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Are AT&T and Verizon fleecing rural America?
$60 a month for 10 Mbps DSL broadband? That’s the same price AT&T charges for its 50 Mbps U-verse service.
BY MARGUERITE REARDON
Talk about unfair. Millions of broadband customers in rural and underserved urban markets are paying nearly identical prices for slower DSL service as customers who have access to high-speed fiber services.
That's the conclusion from a report published this week by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), which advocates for more equitable broadband deployment.
In places where AT&T and Verizon don't offer their high-speed fiber-based broadband, they continue to sell customers slower-speed DSL service. But recently, the companies have been eliminating lower-tier plans, which has resulted in higher prices for the base cost of service. But in areas where the networks haven't been upgraded, like rural regions of the country or low-income urban markets, this means customers are paying more for slower service.
Take AT&T as an example. The company is charging $60 a month for DSL with speeds ranging between 6 and 10Mbps, according to the white paper. This is the same price, after the first year discounts end, that AT&T charges its U-verse broadband customers, who get download speeds between 50Mbps and 75Mbps.
Verizon's pricing is similar. It charges $65 a month for 100Mbps Fios service, and about $63 a month for DSL service, which tops out at between 1.5Mbps and 15Mbps.
NDIA argues that AT&T and Verizon have been eliminating their cheaper rate tiers and leaving the midrange price point. But they haven't upgraded the DSL networks and have left the speeds of those services low.
"Each company now charges essentially identical monthly prices — $63-$65 a month after first-year discounts have ended — for home wireline broadband connections at almost any speed up to 100/100 Mbps fiber service," the white paper said.
Telecoms: 'We aren't ignoring rural America'
AT&T said in a statement that the results of this study are misleading.
"Attempting to assess Internet service offerings by only looking at standard rates does not give a complete picture; the Internet service market is more competitive than ever and most customers make their purchases at bundled and discounted rates," the company said in a statement.
The company says it hasn't eliminated speed tiers but instead has "simplified" its pricing with an "entry level price point that's remained relatively constant while the speed offered has increased."
It also notes that DSL is generally more expensive to maintain. And because this service is typically offered in areas where there isn't enough population density to justify the cost of a fiber-based service, there are fewer customers, which increases the cost per customer.
A Verizon spokesman agreed.
"In terms of pricing, rural areas are challenging in that there's higher costs involved in providing and maintaining DSL and it isn't always feasible to build fiber to the home," said Raymond McConville, a Verizon spokesman. "Our products are priced competitively in all of our markets."
Verizon also disagrees with the assertion that the company is not investing in DSL upgrades in rural markets. In January, it announced it would deploy fiber to over 15,000 homes in rural upstate New York. Last week, New York state announced Verizon would deploy fiber to another 50,000 homes. Verizon has also brought its Fios fiber service to several new towns in southern New Jersey, including some areas that had limited or no broadband access, McConville added.
"In the areas where we haven't brought fiber, we continue investing to maintain and improve the performance of the DSL network," he said. "It wasn't that long ago that speeds topped out at only a few Mbps — now we reach 15 Mbps in some areas thanks to our investment in the network."
New technologies like 5G wireless could also be game-changing for delivering high-speed broadband to rural areas where deploying fiber is not feasible, he added.
The problem persists
Still, the report comes as policy makers take a closer look at broadband access and the digital divide that exists between urban and suburban markets and rural America. Nearly 24 million Americans do not have access to broadband with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and uploads of 3 Mbps, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
A large majority of these unconnected or underconnected Americans live in rural areas where it's expensive to build infrastructure and deliver service. The situation also happens to be in parts of the country where there's little if any competition. And that seems to be a better predictor of whether the networks have been upgraded to higher speeds.
A report published earlier this week by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a public interest nonprofit, shows that big cable and telecommunications companies have invested most heavily in network upgrades in areas where they face competition. Meanwhile, in markets where no competition exists, network speeds lag.
"Efforts to increase investment from the largest firms in more rural areas have largely failed," the report said. "Though states have varied regulations, the same trend results in every state — investment by the large ISPs is correlated to competition rather than the regulatory environment." [source]
NO POLITICS HERE
This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.
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.
TIME TO HUDDLE UP
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. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do freely express my own opinions.
We need your help. This is probably the only weekly news source about paging and wireless messaging.
I would like to recommend Easy Solutions for Support of all Glenayre Paging Equipment. This Texas company is owned and operated by Vaughan Bowden. I have known Vaughan for over 35 years. Without going into a long list of his experience and qualifications, let me just say that he was the V.P. of Engineering at PageNet which was—at that time—the largest paging company in the world. So Vaughan knows Paging.
GTES is no longer offering support contracts. GTES was the original group from Vancouver that was setup to offer support to customers that wanted to continue with the legacy Glenayre support. Many U.S. customers chose not to use this service because of the price and the original requirement to upgrade to version 8.0 software (which required expensive hardware upgrades, etc.). Most contracts ended as of February 2018.
If you are at all concerned about future support of Glenayre products, especially the “king of the hill” the GL3000 paging control terminal, I encourage you to talk to Vaughan about a service contract and please tell him about my recommendation.
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There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
Prism-IPX Systems is growing and they are looking for more good software developers with communications experience. Additional information is available on their web site.
Royal Bolton ditches ‘unsuitable’ pagers for smartphones linked to e-obs*
By Owen Hughes
The hospital, part of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, will distribute more than 300 Myco smart devices to clinicians across its pediatric, maternity and critical care wards over the coming months.
Manufactured by healthcare ICT provider Ascom, the devices will be linked with the hospital’s Patientrack electronic observations system and will send alerts and crucial information to clinicians when a patient’s health deteriorates.
The devices give off different audio alerts and display a “traffic lights” system to indicate the severity of a patient’s condition, meaning clinicians can prioritise them accordingly.
Dr Simon Irving, CCIO of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said he hoped the smartphones would eventually “completely replace” traditional pagers – known as ‘bleeps’ – which he explained were “no longer suitable for a modern NHS”.
Dr Irving said: “Unlike a bleep, the Myco enables clinicians to call each other, message securely, and interact with escalations from Patientrack. The devices will also have apps containing trust clinical guidelines and an evidence-based medicines portal, to ensure consistent, safe care.
“The devices will save doctors, critical care nurses and charge nurses a great deal of time that they currently spend trying to reach each other on the phone to assess cases. A full audit trail from the devices will also enable us to track peaks of activity and better utilise our workforce, as well as measuring performance.”
At present, 30 handheld Myco devices are being used by on-call doctors and night nurse practitioners to triage emergencies across the hospital’s medical, surgical and orthopedics wards. The aim is to help better care for seriously ill patients at night and over weekends.
The deployment is part a unified communications system in Bolton that encompasses the recently-launched shared care record for community staff, in addition to virtual desktops from Citrix and an Allscripts electronic patient record due to go live in Spring 2019.
The “ambitious project” to replace pagers also involves a three-year technical support contract for the Swiss firm Ascom.
Paul Lawrence, managing director for Ascom UK, said: “We are proud to go live with this important project with Bolton, which is fast earning its status as one of the most technologically ‘joined up’ NHS trusts in the UK.”
Regular readers all know that I strongly oppose the use of only Smartphones, by doctors, nurses, and first responders, on our cellular-telephone networks because they are unreliable during any major crisis e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes, airplane crashes, terrorism events, etc. During a crisis the cellular telephone networks become overloaded and unusable, thus the phrase “Smartphones get stupid when we need them the most.”
From what I have been able to find out these devices are not at all like our regular (smartphone) cellular telephones as we know them over here on this side of the pond. It doesn't look like they even connect to any type of cellular telephone network. So before we jump in to criticize, let's look at the facts:
The Ascom Myco's main features:
So . . . since it uses DECT and Wi-Fi infrastructure to communicate (I assume installed right on hospital premises) the Myco should continue to operate when they are needed the most — during times of crisis!
Paging Transmitters 150/900 MHz
The RFI High Performance Paging Transmitter is designed for use in campus, city, state and country-wide paging systems. Designed for use where reliable simulcast systems where RF signal overlap coverage is critical.
Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
Back To Paging
Still The Most Reliable Protocol For Wireless Messaging!
The Wireless Messaging News
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Repair and Refurbishment Services
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Internet Protocol Terminal
The IPT accepts Internet or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.
An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
CITATION AND ORDER
ILLEGAL MARKETING OF UNAUTHORIZED RADIO FREQUENCY DEVICES
By the Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau:
I. NOTICE OF CITATION
1. Under the rules of the Federal Communication Commission (Commission or FCC), radio frequency (RF) devices marketed in the United States must operate within certain technical parameters because they can easily cause interference to federal government and licensed communications systems. Consistent with these rules, the Commission has established an equipment authorization program, which requires most RF devices to first pass tests verifying that they comply with FCC-prescribed technical requirements before such devices can be marketed in the United States.1 As such, a marketer must (a) ensure that any RF device it offers for sale in the United States has been tested under and complies with the Commission’s rules and (b) adhere to all FCC identification requirements, including providing notice to consumers that such device has been properly authorized under the Commission’s rules.
