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AAPC Wireless Messaging News

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FRIDAY — MARCH 18, 2011 - ISSUE NO. 449

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Paging and Wireless Messaging Home Page image Newsletter Archive image Carrier Directory image Recommended Products and Services
Reference Papers Consulting Glossary of Terms Send an e-mail to Brad Dye

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Greetings Loyal Readers, and Friends of Wireless Messaging,

Greetings from Southern Illinois where Spring is breaking out in all its glory.

Following the terrible earthquake in Japan, there is a lot of renewed interest in "mass alerting." Too bad the world didn't listen to us as we promoted Paging Technology as the best way to alert a large mass of the population with a common critical message.

Cell Broadcast

The National Communications Commission is floating the idea of adopting a cell phone early warning system in Taiwan. NCC officials said regional broadcast, or cell broadcast, technology would be the most feasible for Taiwan but several technical problems still have to be overcome. Such a system allows for a single notification to be sent to all cell phone users in a particular region. It requires that telecommunications operators first install adequate software and that users’ cell phones be equipped with the early warning function. Not all cell phones on the market support that function. (SB) [source]

More on this topic follows below.

Now on to more news and views.

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Wireless Messaging News
  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Telemetry
  • Paging
  • VoIP
  • Wi-Fi
  • WiMAX
  • Location-Based Services
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This is the AAPC's weekly newsletter about Wireless Messaging. You are receiving this because I believe you have requested it. This is not a SPAM. If you have received this message in error, or you are no longer interested in these topics, please click here, then click on "send" and you will be promptly removed from the mailing list.

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iland internet sulutions This newsletter is brought to you by the generous support of our advertisers and the courtesy of iland Internet Solutions Corporation. For more information about the web-hosting services available from iland Internet Solutions Corporation, please click on their logo to the left.

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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.


Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of AAPC, its publisher, or its sponsors.

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Please help support the AAPC Wireless Messaging News by clicking on the PayPal Donate button above.

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Newspapers generally cost 75¢ a copy and they hardly ever mention paging. If you receive some benefit from this publication maybe you would like to help support it financially? A donation of $25.00 would represent approximately 50¢ a copy for one year. If you are willing and able, please click on the PayPal Donate button above.

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Brad Dye, Ron Mercer, Allan Angus, and Vic Jackson are friends and colleagues who work both together and independently, on wireline and wireless communications projects. Click here  for a summary of their qualifications and experience. They collaborate on consulting assignments, and share the work according to their individual expertise and their schedules.

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If you would like to have information about advertising in this newsletter, please click here. Your support is needed.

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aapc logo American Association of Paging Carriers

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Global Paging Convention
June 14 - 16, 2011
Nashville, TN
Doubletree Hotel Nashville – Downtown

Register Today!

Vendor Opportunities
For pricing information, contact, Linda Hoover at
or 1-910-632-9442.

Table top space is available for your company to display your products and services. This can also serve as a meeting space for you to arrange discussions. Please note this is not a “full booth” display and table tops will be located in the main corridor outside the general session room, therefore you are not required to stay and staff your booth throughout the conference.


  • Six-foot draped table for you to display your wares. You may use a pop-up display instead of the table as long as it does not exceed 10 feet in width;
  • A complimentary registration that includes entry to the sessions and food functions. Additional registrations will be at a rate of $300/person;
  • Post-conference participant list, which includes name, company, address, and e-mail;
  • Your company information and description in the conference materials and on the web site;
  • Opportunity to place a one-page company promotional flyer / “freebie” on the literature table for attendees;
  • One-paragraph company summary to be featured in the AAPC Bulletin prior to the show.

There are several sponsorships also available and specific packages may be developed. Contact Linda Hoover for information.

Thanks to our Premier Vendor!

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Prism Paging

Thanks to our Silver Vendors!

Method Link, LLC
Unication USA

Thanks to our Bronze Vendors!

AAPC Executive Director
441 N. Crestwood Drive
Wilmington, NC 28405
Tel: 866-301-2272
AAPC Regulatory Affairs Office
Suite 250
2154 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20007-2280
Tel: 202-223-3772
Fax: 202-315-3587

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Advertiser Index

AAPC—American Association of Paging Carriers Northeast Paging
CVC Paging Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC
Daviscomms USA Preferred Wireless
Hahntech-USA Prism Paging
Hark Technologies Ron Mercer
HMCE, Inc. TC Promotion GmbH
Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E. UCOM Paging
 Unication USA
Ivycorp United Communications Corp.
Leavitt Communications WiPath Communications

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How dirty is your cellphone? [or Pager?]

Wet cloth works as well as disinfectant, U of A researchers find


dirty cellphone
Fourth year U of A medical student Andrea Berendt with a dish of bacteria that had been wiped by a disinfectant wipe in the biochemistry lab in the Walter C. MacKenzie Medical Sciences Building at the U of A in Edmonton on Wednesday, March 16, 2011.
Photograph by: John Lucas,

EDMONTON — Want a germ-free cellphone? With a little extra effort, a wet cloth works just as well as a store-bought disinfectant wipe, say University of Alberta researchers.

Dr. Sarah Forgie and medical student Andrea Berendt tested several types of alcohol-based disinfectant wipes against just a wet cloth dipped in salt water, trying to measure which would clean an object like a cellphone or pager better.

The results surprised them. They found as long as they wiped the cloth over the plastic more than once, the wet cloth worked fine, said Forgie, who presented her findings Wednesday. They were recently published in the journal PubMed.

She tested with saline solution, or salt water, but tap water might work, too, she said. She’ll test that next.

“It would be great for the general public,” she said.

“Everyone has access to tissues and water.”

Forgie thought up the experiment while watching doctors and hospital staff wipe down their pagers, cellphones and BlackBerrys, worried about transporting bacteria to patients with compromised immune systems.

She wondered how effective the wipes were, and recruited Berendt to test four different brands. They added a tissue dipped in water just to give something to measure against.

Berendt treated plastic Petri dishes with three different kinds of infectious bacteria, let them dry, then wiped them either once, three times or five times with either the disinfectant or the wet tissue.

Both were surprised when the wet tissue gave the same result as the disinfectant if it was wiped three or five times.

“We were very surprised,” Forgie said. “We think it’s probably mechanical, the rubbing of the object that helped with the bacterial removal.”

Berendt, a graduate from Harry Ainlay High School finishing her fourth year of medical school and planning to train as a family doctor, tested nearly 1,000 Petri dishes of bacteria.

Berendt told friends and family about the experiment and found a real generational divide in their reactions.

“Everyone was curious,” she said, but “people who were more my grandparents’ age thought, ‘Oh, it’s going to be the elbow grease that’s going to be the deciding factor.’

“Young people were more skeptical, thinking the disinfectant was going to make a difference.”

The grandparents were right, and it does make sense that simple tools would be effective, she said. “Before there were all these antibacterial and disinfectant things, people were able to keep their houses clean.

“I think (these results) should make people worry less. Although we can’t extrapolate too much from this lab bench experiment, it reassures me. I wasn't using too many anti-bacterial products to begin, and I feel good about that still.”

What people need to understand is that when they wipe down a child’s toy, a phone or desktop they aren't sterilizing it, and that is OK, said Dr. Bob Rennie, who runs the lab where Forgie and Berendt did the experiment.

It’s about reducing the number of bacteria to a safe level for the situation, and for many illnesses, 100 or a 1,000 individual bacterium are needed before people get infected, he said.

“What this is saying, is that you can reduce the organism load on surfaces by either using a disinfected wipe or, if you have the time, do it more rigorously with even a Kleenex tissue. There’s no difference, which is kind of cool.”

Source: Edmonton Journal

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ZipIt Reinvents the Pager. Wait, the Pager?

March 11, 2011 12.13pm EST
By Sascha Segan


"Pagers? Who uses them?"

Ralph Heredia, CEO of handheld firm ZipIt, had a pretty common view when he got a call from Verizon Wireless last year asking him to develop a next-generation beeper. After all, beepers are one of the iconic technologies of the 1990s. For most people today, they're long gone.

But it turns out there are a few critical industries still using pagers. Doctors, for instance: there are more than 5 million pagers still in use in the U.S., and an average hospital might have 5,000 pagers for its staff, Heredia said. Electric utilities have thousands of pagers for their linemen and meter readers. Pagers are cheap, with service plans around $10/month; they're durable, easy to use for group messaging, and they work well within buildings because they sometimes operate on a ridiculously low radio frequency.

