|Wireless News Aggregation|
Wishing a safe and happy weekend for all readers of The Wireless Messaging News.
A Lesson Learned
It's a shame to be learning important life-skills at this late stage — but better late than never.
There are three ways that we can express ourselves:
When we are angry and we express ourselves in an aggressive manner, we usually hurt the other person's feelings and frequently create a resentment. We may lose a friend or worse, create an enemy.
When we express ourselves in a passive manner (or fail to express ourselves) then we give up our human right of self expression. We “chicken out” become a wimp, and we end up being sorry, as well as losing self respect.
Oho! but there is a healthy way to express ourselves and that is by being assertive. This is not hard to do. It is simply a polite response to the situation, forming our words so as to not hurt the other person's feelings, and yet expressing our own point of view. That way both parties get to state their position. We can't control what the other person thinks but we do have a right to say what we think in a non-threatening manner.
When you think about it, this ability might even help to avoid wars, assaults, and murders.
I had a chance to practice this technique several times this week. One example was that the trash-pick-up company was sending me grouchy recorded phone calls saying that my account had been suspended for non-payment and that my trash would no longer be collected. Instead of getting mad and yelling at some innocent customer service person, I went through the familiar process of endless voice mail prompts and being put on hold. After doing this three or four times, I finally talked to a young lady who found that they had created two accounts for me — one paid up, and one delinquent. So now I owe them $2.00 instead of $100.00. Wow!
You may not believe this one. Between my dentist and an oral surgeon, they wanted $13,200.00 to replace a bridge. Yes, thirteen thousand! They thought the teeth under the bridge were loose. Instead of telling them that they were crooks or quacks, I waited until the bridge came completely out and showed the dentist that the teeth (stubs) underneath were sound and politely asked why the perfectly good bridge couldn't be re-installed. He agreed and it only cost me $75.00.
So the point is, by calmly practicing this skill I have saved a lot of money and I haven't hurt anyone's feelings or made a fool out of myself.
If I had been passive I would now either be looking like a toothless country bumpkin, or be searching for a way to raise some big bucks.
There were a couple of other good examples at the pharmacy this week but I won't bore you with more stories. I think you got the point.
Microsoft blocks Kaby Lake and Ryzen PCs from Windows 7, 8 updates
Windows 10 or bust.
By Ian Paul Contributor, PCWorld
The time has finally come: Microsoft is dropping the banhammer on mixing modern processors with classic Windows operating systems.
That means all updates, including security updates, will be unavailable on PCs with brand new hardware running the two older operating systems. The first hints of this were revealed in March, when a Microsoft support page appeared detailing the policy of blocking updates for Kaby Lake and Ryzen-toting PCs using Windows 7 or 8.1.
Microsoft’s stance on PCs running a classic Windows build with newer processors actually goes back to January 2016. At that time, Microsoft announced a plan to ease the transition to Windows 10 for enterprises by certifying some Skylake processors to run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 for a limited time. The company also added that Intel’s Kaby Lake, Qualcomm’s 8996 Snapdragon processors, and what we now call AMD Ryzen would all require Windows 10.
Since then, Microsoft has proved more flexible on the Skylake front . Select members of that processor generation will be able to run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 until both systems reach the end of their extended support periods in 2020 and 2023 respectively. For Ryzen and Kaby Lake, however, Microsoft hasn’t budged, with Intel and AMD willing to play along .
Why this matters: Microsoft’s rationale for refusing to take a step backwards is understandable. With Windows 10, the company is trying to get out from under its heavy legacy of backwards compatibility. Many critics have argued that backwards compatibility has held the company back from innovating and moving forward quickly with advanced features.
But in this case, Microsoft is pushing users too far. Windows 8.1, for example, is still covered by mainstream support until January 2018—at least on paper. Windows 7, meanwhile, is under extended support until January 2020. Users should be able to run the software they want as long as its at least mainstream support, but Microsoft’s not having it.
It’s a Windows 10 world and we’re living in it—whether we like it or not. [Source: PC World ]
Wayne County, Illinois
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.
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 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 ]
[Thanks to Tom Harger Chief Engineer at Contact Wireless for the correction above in red.]
Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, email@example.com
RadioShack Again Files for Bankruptcy
Iconic retailer once marketed a full line of Amateur Radio gear.