2. This CITATION AND ORDER (Citation) notifies Amcrest Industries, LLC d/b/a Baofengradio.us (Amcrest or Company)2 that it is marketing an unauthorized RF device—a handheld two-way radio—in violation of Section 302(b) of the Communications Act, as amended (Act), and Section 2.803 of the Commission’s rules.3 We therefore direct Amcrest to take immediate steps to come into compliance with the Commission’s equipment authorization rules and cease marketing unauthorized RF devices in the United States. If Amcrest fails to comply with these laws, it may be liable for significant fines of up to $19,639 per day and other sanctions.4
3. Notice of Duty to Comply with the Law: We issue this Citation pursuant to Section 503(b)(5) of the Act, which bars the Commission from imposing monetary forfeitures against nonregulatees who violate the Act or Commission rules unless and until: (a) the Commission issues a citation to the violator; (b) the Commission provides the violator a reasonable opportunity to respond; and (c) the violator subsequently engages in conduct described in the citation.5 Accordingly, Amcrest is hereby on notice that it must comply with Section 302(b) of the Act and Section 2.803(b) of the Commission’s rules.6 If Amcrest subsequently engages in any conduct of the type this Citation describes, Amcrest may be subject to civil penalties including, but not limited to, substantial monetary forfeitures. In assessing such forfeitures, the Commission may consider both the conduct that led to this Citation and the conduct following it.7
4. On March 14, 2013, the Enforcement Bureau’s Spectrum Enforcement Division (SED) received a complaint alleging that Baofeng radio model UV-5R was capable of (1) transmitting on land mobile frequencies using the equipment’s external controls and (2) operating at power levels above those specified in its Equipment Authorization.8 On October 30, 2017, SED issued a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to Amcrest, an authorized distributor of Baofeng radios,9 directing it to submit a sworn written response to a series of questions relating to these allegations; follow-up LOIs were issued on January 12, 2018, and February 2, 2018.10 Amcrest timely responded to the inquiries on December 7, 2017, January 23, 2018, and February 4, 2018, respectively.11
5. According to Amcrest, the Company began marketing four models of the Baofeng radio UV-5R series in June 2013; it ceased doing so with respect to three of them (UV-5R, UV-5RA, UV-5RE) “a few years ago.”12 The Company nonetheless failed to remove these three models from its website until February 1, 2018, following its receipt of the LOI.13 Currently, Amcrest markets only one model of the Baofeng radio UV-5R series, the UV-5R V2+.14
6. After receiving the LOI, the Company confirmed with the manufacturer that model UV- 5R V2+ is indeed capable of operating on “restricted frequencies,”15 though it is incapable of operating at power levels above those specified in its Equipment Authorization.16 The Company then instructed the manufacturer to rectify the issue17 and subsequently confirmed with the manufacturer that “all [Amcrest] inventory currently on order and in the future will operate only on 145-155 M[H]z and 400-520 M[H]z.”18
III. APPLICABLE LAW AND VIOLATIONS
7. Section 302(b) of the Act states that “[n]o person shall manufacture, import, sell, offer for sale, or ship devices or home electronic equipment and systems, or use devices, which fail to comply with regulations promulgated pursuant to this section.”19 Section 2.803(b) of the Commission’s rules states that “[n]o person may market a radio frequency device unless . . . the device has been authorized in accordance with the rules in subpart J of this chapter and is properly identified and labeled as required by § 2.925 and other relevant sections in this chapter . . . .”20 Under Section 2.803 of the Commission’s rules, an entity may not market a device that is capable of operating outside the scope of its equipment authorization.21 RF devices that have been authorized under Part 90 rules (Private Land Mobile Radio services), such as the model at issue, must operate within the technical parameters established in those rules.22
8. After reviewing Amcrest’s responses, we find that Amcrest marketed the UV-5R V2+ outside the scope of its Equipment Authorization.23 As noted above, Amcrest admitted that the UV-5R V2+ is “capable of operating on restricted frequencies.”24 Accordingly, Amcrest violated Section 302(b) of the Act and Section 2.803 of the Commission’s rules.25 While we recognize Amcrest’s efforts to date to achieve compliance with the Commission’s rules, the Company must nonetheless ensure the version of the UV-5R V2+ it is marketing operates only on frequencies specified in its Equipment Authorization.26
IV. REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
9. We direct Amcrest to provide the requested documents within 30 days from the release date of this Citation:
V. OPPORTUNITY TO RESPOND TO THIS CITATION
10. Amcrest may respond to this Citation within 30 calendar days from the release date of this Citation by any of the following methods: (1) a written statement, (2) a teleconference interview, or (3) a personal interview at the Commission Field Office nearest to Amcrest’s place of business. The Commission Field Office nearest Amcrest is located in Dallas, Texas.
11.If Amcrest requests a teleconference or personal interview, contact Jennifer Burton at (202) 418-7581. We note that such teleconference or interview must take place within 30 calendar days of the release date of this Citation. If Amcrest prefers to submit a written response with supporting documentation, it must send the response within 30 calendar days of the release date of this Citation to the contact and address provided in paragraph 12, below.
12. All written communications should be sent to the address below.
13. Upon request, the Commission will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. If applicable, Amcrest should provide a description of the accommodation required, and include as much detail as possible, and also provide a telephone number and other contact information. Amcrest should allow at least five business days advance notice; last minute requests will be accepted,but may be impossible to fill. Amcrest should send an e-mail to email@example.com or call the FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau:
14. We advise Amcrest that it is a violation of Section 1.17 of the Commission’s rules29 for any person to make any false or misleading written or oral statement of fact to the Commission. Specifically, no person shall:
15. Further, the knowing and willful making of any false statement, or the concealment of any material fact, in reply to this Citation is punishable by fine or imprisonment.30
16. Violations of Section 1.17 of the Commission’s rules or the criminal statute referenced above may result in further legal action, including monetary forfeitures pursuant to Section 503 of the Act.
17. Finally, we warn Amcrest that, under the Privacy Act of 1974,31 Commission staff will use all relevant material information before it, including information disclosed in interviews or written statements, to determine what, if any, enforcement action is required to ensure Amcrest’s compliance with the Act and Commission’s rules.
VI. FUTURE VIOLATIONS
18.If, after receipt of this Citation, Amcrest again violates the Act and Commission’s rules by engaging in conduct of the type described herein, the Commission may impose sanctions for each such violation. For example, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures. The Commission may impose forfeitures not to exceed $19,639 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation, and up to $147,290 for any single act or failure to act.32 The Commission may further adjust the forfeiture reflecting enumerated statutory factors, which include the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation, and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as justice may require.33 Further, as discussed above, the Commission may assess forfeitures on both the conduct that led to this Citation and the conduct following it.34
VII. ORDERING CLAUSES
19. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections 4(i) and 4(j) of the Act,35 Amcrest Industries, LLC must cease and desist from marketing any Baofeng Radio model UV-5R V2+ that is capable of transmitting on unauthorized or restricted frequencies in violation of Sections 2.803(b) of the Commission’s rules.36
20. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 403 of the Act,37 Amcrest Industries, LLC must provide the written information requested in paragraph 9, above. Amcrest Industries, LLC must support its responses with an affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury, signed and dated by an authorized officer of Amcrest Industries, LLC with personal knowledge of the representations provided in the response, verifying the truth and accuracy of the information therein and that all of the information requested has been produced. All such declarations provided must comply with Section 1.16 of the Commission’s rules and be substantially in the form set forth therein.38 The FCC must receive the response within 30 calendar days of the release date of this Citation and Order.
21. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Citation and Order shall be sent by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested, to Mr. Adam Ravat, Managing Member, Amcrest Industries, LLC, 16727 Park Row Drive, Houston, TX 77084.
1 There are limited exceptions to this testing requirement, e.g., transmitters used in the band 1427-1435 MHz. 47 CFR § 90.203(b)(3). However, none of these exceptions apply to the devices at issue in this case.
2 Amcrest was formerly Foscam Digital Technologies LLC. Letter of Inquiry Response from Mr. Adam Ravat, Managing Member, Amcrest Technologies LLC, to Aspasia A. Paroutsas, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau at 1 (Dec. 7, 2017) (LOI Response) (on file in EB-SED-17-00024360).
3 47 U.S.C. § 302a(b); 47 CFR §§ 2.803(b).
4 See 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D); 47 CFR § 1.80(b)(7). This amount reflects inflation adjustments to Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act, which specifies a $10,000 base forfeiture for each violation or each day of a continuing violation and a $75,000 base forfeiture for any single act or failure to act. See 47 CFR § 1.80(b)(9); Amendment of Section 1.80(b) of the Commission’s Rules, Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties to Reflect Inflation, Order, 33 FCC Rcd 46, Appendix A (EB 2018).
5 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(5).
6 47 U.S.C. § 302a(b); 47 CFR § 2.803(b).
7 See S. Rep. No. 95-580, 95th Cong., 1st Sess. at 9 (1977) (if the target of a Commission-issued citation subsequently engages in the conduct that occasioned the citation of violation, the resulting notice of apparent liability “would attach not only for the conduct occurring subsequently but also for the conduct for which the citation was originally sent.”) (emphasis added).