"To try to replace that with traditional handsets or smartphones, they can't afford it. They can't afford to swap out something they're paying $8-10 a month for," Heredia said.

Verizon came to ZipIt because the company's previous devices were a lot like pagers. ZipIt makes little Wi-Fi handhelds that let kids IM within their house without using a computer. Boil that down a bit, and you have a pager. The imposingly named new Enterprise Critical Messaging Solution switches seamlessly between the Verizon 3G network and various in-building, Wi-Fi access points to let doctors and other professionals keep receiving pages wherever they are.

The ZipIt Now device, which replaces pagers, is a little more expensive than a pager at $149.99 with a $15 per month service plan, but it offers a lot of things pagers don't. The system has flexible group messaging (doctors nowadays have to carry multiple pagers if they're in multiple groups), guaranteed delivery, remote management, remote data transfer and wiping, the ability to turn off cellular data in sensitive areas, and all the stuff that has made BlackBerrys so popular in businesses. It's just a lot less expensive than a BlackBerry.

Some features are particularly pager-specific - for instance, high-priority messages turn the screen red and lock the device until they're answered, while medium-priority messages show up in yellow, and low-priority notes in black.

"You can see the type of message based on the color of the message," Heredia said.

The rugged device does have one down side: based on modern technology, its battery life isn't as good as a traditional pager. Pagers can live for a month on a pair of AA batteries. This gadget needs to be recharged every few days, like a phone.

You're not going to find ZipIt's ECMS being sold at Beeper King downtown. ECMS requires a business installation, although management is all in the cloud. Messages transfer using a proprietary data protocol, not SMS, because ECMS needs to guarantee prompt delivery.

Heredia knows that this isn't going to win executives away from their iPhones. But as long as big institutions have limited budgets and need to send messages to many people, pagers may still have a place.

"It's cost effective, and it's designed for critical messaging," he said.

Source: PC Magazine

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USA Mobility jumping from pagers to smartphones, tablets with acquisition of Amcom

By Steven Overly
Capital Business Staff Writer
The Washington Post
Sunday, March 13, 2011; 10:56 PM

Springfield-based USA Mobility saw its subscribers dwindle from 6 million in 2004 to 1.9 million at the end of last year as the expansion of text messaging and smartphone use continued to rattle its paging business. In many ways, it was a living relic of a bygone era in telecommunications.

"The paging industry hit its high-water mark in terms of subscribers in about 1999. Since then, it's been eroding pretty rapidly," said chief executive Vince Kelly. "So much of our customer base migrated away from pagers to mobile telephony . . . and everyone sort of wrote off pagers."

Health care serves as the company's strongest remaining market, with hospitals continuing to use the hip-affixed devices to ping doctors. That segment may now play a critical role in the company's next incarnation as it proceeds with plans to acquire communications integrator Amcom Software of Eden Prairie, Minn.

If USA Mobility represents a declining mode of communication, Amcom would probably be its antithesis. As smartphones and tablet devices become more common tools for health-care professionals, Amcom helps hospitals merge multiple devices into a single communication network.

The use of mobile devices in the health industry is not ubiquitous yet, but researchers who track the sector say it is trending that direction. The government's push for hospitals to use electronic records - while also reducing the cost of care — has expedited the adoption of newer technology.

"The hospital administrators, especially at large group practices, already realize if you put a smart tool in physicians' hands they can use the device to the point where their productivity can be improved and doctor and patient communication can be strengthened," said Harry Wang, director of health and mobile product research at the Dallas research firm Parks Associates.

At their popularity peak in the late 1990s, more than 40 million devices were in use, Kelly said. For the average consumer, they were the first foray into an always-connected society, before mobile phones became affordable.

Kelly said his health-care clients continue to use the devices because they can push short, rapid-fire messages across a network that's often more reliable than cellular service. Essentially, they have only one central function but they consistently deliver.

But consumers and professionals demand more of their devices today, including data-intensive functions such as video and Internet. And those devices come with different operating systems and networks, creating a challenge for large organizations that have to coordinate often-critical communication across many different platforms.

"Right now the majority of physicians own their own devices, and there's multiple types of devices, and the device life cycle is quicker than what you see for an enterprise, so I can imagine institutions are looking to integrate these systems," said Monique Levy, the vice president of research at Manhattan Research.

USA Mobility has hedged its bets on that trend. The deal with Amcom was priced at $163 million, and Kelly said the software company can be easily blended into USA's business. Health care makes up 66 percent of Amcom's business, and both companies also have overlapping market segments in government and large organizations. In fact, USA Mobility lost a prospective client to Amcom before the deal, Kelly said.

USA Mobility posted a profit of $77.9 million for 2010, an increase of 15 percent over 2009, despite a decline in revenue. The company has been able to cut costs by reducing infrastructure as its customer base falls, Kelly said.

"It's transformative [for us] in way because it's a growing business — unlike paging, which has been a shrinking business," Kelly said. "It's a good space to be in. It's where there's going to be a lot of focus in the future. There's going to be a focus on health-care institutions being cost efficient, and we think we can help in that."

Source: The Washington Post

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BloostonLaw Telecom Update

Published by the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP

[Portions reproduced here with the firm's permission.]

   Vol. 14, No. 11 March 16, 2011   

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Schedule Set for USF/ICC Reform Meetings

The FCC has established a schedule for when staff will be available for ex parte meetings regarding the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Further NPRM seeking comment on proposals to fundamentally reform the Universal Service Fund (USF) and intercarrier compensation (ICC) system. Such meetings will be held March 21 through April 1.

As noted previously, comments on Section XV of the USF/ICC Transformation NPRM (“Reducing Inefficiencies and Waste By Curbing Arbitrage Opportunities”) are due on April 1, 2011, and reply comments are due on April 18, 2011 (BloostonLaw Telecom Update, March 2). Comments on the remaining sections are due on April 18, 2011, and reply comments are due on May 23, 2011. Comments are due for the State Members of the Joint Board on Universal Service on May 2, 2011. Specific filing instructions are detailed in the USF/ICC Transformation NPRM. As described in the USF/ICC Transformation NPRM, this matter shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules.

Staff from the Wireline Competition Bureau's (WCB’s) Front Office, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, and Pricing Policy Division, as well as staff from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB), including the Auctions and Spectrum Analysis Division will be available for meetings regarding parties’ comments March 21, 2011 through April 1, 2011. These meetings will be scheduled for thirty minutes each. We will be glad to assist any client seeking a meeting with the FCC staff. It will be necessary to identify with specificity the issues they plan to address and indicate if they would also like to include staff from any Bureau in addition to WCB or WTB.

BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, John Prendergast, and Mary Sisak.

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  • FCC issues Caller ID NPRM to fight “spoofing,” other phone scams & schemes.
  • FCC seeks to extend freeze on Part 36 separations.
  • RUS seeks comment on broadband loan program, solicits funds.
  • FCC announces procedures, deadlines for 700 MHz Auction 92.
  • FCC proposes 14.9% USF contribution factor for second quarter.

FCC Issues Caller ID NPRM To Fight “Spoofing,” Other Phone Scams & Schemes

The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), seeking comment on proposed rules to implement the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, signed into law on December 22, 2010. Caller ID services identify the telephone numbers and sometimes the names associated with incoming calls. Many telephone users—including subscribers to traditional wireline, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and mobile wireless services—routinely rely on Caller ID to determine who is calling and whether to answer the call.

Increasingly, bad actors are manipulating or “spoofing” caller ID information to facilitate schemes that harm consumers or threaten public safety. Some caller ID spoofers, for example, transmit caller ID information that makes it appear that they are calling from consumers’ banks or credit card companies in an attempt to trick call recipients into providing their account numbers or other sensitive information. In other instances, caller ID spoofers have engaged in a practice referred to as “swatting,” which involves placing false emergency calls to law enforcement agencies to elicit a response from Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. The Truth in Caller ID Act is aimed at preventing these harmful and dangerous practices. The Act prohibits intentionally harmful or fraudulent spoofing of caller ID information and gives the FCC the authority to seek substantial penalties from those who violate the Act.

