave of consumer spending on phones. Samsung has done well, for instance, with its Galaxy S7 Edge, which features a screen that wraps onto the side of the device. A clever trick, though, doesn't always pay off, something LG found out with its G5, a phone with snap-on attachments.

Folding a device would give you a smaller, more portable package to carry around, and it could essentially double the size of your screen. But the design also presents technical hurdles, such as whether rigid parts, like circuit boards, will have to use a different internal configuration or be made to slightly bend as well.

Samsung has had an interest in flexible phones for a couple of years. A Samsung patent filing from 2015 showed design concepts for not only foldable smartphones, but also ones that can be rolled up like a scroll.

Source: c|net  

Leavitt Communications


Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

UNICATION bendix king

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

COM motorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
Philip C. Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Web Site:
Mobile phone: 847-494-0000
Telephone: 847-955-0511
Fax: 270-447-1909
Skype ID: pcleavitt

California Supreme Court reaffirms work-free employee rest breaks in case against guard services firm

Security Info Watch

Photo credit: (Photo courtesy

Employers in California must give their employees 10 minutes of work-free rest breaks every four hours and can't require them to remain on call and available for duty, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The 5-2 ruling upheld $90 million in damages for more than 14,000 private security guards employed by ABM Security Services, which required them to keep their pagers and cell phones switched on during rest periods, remain "vigilant" and respond to calls for assistance.

Dec. 23—Employers in California must give their employees 10 minutes of work-free rest breaks every four hours and can't require them to remain on call and available for duty, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The 5-2 ruling upheld $90 million in damages for more than 14,000 private security guards employed by ABM Security Services, which required them to keep their pagers and cell phones switched on during rest periods, remain "vigilant" and respond to calls for assistance.

Reversing an appeals court ruling that overturned the damages, the Supreme Court said that since 1932 California law has required employers to leave workers on their own during the paid 10-minute periods.

"During rest periods employers must relieve employees of all duties and relinquish control over how employees spend their time," Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar said in the majority decision. "A rest period, in short, must be a period of rest."

Requiring guards or other employees to remain "on call" during rest breaks creates "a broad and intrusive degree of control," Cuéllar said, that prevents workers from taking a walk, making a phone call or pumping breast milk for a newborn child.

He noted that state law allows employers to reschedule rest periods when special needs arise and also permits some categories of employers to ask state labor officials for an exemption if the mandatory breaks would cause them "undue hardship." ABM has been granted two one-year exemptions from the requirement in the past.

The law entitles employees to an hour's pay if a 10-minute break is canceled. Another state law allows employees to take half-hour meal breaks after five hours of work.

In dissent, Justice Leondra Kruger — like Cuéllar an appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown — agreed that employees must be allowed to take rest breaks but said requiring them to carry a pager or cell phone during that period "does not constitute work."

On-call employees are free to rest or take a walk during their breaks, said Kruger, joined by Justice Carol Corrigan. Prohibiting an employer from requiring them to carry a communications device serves only to "deprive the employer of any sure means of reaching the employee, even if a truly extraordinary situation requires it," she said.

The security guards' lawyer, Drew Pomerance, said the court's ruling would benefit all sides by providing "a clear standard, so that both employers and employees will know what's required of them."

ABM's lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, said his clients are "incredibly disappointed" and are considering their options for further legal review.

The case is Augustus vs. ABM Security Services, S224853.

Source: Security Info Watch  


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:

Paging Network

  • It’s much faster to send individual and stacked pages digitally than with analog voice.
  • If you want better indoor coverage, you put sites closer together at lower heights.
  • A self-healing system that also remains reliable in various disaster situations.
  • Place base station where you need them, without the usage of an expensive backhaul network.
  • Protect victim confidentiality and prevent unauthorized use of public safety communications, with integrated encryption service.


  • Reliable message reception, thanks to the best sensitivity in the industry.
  • Ruggedized and waterproof, IP67 and 6 1/2-feet drop test-certified products.
  • Battery autonomy of up to three months, with a standard AA battery.
  • Bluetooth enables the new s.QUAD pager to respond back to the dispatch center or fire chief.