8 Radio models UV-5R and UV-5R V2+ (the subject of this Citation) were authorized under Commission certification procedures in 2012. Grant of Equipment Authorization, Fujian Nan'an Baofeng Electronics Co., Ltd., FCC Identifier ZP5BF-5R (granted May 21, 2012) (Equipment Authorization), https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/tcb/reports/Tcb731GrantForm.cfm?mode=COPY&RequestTimeout=500&tcb_code=&app lication_id=n%2BgY1ooaqEevhls5IkVd1g%3D%3D&fcc_id=ZP5BF-5R. Cf. 47 CFR § 15.201.
9 Amcrest, a limited liability company based in Houston, Texas, sells two-way handheld Baofeng radios through “Amcrest Direct” and on its website, www.baofengradio.us. Amcrest is one of many authorized distributors of Baofeng radios and has no relationship with their manufacturer, Fujian Nan’an Baofeng Electronics Co., Ltd., which Amcrest refers to as “Fujian Baofeng Electronics Co., Ltd” in its LOI Response, along with a reference to the FCC Identifier for the Equipment Authorization. LOI Response at 2.
10 Letter of Inquiry from Aspasia A. Paroutsas, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau, to Mr. Adam Ravat, Managing Member, Amcrest Technologies LLC (Oct. 30, 2017) (LOI); E-mail from Jennifer Burton, Attorney-Advisor, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau, FCC, to Mr. Adam Ravat, Amcrest Industries, LLC (Supplemental LOI) (Jan. 12, 2018, 15:38 EST); E-mail from Jennifer Burton, Attorney- Advisor, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau, FCC, to Mr. Adam Ravat, Amcrest Industries, LLC (Second Supplemental LOI) (Feb. 2, 2018, 12:40 EST) (all on file in EB-SED-17-00024360).
11 LOI Response; Letter of Inquiry Response from Mr. Adam Ravat, Managing Member, Amcrest Technologies LLC, to Aspasia A. Paroutsas, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau (Jan. 23, 2018) (Supplemental LOI Response); E-mail from Mr. Adam Ravat, Managing Member, Amcrest Technologies LLC, to Jennifer Burton et al., Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau, FCC (Feb. 4, 2018, 13:30 EST) (Second Supplemental LOI Response) (all on file in EB-SED-17-00024360).
12 LOI Response at 3; Second Supplemental LOI Response at 2.
13 See Second Supplemental LOI Response at 2.
14 LOI Response at 5. The UV-5R V2+ is an updated version of the UV-5R model identified in the complaint; as noted above, both models are covered by the same Equipment Authorization. See supra note 8.
15 Second Supplemental LOI Response at 1. The UV-5R 2+ operates on frequencies not authorized for Part 90. Cf. First Supplemental LOI Response at 1-2 (Amcrest added a warning to “all user manuals, marketing materials and sales materials” implying that the UV-5R 2+ can operate on unauthorized and restricted frequencies, including “136 – 137 MHz (Aviation Services, Part 87); 137 MHz – 138 MHz (Satellite Communications, Part 25); 138 MHz – 144 MHz (not available to any FCC licensee – Federal use only); 156.7625 MHz – 157.0375 MHz (Maritime Services, Part 80 and Aviation Services, Part 87)”). See 47 CFR §§ 2.106 & nn.US244 (“[t]he band 136-137 MHz is allocated to non-Federal aeronautical mobile (R) service on a primary basis”), G30 (“[i]n the band 138-144 MHz . . . the fixed and mobile services are limited primarily to operations by the military services”), 25.202(a)(3), 80.1(b), 87.173(b).
16 Second Supplemental LOI Response at 2. The UV-5R 2+ user manual states it is capable of operating at either 1 watt or 4 watts, as opposed to the Equipment Authorization’s maximum power level of 1.78 watts. Amcrest avers that despite these representations, discussions with the manufacturer confirmed that the UV-5R 2+ is “only capable of operating at 1 [w]att.” Id.
17 See id at 1-2.
18 Id. at 1.
19 47 U.S.C. § 302a(b).
20 47 CFR § 2.803(b). “Marketing” includes the sale or lease, or offering for sale or lease (including advertising for sale or lease), or importing, shipping, or distribution for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease. Id. § 2.803(a).
21 Id. § 2.803(b).
22 See generally 47 CFR Part 90. For instance, Part 90 radios that permit an operator to use external controls to program and transmit on frequencies, other than those programmed by the manufacturer or service or maintenance personnel, are generally prohibited. 47 CFR § 90.203(e), (g) (delineating exceptions).
23 The Equipment Authorization contains the designation of “extended frequencies” (EF), which represents the full operating capability of the radio. See supra note 8. The grantee may use an EF listing on the grant if a portion of the band falls within the operating range of the rule part listed. The authorization for the UV-5R V2+ lists a frequency range of 136 MHz-174 MHz and 400 MHz-480 MHz, which represents the full operating capability of the radio. However, only a portion of those frequencies are authorized for Part 90 and certain frequencies listed in the authorization are restricted to use by certain entities such as the federal government.
24 See supra note 15.
25 47 U.S.C. § 302a(b); 47 CFR § 2.803(b).
26 For instance, Amcrest avers that “the inventory currently on order and in the future will operate only on 145-155 M[H]z and 400-520 M[H]z.” Second Supplemental LOI Response at 1. However, the band 406.0-406.1 MHz falls under the latter frequency range and is limited to certain uses, all of which are outside the scope of the Equipment Authorization. See 47 CFR §§ 80.1061 (emergency position indicating radiobeacon stations), 87.187(m) (distress and safety communications), 95.2963 (emergency and distress frequency band for personal locator beacons). Cf. 47 CFR § 2.106 n.5.267 (“Any emission capable of causing harmful interference to the authorized uses of the band 406-406.1 MHz is prohibited.”).
27 47 CFR § 2.803(b).
28 See id.
29 47 CFR § 1.17.
30 18 U.S.C. § 1001.
31 5 U.S.C. § 552a(e)(3).
32 See supra note 4.
33 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(E); 47 CFR § 1.80(b)(8).
34 See supra paras. 2-3.
35 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j).
36 47 CFR § 2.803(b).
37 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j), 403.
38 47 CFR § 1.16.
(Thanks to Mark Crosby)
Paging Data Receiver PDR-4
The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.
Designed for use with Prism-IPX ECHO software Message Logging Software to receive messages and log the information for proof of transmission over the air, and if the data was error free.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
Wireless Network Planners
Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
FCC Makes One-Touch Make-Ready a Reality
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
The FCC passed a one-touch make-ready (OTMR) policy for utility pole attachments yesterday, saying the update will speed the safe and affordable deployment of broadband wireless infrastructure. The change will allow one attacher, usually the last, to perform all the work for the new attachment; it provides for a remedy if an original attacher is unhappy with the outcome.
Pole over-lashing of existing wires is allowed, without first seeking the utility’s approval, so all pole space can be efficiently used. It ensures telecoms pay rates comparable to cable and other industries for pole use. The Report and Order makes clear the FCC will preempt, on a case-by-case basis, existing local laws, to allow providers access to poles for restoration work after a disaster.
A declaratory ruling emphasizes the Telecommunications Act bans state and local moratoria that prevents wireless infrastructure deployment. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said during the vote that while many localities “get kudos” for making the broadband deployment process more efficient, some state and local governments delay projects and use pole attachment rates as “shakedown bounties.” He said: “State and local governments have been on notice for decades. Congress wants them to stop making decisions based on aesthetics.”
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter||Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers.|
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 kind permission from the firm. The firm's contact information is included at the end of this section of the newsletter.
August 22 Effective Date Established for Caller ID Rules on Threatening Calls
On July 23, the FCC published in the Federal Register a Public Notice announcing approval by the Office of Management and Budget of the information collection associated with rules adopted in its October 2017 order allowing law enforcement authorities under specific circumstances to access blocked caller ID information when needed to identify and thwart threatening callers. These rules are effective
Upon report of a threatening call by law enforcement on behalf of the threatened party, carriers must provide any Calling Party Number (CPN) of the calling party to law enforcement and, as directed by law enforcement, to security personnel for the called party for the purpose of identifying the party responsible for the threatening call. Carriers now have a record-keeping requirement in order to quickly provide law enforcement with information relating to threatening calls. The Commission also amended its rules to allow non-public emergency services to receive the CPN of all incoming calls from blocked numbers requesting assistance. Carriers now have a record-keeping requirement in order to provide emergency service providers with the information they need to assist callers.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
Comment Deadline Established for Extension of Jurisdictional Separations Freeze
On July 27, the FCC published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which it proposes to extend the freeze of jurisdictional separations category relationships and cost allocation factors for 15 years. The Commission also proposes to provide rate-of-return carriers who elected to freeze their category relationships a time limited opportunity to opt out of that freeze. Carriers subject to the freeze should consider whether the ability to opt out is in their interest and consider filing comments. Comments are due August 27, and reply comments are due September 10.