The FCC proposes rules that would prohibit any person or entity in the United States, with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, from knowingly causing, directly or indirectly, any caller identification service to transmit or display misleading or inaccurate caller identification information. The Caller ID Act’s prohibition is directed at spoofing “in connection with any telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service.” The proposed rules define “caller identification service” and “caller identification information” to encompass both types of calls; therefore, the proposed rules would apply to calls made using both types of services. The FCC seeks comment on this approach, and whether it needs to take any other steps to ensure that calls made using telecommunications services and interconnected VoIP services are covered by the proposed rules.

The FCC also seeks comment on the use of the word “knowingly” in the statute and the proposed rules. The statutory language prohibits anyone from “causing any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value” and could be read to require knowledge by either the caller identification service or the actor employing the caller identification service. However, in many instances, the caller identification service has no way of knowing whether or not the caller identification information it receives has been manipulated. The proposed rules thus focus on whether the caller has knowingly manipulated the caller identification information that is seen by the call recipient in order to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. The proposed rules provide that the person or entity prohibited from “knowingly” causing transmission or display of inaccurate or misleading caller identification is the same person or entity that must be acting with intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. The proposed rules address both transmitting and displaying inaccurate caller identification information to make clear that, even if a carrier or interconnected VoIP provider transmits accurate caller identification information, it would be a violation for a person or entity to cause a device to display inaccurate or misleading information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. The FCC seeks comment on whether these proposed rules accurately reflect Congress’ intent. Are there any changes to the proposed rules that would improve how this prohibition is expressed?

The FCC also seeks comment on whether the proposed prohibition on causing any caller identification service to transmit or display “misleading or inaccurate” caller identification information with the “intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value” provides sufficiently clear guidance about what actions are prohibited. Do the proposed rules provide the public with “ascertainable certainty” about what would constitute a violation of the Act? Are the terms used in the proposed rules sufficiently well understood concepts that the public reasonably should know which actions are prohibited? For example, must the legal elements of common law “fraud” be met for a finding of intent to “defraud” under the Commission’s proposed rules? Are there other statutes that provide relevant and well-defined standards for what it means to “defraud” someone? To the extent that greater specification is desirable, how should the proposed rules be changed to provide the desired clarity while remaining faithful to Congress’ intent? The FCC also seeks comment on the different methods that a person or entity can employ to cause a caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate information, and whether our proposed rules adequately encompass all such methods.

For our clients’ purposes:

If a carrier actually offers Caller ID spoofing services, it is setting itself up for reporting requirements and possible sanctions to be adopted under the proposed rules. The FCC may also impose a requirement that the spoofing service customer’s identity be verified by the provider so that it can better prevent illegal acts.

The FCC poses the question of whether carriers or interconnected VoIP providers should be exempted from the proposed spoofing rules. This would provide further protection to carriers against liability from spoofers using their networks.

The FCC also asks if carriers/interconnected VoIP providers can prevent spoofers from overriding a calling party’s privacy choice. This would impose a new obligation on carriers, and new exposure to sanctions.

Our clients should comment on these issues.

Our clients should also make sure that their contract with customers adequately protects them against claims related to spoofing and other acts by third parties in violation of law or FCC regulations.

Comments in this WC Docket No. 11-39 proceeding are due April 18, and replies are due May 3.

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

FCC Seeks To Extend Freeze On Part 36 Separations

The FCC has established a comment cycle for its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), seeking comment on extending the current freeze of Part 36 category relationships and jurisdictional cost allocation factors used in jurisdictional separations until June 30, 2012. The current freeze would expire on June 30 of this year. According to the FCC, extending the freeze will allow the Commission to provide stability for, and avoid imposing undue

burdens on, carriers that must comply with the Commission's separations rules while the Commission considers issues relating to comprehensive separations reform. Comments in this CC Docket No. 80-286 proceeding are due March 28, and replies are due April 4.

Jurisdictional separations is the process by which incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) apportion regulated costs between the intrastate and interstate jurisdictions.

Background: The 2001 Separations Freeze Order froze all part 36 category relationships and allocation factors for price cap carriers and all allocation factors for rate-of-return carriers. Rate-of-return carriers had the option to freeze their category relationships at the outset of the freeze. The freeze was originally established July 1, 2001 for a period of five years, or until the Commission completed separations reform, whichever occurred first. The 2006 Separations Freeze Extension Order extended the freeze for three years or until the Commission completed separations reform, whichever occurred first. The 2009 Separations Freeze Extension Order extended the freeze until June 30, 2010, and the 2010 Separations Freeze Extension Order extended the freeze until June 30, 2011.

NPRM: In this NPRM the Commission seeks comment on extending the freeze for one year, until June 30, 2012. The proposed extension would allow the Commission to continue to work with the Federal-State Joint Board on Separations to achieve comprehensive separations reform. Pending comprehensive reform, the Commission tentatively concludes that the existing freeze should be extended on an interim basis to avoid the imposition of undue administrative burdens on incumbent LECs. The Commission asks commenters to consider how costly and burdensome an extension of the freeze, or a reversion to the pre-freeze part 36 rules, would be for small incumbent LECs, and whether an extension would disproportionately affect specific types of carriers or rate-payers. Incumbent LECs have not been required to utilize the programs and expertise necessary to prepare separations information since the inception of the freeze almost nine years ago. If the Commission does not extend the separations freeze, and instead allows the earlier separations rules to return to force, incumbent LECs would be required to reinstitute their separations processes. Given the imminent expiration of the current separations freeze, it is unlikely that incumbent LECs would have sufficient time to reinstitute the separations processes necessary to comply with the earlier separations rules.

The extended freeze would be implemented as described in the 2001 Separations Freeze Order. Specifically, price-cap carriers would use the same relationships between categories of investment and expenses within part 32 accounts and the same jurisdictional allocation factors that have been in place since the inception of the current freeze on July 1, 2001. Rate-of-return carriers would use the same frozen jurisdictional allocation factors, and would use the same frozen category relationships if they had opted previously to freeze those as well.

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

RUS Seeks Comment On Broadband Loan Program, Solicits Applications for Funds

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is seeking comment on amending its regulation for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. Since the Broadband Loan Program's inception in 2002, RUS said, the Agency has faced and continues to face significant challenges in delivering the program due to the following factors: The competitive nature of the broadband market in certain geographic areas; the significant number of companies proposing to offer broadband service that are startup organizations with limited resources; continually evolving technology; and economic factors such as the higher cost of serving rural communities.

In addition, RUS said, the Office of Inspector General, in a 2005 report, made recommendations to improve program efficiency. For these reasons and in an effort to improve program operation, RUS published proposed changes to the program's regulation in the Federal Register on May 11, 2007. While the Agency was reviewing public comments and revising the rule, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) was enacted and changed the statute under which the program operates. In accordance with the statute and taking into account the public comments received regarding the proposed rule to the extent possible, this interim rule presents the regulations that will govern the program until a final rule is published. The Agency is seeking comments regarding this interim rule to guide its efforts in drafting the final rule for the Broadband Loan Program. This interim rule became effective March 14, and comments in this Docket No. RUS-06-Agency-0052 proceeding are due May 13.

RUS provides investment capital for deployment of rural telecommunications infrastructure. Financial assistance is provided to rural utilities; municipalities; commercial corporations; limited liability companies; public utility districts; Indian tribes; and cooperative, nonprofit, limited-dividend, or mutual associations. In order to achieve the goal of increasing economic opportunity in rural America, the Agency finances infrastructure that enables access to a seamless, nationwide telecommunications network. With access to the same advanced telecommunications networks as its urban counterparts, especially broadband networks designed to accommodate distance learning, telework, and telemedicine, it is expected that rural America will eventually see improving educational opportunities, health care, economies, safety and security, and ultimately higher employment. RUS said it shares the assessment of Congress, State and local officials, industry representatives, and rural residents that broadband service is a critical component to the future of rural America. The Agency said it is committed to ensuring that rural America will have access to affordable, reliable, broadband services and to provide a healthy, safe, and prosperous place to live and work.

On May 13, 2002, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Public Law 107-171 (2002 Farm Bill) was signed into law. The 2002 Farm Bill amended the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to include Title VI, the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program, to be administered by the Agency. Title VI authorized the Agency to approve loans and loan guarantees for the costs of construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in eligible rural communities. Under the 2002 Farm Bill, the Agency was directed to promulgate regulations without public comment. Implementing the program required a different lending approach for the Agency than it employed in its earlier telephone program because of the unregulated, highly competitive, and technologically diverse nature of the broadband market. Those regulations were published on January 30, 2003.