In March, RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in 2 years, placing the future of its 1,500 remaining stores and some 5,900 workers in jeopardy. The 1,743 retail outlets that survived RadioShack's 2015 bankruptcy were acquired by General Wireless Inc., an affiliate of Standard General LP. RadioShack once boasted more than 5,000 stores nationwide.
Founded in 1921, RadioShack once offered a wide array of name-brand Amateur Radio equipment — even beams and towers — along with home entertainment gear and discrete components — including transistors, resistors, and capacitors. Its iconic 1960's-era catalog ran to more than 300 pages.
“RadioShack did more to spread the early technology culture in the US than any other commercial institution,” ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, observed. “Its catalog was the Boys' Life of electronics.”
Chapter 11 gives RadioShack another opportunity to restructure and stay in business. The retailer joins other brick-and-mortar stores forced to shutter outlets in the face of declining sales and fiscal looses. with electronics stores hit especially hard.
“RadioShack.com, stores, and dealer locations across the country are still currently open for business and serving customers,” the company said in a news release. “The Company is closing approximately 200 stores and evaluating options on the remaining 1,300. The Company and its advisors are currently exploring all available strategic alternatives to maximize value for creditors, including the possibility of keeping stores open on an ongoing basis.”
The acquisition by General Wireless followed a bankruptcy auction in 2015. Plans at the time called for “co-branding” about 1,440 of the surviving stores with cellular phone provider Sprint Corp. RadioShack has also closed more stores and slashed operating expenses by more than 20%, but it wasn't enough. The company cited “surprisingly poor” mobile phone sales as a factor.
|Source:||May 2017 QST ® Magazine, page 81|
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The FCC just sold a chunk of the wireless spectrum to T-Mobile
Dish, Comcast and US Cellular were also big winners at the FCC's first broadcast incentive auction.
Jessica Conditt, @JessConditt
The results are in. After a year-long process, the Federal Communications Commission today announced the conclusion of its first-ever broadcast incentive auction, naming T-Mobile, Dish, Comcast and US Cellular as the biggest winners.
T-Mobile threw down $8 billion to capture 45 percent of all low-band spectrum sold, meaning it now has the ability to provide service across the entire US and Puerto Rico. This doesn't mean the carrier's service will improve over night, but it does give T-Mobile the opportunity to blanket the entire nation in LTE coverage. Note the auction didn't deal with the up-and-coming 5G spectrum , which is currently being gobbled up by AT&T.
The FCC raked in $19.8 billion in gross revenue for 70MHz of spectrum, so you could call the commission itself a winner, too.
But of course, the FCC doesn't get to keep all of that cash. Roughly $7 billion raised in the auction will help pay down the national debt , and more than $10 billion will go to the 175 winning broadcasters participating in the FCC's program to repurpose their airwaves for mobile carriers. For example, NBCUniversal earned $481.6 million by selling spectrum in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. Meanwhile, NBC's parent company, Comcast, ended up spending $1.7 billion to acquire mobile spectrum in the auction.
These sold stations will move to lower channels, be absorbed into other networks or disappear from the airwaves completely. An additional 957 non-winning stations will change channels in an effort to clear the airwaves for mobile use; the first group of stations will begin migrating on November 30th, 2018.
This mostly affects people who use over-the-air antennas, as they'll have to re-scan their TV sets as the changes roll in. Cable and satellite TV providers should make any necessary changes for their customers. The FCC has set up an FAQ page for anyone wondering what the televised future holds.
"The conclusion of the world's first incentive auction is a major milestone in the FCC's long history as steward of the nation's airwaves," FCC chairman Ajit Pai said. "Consumers are the real beneficiaries, as broadcasters invest new resources in programming and service, and additional wireless spectrum opens the way to greater competition and innovation in the mobile broadband marketplace."
|Source:||engadget||(Thanks to Barry Kanne)|
|RF Demand Solutions|
Disaster-Proven Paging for Public Safety
Paging system designs in the United States typically use a voice radio-style infrastructure. These systems are primarily designed for outdoor mobile coverage with modest indoor coverage. Before Narrowbanding, coverage wasn’t good, but what they have now is not acceptable! The high power, high tower approach also makes the system vulnerable. If one base station fails, a large area loses their paging service immediately!