In the 2001 Separations Freeze Order, the Commission, pursuant to a Joint Board recommendation, froze the Part 36 separations rules for a five-year period beginning July 1, 2001, or until the Commission completed comprehensive separations reform, whichever came first. The Commission has extended the separations freeze seven times, with the most recent extension set to expire on December 31, 2018. Since, according to the NPRM, comprehensive separations reform by the expiration of the freeze is “highly unlikely,” the FCC is proposing to extend the freeze for 15 years and invites comment on this proposal.
The FCC also proposes to provide a one-time opportunity for carriers that opted to freeze their category relationships in 2001 to opt out of that freeze, so that they can categorize their costs based on current circumstances rather than their circumstances in 2000. Presently, rate-of-return carriers in approximately 45 study areas operate under the category relationships freeze. When the Commission granted rate-of-return carriers the opportunity to elect the category relationships freeze, it specified that the freeze would be an interim, “transitional measure” lasting no more than five years. But the freeze has now lasted 17 years, and carriers that elected it are prohibited from withdrawing from their elections.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
FCC Announces Official Agenda for August Open Meeting
On July 27, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the following items are officially on the agenda for the August 2, 2018 Open Commission Meeting. Linked in each summary item is the draft text of each item that is expected to be considered at this Open Commission Meeting. One-page cover sheets are included in the public drafts to help summarize each item. However, it is important to note that these documents are subject to change before final consideration at the Meeting.
Open Meetings are streamed live at www.fcc.gov/live and can be followed on social media with #OpenMtgFCC.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
3.5 GHz Band Nears Readiness for Commercial Deployment
In anticipation of priority access licensing and commercial operations in the 3550-3700 MHz (3.5 GHz) band, the FCC’s Wireless Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology are seeking proposals for short-term commercial test bed deployments from conditionally approved 3.5 GHz Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators. These commercial tests (otherwise known as Initial Commercial Deployments or ICDs) are meant to fulfill the Commission’s requirement that applicants conduct a public testing period and field trials prior to final certification.
With ICD proposals being accepted through September 10th, this is a significant milestone to making the 3.5 GHz band available for commercial use. We anticipate that services using the General Authorized Access portion of the band could be launched before the end of the year, and we should also have greater clarity on final rules for 3.5 GHz as well as the PAL auction timetable.
As part of the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) framework, the SAS is a real-time spectrum use database that is key to making the shared access licensing scheme work. It coordinates three tiers of users in the band — Incumbent access users, priority access licensees (or PALs), General Authorized Access users (or GAA) — making the spectrum available for commercial use on a shared basis while ensuring that operations of existing federal and non-federal incumbents are protected from interference. CBRS equipment (known as CBRS Devices or CBSDs) must operate at or below the maximum power level authorized by an SAS and within geographic areas permitted by an SAS on the frequencies authorized by an SAS.
We would expect to see ICD proposals filed by conditionally approved SAS Administrators such as Google and Federated Wireless (who have been most visible in this role) as well as by CommScope, Amdocs, Key Bridge and Sony. As part of their two-stage certification process, Administrators had to each submit a proposal describing how their system will comply with all Commission rules governing the construction, operation, and approval of SASs and all core functions described in the 3.5 GHz First Report & Order. The second stage involves actual system testing in both a controlled lab environment and a real-world setting.
“We applaud the FCC, DoD and NTIA for taking this innovative approach towards commercialization,” said Iyad Tarazi, president and CEO, Federated Wireless, in a written statement. “The entire ecosystem is poised to begin commercial operation under the rules for General Authorized Access, and the new notice on Initial Commercial Deployment confirms that CBRS services can be launched this year. Federated Wireless is working with several operators and OEMs and will submit a thorough proposal in response to this public notice.”
As a separate development that is a significant step to the commercialization and market adoption of LTE standards in the 3.5 GHz band, the CBRS Alliance has this week announced that eight global labs have achieved approval to conduct testing for certification of OnGo™ shared spectrum solutions. The OnGo Certification program ensures that FCC regulations for operating in shared spectrum are met — expediting formal FCC certification — and allows manufacturers to conduct the initial phase of functional testing in support of bringing OnGo-ready access points to market.
The CBRS Alliance believes that LTE-based solutions in the 3.5 GHz band, utilizing shared spectrum, can enable both in-building and outdoor coverage and capacity expansion at massive scale. In order to maximize the full potential of spectrum sharing, the CBRS Alliance is seeking to enable a robust ecosystem through the management of the OnGo brand, and the OnGo Certification Program.
“The launch of the OnGo Certification Program, along with the subsequent approvals of test labs to conduct the necessary testing for interoperability and certification, further indicates the explosive growth of this technology,” said Alan Ewing, Executive Director of the CBRS Alliance.
BloostonLaw contacts: Cary Mitchell, John Prendergast
FCC Seeks Comment on Fixed Broadband Competition
On July 27, the FCC published a Public Notice seeking information and data for the Commission’s analysis of fixed broadband competition as required by the RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018. Comments are due August 17.
This Public Notice requests comment on the criteria or metrics that should be used to evaluate the state of fixed broadband competition. Comment and information also is sought on industry data, competitive dynamics, and trending factors in the industry, including but not limited to, subscribership numbers, financial indicators (such as revenues or profitability), investment, pricing, and network coverage. The FCC requests that commenters provide any other information that may inform the Commission’s analysis of the fixed broadband industry. The FCC also requests comment on whether laws, regulations, regulatory practices or demonstrated marketplace practices pose a barrier to competitive entry into the fixed broadband marketplace, or to the competitive expansion of existing providers. Further, information is sought on the extent to which any such laws, regulations or marketplace practices affect entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the fixed broadband marketplace.
The FCC also seeks comment on the following: (1) how well do the Commission’s actions promote broadband competition?; and (2) how do varying levels of broadband deployment affect broadband prices and service quality?
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
USDA Seeks Comment on e-Connectivity Pilot Program
On July 27, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced USDA is inviting comments on the implementation of the e-Connectivity Pilot Program established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 on March 23, 2018. Comments are due September 10 by 5:00 P.M. EDT.
This rural broadband pilot program was proposed by President Trump and was made possible by a $600 million appropriation from Congress in the Consolidated Budget Act of 2018. The framework outlined by Congress allows these new federal funds to be deployed in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. A wide variety of entities is eligible for funding, including incumbent and competitive rural telephone and broadband service providers, rural electric cooperatives, private firms (but not sole proprietors or partnerships), nonprofits and governmental bodies. Rural areas with current Internet service speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1 Mbps upload at the household will be eligible to apply for the pilot program funds. The requirements on build-out speeds are not specified by the law and are therefore under development.
USDA is seeking input as we develop the rules and requirements of the e-Connectivity Pilot Program. All stakeholders with an interest in rural broadband deployment are welcome to contribute. Specifically, comments on the following issues are sought:
USDA’s goal is to make the most effective use of these new and innovative funds through utility partnerships, where possible. Public input on methods to evaluate the viability of applications that include local utility partnership arrangements is also being sought.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
Comment Deadline Established for 2005-2006 Rule Elimination PN
On July 31, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Public Notice seeking comment on its plan for the review of rules adopted by the agency in calendar years 2005 — 2006 which “have, or might have, a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.” The purpose of the review is to determine whether any of these rules should be continued without change, or should be amended or rescinded. Comments are due October 29.
In reviewing each rule in a manner consistent with the requirements of section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the FCC will consider the following factors: (a) The continued need for the rule; (b) The nature of complaints or comments from the public concerning the rule; (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.
Rules the FCC plans to review include:
A full list of the rule sections under review can be found here. Carriers interested in obtaining more information about the FCC’s review are invited to contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
Law & Regulation
Bipartisan Legislation Aims to Designate Additional Mid-Band and High-Frequency Spectrum for 5G
A bipartisan bill was introduced into the House of Representatives last week that would have the government auction off the use of additional high- and mid-band spectrum and designate more high-frequency spectrum for 5G services as well as for unlicensed use.
The Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum, or AIRWAVES, Act from Reps. Mike Doyle, D-Pa, and Leonard Lance, R-N.J., also sets aside some revenue from spectrum auctions for rural broadband. Congressman Doyle is the Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and Congressman Lance serves as Vice Chair.
“The bipartisan AIRWAVES Act is the kind of bill that will make a difference in the lives of Internet users. By opening up more federal spectrum for commercial usage we are helping lay the groundwork for 5G. The Internet is the lifeblood of the American economy — transforming countless industries and everyday life. To compete in the 21st century we must have a robust spectrum pipeline so we can win the race to 5G as we did with 4G LTE. We also have to close the connectivity divide and bring reliable Internet service to a larger segment of Americans – especially those in unserved areas. And with multi-device households on the rise we need more data to stay connected. All consumers need a system with faster speed, better reliability and affordable options and the AIRWAVES Act brings us one step closer,” said Congressman Lance.