In an attempt to enhance the Broadband Loan Program and to acknowledge growing criticism of funding competitive areas, the Agency proposed to amend the program's regulations on May 11, 2007, to make eligibility of certain service areas more restrictive than set out in the 2002 Farm Bill. In addition to eligibility changes, the proposed rule included, among others, changes to persistent problems the Agency had encountered while implementing the program over the years, especially regarding equity requirements, the market survey, and the legal notice requirements. As the Agency began analysis of the public comments it received on the proposed regulations, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, more commonly known as the 2008 Farm Bill, was working its way through Congress. The proposed rule and key aspects of the public comments were shared with Congress during its deliberations, and the majority of the proposed changes in the proposed rule were incorporated into the legislation, with and without modification. For instance, the proposed rule lowered the equity requirement from 20 percent of the loan value to 10 percent. Congress enacted that change.

Other changes the Congress incorporated were several new restrictions not found in the 2002 Farm Bill. These were in response to growing public criticism of federally funded competition. First, funding is restricted in areas that contained 3 or more incumbent service providers, which is defined as serving not less than 5 percent of the proposed service area. Second, a requirement was added that at least 25 percent of the proposed service area not have access to more than one incumbent service provider. And third, for incumbent service providers that were merely upgrading the quality of broadband service in their existing service territory, the prior restrictions on competition would be waived.

In response to the growing national debate on what was rural, the 2008 Farm Bill relaxed the restriction to permit urbanized areas that were not adjacent and contiguous to areas with a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants. And lastly, the 2008 Farm Bill incorporated the concept of not requiring market studies for applicants that relied on a penetration rate of less than 20 percent for the loan to be feasible.

In the public interest of having a Broadband Program in place to quickly address the needs of the hundreds of applications that were not funded under the Recovery Act, and in light of the fact that the great majority of changes are mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill, or have been proposed in the Agency's prior rule, put out for comment, and subsequently adopted by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill itself, the Agency is moving forward with certain changes to the Broadband Loan Program by publishing an interim rule. The Agency also believes that this approach is consistent with Congressional intent, given that in section 6110(b) of the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress authorized the Agency to publish these regulations in an interim rule.

Notwithstanding the public interest and specific authority previously discussed, the Agency is seeking comment from the public, which will ultimately be incorporated into a final rule. Specifically, the Agency seeks comment on priority of applications, application requirements, the method of determining which applicants could be eligible for 4 percent interest rates, the notice requirement, and processing. In addition, the Agency is seeking comment for future changes to its Broadband Program based on “lessons learned'' from the recently concluded Broadband Initiatives Program under the Recovery Act. The Agency believes that public comment on these issues will help the Agency make future adjustments to the Broadband Program to make it more responsive to the needs of rural America. One lesson that the Agency has already learned to date is that the broadband industry is dynamic and that the Broadband Program will need to continue to evolve to be responsive to the needs of the industry.


In conjunction with the interim rule, RUS has announced a Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA). The NOSA announces that RUS is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2011 for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program, subject to the availability of funding. This notice is being issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow potential applicants time to submit proposals and give the Agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. RUS said it will publish a subsequent notice identifying the amount received in the final appropriations act, if any. At this time, RUS estimates that approximately $700 million may be available for loans from prior appropriations; however, Congress is presently reviewing budget authority across the Federal government in an attempt to reduce government debt. As a result, expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's own risk.

In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for broadband loans for the fiscal year. Moreover, the Agency is concurrently publishing a interim rule that will revise the current Broadband Program regulations, as necessitated by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (see above). Applications under this NOSA will be accepted immediately, subject to the requirements of the interim regulation published concurrently with this NOSA.

Loans under this authority will not be made for less than $100,000. The maximum loan amount that will be considered for FY 2011 is $100 million.

The interim regulation for the Broadband Program requires that certain definitions affecting eligibility be revised and published from time to time by the agency in the Federal Register. For the purposes of this interim regulation, the agency shall use the following definitions:

(1) Broadband Service and Broadband Lending Speed. Until otherwise revised in the Federal Register, for applications in FY 2011, to qualify as broadband service, the minimum rate-of-data transmission shall be three megabits per second (download plus upload speeds) for both fixed and mobile broadband service and the broadband lending speed will be a minimum bandwidth of 5 megabits per second for both fixed and mobile service to the customer (download plus upload speeds).

(2) Incumbent Service Provider. For a service provider to be considered an incumbent service provider they must demonstrate that five percent of the households in a proposed funded service area are buying broadband service from them.

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

FCC Announces Procedures and Deadlines for 700 MHz Auction No. 92

The FCC has issued a Public Notice today setting forth the dates/deadlines and filing requirements for 700 MHz Auction No. 92. Short-form application deadline is May 11 and bidding starts on July 19. Interested clients should contact the firm ASAP, since the short form application requires the compilation of detailed ownership information (and financial information if bid credits are sought).

Important Dates/Deadlines

Auction Tutorial Available (via Internet)May 2, 2011
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175)
Filing Window Opens
May 2, 2011;
12:00 noon ET
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175)
Filing Window Deadline
May 11, 2011;
6:00 p.m. ET
Upfront Payments (via wire transfer)June 17, 2011;
6:00 p.m. ET
Mock AuctionJuly 15, 2011
Auction BeginsJuly 19, 2011

Available markets include:

Ponce, PR
Mayaguez, PR
Arecibo, PR
Aguadilla, PR
Fargo-Moorehead, ND—MN
p Grand Forks, ND—MN
Bismarck, ND
North Carolina 2 — Yancey
South Carolina 1 — Oconee
South Carolina 6 — Clarendon
Texas 12 — Hudspeth
Virginia 1 — Lee
Puerto Rico 2 — Adjuntas
Puerto Rico 3 — Ciales

BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell, Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast


FCC PROPOSES 14.9% USF CONTRIBUTION FACTOR FOR SECOND QUARTER: The FCC’s Office of Managing Director (OMD) has proposed a universal ser-vice contribution factor of 0.149 or 14.9% for the second quarter of 2011. This is down from the record 15.5% contribution factor in the first quarter of this year. This 2Q 14.9% USF contribution factor is up from 12.9% in the fourth quarter; 13.6% for the third quarter; and down from the former record 15.3% figure for the second quarter of 2010. And it compares with 14.1% for the first quarter; 12.3% for the fourth quarter of 2009; and 12.9% for the third quarter of 2009. If the Commission takes no action by March 24, the 14.9% contribution factor for the second quarter of 2011 will be deemed approved by the Com-mission. BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.

WIRELESS TAX FAIRNESS ACT RE-INTRODUCED IN BOTH HOUSES: U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) have re-introduced legislation in the Senate to prohibit states from imposing any new discriminatory taxes on wireless goods and services for five years. A companion bill (H.R. 1002) in the House of Representatives was re-introduced today by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). Such legislation has been introduced in each of the last three Congresses. According to the lawmakers’ press release, “As penetration of wireless mobile services has grown, state and local governments have increasingly looked to tax those services. Although wireless mobile devices may have been considered luxury goods ten or 15 years ago, they are now ubiquitous and are increasingly the primary communication device in American households. With the advent of 3G and 4G technology, wireless mobile devices are the gateway to the Internet. However, most states impose taxes on these goods and services that far exceeds the average state sales tax on other items and approaches or even surpasses that of luxury or vice taxes. The Wireless Tax Fairness Act will prohibit the imposition of such taxes, protecting consumers from new taxes and increasing costs to tap the Internet.” The Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011 would prohibit state and local governments from imposing discriminatory or duplicative taxes on mobile services, providers or mobile technology for a period of five years. During the years 2003 to 2007 the mobile industry saw their effective tax rates increase four times faster than other taxable goods and services. The average tax rate for taxable goods and services is 7.07 percent; however the average tax rate for mobile goods and services is 15.9 percent. The legislation has the endorsement of CTIA-The Wireless Association and the support of the wireless industry. A hearing on the bill was scheduled March 15 before the House Judiciary Committee. The House version had 140 co-sponsors. BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast, and Cary Mitchell.