  • Two-way CAD interfaces will make dispatching much easier.
  • The new s.ONE solution enables the dispatcher or fire chiefs to view the availability of relief forces.
  • A graphical screen shows how many of the dispatched team members have responded to the call.

Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
Visit: or call 800-596-1914.

January 12, 2017

FCC Eliminates Annual CPNI Certification Requirement

In a recent rulemaking proceeding regarding broadband services, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the following decision that affects the Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) annual certification requirements, which apply to telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers:

We eliminate the specific compliance recordkeeping and annual certification requirements in Section 64.2009 [CPNI] for voice providers. Eliminating these requirements reduces burdens for all carriers, and particularly small carriers, which often may not need to record approval if they do not use or share customer PI for purposes other than the provision of service. We find that carriers are likely to keep records necessary to allow for any necessary enforcement without the need for specific requirements, and that notifications of data breaches to customers and to enforcement agencies (including the Commission) will ensure compliance with the rules and a workable level of transparency for customers.

The new rule became effective on January 3, 2017, and the FCC has interpreted that timing to eliminate the need for the 2016 certification that would have been due by March 1.



2121 Cooperative Way, Suite 225, Herndon, VA, 20171

Source: EWA  

Leavitt Communications

its stil here

It’s still here — the tried and true Motorola Alphamate 250. Now owned, supported, and available from Leavitt Communications. Call us for new or reconditioned units, parts, manuals, and repairs.

We also offer refurbished Alphamate 250s, Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging!

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( for pricing and delivery information or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

black line

Phil Leavitt

leavitt logo

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Friday, January 13, 2017 Volume 5 | Issue 9

“The Rain Turtle” and Other Tower Superstitions…Happy Friday the 13th!


The tower industry abounds with colorful characters with quirky rituals…especially when you get “inside the fence” of a tower site. Although the rules of logic and safety and, most importantly, the law of gravity take precedence, on a Friday the 13th other ‘traditions’ may show themselves at the morning tailgate meeting. One of the more prominent superstitions among tower crews is ‘the rain turtle.’ According to David “Gunny” Harrison, owner of Telecom Resources Group, the turtle, who may have origins from Native American rituals, has several functions.

“Well sir,” said Harrison, “ya’ have two versions of it depending on whom you ask, but it was the superstition of tower hands that would be wishing for rain because of being hungover, tired or what have you.” Crew members or the foreman would draw a turtle, one with only three legs, in the dirt on the site or place rocks in the shape of a turtle and it was said to bring rain. “‘Course when one did this fortunately it was always overcast and chances were it was going to rain,” said Harrison. “We used to make the rain turtle out of clay,” said one tower tech. “Got chewed out for drawing it once, but then it rained like hell.”

Other rituals contributed by tower techs include:

  • “Never discuss falling or dying.”
  • “We NEVER talk about death on site!!!”
  • “Never use the L word or the E word. ‘Logic’ or ‘easy’”
  • “If we were praying for rain we always stacked three rocks on top of each other . . . seen ol’ timers do it when I was young and it stuck.”
  • “Another is you can not take “X” bracing out of the face of a tower or it will collapse . . . but many have and still do this to install an inside gin pole.”
Source: Inside Towers  

Hark Technologies

hark logo

Wireless Communication Solutions

USB Paging Encoder

paging encoder

  • Single channel up to eight zones
  • Connects to Linux computer via USB
  • Programmable timeouts and batch sizes
  • Supports 2-tone, 5/6-tone, POCSAG 512/1200/2400, GOLAY
  • Supports Tone Only, Voice, Numeric, and Alphanumeric
  • PURC or direct connect
  • Pictured version mounts in 5.25" drive bay
  • Other mounting options available
  • Available as a daughter board for our embedded Internet Paging Terminal (IPT)

Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
  • Two contact closures
  • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

Other products

Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Hark Technologies
717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
Summerville, SC 29485
Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Web: left arrow CLICK