The AIRWAVES Act mirrors legislation championed in the U.S. Senate (S. 1683) by Senators Cory Gardner (R-Co) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) that requires the FCC to hold auctions in each of the next three years that grants spectrum licenses in various bands, and National Telecommunications and Information Administration to identify the frequencies for either commercial license use or non-federal unlicensed use, and directs the FCC to allocated 10% of the auction proceeds to fund wireless infrastructure in unserved or under-served rural areas. The FCC will also be directed to conduct a study of how unlicensed spectrum can be used for rural healthcare, distance learning and agriculture.
Phil Murphy, Legislative Director for Congressman Doyle, has pointed out that the House and Senate bills are not identical. The House draft includes “more explicit protections for General Authorized Access (GAA) in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service band; enhanced flexibility for the FCC in the making spectrum available for mobile broadband in the 3700 - 4200 MHz band; retains the current band plan for 37 GHz – 37.6 GHz, which allows for site-specific coordinated shared access for commercial users; and adds 24 and 47 GHz blocks to an aggressive schedule of spectrum auctions in the microwave bands aimed at promoting robust and competitive 5G deployments.”
We have not yet seen the full text of the House item, but the Senate version of the AIRWAVES Act directs the FCC, in conjunction with NTIA, to “complete a system of competitive bidding to grant new licenses” for the use of the 3550-3650 MHz spectrum (i.e., CBRS Priority Access Licenses) by December 31, 2018. This would require the FCC to have rules in place for the 3.5 GHz CBRS PAL auction, but not necessarily complete this auction, by the end of this year. The FCC is currently reviewing proposals to license 10 megahertz PALs on the basis of Partial Economic Areas (or PEAs), instead of the census tract-based PAL licensing scheme adopted in 2015. The Senate version of the AIRWAVES Act would require the FCC to “complete a system of competitive bidding” for the use of 28 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum (i.e., former LMDS and 37-40 GHz band “millimeter wave” spectrum) by December 31, 2019. If passed in its present form, the legislation would give NTIA one year to identify any frequency between 7125 and 8400 MHz that could be made available for unlicensed use.
Wireless carriers and rural advocates have expressed strong support for the bill. "Making additional spectrum available for commercial use will benefit the economy, industry, and most importantly consumers, and will help achieve the FCC’s important goal of closing the digital divide," said Competitive Carriers Association President Steven K. Berry. "Particularly as AT&T and Verizon have dominated secondary market transactions for millimeter wave [high-band] spectrum, a swift auction of these bands will give all carriers a meaningful opportunity to access critical spectrum resources.”
We will keep our clients apprised as the items move through committee and differences are resolved.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell and John Prendergast.
Comment Sought on NTCA’s Petition for Temporary Waiver of Lifeline Speed Minimums
On July 31, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the Petition for Temporary Waiver filed by NTCA — The Rural Broadband Association, in which it requests a temporary waiver from the Bureau’s updated Lifeline minimum service standards, “applicable to fixed, wireline broadband Internet access service . . . eligible for support by the Lifeline Universal Service Fund . . . program,” which are scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2018. The minimum service standards for fixed broadband speeds are scheduled to increase to 18 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream, from 15 Mbps and 2 Mbps, respectively. Comments are due August 30, and reply comments are due September 14.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Mary Sisak. 3.7-4.2 GHz Earth Station Satellite Application Window Extended until October 17. On July 26, the FCC published in the Federal Register its extension of the filing window for entities that operate existing FSS earth stations in the 3.7–4.2 GHz band to voluntarily file an application to register or license their earth stations if they were not currently registered or licensed in the IBFS, or could file an application to modify a current registration or license. The filing window will now remain open until October 17.
In April, the FCC enacted a temporary freeze on new or modification applications for FSS earth station licenses, FSS receive-only earth station registrations, and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7–4.2 GHz frequency band. Concurrently with the freeze, it enacted the initial 90-day window described above. With this action, the FCC extends that window another 90 days, in order to provide operators with more time to file applications, should they choose to do so. This action does not impact the cut-off date for operations eligible for the exception, i.e., only earth stations constructed and operational as of April 19, 2018 are eligible for filing during this window.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
Virginia Connects Every Emergency Room Department to Common Electronic Patient Records System
Governor Ralph Northam (D) announced the implementation of the Emergency Department Care Coordination Program, the first state-wide program in the nation to connect every hospital’s emergency department with a common electronic system for patient records. This statewide system, which facilitates tele-medicine, is an online portal for doctors that is designed to allow the sharing of up-to-date patient information between hospitals in real time. The system will also allow physicians to see test results and medical prescriptions as well as identify doctors who have treated the patient.
In announcing the program, Gov. Northam, who is also a pediatric neurologist, stated that “[w]hen you’re in the emergency setting, every second counts” and having immediate access to accurate and up-to-date patient records will improve patient care since physicians will have access to recent test results. Gov. Northam has indicated that this could result in reduced medical costs since duplicative tests could be avoided.
ConnectVirginia and its partner, CollectiveMedical, stated that the system will look at data in real time so that “complex, high-risk” patients can be assisted. Additionally, the system will also help ensure that chronically ill patients, including those who are homeless and suffering from opioid addiction, “don’t ‘fall through the cracks’ of the healthcare system.”
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) indicated that the first phase of the program, which launched at the end of June, cost $3.9 million, of which $370,000 came from Virginia and the balance from the Federal government.
Chairman Pai Announces New Chief Economist
On July 30, Chairman Ajit Pai announced the appointment of Babette Boliek as chief economist for the FCC. Dr. Boliek currently serves as a professor of law and the associate dean of faculty research at Pepperdine University School of Law. The FCC chief economist advises the Chairman, Commissioners, Bureaus, and Offices on economic issues. The chief economist typically serves a one-year term and works within the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis—and will be a central figure in the FCC’s new Office of Economics and Analytics. Chairman Pai’s prioritization of efforts to better integrate economic analysis will extend to rulemakings, transaction reviews, auctions, and adjudications.
Dr. Boliek earned her doctorate in economics from the University of California, Davis, and her law degree from Columbia University School of Law. Currently, Dr. Boliek’s research at Pepperdine focuses on applied economic and legal analysis in the areas of Internet regulation, competition and antitrust, privacy, and the mobile telecommunications industry. Her teaching responsibilities have included antitrust law and policy, communications law, corporations, and contract law.
Dr. Boliek has served as a fellow with the Information Economy Project at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School and with the Center for Communications Law and Policy at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. She also has been a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is expected to start her work at the FCC in August.
AUGUST 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 recent 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 (Form 499-A) that was due April 1.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT: Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by August 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
AUGUST 29: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS. The Copyright Statement of Accounts form plus royalty payment for the first half of calendar year 2014 is due to be filed August 29 at the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office by cable TV service providers.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
SEPTEMBER 4: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION AND BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. Normally due September 1, this year’s filing falls on a federal holiday, pushing the deadline back to the next business day. Three types of entities must file this form.
BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
OCTOBER 1: FCC FORM 396-C, MVPD EEO PROGRAM REPORTING FORM. Each year on September 30, multi-channel video program distributors (“MVPDs”) must file with the FCC an FCC Form 396-C, Multi-Channel Video Programming Distributor EEO Program Annual Report, for employment units with six or more full-time employees. Because September 30 falls on a Sunday this year, the filing will be due the following business day on October 1. Users must access the FCC’s electronic filing system via the Internet in order to submit the form; it will not be accepted if filed on paper unless accompanied by an appropriate request for waiver of the electronic filing requirement. Certain MVPDs also will be required to complete portions of the Supplemental Investigation Sheet (“SIS”) located at the end of the Form. These MVPDs are specifically identified in a Public Notice each year by the FCC.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
Reminder – Ensure Your Tower Marking and Lighting is in Good Condition
The FCC has recently issued a violation notice against Greenwood Broadcasting Co., Inc. for failure to properly maintain the obstruction lighting on its antenna tower. We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that your antenna tower obstruction marking and lighting is properly maintained and kept in good condition and working order. The FCC’s Rules require inspection of tower lighting once each 24 hours (either visually or through a mechanical alarm circuit) and that the inspections be logged daily. Additionally, for antenna towers that are painted, the paint must be maintained so that it is clearly visible. A failure to maintain painting and lighting can create a hazard to air navigation. If you become aware of an outage, you must immediately notify the FAA if the outage cannot be corrected within 30 minutes. If the FCC discovers the outage, or if the FAA notifies the FCC that an outage has not been repaired within a reasonable period of time, the FCC will investigate and generally will issue fines for violations. The FCC takes enforcement of obstruction marking and lighting rules very seriously due to fatal aviation accidents over the years in which e.g., medivac helicopters struck cellular and other radio antenna tower structures.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Legislation Could Direct FCC to Study Ways to Promote Precision Agriculture Technologies
A bill introduced in the US House of Representatives this week would direct the FCC to study ways to promote rural broadband connectivity and the use of precision agriculture technologies. These technologies allow farmers and ranchers to collect data in real time about their fields, to automate field management, and to maximize resources. If the bill should become law, this development should be of interest to our law firm’s clients who either provide broadband service to communities with significant farming and ranching operations or utilize such services in connection with farming or ranching activities.