FCC SETS COMMENT DATES FOR NPRM TO IMPLEMENT CVAA TO MAKE ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: The FCC has set comment dates regarding its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) pro-posing to adopt rules that implement provisions in section 104 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). This proceeding would update and amend the Commission's rules to en-sure that individuals with disabilities are able to fully utilize advanced communications services (ACS) and equipment and networks used for such services (BloostonLaw Telecom Update, March 9). Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on ways to implement the CVAA's requirements on providers of ACS and manufacturers of equipment used for ACS to make their services and products accessible to people with disabilities. The intended effect is to promote rapid deployment of and universal access to broadband services for all Americans across the country, because broadband technology can stimulate economic growth and provide opportunity for all Americans. Comments in this CG Docket No. 10-213, WT Docket No. 96-198, and CG Docket No. 10-145 proceeding are due April 13, and replies are due May 13. The NPRM initiates a proceeding to update the Commission's rules to ensure that the 54 million individuals with disabilities are able to fully utilize advanced communications services and equipment and networks used for such services. BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast, and Cary Mitchell.

FCC SETS COMMENT DATES FOR FNPRM TO PROVIDE BROADCAST RADIO SERVICE TO NATIVE LANDS: The FCC has set comment dates for its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SFNPRM), in which it announced that it wished to develop a more comprehensive record regarding measures to assist Federally recognized Native American Tribes and Alaska Native Villages in obtaining commercial FM radio station authorizations. Specifically, the Commission sought comment on the use of threshold qualifications for Tribes applying for commercial FM radio channel allotments that were added to the Table of Allotments using the Tribal Priority adopted by the Commission in the First Report and Order (First R&O) in this proceeding. The Commission also sought further comment on whether a Tribal Bidding Credit would accomplish the goal of increasing Tribal ownership of commercial stations broadcasting to Tribal Lands, and sought comment on the financial and other barriers facing Tribes wishing to enter the commercial broadcast arena (BloostonLaw Telecom Update, March 9). Comments in this MB Docket No. 09-52 proceeding are due April 15, and replies are due May 16. BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.


BloostonLaw Private Users Update

Published by the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP

[Portions reproduced here with the firm's permission.]

   Vol. 12, No. 3 March 2011   

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D Block Legislation Would Sell Off 450-470 MHz Band, Displacing Land Mobile and Paging Operations

On February 10, 2011, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chair-man of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced H.R. 607, the “Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011,” which has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill is aimed at addressing the creation and maintenance of a nationwide Public Safety broadband network, including the reallocation of the 700 MHz “D Block” broadband spectrum to public safety. However, the fine print of the bill would reallocate a significant amount of UHF band spectrum, including the 450-470 MHz band where millions of land mobile and paging units currently operate, for use as broadband spectrum. If this legislation is adopted in its present form, these UHF bands would be sold at auction, thereby displacing tens of thou-sands of existing licensees. It is not clear whether the displaced licensees would be relocated to other spectrum, and whether they would be compensated for their relocation expenses.

By way of background, the D Block spectrum had been slated for use in a nationwide public safety/private sector network. After an attempt to auction the spectrum for that purpose failed, the National Broadband Plan recommended simply selling the D Block at public auction, without the stringent public safety partnership requirements. This spectrum was expected to generate several billion dollars in auction revenues. With the reallocation of this spectrum to public safety, the King bill seeks to find other spectrum to sell, and has focused on one of the most crowded bands of existing operations. The UHF auction would be designed to offset the loss of revenue that would occur as the result of the allocation of the D-Block. While similar D Block legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), so far it appears that only the King bill has targeted the UHF band as a re-placement auction target.

In its initial version, H.R. 607 lists, among the bands to be reallocated for commercial auction within ten years of the passage of the Bill, the paired bands 420-440 MHz and 450-470 MHz. The 420-440 segment is shared by the Government and amateur radio. Within the 450-470 MHz segment are the frequencies allocated for shared operations by industries ranging from alarm monitoring, automobile emergency operations, railroads, public utilities, and in some instances public safety agencies. The FCC tried to adopt auction rules for this spectrum in 1999, but backed away from the proposal upon a finding that an auction of this heavily crowded band would not serve the public interest. The UHF band also includes those 454/450 MHz frequency pairs that have been allocated for paging/land mobile under Part 22 of the FCC’s rules.

H.R. 607 is presently cosponsored by the Homeland Security Committee’s Ranking Member, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS-2) as well as Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-NV-1), Yvette Clarke (D-NY-11), Billy Long (R-MO-7), Candice S. Miller (R-MI-10), Laura Richardson (D-CA-37), Mike Rogers (R-AL-3), and Michael Grimm (R-NY-13). This bill must make its way through the House and then the Senate, and may be modified by the other D Block bills that have been introduced. However, H.R. 607’s proposal to auction the 450-470 MHz band obviously could impact many licensees. We will provide additional details about the bills proposals and progress as they are learned.

BloostonLaw contacts: John Prendergast, Ben Dickens

FCC Sets Comment Dates for 700 MHz Public Safety Interoperability FNPRM

The FCC has set comment dates on its Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) seeking comments on the development of a technical interoperability framework for the nationwide public safety broadband network. This document considers and proposes additional requirements to further promote and enable nationwide interoperability among public safety broadband networks operating in the 700 MHz band. This document addresses public safety broadband network interoperability from a technological perspective and considers interoperability at various communication layers (Blooston-Law Telecom Update, January 26). Comments in this PS Docket No. 06-229, WT Docket No. 06-150, and WP Docket No. 07-100 proceeding are due April 11, and replies are due May 10.

The FCC said the rules proposed in the FNPRM are necessary to ensure the interoperability of 700 MHz public safety broadband networks that are expected to be deployed in the near term. The proposed rules create technical requirements designed to ensure that public safety broadband networks are technically and operationally compatible, so that public safety personnel from various jurisdictions and departments are able to communicate effectively over these networks.

BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast, and Cary Mitchell.

FCC Seeks Comment On Revising Rules Under RFA

Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the FCC has published a plan for the review of rules adopted by the agency in calendar year 1999 which have, or might have, a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. These rules include universal service, wireless, customer proprietary network information (CPNI), local number portability (LNP), and other regulations that affect small businesses adopted a decade ago. The purpose of the review is to determine whether such rules should be continued without change, or should be amended or rescinded, consistent with the stated objective of section 610 of the RFA, to minimize any significant economic impact of such rules upon a substantial number of small entities.

The FCC plans to review these regulations during the next 12 months. In succeeding years, as here, the Commission will publish a list for the review of regulations adopted 10 years preceding the year of review. In reviewing each rule in a manner consistent with the requirements of section 610 the FCC will consider the following factors:

(a) The continued need for the rule;
(b) The nature of complaints or comments received concerning the rule from the public;
(c) The complexity of the rule;
(d) The extent to which the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other federal rules and, to the extent feasible, with state and local governmental rules; and
(e) The length of time since the rule has been evaluated or the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed in the area affected by the rule.

Areas that may be of interest to our clients include:

(a) Part 1 – Rules concerning content of wireless applications and frequency coordination with Canada;
(b) Part 2 – Equipment Authorization Procedures involving procedures and conditions under which applications can be granted, dismissed, limited or revoked
(c) Part 6 – Rules which concern access to telecommunications service, telecommunications equipment and CPE by persons with disabilities and enforcement provisions;
(d) Part 7 – which addresses access to voicemail and interactive menu services by persons with disabilities;
(e) Part 20 – which established the 218 – 219 MHz Ser-vice as a CMRS service;
(f) Part 22 – which amended the paging rules in connection with the paging auctions and the cellular rules in connection with the handling of 911 calls by analog cell phones;
(g) Part 42 involving preservation of records of communication common carriers in connection with interexchange services;
(h) Part 43 – which requires the disclosure of certain con-tracts and arrangements between US carriers and foreign carriers with the FCC and the requirement for confidential treatment;
(i) Part 54 – Universal Service for High Cost, Health Care and Administration of Universal Service;
(j) Part 61 – Tariffs – Definitions adopted to define terms used elsewhere in the FCC’s rules applicable to inter-state, domestic and interexchange services and rules for dominant non-dominant carriers (domestic and international);
(k) Part 63 – Elimination of Section 214 requirement for extension of lines, in accordance with Section 402 of the Telecom Act of 1996 and provide rules for International 214 authorizations;
(l) Part 64 – Rules which require operator services providers to meet requirements of Communications Act when filing international tariffs, allocation of costs, eliminate unauthorized changes in subscriber’s telecommunications carriers (slamming/cramming), protect CPNI and provide for truth in billing;
(m) Part 68 – Requirement that certain telephone hand-sets be labeled with “HAC” to indicate consumers that the handset is hearing aid compatible;
(n) Part 69 – modifications to access charges and pricing flexibility;
(o) Part 80 – Rules involving co-channel interference for Public Coast VHF stations;
(p) Part 87 – technical requirements for aircraft stations an multicom stations;
(q) Part 90 – Rules involving the public safety pool and the industrial/business pool.