Hark Technologies

Preferred Wireless

preferred logo

Terminals & Controllers:
8 ASC1500 Complete, w/Spares
3 CNET Platinum Controllers
2 GL3100 RF Director
1 GL3000 ES — 2 Chassis — Configurable
1 GL3000 L — 2 Cabinets, complete working, w/spares
35 SkyData 8466 B Receivers
10 Zetron M66 Transmitter Controllers
10 C2000s
2 Glenayre Complete GPS Kits
3 Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
Link Transmitters:
7 Glenayre QT4201 25W Midband Link TX
3 Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
1 Motorola Q2630A, 30W, UHF Link TX
  Coming soon, QT-5994 & QT-6994 900MHz Link TX
VHF Paging Transmitters:
7 Motorola Nucleus 125W CNET
3 Motorola Nucleus 350W CNET
7 Motorola Nucleus 350W NAC
14 Motorola Nucleus 125W NAC
1 Glenayre QT7505
1 Glenayre QT8505
3 Glenayre QT-100C
UHF Paging Transmitters:
15 Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
2 Glenayre GLT8200, 25W (NEW)
5 Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
4 Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W
23 Motorola Nucleus II 300W CNET
Miscellaneous Parts:
  Nucleus Power Supplies
  Nucleus NAC Boards
  Nucleus NIU, Matched Pairs
  Nucleus GPS Reference Modules
  Nucleus GPS Receivers
  Nucleus Chassis
  Glenayre 8500, PAs, PSs, DSP Exciters
  Glenayre VHF DSP Exciters
  Glenayre GL Terminal Cards
  Zetron 2000 Terminal Cards
  Unipage Terminal Cards


Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail

Rick McMichael
Preferred Wireless, Inc.
Telephone: 888-429-4171
(If you are calling from outside of the USA, please use: 314-575-8425) left arrow

Preferred Wireless


Union Pacific Emergency Response Communication Center Recognized for Excellence


Union Pacific's Response Management Communications Center (RMCC) earned its second Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies' (CALEA) distinguished accreditation.

CALEA is the credentialing authority for public safety agencies including law enforcement and emergency communications centers. Its advanced standards require compliance in four areas: policy and procedures, administration, operations and support services. The accreditation process phases include enrollment, self-assessment, on-site assessment, commission review and decision and complying with all CALEA standards.

RMCC received its first CALEA accreditation in 2013 and is one of 95 public safety communications centers recognized for emergency response and professional excellence. RMCC must renew its voluntary accreditation in 2020 to maintain its CALEA status.

“CALEA's second accreditation is an honor reflecting Union Pacific's commitment to safety and demonstrates that the RMCC serves employees, customers and the general public in accordance with the industry's highest standards,” said Chief Safety Officer Rod Doerr, Union Pacific vice president – Safety. “Our dedicated team remains committed to helping callers reporting emergencies and activity on Union Pacific property.”

CALEA was established in 1979 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to establish a law enforcement credentialing authority. According to CALEA, today, only 17 percent of U.S. law enforcement agencies have earned CALEA accreditation.

About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP). One of America's most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain. From 2006-2015, Union Pacific invested approximately $33 billion in its network and operations to support America's transportation infrastructure. The railroad's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Coal, Industrial Products and Intermodal. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. Union Pacific provides value to its roughly 10,000 customers by delivering products in a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

The statements and information contained in the news releases provided by Union Pacific speak only as of the date issued. Such information by its nature may become outdated, and investors should not assume that the statements and information contained in Union Pacific's news releases remain current after the date issued. Union Pacific makes no commitment, and disclaims any duty, to update any of this information.

Source: Union Pacific News Release  

Critical Alert

spacer cas logo

Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

Formed in 2010, CAS brought together the resources and capabilities of two leading critical messaging solutions providers, UCOM™ and Teletouch™ Paging, along with lntego Systems™, a pioneer in next-generation nurse call systems. The result was an organization that represented more than 40 years of combined experience serving hospitals and healthcare providers.

CAS was created to be a single-source provider for hospitals and healthcare facilities in need of advanced nurse call and communications technologies.