The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018 requires the FCC to establish a Task Force for Meeting Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States. The task force's duties would include: (a) identifying and measuring current gaps in broadband Internet access service coverage of cropland and ranchland; (b) assembling a comprehensive guide of all federal programs and resources working to expand broadband Internet access service on unserved cropland and ranchland; and (c) developing policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service on unserved cropland and ranchland.
Many of the latest yield-maximizing and environmentally friendly farming and ranching techniques require broadband connections for data collection and analysis performed both on the farm and in remote data centers, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall wrote in a June letter urging House Energy and Commerce Committee members to support the bill.
“Today’s farmers and ranchers are using precision agricultural techniques to make decisions that impact the amount of fertilizer they need to purchase and apply to the field, the amount of water needed to sustain the crop, and the amount and type of herbicides or pesticides they may need to apply,” Duvall wrote. According to the AFBF, FCC data shows that 39 percent of rural Americans lack access to minimum broadband speed service (25 Mbps/3 Mbps), compared to only 4 percent of urban Americans. We are not aware of any specific FCC information about broadband connectivity on farm and ranch land.
The House bill is identical to a measure that was introduced to the US Senate last January as S. 2343. Both items include findings that precision agriculture technologies can reduce operation costs by up to 25 dollars per acre, and may increase farm yields by up to 70 percent by 2050; and that these cost savings and productivity benefits cannot be realized without the availability of reliable broadband Internet access service delivered to the cropland and ranchland of the United States.
The Task Force in question would be selected by the FCC Chairman in consultation with FCC staff and the Secretary of Agriculture, and would include as many as fifteen (15) members, including agricultural producers, providers of rural fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services and telecommunications infrastructure, representatives from the satellite industry, representatives from agricultural equipment, robotics technologies and drone manufacturers, and representatives from State and local governments.
Both the House and Senate bills are reported as having strong bipartisan support. The AFBF supports inclusion of the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act in the farm bill. Clients that wish to provide input to the Task Force about either their broadband needs or their ability to provide broadband services should contact the Firm.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Gerry Duffy, and Richard Rubino.
FCC Issues $18,000 Fine for Failing to Timely File STA and Disclose Relevant Information
The FCC imposed an $18,000 fine against Roy E. Henderson, licensee of Station WBNZ(FM), for (a) operating the Station at variance from its license without FCC authorization; for failing to timely file a request for special temporary authorization (STA) to operate with its nonconforming technical parameters and willfully failing to disclose material information regarding his unauthorized operations. Mr. Henderson’s violations stemmed primarily from his failure not to operate his FM Broadcast station – meaning that the station was “silent” and its subsequent return to the air without notification to the FCC or the timely filing of a request for STA to return to the air was improper; and when he finally filed a late STA request, it did not disclose significant modifications to the station’s operation during the prior 17 months. Finally, Mr. Henderson failed to respond to the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture that had been issued by the FCC earlier this Spring.
It is critically important that stations be operated in accordance with the terms of their licenses. Failure to do so can result in a finding of unauthorized operation or improper operation – both of which can lead to significant financial penalties. Likewise, it is also important that interactions with the FCC be forthcoming, as a failure to disclose material facts can lead to enforcement action – as occurred here. Finally, if you receive correspondence from the FCC, you should contact our office promptly so that we can guide you through any response that may be necessary. A failure to respond to FCC inquiries may lead to a finding of further rules violations and additional penalties which could in many instances be easily avoided.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Seeks Comment on LoJack Request to Narrowband, Raise Power of its Public Safety Customers’ Operations
LoJack Corporation (LoJack) has requested that the FCC modify fifty-three licenses held by various governmental and public safety entities in order to comply with the FCC’s narrow-banding requirements. These licenses cover LoJack’s nationwide stolen vehicle recovery system (SVRS). LoJack is seeking permission to allow it to file a “master” narrowband modification application on behalf of all police and governmental agencies that operate LoJack systems. LoJack submits that granting its request would reduce burdens on the licensees and the FCC, and allow a uniform consolidation across the SVRS system.
LoJack is requesting two modifications to the affected licenses: (a) change the emission designator from wideband, 20K0F2D, to narrowband, 11K2F2D, for all fixed and mobile transmitters; and (b) increase effective radiated power of the SVRS base stations from 300 watts to 500 watts and increase the output power of the SVRS mobile units from 2.5 watts to 5 watts, in order to compensate for the impact of narrow-banding. LoJack asserts that there will be no resulting increase in potential interference to television Channel 7 reception as a result of the power increases.
The FCC is seeking comment from any party that would be adversely affected by LoJack’s proposal to streamline the narrow-banding licensing process and increase power of its base stations and mobile transmitters. Comments due August 24, 2018; Reply Comments due September 10, 2018.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Temple University and Ontario Christian School Association Cited for Improper Operation of Their Land Mobile Stations
The FCC recently cited Temple University and Ontario Christian School Association for improper operation of its Part 90 private land mobile radio service stations. Specifically, Temple University was operating its Mobile Repeater station at a site that was approximately 4 miles from the authorized location. Additionally, the repeater was operating with an output power of 32 watts – which was 128% of the authorized output power. Ontario Christian School was cited for repeatedly transmitting a digitally modulated signal that lasted approximately 5 seconds once every 30 seconds. Those transmissions were on 461.700 MHz, a frequency that is shared with other licensees in the Los Angeles area. Ontario Christian School Association did not monitor the transmitting frequency before transmitting the signal, as required by the FCC’s Rules. As a result, its transmissions occurred even when co-channel communications were in progress, thus causing harmful interference. Finally, Ontario Christian School Association operated its transmitter at 14 watts ERP rather than the authorized ERP of 5 watts.
Unlike some other radio services where permissive modifications are allowed, Part 90 does not allow any station modifications without specific authorization from the FCC. Thus, if you need to make any changes to your station’s technical parameters, it is very important that you promptly contact our office so that we can assist you with ensuring that your station operations remain compliant with the FCC’s rules and regulations. Most changes require FCC approval, including but not limited to: (a) change in control point location or telephone number, (b) change in or correction of station location (including street address, geographic coordinates, ground elevation) and/or mobile operating area, (c) change in frequency or number of radios covered by the license, (d) change in antenna parameters (including increase or decrease in antenna height), (e) change in output power, (f) change in effective radiated power (ERP), (g) change in emission designator (including change from analog to digital communications) or (h) change in station class. A failure to keep your licensed parameters current could result in the imposition of monetary fines for unlicensed or improper station operation. Finally, it is important to remember that most Part 90 frequencies are shared channels – meaning that you generally will not have exclusive rights to the spectrum. Thus, unless your license for a particular frequency has a station class of “FB8” and “MO8” on the license for that channel at a particular location, you must monitor the frequency before transmitting. FB8 and MO8 operations are used in connection with centralized trunking – which allows exclusive use of a particular frequency at a particular location.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Affirms Microwave Grant to San Bernardino County Despite Protest
The FCC has dismissed an Application for Review filed by LT-WR LLC, which challenged the grant of San Bernardino County’s two private microwave applications and the dismissal of its competing microwave applications.
The FCC’s rules require an applicant for microwave frequencies to complete the frequency coordination process (which generally takes at least 30 days) before an application may be filed. In order to complete this process, the applicant must (a) provide detailed information concerning the proposed operation for each desired microwave link or path, (b) notify other affected licensees and applicants for licenses of the applicant’s proposed operations, (c) make reasonable efforts to resolve any frequency conflicts that may be raised during the coordination process, and (d) certify to the FCC that the proposed operation has been coordinated. Once an applicant has successfully coordinated its microwave frequency proposal, the applicant may then file a license application with the FCC. A successful coordination will be valid for 6 months from the date it was initiated unless renewed by the coordinator. The FCC has made clear that the reservation of a microwave frequency through the coordination process does not cut off the rights of other applicants, since the FCC’s rules require applicants who have “reserved” a frequency through the coordination process to release that frequency to another applicant if it can be demonstrated that the other applicant needs that frequency and no alternative frequency is available.
Here, LT-WR claimed that it had an immediate need for the frequencies in question, and that San Bernardino should have released the frequencies since it had not applied for them after renewing its prior coordination. The FCC granted San Bernardino’s applications, concluding that even though LT-WR had claimed priority, its applications were fatally defective since it had not complied with the FCC’s frequency coordination rules. In this regard, the FCC noted that at the time its applications were filed, LT-WR was on notice of San Bernardino’s conflicting claim to the frequencies and that it was therefore required to either (a) resolve the conflict or (b) include a statement in its applications that it was unable or unwilling to resolve the conflict and the reason therefore. Because LT-WR failed to take either step, the FCC found that its failure to conform to the FCC’s frequency coordination rules rendered its applications fatally defective and unacceptable for filing. As a result, LT-WR’s applications were not mutually exclusive with San Bernardino’s applications and thus San Bernardino was not obligated to relinquish the affected channels to LT-WR even though it may have had an immediate need for them.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Denies Public Safety/Local Government Waiver Requests
Over the course of the past month, the FCC has denied several rule waiver requests filed by local governments and public safety entities for the use of T-Band spectrum, or in connection with 800 MHz rebanding. While the FCC’s action may seem harsh, it is apparent that the FCC is holding public safety and governmental entities to the same high standards as industrial users requesting waivers of the FCC’s rules.