Almost every technology went from analog to digital except fire paging. So it’s time to think about digital paging! The Disaster-Proven Paging Solution (DiCal) from Swissphone offers improved coverage, higher reliability and flexibility beyond anything that traditional analog or digital paging systems can provide.
Swissphone is the No. 1 supplier for digital paging solutions worldwide. The Swiss company has built paging networks for public safety organizations all over the world. Swissphone has more than 1 million pagers in the field running for years and years due to their renowned high quality.
DiCal is the digital paging system developed and manufactured by Swissphone. It is designed to meet the specific needs of public safety organizations. Fire and EMS rely on these types of networks to improve incident response time. DiCal systems are designed and engineered to provide maximum indoor paging coverage across an entire county. In a disaster situation, when one or several connections in a simulcast solution are disrupted or interrupted, the radio network automatically switches to fall back operating mode. Full functionality is preserved at all times. This new system is the next level of what we know as “Simulcast Paging” here in the U.S.
Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.
Bluetooth technology makes it possible to connect the s.QUAD with a compatible smartphone, and ultimately with various s.ONE software solutions from Swissphone. Thanks to Bluetooth pairing, the s.QUAD combines the reliability of an independent paging system with the benefits of commercial cellular network. Dispatched team members can respond back to the call, directly from the pager. The alert message is sent to the pager via paging and cellular at the same time. This hybrid solution makes the alert faster and more secure. Paging ensures alerting even if the commercial network fails or is overloaded.
Swissphone sets new standards in paging:
Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
To All Leavitt Customers for Motorola Items:
I want to let you know about a pending supply disruption at Motorola. Motorola historically has 7 different operating systems across the globe. They have been working for over 2 years to retire these diverse and incompatible systems. The plan is toall of these systems and bring all businesses back up under one new consistent system to serve their entire worldwide enterprise. Due to the software transition I have been informed that Motorola ship ANY product during the actual transition period. As of today, the planned last day to ship will be April 7, 2017 and shipments will slowly start to ramp up beginning on Tuesday afternoon April 18 th . This will affect ALL Motorola customers and items — radios and parts. It is likely that once shipments resume, Motorola will prioritize strategic and contract customers. Therefore, the stop or delay in shipping for us could last even longer. Lastly, if you have ever been involved with a total operating software swap out you know that there are likely to be issues that extend the delay beyond that predicted.
I will be stocking extra material to cover our normal item shipments. Large orders or items that are not typically ordered may not be deliverable until shipments resume. I will also continue to offer QUALITY aftermarket products like batteries, chargers, mikes and headsets should you need them.
Motorola is suggesting that any orders that absolutely need to be shipped prior to the shutdown be placed prior to March 16 th . That date may be a bit aggressive, but it does serve as a warning that late placed orders may not be filled.
I am sure they have tested this program many times but I do think there is big risk that the shutdown may last longer than anticipated and the startup may be slower than we would like.
Feel free to call to discuss any questions you might have regarding the situation.
Again, we hope to be able to serve your Motorola Solution’s accessory, battery and parts needs if your normal supplier cannot.
Auction Results Reaction: Telcos Love Outcome, Broadcasters More Muted
While everyone involved with the incentive auction breathed a sigh of relief that it has officially closed, many in both the wireless and broadcast industry echoed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who said, “there is still much work ahead of us.” Indeed, he’s hoping for “a successful post-auction transition, including a smooth and efficient repacking process.”
CTIA VP Regulatory Affairs Scott Bergmann stated the day “marks the culmination of years of hard work from Congress, the FCC and all stakeholders, and CTIA is proud to have played a key role in these efforts. We look forward to getting to work on a successful, smooth and timely repacking and transition that will unlock spectrum for a new round of mobile innovation and investment and enable a more connected life for all Americans.”
The Wireless Infrastructure Association “congratulates the winners of the FCC’s 600 MHz spectrum auction, and our members stand ready to deploy new infrastructure and activate mobile technologies that will use this spectrum as it comes online,” said WIA President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein in a statement. “Increasing the amount of spectrum available to wireless providers benefits consumers and will lead to greater economic development in communities around the nation.”
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today congratulated the many small and rural carriers that won bids in the FCC’s wireless spectrum incentive auction, including more than two dozen bidders that leveraged the rural credit that NTCA advocated to obtain. “This showing demonstrates the commitment that rural telecommunications providers have to provide state-of-the-art communications services for the benefit of the communities they serve, and highlights the benefits of the FCC’s decision to establish a rural bidding credit for this auction so that those most interested in finding innovative solutions to serve rural markets have at least a better opportunity to do so,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield.
NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith stated: “Now the FCC and the broadcast industry face the unprecedented task of moving almost a thousand TV stations — far more than originally anticipated — to new channels in very tight time frames.” NAB remains concerned about the impact of the auction on non-participants, such as the “hundreds” of FM stations co-located on TV towers and hopes for a “balanced approach” to the repack that’s “fair to all stakeholders.”
It’s worth mentioning Inside Towers reported that NAB filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the FCC, asking for several changes to the repack plan. Incentive Auction Task Force Chair Gary Epstein told reporters yesterday that remains pending, and if it’s granted “some things could change,” but in the meantime, “we need to go forward” with the repack plan as is “until the commission decides otherwise.”
Preston Padden is the former executive director of the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, which helped represent stations interested in the auction. Now a consultant, he told Inside Towers: “The broadcasters showed up and the carriers did not. Gary Epstein deserves an award for five years of public service.” Padden’s referring to original estimates by some within the FCC and also on Wall Street who pegged the amount of winning bids for broadcast spectrum at much, much higher than the $10 billion total to be spread out among 175 winning broadcast owners.
Wireless Communication Solutions
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Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.
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Selected portions [sometimes more—sometimes less] 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 of The Wireless Messaging News with the firm’s permission. Contact information is included at the end of the newsletter.
Comment Deadline Extended for Mobility Fund Phase II FNPRM; Form 477 Confidentiality
On April 12, the FCC issued an Order extending the comment and reply comment deadlines for the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Mobility Fund Phase II. The FCC also extended the deadline for interested service providers to file justifications for confidential treatment of their previously filed Form 477 minimum advertised or expected speeds for 4G LTE mobile service. Comments on the FNPRM are due on April 26. Confidentiality justifications are also due April 26. Reply comments on the FNPRM are due on May 11.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy, Cary Mitchell and Mary Sisak.
Chairman Pai Announces Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee Members, First Meeting
On April 6, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a Press Release announcing the members, working groups, and leadership of the newly created Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), which will meet for the first time on April 21, 2017. The Committee’s mission is to provide advice and make recommendations to the Commission on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access, or broadband, by reducing and removing regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment.
Chairman Pai has named Elizabeth Pierce, CEO of Quintillion Subsea Operations, LLC, and Quintillion Networks, LLC (Quintillion), to serve as Chair of the BDAC, and Kelleigh Cole, Director of the Utah Broadband Outreach Center in the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, to serve as Vice Chair. A full list of BDAC members is available in the posted Public Notice at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-328A1.pdf .
The Committee will initially have five working groups:
The April 21 meeting will be held at FCC headquarters at 10:00 am, and will be live-streamed at that time through the FCC web site at www.fcc.gov/live .
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak and Cary Mitchell.
Democratic Senators Introduce Bill to Create Broadband Privacy Rules
On April 6, Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced legislation to “restore broadband privacy rules that will protect consumers from having their personal, sensitive information sold to the highest bidder without their consent.”
According to a press release, the legislation “reinstates the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules which require internet service providers to obtain consent before sharing their subscribers’ sensitive information and adopt reasonable data security protections.” However, the proposed legislation does not merely restore the FCC’s Broadband Privacy Order, which was overruled via Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions. Instead, the proposed legislation actually amends Section 222 of the Communications Act to include a section on the privacy of customers of BIAS (and other telecommunications services). This new section requires BIAS providers to notify customers at the point of sale how their data will be collected and used, and for what purposes; obtain opt-in consent to use “sensitive customer proprietary information;” implement “strong protection for customer proprietary information;” prohibits service providers from refusing service to consumers who do not consent to use of data; and requires providers to develop “reasonable data security practices.”
It will be interesting to see how the bill fares, given that several supporters of the CRA resolutions cited agency overreach as a reason for supporting the cause.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
Commissioner Clyburn Criticizes Chairman for Failing to Release Key Portion of Business Data Order
On April 10, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn issued a statement criticizing Chairman Pai for failing to release a “key appendix” to the Order on business data services that the FCC will consider at the end of April. Specifically, the version of the Order released to the public did not contain an appendix listing the counties that have been deemed “competitive,” and therefore subject to reduced pricing regulation.