Unlike our competitors, our product development process embraced the power of software from its inception. This enables us to design hardware-agnostic solutions focused on built-in integration, flexibility and advanced performance.


Nurse Call Solutions

Innovative, software-based nurse call solutions for acute and long-term care organizations.


Paging Solutions

To this day, for critical messaging, nothing beats paging. It’s simply the best way to deliver a critical message.



© Copyright 2015 - Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

BloostonLaw Newsletter

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 Update Vol. 20, No. 2 January 11, 2017

Lifeline Recertification Program

As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, carriers seeking to have USAC perform recertification of Lifeline enrollees on their behalf must have made such an election by December 15, 2016. USAC, apparently, has indicated that it would like to try to accommodate additional carriers in its Lifeline recertification program that missed the December 15, 2016 deadline. This represents an opportunity for carriers who failed to make such election to do so now. Carriers who failed to elect USAC to conduct recertification in 2017 but would now like to do so should contact the firm without delay.

Carriers who did not make this election and do not intend to do so now, and for whom a state administrator or other third-party does not conduct recertification of Lifeline customers on their behalf, will be responsible for ensuring that all Lifeline subscribers are re-certified and de-enrolled from the Lifeline program by their individual service anniversary dates (as compared to the prior requirement to re-certify and de-enroll by Dec. 31 each year).

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Mary Sisak.


FCC Clarifies Standalone Lifeline Broadband Requirement

On January 6, the FCC issued an Order clarifying that an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) must permit Lifeline-eligible customers to apply the Lifeline discount to standalone broadband Internet access service (BIAS) if the ETC is subject to high-cost public interest broadband obligations and commercially offers a standalone BIAS service. However, they are not required to begin offering standalone BIAS service if they do not do so already.

The Order comes as a response to petitions filed by NTCA and WTA seeking a temporary waiver from language in 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order that appeared to require ETCs to offer standalone Lifeline-supported broadband even if they did not offer standalone broadband at all. Under the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order, high-cost ETCs that are required to offer BIAS pursuant to high-cost public interest obligations are required to apply the Lifeline discount to standalone BIAS for qualifying subscribers where the ETC commercially offers standalone BIAS. However, the FCC emphasized that ETCs that do not have a standalone BIAS offering in areas where they receive high-cost support are not required to create a new standalone Lifeline BIAS offering as a result of the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order. According to the FCC, such providers are able to meet their high-cost support obligations by offering BIAS as part of a bundle, and may continue to do so.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.

Forward Auction Stage 4 Expected to Begin January 18

On January 10, the FCC announced that, based on the bidding schedule for the remainder of Stage 4 of the reverse auction, the reverse auction is expected to conclude on Friday, January 13. Since Monday, January 16 is a Federal holiday, the FCC will announce the exact start date and initial bidding schedule for Stage 4 of the forward auction on Tuesday, January 17. However, the FCC anticipates that Stage 4 forward auction bidding will begin on Wednesday, January 18th. Forward auction bidders should be prepared for bidding to begin that day.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast.

Carriers Seek Delay on Modernizing Wireless Emergency Alerts

In reply comments filed with the FCC this week, T-Mobile USA and CTIA have raised technical and economic arguments against agency proposals to further modernize the Wireless Emergency Alert (“WEA”) program, urging the Commission to refrain from imposing complex and expensive obligations that might jeopardize future voluntary commitments.

WEA is a public safety system that allows customers with specially equipped devices to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. The technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services. Participation in WEA is currently voluntary for wireless carriers, but many carriers elect to participate because of the perceived public safety benefits.

The FCC adopted rules last September to update and strengthen WEAs and promote their wider use and effectiveness. Highlights of the updated rules include increasing the maximum length of WEA messages (from 90 to 360 characters) for 4G LTE and future networks; requiring participating carriers to support inclusion of embedded phone numbers and URLs in all WEA alerts; requiring participating wireless providers to deliver the alerts to more specifically targeted geographic areas; and requiring support for Spanish-language alerts. The Commission invited further public comment on how to include thumbnail-sized photos and symbols in Public Safety Messages, and enabling multimedia and multilingual alert content, including American Sign Language (ASL).