Franklin Township — Franklin Township filed an application for a new public safety radio station to operate in the 470-512 MHz band (T-Band) and has requested a waiver of the FCC’s suspension of the processing freeze for certain T-Band applications. On April 26, 2012, the FCC suspended the acceptance and processing of certain applications for T-Band UHF frequencies, since Congress had earmarked the T-Band to be returned for sale at auction, as part of the Spectrum Act that allocated more 700 MHz spectrum for FirstNet. Franklin Township requested T-Band channels even though it currently operates on two VHF frequencies and has no T-Band facilities. In justifying the waiver request, Franklin Township stated that it routinely experiences failures with its existing facilities due to the proximity of facilities licensed to Somerset County, New Jersey. Franklin Township asserted that the requested T-Band frequencies are essential to ensure both the safety and security of the Franklin Township citizens and its firefighters. In denying the waiver request, the FCC noted that Franklin Township would be a new entrant into the T-Band spectrum and that it would alter the spectrum landscape, and therefore complicate the process of finding replacement frequencies for incumbent T-Band licensees. Likewise, the FCC noted that Franklin Township has “reasonable alternatives” to the T-band, since there are 12 unassigned 700 MHz band General Use channels in Somerset County, NJ.
Union County — Union County filed an application to operate a control station on the frequency 504.1875 MHz in order to control its dispatch channel in the Town of Roselle, New Jersey. Union County states that the control channel is necessary because Roselle has requested that the County take over the dispatch of its fire department. The County seeks a waiver because, inconsistent with the FCC’s rules, the control station would operate in the TV Channel 19 band at a location further than 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the channel is allocated for land mobile radio use. In evaluating the waiver request, the FCC notes that Union County did not provide any evidence that Roselle concurred in the proposed control station arrangement. Further, the FCC also found that Union County has reasonable alternatives to use of the T-Band, in that (a) Roselle could modify its existing license to add the control station, then enter into a sharing agreement with Union County pursuant to Rule Section 90.179 to allow the County to operate the control station while Roselle remains the licensee; or (b) Roselle could transfer control of its existing station to the County, which would then allow Union County to apply for modification of the license to add a control station. Because of these facts, and the fact that Union County did not demonstrate why the T-Band freeze should be waived, the waiver request was denied.
Miami-Dade County — Miami-Dade asked the FCC to extend the June 26, 2008 deadline to allow it additional time to return legacy 800 MHz equipment to Sprint Nextel and to remove pre-banding channels from approximately half of its 15,000 subscriber units. The FCC denied the request. Miami-Date completed returning and commenced operations on its post-rebanding frequencies in 2014. Nonetheless, Miami-Dade requested an extension until December 2018 for two purposes: 1) “to allow sufficient time to finalize the return of . . . legacy equipment to Sprint Nextel,” and (2) to remove pre-rebanding channels from approximately 15,000 of Miami-Dade’s radios—a process known as giving the radios a “second touch.” Sprint opposed the waiver request, noting in part that its contract with Miami-Dade did not require Sprint to perform or pay for removing the old pre-rebanding frequencies and that removing the frequencies is something that Miami-Dade can complete outside its contract with Sprint. While Sprint speculated that Miami-Dade’s actions could be related to a dispute over its apparent failure to return 1,799 surplus radios to Harris Corporation in a timely manner (which then caused Harris to later refuse return of the radios or refund their cost to Sprint), the FCC determined that Miami-Dade had never explained why it did not return the surplus radios in a timely manner, much less why it would require until December 2018 to do so. Additionally, the FCC noted that Miami-Dade had not explained why it never removed the original channels from its radios even though those frequencies had not been used since 2014. As a result, the FCC will require Sprint and Miami-Dade to complete all obligations under their rebanding contract by September 30, 2018.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Makes Property Owners Liable for Unlicensed Radio Operations by Tenants
The FCC has cited Prospect Elementary School in Cleveland, Tennessee for unlicensed operation of a broadcast station on the frequency 96.9 MHz (FM). As we have previously discussed, the FCC has taken a strong stance against unlicensed or pirate radio operations because of the potential for harmful interference to licensed radio operations. In addition to going after the actual pirate radio broadcaster, the FCC has followed its recent position that property owners will be jointly liable for any such violations, and has taken severe enforcement action where the property owner did not stop this illegal activity after being warned.
The FCC has also imposed a $144,344 forfeiture against Fabrice Polynice (Mr. Polynice), and Harold and Veronise Sido (collectively, the Sidos), jointly and severally, for willfully operating an unlicensed FM broadcast radio station on 90.1 MHz from the Sidos’ residence in North Miami, Florida. The FCC’s investigation found that Mr. Polynice actively promoted and broadcast the programming for the illegal radio transmissions, while Mr. and Ms. Sidos made their property available to Mr. Polynice and otherwise supported, participated in, and acquiesced to, the unlicensed radio station’s operation, apparently, by not stopping Mr. Polynice from operating his illegal pirate stations.
Both of these cases illustrate the importance of taking prompt steps to have illegal radio stations shut down if you become aware of illegal operations on your property. In today’s enforcement environment, the FCC appears to be prepared to fine you even though you may have nothing to do with the pirate radio operation. If you encounter any difficulties, please contact our office for assistance.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Rep. Collins Introduces 911 Integrity Act
On July 19, Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) introduced legislation that prevents states from diverting fees collected from consumers on their phone bills, which are meant to be used to improve 9-1-1 emergency communications systems. Collins’ bill directs the FCC, in consultation with public safety organizations, and state, local and tribal governments, to determine the appropriate use of funds collected from consumers. Currently, states are able to set their own definition of what is a covered cost for 9-1-1 fees, which has allowed them to divert fees.
“It is completely unacceptable that we have seen states diverting fees meant to make important and necessary improvements to emergency response systems,” said Collins. “Diverting these important fees puts lives in danger, especially in rural areas. I thank Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Lance for their support of this legislation and their commitment to making sure all communities across the nation can achieve the highest level of safety.”
“Our 9-1-1 call centers are the first point of contact for Americans in emergency situations, but many of these call centers rely on technology that’s been in place since the time of the first 9-1-1 call 50 years ago,” said Eshoo. “9-1-1 fees collected by states should only be used to upgrade our 9-1-1 infrastructure, not diverted to the general coffers of state governments.”
“My constituents need to know that in an emergency the 9-1-1 call is going to go through,” said Lance. Lance. “Lawmakers in Trenton raided the fund set aside to improve the 9-1-1 system and left the account penniless – leaving public safety threatened and taxpayers on the hook. Members of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee are seeking to end this practice. The 911 Fee Integrity Act will empower the FCC to crack down on state governments that divert these funds and shortchange much needed upgrades to bring the critical 9-1-1 system into the 21st Century. And instead of further taxing New Jerseyans, Trenton should first stop diverting the existing fees from their intended use.”
“I commend Representatives Collins, Eshoo, and Lance for introducing the 9-1-1 Fee Integrity Act. Importantly, this legislation assigns the process to designate acceptable purposes and functions for 9-1-1 funds to the FCC, rather than the states as allowed under current law. This is key, as states like Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey, and territories like Puerto Rico and Guam, have passed statutes over the years actually requiring the diversion of 9-1-1 funds for non-public safety related purposes.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
Marketing of Illegal LED Signs Results in $100K+ in Penalties
Over the past month, the FCC has entered into several consent decrees to resolve the FCC’s investigation into the illegal distribution of LED signs that can be used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications. These LED signs were marketed without the required equipment authorization, labeling and user manual disclosures, in violation of the FCC’s equipment authorization rules. These rules are designed to ensure that devices which emit radio frequency energy do not cause harmful interference to licensed radio operations, or interfere with the reception of over the air broadcast radio or television reception.
EBSCO Sign Group, LLC — EBSCO is an Alabama-based company that imports light-emitting diode (LED) modules for assembly into LED signs, which the company then advertises and sells. In response to a complaint, the FCC initiated an investigation regarding the LED signs imported by EBSCO, which it found to have been marketing LED signs without the required equipment authorization, labeling, and user manual disclosures, and failing to retain the required test records. EBSCO agreed to a civil penalty of $55,000.
Cirrus Systems, Inc. — Cirrus is a privately held corporation that manufactures, sells, and imports light-emitting diode (LED) display signs. In response to a complaint, the FCC’s investigation revealed that Cirrus had marketed LED signs without the required equipment authorization, labeling, and user manual disclosures, and by failing to retain required test records. Cirrus agreed to pay a civil penalty of $15,000.
Thinksign Optoelectronics, Inc. — The FCC’s investigation reflected that Thinksign, a Kentucky based design and software company which manufactures LED signs, violated the FCC’s rules by marketing light-emitting diode (LED) signs used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications, without the required equipment authorization, labeling, and user manual disclosures, and by failing to retain the required test records. Thinksign agreed to pay a $43,000 civil penalty to the US Treasury.