“Chairman Pai has been a champion of transparency. It is puzzling, then, why he will release the text of the item, but omit a key appendix listing which counties are deemed competitive, until the Order is released. We have the information. It will become public when the Order is released. So why is it that the FCC has taken the position that it will vote on an Order before the public gets to see exactly what the Order does? Just what are we trying to hide?
“The FCC should release this list immediately. This is the only way the public can truly evaluate the practical effects of the FCC’s proposed actions. If for some reason, that is unknown to me at this time, we cannot release this list expeditiously, we should delay our vote on the proposed Order until the public can see it ‘well in advance’ of a FCC vote.”
The Order , as drafted, finds that competition generally exists in markets for packet-based business data services, certain other high-capacity business data services, and transport services. As a result, in areas where the FCC finds sufficient competition, business data service tariffs would no longer be required. In areas without sufficient competition, price caps would be maintained, along with a “prospective productivity-based
X factor” of 2%, which is designed to ensure small businesses and other customers are not subject to price increases and share in productivity gains.
Readers will recall that, at the beginning of his Chairmanship, Chairman Pai implemented a pilot program to improve transparency at the agency by releasing to the public the text of FCC documents to be considered at the monthly Open Meeting. Since then, the agency has been somewhat selective about the documents it releases. As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, several of the items considered at the February Open Meeting were not made available until after the vote.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
Law & Regulation
House Introduces Broadcast Ownership Diversity Bill
On April 4, Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) introduced H.R. 1883, titled the Expanding Broadcast Ownership Opportunities Act. The bill, if passed into law, would create a tax certificate program for sales of broadcast interests that result in ownership by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, or sales by such individuals. Sales obtaining a certificate would not be recognized as gains or losses for tax purposes. The bill would also create a pilot program that would allow licensees to acquire broadcast interests that would otherwise be prohibited by the FCC’s multiple ownership rules.
In a statement on the legislative proposal, Commissioner Clyburn said, “Reinstating a tax certificate program and establishing a pilot incubator program are two of the proposals our office outlined in the recently released #Solutions2020 Call to Action Plan. Transforming the dismal reality of the present ownership landscape, into a future that offers abundant opportunities for women and minorities will not be an easy task. Congressman Butterfield’s legislation is an important step towards greater broadcast ownership diversity and I look forward to working with him and all interested Members of Congress in pursuit of this shared goal.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy.
Chairman Pai Proposes Office of Economics and Data
On April 5, during a speech at the Hudson Institute, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he is beginning a process to establish an Office of Economics and Data “OED” within the FCC. According to Chairman Pai, “[t]his Office will combine economists and other data professionals from around the Commission. I envision it providing economic analysis for rulemakings, transactions, and auctions; managing the Commission’s data resources; and conducting longer-term research on ways to improve the Commission’s policies.”
Chairman Pai said the first step will be the establishment of a working group of economists at the FCC to consider the basics, such as who should be part of this office and how it should be structured. The working group is intended to seek input not only from personnel at the FCC but also stakeholders outside the agency.
Chairman Pai envisioned three major benefits from the creation of an OED:
The Chairman said his goal is to have the new office up and running by the end of the year.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
Chairman Pai Terminates FCC Proceeding to Allow Cellphones on Airplanes
On April 10, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai reportedly circulated an order that would terminate the FCC’s proceeding on permitting airlines to allow passengers to use wireless devices for voice communications above 10,000 feet.
Originally initiated at the end of 2013 open meeting, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing the elimination of the current rule which prohibits the use of cell phones on in-flight aircraft. The proposed repeal was reportedly based on improvements in technology. Repeal of the regulation would allow use of the phones at altitudes above 10,000 feet via onboard airborne access systems, if the airlines agree and following receipt of all required Federal Aviation Administration approvals.
The current rule was enacted over 20 years ago to prevent electrical interference to terrestrial-based cellular systems. At that time, use of the devices on in-flight aircraft was not technically feasible because the unit would have had to make a connection with a land-based cell site and doing so could cause interference over a wide area. Since then, improvements in technology have mitigated or eliminated these concerns because the devices can connect to an on-board WiFi hot spot or pico cell. The FCC proposed elimination of the rule in 2004, but it decided to retain it in 2007 following widespread opposition from the flight attendants’ union and others concerned about the annoyance associated with passengers placing voice calls on airplanes.