T-Mobile and CTIA both urged the Commission to take a more cautious path to modernizing WEA, saying additional time for testing and implementation is needed to ensure a smooth transition and that an industry consensus-based approach was preferable to regulatory mandates. They urged the FCC to defer its deadline for requiring hyperlinks and multimedia content in emergency messages until more testing could be done, to allow further study on the issue of geo-targeting of alerts, not to rely on WEAs for earthquake early warning alerts due to network latency issues, and to delay any consideration of multilingual support for WEAs until after the implementation of Spanish-language alerts.

While the WEA system is currently voluntary, we suspect in the future that participation may become mandatory for wireless service providers.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell.

Commissioner Rosenworcel Renominated

As last week’s edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update was being distributed, President Obama resubmitted Jessica Rosenworcel’s name to fill a Democratic seat at the FCC. Rosenworcel officially completed her term as FCC Commissioner on January 3, leaving the FCC in a 2-2 party deadlock until Chairman Tom Wheeler resigns later this month.

Republicans had previously stated that Rosenworcel would not be confirmed unless Chairman Wheeler agreed to resign, as at least one Democrat must leave the FCC to give way for a third Republican. By the time Chairman Tom Wheeler finally made that commitment to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, it was apparently too late. Now that President Obama has resubmitted Rosenworcel’s name, it is possible that the Senate will confirm her after all. “I applaud President Obama’s reappointment of Jessica Rosenworcel to the FCC, and hope that Congress will act quickly to confirm her nomination,” said Chairman Wheeler in a statement. However, the Trump administration will not be required to follow through on the nomination if it is not confirmed by the Senate before the inauguration.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.

AT&T Begins Shutdown of 2G GSM and EDGE Networks

In the end of an era that began with the first iPhone, AT&T Wireless began the process of shutting down its legacy 2G 850/1900 MHz network on January 1, 2017.

The “E” that you see when a phone’s data signal strength is weak stands for EDGE (or “Enhanced Data GSM Evolution”). It is a pre-3G radio technology that was deployed on GSM networks beginning in 2003 and can reach speeds from 120Kbps to 384Kbps (the original iPhone’s top data speed).

The 2G network migration has been underway for several years, with AT&T migrating customers to 3G and 4G services so it can reclaim spectrum and repurpose them for newer technologies like 4G LTE. AT&T had reportedly moved the bulk of its 2G customers by last summer, and remaining network users are said to be made up of connected devices. The shutdown has required radio replacements by the electronic security industry, where many 2G GSM radios were in use for alarm signal communication to Central Station dispatch centers, and by other telematics services.

According to guidance from AT&T, customers attempting to use the 2G GSM 850/1900 MHz network after the shutdown will be unable to make or receive calls, including emergency calls, they will be unable to send or receive text messages, and they will be unable to use data services. After December 31, 2016, the minimum requirement needed to operate on AT&T’s network is 3G; WCDMA (UMTS) HSPA 850/1900 MHz Band 2 and Band 5.

To mitigate harm to any remaining 2G customers, AT&T is implementing the shutdown with a phased approach. The company reportedly enacted a “soft lock” on roughly half of its 2G infrastructure as of December 31, 2016, and it plans to activate the lock on 100% of its network over the next four-to-six weeks. Reports say the company will start decommissioning the network roughly one month after that process is completed. “Soft lock” procedures are being used because this is a reversible process, and will allow AT&T to quickly re-activate the network on a market-by-market basis if required.

AT&T is not the only carrier shutting down its 2G network. Verizon Wireless confirmed this past summer that it was planning to shut down its CDMA 1x network by December 31, 2019. Other wireless network shutdowns in recent years include AT&T's shutdown of Leap Wireless' Cricket CDMA network, T-Mobile's shutdown of MetroPCS' legacy CDMA network, and Sprint's shutdown of the Clearwire WiMAX network.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.