Some of the above rules may be candidates for deletion or change, either because they have become outdated (such as rules governing analog cellular) or because they have not been successful. If there is a particular rule that your company would like to see changed, please contact the firm, and advise us accordingly. Comments will be due 60 days after publication of the item in the Federal Register.

BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.

FCC Seeks Comment On Proposed AVWS System To Promote Aviation Safety

The FCC has adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM), seeking comment on additional measures regarding new aviation ground station equipment that would promote aviation safety. Specifically, the FNPRM addresses a proposal that would help aircraft avoid potential collisions with antenna structures and other obstacles. The FCC seeks comment on a petition for rulemaking filed by OCAS, Inc. (OCAS) regarding audio visual warning systems (AVWS). OCAS, Inc. installs such technology under the trademark OCAS®. AVWS are integrated air hazard notification systems that utilize radar frequencies and VHF voice frequencies to activate obstruction lighting and transmit audible warnings to aircraft on a potential collision course with obstacles such as power lines, wind turbines, bridges and towers. OCAS requests that the agency amend Part 87 of the Commission’s Rules to permit AVWS stations to operate radar units, and to transmit audible warnings to pilots. The FCC seeks comment on operational, licensing, eligibility and equipment certification issues regard-ing AVWS stations and technology.

According to National Transportation Safety Board re-sources cited by OCAS, an aviation accident attributable to an air obstacle occurs every twelve days, on average. More than ninety-five percent of those accidents are related to wires, utility poles and static lines; and eighty-five percent of them occur during the day. AVWS stations are designed to minimize the occurrence of such collisions.

OCAS states that AVWS stations manufactured by OCAS have been deployed successfully in Europe and Canada. OCAS’s AVWS system includes a low-powered continuous wave radar, and a radio capable of transmit-ting at the same time on all frequencies in the VHF aero-nautical band (118-136 MHz). The radar continuously scans for approaching aircraft, and the system activates obstacle lights if an aircraft enters into a predefined horizontal and vertical perimeter ("warning zone"). If, despite this visual warning, the aircraft continues toward the structure into a second warning zone, the VHF radio transmits an audible warning describing the hazard (e.g., “Power line . . . power line . . .”).

OCAS contends that the audible warning component of AVWS represents a substantial safety enhancement over passive marking and lighting, which are common features of aviation collision avoidance measures currently deployed in the United States. The audible warning is designed to interrupt ongoing ground-to-air, air-to-ground or air-to-air transmissions when an aircraft is in sufficient proximity to an obstacle for the VHF signal to be heard by its pilot. OCAS asserts that it is vitally important to interrupt any ongoing VHF voice transmissions at such times to alert the pilot of imminent danger. Recognizing the importance of interference-free transmission of other safety-related communications, however, OCAS propos-es to exclude air traffic control, aeronautical en route, and flight test frequencies from AVWS use.

OCAS also requests the Commission to amend Part 87 to “clarify that antenna structures equipped with or sup-ported by AVWS stations are exempt from the continuous lighting requirements of Section 17.51 of the Commission’s Rules.” It argues that, in contrast to the continuous lighting of obstacles, deployment of AVWS will engender public benefits beyond those related to aviation – benefits including lower energy consumption, reduced light pollution, and increased protection of migratory bird populations.

In response to a Public Notice seeking comment on the petition, the Commission received six comments and one reply comment. Commenters generally support OCAS’s proposal to amend Part 87 to authorize AVWS stations. In addition, OCAS submitted memoranda from different offices within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supporting the implementation of AVWS.

An AVWS station requires licensing for three components: (1) the radar unit, (2) the communications link to activate the system when the radar detects an aircraft, and (3) the VHF transmitter to warn the approaching air-craft. The FCC proposes to license the radar unit and the VHF transmitter under a single Part 87 authorization, as a form of radiodetermination station.

The FCC proposes that the communications link from the radar to the lights in the OCAS system utilize frequencies licensed under Part 90 of the FCC rules. OCAS re-quested that these frequencies be specifically authorized for AVWS use, but the FCC tentatively concluded that such action is not necessary, given that any AVWS operator is likely to be eligible for licensing under Part 90.

The FCC believes that the public interest will be served by amending its Part 87 rules to authorize AVWS stations to help aircraft avoid potential collisions with antenna structures and other obstacles. The Commission seeks comment on operational, licensing, eligibility and equipment certification issues regarding deployment of AVWS stations and technology.

BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast, and Richard Rubino.4

FCC OKs Limited Temporary Waiver For VPC Licensees On Maritime Channel 87B

The FCC has granted a limited, temporary waiver of the requirement for certain inland VHF Public Coast (VPC) Service Area (VPCSA) licensees that are licensed to operate on maritime VHF Channel 87B (161.975 MHz). Specifically, it granted a limited extension of time, to those inland VPCSA licensees that are required to protect incumbent public safety operations on Channels 84 (157.225/161.825 MHz) or 85 (157.275/161.875 MHz), of the date by which they are required to vacate Channel 87B.

In the Second Report and Order in this proceeding (WT Docket No. 04-344), the Commission decided that Channel 87B should be designated exclusively for Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) in the inland VPCSAs. In conjunction with this determination, the Commission crafted a framework for clearing Channel 87B of non-AIS operations in the inland VPCSAs. Specifically, it required inland VPCSA licensees to cease operation on Channel 87B within two years of the effective date of the new rules (i.e., March 2, 2011), but designated additional maritime VHF spectrum – Channel 84 or 85 – for use by the inland VPCSA licensees as a replacement for Channel 87B. Channel 84 or Channel 85, but not both, had been set aside in each inland VPCSA for public safety intero-perability. In the Second Report and Order, the Com-mission redesignated these two channels for VPC use, but grandfathered existing public safety users of the channels for fifteen years.

On its own motion, the FCC granted a limited waiver of the compliance deadline for those inland VPCSA licensees that are licensed for areas where they would be required to protect grandfathered incumbent public safety users of Channels 84 or 85. In the Second Report and Order, the Commission indicated that it is balancing three competing goals: ensuring the expeditious and effective deployment of AIS, minimizing any adverse effects on inland VPCSA incumbents stemming from the loss of Channel 87B, and minimizing any adverse effects on public safety incumbents from the re-designation of Channels 84 and 85. The FCC acknowledged that those VPCSAs operating in areas where Channels 84 or 85 are being used actively by public safety incumbents face a hurdle that does not affect those VPCSAs operating where Channels 84 or 85 are unencumbered. The FCC therefore, on its own motion, granted a six month waiver of the March 2, 2011 deadline for those inland VPCSA licensees for which Channels 84 or 85 are encumbered by grandfathered public safety incumbents. This additional time should allow the affected VPCSA licensees to make appropriate arrangements across their networks and ensure a smooth transition both in areas where Channels 84 and 85 are immediately available and else-where, the FCC said.

BloostonLaw contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, John Prendergast, and Richard Rubino.

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm.

Source: Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy and Prendergast, LLP For additional information, contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or

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Public Service: After Devastating Earthquake, Japan's Radio Amateurs Provide Communications Support

jarlAfter the 8.9 earthquake that struck near Sendai, Japan at 2:46 PM JST (0546 UTC) on Friday, March 11, the island nation is trying to recover. Soon after the earthquake — which the US Geological Survey is calling the largest to hit the island nation in 140 years — Japan has been rocked by tsunamis and power outages caused by trouble at a nuclear power station. Reports from Japan tell of phone and Internet service still up in most parts of the country. Even so, the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) — that country's IARU Member-Society — has asked that 7.030 MHz be kept clear for emergency use. Other reports are asking that these additional frequencies be kept clear: 3.525, 7.030, 7.077, 7.087, 7.097, 14.100, 21.200 and 28.200 MHz.