In a statement, Chairman Pai said, “I stand with airline pilots, flight attendants, and America’s flying public against the FCC’s ill-conceived 2013 plan to allow people to make cellphone calls on planes. I do not believe that moving forward with this plan is in the public interest. Taking it off the table permanently will be a victory for Americans across the country who, like me, value a moment of quiet at 30,000 feet.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
Hacker Sets Off All 156 Emergency Sirens in Dallas
On April 8, multiple news sources reported that a hacker set off all the city's 156 emergency outdoor sirens, which sounded for approximately an hour and a half before being brought back under control. According to Mr. Rocky Vaz, director of the city's Office of Emergency Management, the hacker tricked the system to send repeat signals, activating each siren 60 times during the night. The sirens started sounding at 11:42 p.m. Friday and continued until 1:17 a.m. Saturday.
The sirens are used primarily to warn of tornadoes and other severe weather, and the cacophony prompted residents to call 911, clogging up that system. At one point, 911 calls were backed up for six minutes. According to Dallas spokeswoman Sana Syed, the 911 system received over 4,400 calls in four hours – roughly twice as many calls that the system handles in a normal, eight-hour overnight period.
The FCC is reportedly assisting in the investigation.
MAY 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.
MAY 26: STUDY AREA BOUNDARY RECERTIFICATION. In addition to the obligation to submit updated information when study area boundaries change, all ILECs are required to recertify their study area boundary data every two years. The recertification is due this year by May 26, 2017. Where the state commission filed the study area boundary data for an ILEC, the state commission should submit the recertification. However, where the state commission did not submit data for the ILEC and the ILEC submitted the study area boundary data, then the ILEC should submit the recertification by May 26, 2017.
MAY 31: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on May 31.
The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report. Clients who would like assistance in filing Form 395 should contact the firm.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Richard Rubino.
This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm.
— CONTACTS —
Harold Mordkofsky, 202-828-5520,
APR 13, 2017 @ 01:38 PM
Putting BlackBerry's $815 Million Arbitration Award Into Perspective
Qualcomm has been ordered to pay BlackBerry roughly $815 million by an arbitration panel, relating to royalties that the erstwhile smartphone behemoth overpaid to Qualcomm between 2010 and 2015 to license technologies for its smartphone business. The final amount, which will include interest and legal fees, will be announced after a hearing on May 30, but the decision is reportedly binding and there is no option of an appeal. Investors were clearly not expecting this development, or at least the magnitude of the award, with BlackBerry’s stock rising by roughly 16% in Wednesday’s trading. Below we take a look at the background of the case and what the sizable award could mean for BlackBerry going forward.
We have an $8 price estimate for BlackBerry . We will be revising our valuation model to account for the payment from Qualcomm.
Background of The Case
Qualcomm owns patents covering fundamental mobile communications technology that devices running on CDMA and LTE mobile networks utilize, and it typically charges smartphone vendors a percentage of the selling price of handsets to use its technologies. BlackBerry signed an agreement with Qualcomm in 2010, back when its smartphone business was peaking, to cover royalty payments through 2015. However, the business took a turn for the worse beginning from 2012, with its shipments falling from over 50 million units in 2012 to around 4 million units in 2015, causing it to seek a refund on a portion of the payments. The two companies entered into an agreement to arbitrate a dispute in April 2016, with the hearings carried out in February and March 2017 under Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services rules.
BlackBerry’s Cash Position Will Improve Significantly
The development marks a significant win for BlackBerry, which exited the handset business altogether last year. The $815 million award could potentially translate into about $1.53 per share of value for BlackBerry’s stock, assuming that it wont be fully taxable due to BlackBerry’s prior losses. With the award, BlackBerry’s cash position, net of debt, would increase to levels of about $1.9 billion, giving the company significant headroom to seek out new acquisitions or carry out share buybacks. Further acquisitions are certainly possible going forward, given that BlackBerry has been counting on inorganic growth to drive sales as its handset and service access fee revenues decline. BlackBerry bought six companies between 2014 and 2015, the largest of which was its $425 million purchase of enterprise mobility software provider Good Technologies, and the firm will likely pursue further opportunities in the security and Internet of Things space.
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