Law & Regulation

FCC Announces January Open Meeting Tentative Agenda

On January 11, the FCC announced that the following item is tentatively on the agenda for the January Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 31, 2017: a Report and Order that would eliminate the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public in their public inspection file and the requirement that cable operators retain the location of the cable system’s principal headend in their public inspection file.

The Open Meeting is scheduled to commence at 10:30 a.m., and will be webcast live at

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy.

Failure to List Felony Convictions Leads to Hearing to Revoke Licenses

The FCC has issued an order designating all of the FCC licenses and pending applications of Acumen Communications for an evidentiary hearing in order to determine whether Acumen repeatedly made misrepresentations in connection with its fifty (50) wireless license applications to the FCC. In particular, over the course of eight (8) years, Acumen answered “NO” in response to the question on FCC Form 601 concerning whether “[t]he Applicant or any party to [the] application or any party directly or indirectly controlling the Applicant, [has] ever been convicted of a felony by a state or federal court” even though Hector Mosquera, its manager, officer and sole shareholder, had apparently been convicted of a felony in the State of California.

The issue came to light as a result of a January 26, 2015 filing by Mobile Relay Associates (“MRA”) of an Informal Objection with the FCC, as well as a supplement to a pending Petition to Dismiss or Deny. Those filings asserted that Mr. Mosquera was the sole officer and shareholder of Acumen and that he had been convicted of possession for sale of a controlled substance in March 1992 and served two years in the California State Prison. MRA asserts that because Mr. Mosquera signed Acumen’s applications, he “knew full well that the answer [No] was totally false” and that these false statements were “intentional and warrant denial of [Acumen’s] pending applications and revocation of its licenses.”

As a result of MRA’s allegations, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a letter of inquiry (“LOI”) on November 17, 2016 requesting information regarding Mr. Mosquera’s control of Acumen and whether he or anyone else with direct or indirect control had ever been convicted of a felony. Despite being given 30 days within which to respond, Mr. Mosquera never responded to the LOI.

Acumen’s apparent conduct in this case raises significant issues concerning licensee qualifications. At the outset, it is important to note that the FCC expects all licensees and applicants to be candid and truthful in any and all filings with the FCC. Additionally, the FCC’s Rules require applicants to update any pending applications within 30 days of a change or becoming aware that a representation in the application is not accurate.

Truthfulness in applications is critical to the FCC’s processes. The FCC defines a misrepresentation as “a false statement of fact made with the intent to deceive the Commission.” A “lack of candor” is the “concealment, evasion, or other failure to be fully informative, accompanied by an intent to deceive the Commission.” Here, Acumen represented to the FCC on 50 occasions that no party with either direct or indirect control had ever been convicted of a felony — even though Mr. Mosquera, who signed each of the 50 applications and appears to be an officer and sole shareholder of Acumen since the first application was signed – was convicted of a felony in the State of California in 1992.

The FCC’s hearing will also address the fact that Acumen has not maintained the accuracy of its applications as required by the FCC’s Rules. In this regard, upon receipt of the MRA filings, Acumen should have promptly, and within 30 calendar days of becoming aware of the matter, amended its pending applications to provide correct information regarding Mr. Mosquera’s felony conviction, which it did not do.

It is important to note that a felony conviction in and of itself will not disqualify an applicant or licensee from holding an FCC radio license. Additionally, our clients should be aware that the FCC’s look back on felony convictions is time immemorial — meaning that the question applies to any conviction without regard to (a) how far removed in time it is from the present or (b) whether the conviction has been “expunged” from the defendant’s record. This can be more critical for corporate entities since convictions going back 50, 60, or even 100 or more years must be disclosed.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.


FCC Announces Tribal Workshops

On January 5, the FCC’s Office of Native Affairs and Policy announced two upcoming Tribal broadband, telecom, and broadcast training and consultation workshops. The first Workshop will be held at Black Oak Casino & Resort, Tuolumne, CA on January 31-February 2, 2017 and the second Workshop will be held at Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, Salamanca, NY on March 7-9, 2017.