JA1RL, the JARL HQ station — along with other amateurs throughout the island nation — is maintaining the effort to support the disaster relief operation, according to IARU Region 3 Secretary Ken Yamamoto, JA1CJP. "In less damaged areas, the electric power supply is being restored gradually and local amateurs have started to establish stations at shelters," he said. Yamamoto said that JA1RL continues to operate as an emergency traffic center on 7.030 MHz, as well as 2 meters and 70 cm. It is receiving and reporting news from Japanese amateurs who are in the affected area. Using battery power or small generators, Japanese stations are active and are using various frequencies to exchange rescue and disaster relief operation information with JA1RL and others.

japan quake
This map shows Japan and the areas affected by the 8.9 earthquake that struck the island nation at 2:46 PM (JST) on Friday, March 11. [Map courtesy of the US Geological Survey]

"While 3.525, 7.030, 7.043 and 7.075 MHz have been mentioned as in use, it's wise to keep those — and all of the Center of Emergency frequencies — clear of normal and non-urgent traffic," said IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee Chairman Jim Linton, VK3PC, who added that there is no call for additional foreign radio amateurs in Japan.

For more on how radio amateurs in Japan are providing communications support after earthquake, click here. For information on how US amateurs are helping out, click here. For more on how Japan, Hawaii and the Western US dealt with the immediate aftereffects of the earthquake and tsunami, click here.

Yaesu, ICOM and Kenwood Issue Statements Regarding Effects of Earthquake on Operations

yaesuIn a letter to the Amateur Radio community, Vertex Standard Chief Executive Officer and President Jun Hasegawa expressed his "sincere appreciation to all of you for your kind words and thoughts about us" after the devastating 8.9 earthquake that struck Japan last week. Vertex Standard is the parent company of Yaesu. All Vertex Standard employees and their families are safe and unhurt, Hasegawa said, but the company has not been able to reach many of their dealers and subcontractors who are located on the coast area: "We just hope that they are alive." Hasegawa said that a Vertex Standard factory in Fukushima was damaged in the earthquake. Even though the factory is not located near the coast and the damage was minimal, he said that Vertex Standard has decided to "disable the operation at this moment." Saying that they are working very hard to get the factory back to its normal operation, Hasegawa said that "it may take one to two weeks to restart operation in the Fukushima factory. I would like to ask for your understanding and cooperation at this time."

icomAccording to a press release, no one from ICOM is known to be injured. No damage has been reported at ICOM's headquarters in Osaka, or at either of their two main factories in Wakayama; both Osaka and Wakayama are located far south of the most severely affected areas. The branch offices in Tokyo and Sendai, however, did suffer some minor damage. "Most of ICOM's facilities and systems are ready to get back to normal business, but supplier logistics, commuting issues and future power disruptions will affect our company," the press release said. "It is too soon to tell how big an impact the earthquake and its aftermath will have on ICOM. We appreciate your interest and concern."

kenwood"Thankfully, our staff in Japan is safe due to earthquake preparedness and the special construction of our buildings," said Kenwood USA President Junji Kobayashi on the Kenwood website. "Power outages and interruption of mass transit have kept most of Kenwood's staff at home since the earthquake; however, we expect the infrastructure to improve in the coming week and our operations to fully resume accordingly. We appreciate the concern for our employees expressed by all those who have contacted us." Kenwood's primary office facilities in Yokohama and Hachioji were not damaged, due to their proximity further south and west of the quake's epicenter. Since Kenwood's primary manufacturing facilities are in Malaysia, electronics production is unaffected.

Source: ARRL

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WiPath Communications

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Intelligent Solutions for Paging & Wireless Data

WiPath manufactures a wide range of highly unique and innovative hardware and software solutions in paging and mobile data for:

  • Emergency Mass Alert & Messaging Emergency Services Communications Utilities Job Management Telemetry and Remote Switching Fire House Automation
  • Load Shedding and Electrical Services Control

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  • FLEX & POCSAG Built-in POCSAG encoder Huge capcode capacity Parallel, 2 serial ports, 4 relays
  • Message & system monitoring

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  • Variety of sizes Indoor/outdoor
  • Integrated paging receiver

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  • Highly programmable, off-air decoders Message Logging & remote control Multiple I/O combinations and capabilities
  • Network monitoring and alarm reporting

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  • Emergency Mass Alerting Remote telemetry switching & control Fire station automation PC interfacing and message management Paging software and customized solutions Message interception, filtering, redirection, printing & logging Cross band repeating, paging coverage infill, store and forward
  • Alarm interfaces, satellite linking, IP transmitters, on-site systems

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Mobile Data Terminals & Two Way Wireless  Solutions

mobile data terminal

radio interface

  • Fleet tracking, messaging, job processing, and field service management Automatic vehicle location (AVL), GPS
  • CDMA, GPRS, ReFLEX, conventional, and trunked radio interfaces

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WiPath Communications LLC
4845 Dumbbarton Court
Cumming, GA 30040
4845 Dumbbarton Court
Cumming, GA 30040
Web site: left arrow CLICK
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Phone: 770-844-6218
Fax: 770-844-6574
WiPath Communications

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Preferred Wireless

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Terminals & Controllers:
1 Glenayre SYC
1Motorola C-NET Controller
1Motorola ASC1500
2 Zetron 2200 Terminals
2 GL3100 RF Director 
4Glenayre GLS2164 Satellite Receivers
1GL3000L Complete w/Spares
2 GL3000ES Terminals
 Many Unipage Cards, Chassis
Link Transmitters:
2Eagle Midband Link Transmitters, 125W
5 Glenayre GL C2100 Link Repeaters
1 Glenayre QT6994, 150W, 900 MHz Link TX
2 Glenayre QT4201, & 6201 25W & 100W Midband Link TX
3 Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
2 Motorola 30W, Midband Link TX (C42JZB6106AC)
VHF Paging Transmitters
1 Motorola VHF PURC-5000 125W, ACB or TRC
8 Glenayre GLT8411, 250W, VHF TX
UHF Paging Transmitters:
24 Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
6 Motorola PURC-5000 110 & 225W, TRC & ACB
900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
3 Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W
2 Glenayre GLT8200, 25W (NEW)
15 Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
35Glenayre 900 MHz DSP Exciters
25 Glenayre GLT-8500 Final PAs
35 Glenayre GLT-8500 Power Supplies
Miscellaneous Equipment:
2 Glenayre Hot Standby Panels—New & Old Style
25 Hennessy Outdoor Wall-Mount Enclosures, 24"x30"x12" deep
3 Chatsworth Aluminum Racks


Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail
Rick McMichael
Preferred Wireless, Inc.
10658 St. Charles Rock Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63074
888-429-4171 or 314-429-3000
left arrow CLICK HERE
left arrow OR HERE 

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Preferred Wireless

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EastWest Communications Inc.

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Media 1® live
by EastWest Communications Inc.

Real-time response to live events

spacer The audience may attend or view/listen to an event nationwide and respond in real time without requiring a computer — even respond while attending an event.

spacer Participate in sporting events, concerts, training programs or other programs to allow the producers to change the program based on audience participation.

Ed Lyda
P.O. Box 8488
The Woodlands, Texas 77387
Cell: 832-928-9538


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EastWest Communications Inc.

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LightSquared and GPS

This page provides information about potential interference to GPS receivers from the LightSquared communications network.

What is LightSquared?

LightSquared Subsidiary LLC is a company that plans to provide a wholesale, nationwide 4G-LTE wireless broadband network integrated with satellite coverage.

LightSquared will combine existing mobile satellite communications services (formerly known as SkyTerra) with a ground-based wireless communications network that uses the same L-band radio spectrum as the satellites.

On January 26, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an Order and Authorization giving LightSquared conditional approval to build out its ground-based wireless network (referred to as an ancillary terrestrial component, ATC) by reusing its authorized mobile satellite service (MSS) spectrum. The approval is subject to further testing and FCC review (see below).

Why is the GPS community concerned?

Source: Chris Hegary, MITRE contractor to FAA (Mar 2, 2011)
The base stations of the LightSquared network will transmit signals in a radio band immediately adjacent to the GPS frequencies. The GPS community is concerned that LightSquared's ground-based transmissions may overpower the relatively weak GPS signal from space. Although LightSquared will operate in its own radio band, that band is so close to the GPS signals that many GPS devices could pick up the stronger LightSquared signal and become overloaded or jammed.