The Workshops will include sessions on a broad range of FCC programs and policies that impact communications issues in Tribal communities, with a particular emphasis on deployment of communications infrastructure. To register for the California Workshop or one of its breakout sessions send an email to, to register for the New York Workshop or one if its breakout sessions send an email to, and include attendee’s name, Tribal or other affiliation, contact information, and the Workshop or breakout session the attendee is interested in attending. A tentative agenda for each workshop will be released at a later date but prior to the event.


JANUARY 17: HAC REPORTING DEADLINE. The next Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) reporting deadline for digital commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers (including carriers that provide service using AWS-1 spectrum and resellers of cellular, broadband PCS and/or AWS services) is Tuesday, January 17, 2017 (by operation of FCC rules, the Sunday, January 15th date is pushed to the next business day and Monday the 16th is the Martin Luther King Day federal holiday). Non-Tier I service providers must offer to consumers at least 50 percent of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the M3 rating, and at least one-third of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the T3 rating. Month-to-month handset offering information provided in annual reports must be current through the end of 2016. With many of our clients adjusting their handset offerings and making new devices available to customers throughout the year, it is very easy for even the most diligent carriers to stumble unknowingly into a non-compliance situation, resulting in fines starting at $15,000 for each HAC-enabled handset they are deficient. Following the T-Mobile USA Notice of Apparent Liability (FCC 12-39), the FCC’s enforcement policy calls for multiplying the $15,000 per-handset fine by the number of months of the deficiency, creating the potential for very steep fines. It is therefore crucial that our clients pay close attention to their HAC regulatory compliance, and monthly checks are strongly recommended. In this regard, we have prepared a HAC reporting template to assist our clients in keeping track of their HAC handset offerings, and other regulatory compliance efforts. ALL SERVICE PROVIDERS SUBJECT TO THE COMMISSION’S HAC RULES — INCLUDING COMPANIES THAT QUALIFY FOR THE DE MINIMIS EXCEPTION — MUST PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL HAC REPORTING. To the extent that your company is a provider of broadband PCS, cellular and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using newly licensed (or partitioned) AWS or 700 MHz spectrum, you and your company will need to be familiar with the FCC’s revised rules.

BloostonLaw contacts: Cary Mitchell and Sal Taillefer.

FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.

BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.

FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT. Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by February 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers are required to include their FCC Registration Number (FRN). Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.

BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.

MARCH 1: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FORM FOR CABLE COMPANIES. This form, plus royalty payment for the second half of calendar year 2016, is due March 1. The form covers the period July 1 to December 31, 2016, and is due to be mailed directly to cable TV operators by the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office. If you do not receive the form, please contact Gerry Duffy.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy.

MARCH 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION & BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. This annual form is due March 1 and September 1 annually. The FCC requires facilities-based wired, terrestrial fixed wireless, and satellite broadband service providers to report on FCC Form 477 the number of broadband subscribers they have in each census tract they serve. The Census Bureau changed the boundaries of some census tracts as part of the 2010 Census.

Specifically, three types of entities must file this form:

  1. Facilities-based Providers of Broadband Connections to End User Locations: Entities that are facilities-based providers of broadband connections — which are wired “lines” or wireless “channels” that enable the end user to receive information from and/or send information to the Internet at information transfer rates exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction — must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which the entity provides one or more such connections to end user locations. For the purposes of Form 477, an entity is a “facilities-based” provider of broadband connections to end user locations if it owns the portion of the physical facility that terminates at the end user location, if it obtains unbundled network elements (UNEs), special access lines, or other leased facilities that terminate at the end user location and provisions/equips them as broadband, or if it provisions/equips a broadband wireless channel to the end user location over licensed or unlicensed spectrum. Such entities include incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers (LECs), cable system operators, fixed wireless service providers (including “wireless ISPs”), terrestrial and satellite mobile wireless service providers, BRS providers, electric utilities, municipalities, and other entities. (Such entities do not include equipment suppliers unless the equipment supplier uses the equipment to provision a broadband connection that it offers to the public for sale. Such entities also do not include providers of fixed wireless services (e.g., “Wi-Fi” and other wireless ethernet, or wireless local area network, applications) that only enable local distribution and sharing of a premises broadband facility.)
  2. Providers of Wired or Fixed Wireless Local Telephone Services: Incumbent and competitive LECs must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide local exchange service to one or more end user customers (which may include “dial-up” ISPs).
  3. Providers of Mobile Telephony Services: Facilities-based providers of mobile telephony services must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which they serve one or more mobile telephony subscribers. A mobile telephony service is a real-time, two-way switched voice service that is interconnected with the public switched network using an in-network switching facility that enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless handoff of subscriber calls. A mobile telephony service provider is considered “facilities-based” if it serves a subscriber using spectrum for which the entity holds a license that it manages, or for which it has obtained the right to use via lease or other arrangement with a Band Manager.

BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.

MARCH 31: INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT CAPACITY REPORT. No later than March 31, 2017, all U.S. international carriers that owned or leased bare capacity on a submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point on December 31, 2016 and any person or entity that held a submarine cable landing license on December 31, 2016 must file a Circuit Capacity Report to provide information about the submarine cable capacity it holds. Additionally, cable landing licensees must file information on the Circuit Capacity Report about the amount of available and planned capacity on the submarine cable for which they have a license. Any U.S. International Carrier that owned or leased bare capacity on a terrestrial or satellite facility as of December 31, 2016 must file a Circuit Capacity Report showing its active common carrier circuits for the provision of service to an end-user or resale carrier, including active circuits used by itself or its affiliates. Any satellite licensee that is not a U.S. International Carrier and that owns circuits between the United States and any foreign point as of December 31, 2016 of the reporting period must file a Circuit Capacity Report showing its active circuits sold or leased to any customer, including itself or its affiliates, other than a carrier authorized by the Commission to provide U.S. international common carrier services.

Calendar At-A-Glance

Jan. 17 – Annual Hearing Aid Compatibility Report is due.
Jan. 23 – Reply comments are due on the Independent Programming NPRM.
Jan. 31 – FCC Form 555 (Annual Lifeline ETC Certification Form) is due.

Feb. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Feb. 1 – FCC Form 502 (Number Utilization and Forecast Report) is due.

Mar. 1 – Copyright Statement of Account Form for cable companies is due.
Mar. 1 – FCC Form 477 (Local Competition & Broadband Reporting) is due.
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.

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

New Emergency Communication Tower Coming To Newington

Kathleen McWilliams
Contact Reporter
Hartford Courant
January 4, 2017, 6:06 PM

A new tower is the first step in modernizing the town's emergency communications equipment.

After 40 years, the town needs to move its current communication tower from the roof of the former Cedarcrest Hospital to another location on Cedar Mountain, prompting a technological upgrade.

Chief of Police Stephen Clark said the state had provided the town with broadcasting space on the roof of the hospital for more than 40 years. However, when the state announced plans to demolish the former hospital building, the town needed to find a new location for its communication tower.

The new site, he said, is only a few hundred feet north of the old location. The new tower would be 175 feet high, 75 feet higher than the old system. The old communication tower will be dismantled and recycled.

"The added tower height will improve communications throughout the town. Moreover, a modern tower would be the first step in implementing an up-to-date technology system for Newington's emergency communications need," Clark said.

Clark said the tower would not be as ostentatious as others, because it would not include the number of antennae and panels commonly visible from private cell towers.

The new tower and installation will cost $240,000 Clark said, along with a lease agreement for the new land at $1 a year for 25 years.

The funds are being included in the 2017-2018 budget and will need to be approved by the town before work begins.

Clark said if the town council approves the expenditure, the new tower could be constructed and operational by fall 2017.

Source: Hartford Courant  

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As we made our way around the world we encountered love, hate, rich and poor, black and white, and many different religious groups and ideologies. It became very clear that as a human race we need to transcend from the darkness to the light and music is our weapon of the future. This song around the world features musicians who have seen and overcome conflict and hatred with love and perseverance. We don't need more trouble, what we need is love.

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