Some are also concerned that the FCC may approve a technical solution to the problem that requires millions of existing GPS users to upgrade or replace their devices.

What is being done to address the concerns?

In its Order and Authorization, the FCC required that LightSquared create a working group with the GPS community "to address interference concerns regarding GPS and, further, that this [working group] process must be completed to the Commission’s satisfaction before LightSquared commences offering commercial service." LightSquared has committed $20 million to the working group and appointed Charles Trimble of the U.S. GPS Industry Council to serve as co-chair.

The FCC ordered LightSquared to produce an initial report by February 25, progress reports each month thereafter, and a final report by June 15, 2011.

LightSquared cannot commence commercial operations of its terrestrial network until the FCC, "after consultation with NTIA [National Telecommunications and Information Administration], concludes that harmful interference concerns have been resolved and sends a letter to LightSquared stating that the process is complete."

Independent of the FCC-ordered study, the government's National Space-Based PNT Systems Engineering Forum (NPEF) is conducting its own testing of the potential interference to GPS from LightSquared's terrestrial network. The charter for this study will be posted here in the near future.

How can people outside the government participate in the studies?

Companies, organizations, and individuals interested in serving as advisors to the FCC-ordered working group may email membership requests to Requests should include the name of the individual and company or organization represented, if applicable; and a brief biography covering applicable expertise.

The FCC has issued guidance for the conduct of the working group so that it will not trigger the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

Due to FACA, the work of the NPEF is limited to U.S. government personnel and contractors. Unsolicited inputs may be submitted to Knute Berstis of the National Coordination Office,

What is the Executive Branch position on this issue?

The government GPS community is working closely with LightSquared and the U.S. spectrum regulators to ensure that GPS users are protected from interference and unnecessary re-equipage.

Federal agencies are currently focused on conducting the technical studies needed to understand the interference effects and identify potential mitigations. Their analysis is ongoing through the NPEF.

Prior to the FCC Order and Authorization, multiple federal agencies expressed concern about potential GPS interference from LightSquared. On behalf of the Executive Branch, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) sent a letter to the FCC stating that the LightSquared proposal raised "significant interference concerns that warrant full evaluation" to ensure that federal agencies' use of GPS is not adversely impacted.

Source: ["PNT" stands for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing.]

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Note from Phil Leavitt:

For Sale

I have about 95 new CreataLinks and about 285 DataLinks, all 900 MHz POCSAG.

I have approximately 250 ± J39DNW0050 DataLink II Plus — boards only — new, and approximately 95 CreataLink modules. I also have 2 developer's kits and some CreataLink II units.

Philip C Leavitt, Manager
Leavitt Communications
7508 N Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Tel: 847-955-0511
Fax: 270-447-1909
Mobile: 847-494-0000
Skype ID: pcleavitt


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Hark Technologies

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Wireless Communication Solutions

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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)

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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

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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 HERE

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Hark Technologies

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UCOM Paging

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Satellite Uplink
As Low As

  • Data input speeds up to 38.4 Kbps Dial-in modem access for Admin Extremely reliable & secure
  • Hot standby up link components

Knowledgeable Tech Support 24/7

Contact Alan Carle Now!
1-888-854-2697 x272

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UCOM Paging

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Cellular Technology that Told Japan an Earthquake Was Coming

"Cell broadcast" technology is a largely dormant part of many cell-phone network standards.


Technology Review

cell tower
Are cell towers the future of the emergency broadcast system?

Japanese who carry phones serviced by NTT Docomo, Japan's dominant cell phone carrier, can opt to have alerts about earthquakes pushed directly to their phones. The technology that makes this possible, the Area Mail Disaster Information Service, is designed to deliver detailed alerts as quickly as possible.

This service is uniquely enabled by a little-known technology known as Cell Broadcast, or SMS-CB. It's totally unlike traditional, point-to-point SMS, in that it can be broadcast directly from cell towers to every phone in range and does not use more bandwidth when sent to more users. In this way it's just like a over-the-air television or radio, where bandwidth requirements do not increase as more users receive a signal.

This is extremely important in the event of a disaster: According to Israeli SMS-CB company eViglio, cell broadcast has the potential to reach millions of users in seconds in an inherently geo-targeted fashion, whereas trying to reach the same number of users via traditional SMS would swamp the network, slowing the delivery of messages to a crawl.

Tsunami Alerts Not Yet Implemented

It appears that Japan's Area Mail Disaster Information Service has not yet been equipped to warn of tsunamis. The abstract of an eerily prescient paper from 2009, "A Proposal of Tsunami Warning System Using Area Mail Disaster Information Service on Mobile Phones" opens with the line:

The earthquake with the seismic center around the coast of Miyagi prefecture and the oceanic trench of southern Sanriku is expected to occur with high probability. [...] Consequently, a system is required that prefectures, cities, towns and villages collect swiftly and accurately the tsunami monitoring information that is necessary for evacuation behavior, relief and recovery activities, and deliver and share to the local residents.

Sendai, the city most profoundly devastated by last week's tsunami, is in Miyagi prefecture — the same one mentioned in the abstract. Residents there had only minutes between when they felt the earthquake and the arrival of the first wave of the tsunami. Rohan Samarajiva, an expert on early warning systems for natural disasters, argues that for the people of Sendai, no early warning system would have been sufficient, and only building codes and general disaster preparedness would be of any use.

People more distant from the epicenter of the quake could benefit from cell broadcasting, however, and the technology has also been proposed as a means to coordinate relief efforts without bringing down the network.

Cell Broadcast Warnings for Rocket Attacks, Natural Disasters

The technology is also being tested in a very different part of the world in which disaster may strike with very little warning: Israel. EViglio is working on an SMS-CB system that will warn residents of incoming rockets within seconds after they have been fired. Testing of the system will begin in June 2011.

Cell broadcast systems are also being tested or deployed in a number of other locations around the world. The Maldives, a collection of low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean with nearly 300,000 inhabitants, will be rolling out an SMS-CB system to warn of "tsunamis, earthquakes, flash floods, tidal waves, thunderstorms, tornadoes and waterspouts, strong winds, and drought." The Netherlands and parts of the U.S. including Florida and other gulf coast states, New York City, and Houston are also working on their own systems, according to U.S. firm CellCast technologies.

This technology does have some obvious disadvantages — for one, not everyone carries their cell phones on them at all times. Compared to other solutions, however, it could prove useful: sirens can't convey information with anything close to the specificity of a text message, and television and radio can only push messages when they're in use.

What If Cell Broadcast Were Already Widely Deployed?

CellCast Technologies offers a number of historical examples (pdf) in which the technology could have been useful:

When a freight train derailment near Minot, North Dakota, in 2002 spilled anhydrous ammonia and sent up a cloud of poison gas, a public warning over radio was not broadcast for nearly 90 minutes. The designated emergency announcement station's single employee on duty could not be reached because phone lines were jammed by residents calling in. Authorities tried activating the radio's Emergency Alert System, but the EAS failed. What if Minot citizens could have received an emergency message on their cell phones warning them of this toxic danger and appropriate directives to safety?

A similar what-if scenario could be imagined for the events of March 11, 2011. What if citizens further down the coast from Sendai had received an automatic SMS-CB alert, generated by Japan's elaborate tsunami warning system? Until the issue has been addressed by experts, we won't know the answer.

Source: Technology Review

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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 250’s, 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.

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Phil Leavitt

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7508 N. Red Ledge Dr.
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

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Brad Dye
With best regards,

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Newsletter Editor


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Wireless Messaging News
Brad Dye, Editor
P.O. Box 266
Fairfield, IL 62837 USA

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Skype: braddye
Telephone: 618-599-7869

Wireless Consulting page
Paging Information Home Page
Marketing & Engineering Papers
AAPC web site

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“I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note — torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.”

— Henry Ward Beecher

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“To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.”

—William H. Walton

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left arrow Newspapers generally cost 75¢ a copy and they hardly ever mention paging. If you receive some benefit from this publication maybe you would like to help support it financially? A donation of $25.00 would represent approximately 50¢ a copy for one year. If you are willing and able, please click on the PayPal Donate button to the left.

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iland internet sulutions This newsletter is brought to you by the generous support of our advertisers and the courtesy of iland Internet Solutions Corporation. For more information about the web-hosting services available from iland Internet Solutions Corporation, please click on their logo to the left.

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