D3 LED, LLC — D3 LED is a California based company that develops integrated, market-specific LED digital display solutions and products. D3 LED will pay a $40,000 civil penalty in order to resolve the FCC’s investigation where it has admitted that it violated the FCC’s rules by marketing light emitting diode (LED) signs used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications, without the required equipment authorization, labeling, and user manual disclosures in violation of the FCC’s equipment authorization rules.
Prismview LLC — Prismview is a privately held, limited liability company that manufactures, advertises and sells fully assembled light emitting diode (LED) display signs. The Investigation revealed that Prismview violated the Equipment Marketing Rules by marketing LED signs without the required equipment labeling and user manual disclosures. Prismview agreed to pay a $14,000 civil penalty.
Yaham LED USA, Inc. — Yaham is a private held small company that advertises and sells fully assembled light emitting diode (LED) signs. The investigation revealed that Yaham violated the FCC’s Equipment Marketing Rules by marketing LED signs without the required equipment authorization, labeling, and user manual disclosures, and by failing to retain required test records. Yaham is paying a $20,000 civil penalty.
For those of our clients who develop and/or market or import devices that emit radio frequency (RF) energy – whether as intentional or unintentional radiators, it is critically important to comply with the FCC’s equipment authorization rules. There are many nuances to the rules and certain changes to equipment may or may not trigger filing or retesting requirements. Additionally, those clients which market devices that have been tested under a different brand may also be required to obtain an FCC equipment authorization as well. Our office can help you through this process.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Issues $5,600 Forfeiture for Failure to Renew License
On July 18, the FCC issued a Forfeiture Order declaring a monetary forfeiture in the amount of $5,600 to Rufus Resources, LLC (Rufus), licensee of Station KMFR(AM), Pearsall, Texas (Station), for failing to timely file a license renewal application for the Station, and engaging in unauthorized operation of the Station after its authorization had expired.
Rufus failed to file a timely license renewal application prior to its license expiration on January 26, 2017. Rufus continued operating the Station without authorization, then filed a request for special temporary authority (STA) on February 15, 2017, seeking authority to remain on the air despite the expiration of its license. Rufus subsequently filed the Application on March 3, 2017. The STA expired on September 2, 2017, but Rufus did not request an extension of it until May 17, 2018, a month after the Notice of Apparent Liability was issued. Rufus responded to the NAL on May 17, 2018, requesting a reduction of the proposed monetary because the Station was licensed to San Antonio Radioworks (SAR) when the Renewal Letter was issued; “Rufus had not participated in the license renewal process [and] the issues related to a prior license term were not matters that would be brought to the attention of the licensee or its principals.”
The FCC rejected Rufus’s argument on the grounds that “[i]t is well settled that ignorance of the Rules does not excuse a violation. Additionally, the License Renewal Authorization for the Station’s prior term clearly stated that the Station’s license would expire on January 26, 2017.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
Everyone has, or should have, someone they go to for advice. My favorites are all listed in The Wireless Messaging News Board of Advisors above.
I am fortunate to have Ira Wiesenfeld as a friend and supporter of this newsletter. Ira travels all over the country doing field engineering work for the radio communications industry. When he comes through Southern Illinois we usually meet for dinner and good conversation.
Once-in-a-while he comes to visit my modest laboratory/office/ham shack from where I produce this newsletter.
So what I get from his visit is a professional engineer's evaluation of my equipment installation.
I thought I would share a couple of simple but valuable tips that he has given me.
The first has to do with plastic tie wraps, Ty-Raps, cable ties, zip ties, or whatever you call them. I use them a lot and have for many years. Before they became widely available, wiring was held in place with knotted, wax-coated, braided nylon cord.
Ira asked me if I had ever been scratched or cut by one of them and I said yes.
So he taught me to never cut off the excess with the regular diagonal cutters that we all use and call “dikes” — which I had always done.
Instead you should always use a similar tool, called a flush cutter. There are many different kinds as a quick search of Amazon shows:
The next tip is easier to show with a video than to explain. Ira taught me the right way to coil up a length of cable or rope. Since I didn't film Ira's demonstration, here is a good video that I found on YouTube showing the same technique:
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
You know back in the 90s I was teenager and VE4 ham operator. At the time paging was quite common.
When I went looking for info it was either the l0pht hacking sites or your sites that had all this great documentation.
My first paging setup was a PC computer wired up to a transmitter and generated the data using a dos app and serial port bit shifter.
Later in university I was part of the amateur radio club so deployed paging on 449.975 and ordered up some advisor boards.
There I had the advantage of some $ and eBay so picked up a pile of surplus waveware encoders with built in UHF transmitters.
Coverage was a solid few kms around campus with a low power 5w transmitter at 150ft up. I used that until the end of university.
Now a couple decades later paging is picking up in ham again. There's a raspberry pi app that joins a global paging network like aprs.
When you send a page it goes out over hundreds of stations across the globe just like old commercial paging with satellite links.
We setup a transmitter here and it relays all the global traffic something like what SkyTel did back in the day.
So out came the boxes of hundreds of refurbished advisors, the programmer and we're seeing international paging traffic tonight.
Thought that might put a smile on your face and some random ham saying thanks for the work you did putting that site together.
Just passed over the link to someone else and said here's where I learned about paging.
I never got away from wireless data and now our group operates a gigabit network over ham freqs providing Internet access to all sites.
I read the article “How to use your smartphone without leaving a trace” earlier this week and the solutions are OK but the suggested solutions still do not protect the product user from the preinstalled surveillance and data mining technology that support connected products such as smartphones.
To date, I have not found a solution that will protect the product owner and/or user from any preinstalled surveillance and data mining technology developed by device manufacturers (e.g. Apple/Samsung), OS developers (e.g. Google, Apple & Microsoft) and preinstalled content developers (e.g. Amazon, Facebook, etc.).
Smartphone and connected product users have to accept the fact that they will be sharing nearly 100% of their personal and professional Digital DNA with the product developers regardless of any third-party security solutions.
Not even so called security and mobile device management (“MDM”) apps such as Samsung Knox or IBM MaaS360 protect the product owner or user from preinstalled surveillance and data mining technology. The Samsung Knox and IBM MaaS360 solutions only protect the product user from third-party apps the product user downloads free or purchases from sources such as Google Play and Apple App Store.
Additionally, security apps such as the Samsung Knox app and IBM MaaS360 enable Samsung and IBM to monitor, track and data mine the product user for financial gain.
Per my article that I’m writing now, I will expose these facts along with the Verizon revelation that people can no longer buy a private, secure or safe smartphone, tablet PCs or connected products supported by the android OS, Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows OS.
It is a sad day, because my research, analysis and documentation has exposed the fact that privacy, cyber security, safety and good business ethics are truly dead due to predatory surveillance and data mining business practices employed by Google, Apple and Microsoft the three companies that dominate the OS market.
The good news is the market is ripe for disruption, maybe some old paging veterans can get together and come up with a private, secure and safe solution.
I would be willing help with anyone who wants to disrupt the market place which I believe would make everyone involved a “Gazillionaire” overnight if a solution could be developed.
Keep up the good fight,
Brad, to the list
SkyTel was, according to their website, “the first company to offer nationwide numeric and text paging and the first with 2-Way messaging and guaranteed message delivery.” Under the watchful guidance of John Palmer, the Chairman of SkyTel’s parent company Mobile Telecommunication Technologies (MTel), and Jai Bhagat, SkyTel’s President and CEO.
We need to add the name Bill Hayes. Bill played a major part in most of the innovations Mobilecomm brought forth.
As for Jai, I recall he pestered the commission for a nationwide frequency and in time four were granted and then we had to win a lottery to have one.
I sure enjoyed working with those two.
BTW, no problem in my old AOL software for the no format.
[Brad's note: I would add Dennis Cameron to that list as well.]
The attached Enforcement Bureau action against a distributor of non-compliant Asian devices is a huge step in the right direction. I have also provided below the press release from Sen. Markey’s office announcing the introduction of legislation that would repeal the current mandate to repurpose the
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742
Senator Markey Introduces “Don’t Break Up the T-Band” Act to Protect First Responders’ Spectrum
Washington (August 2, 2018) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation, the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2018, that would repeal a provision of the 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which directs the FCC to auction the T-band spectrum (470–512 MHz) by 2021. Emergency personnel in highly populated metropolitan areas in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere use T-Band spectrum for emergency public safety communication. Agencies across the country have invested millions of local, state, and federal dollars in the T-Band networks, which offer the reliable coverage and regional interoperability that first responders require for mission critical voice communications. Congressman Eliott Engel (NY-16) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Every day, first responders in Massachusetts and across the country risk their lives on our behalf,” said Senator Markey. “Law-enforcement, firefighters, EMS personnel and security officials rely on T-Band spectrum to communicate with each other in hazardous situations. I am proud to introduce this legislation so that the brave men and women who keep us safe will have the resources they need to do their job.”
“Our first responders put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, and Congress has a responsibility to protect them. That includes making sure our fire, police, and EMT workers have access to the T-Band spectrum so they can communicate clearly and effectively while they’re doing their jobs and don’t have to worry about their communication systems failing during an emergency situation,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud to support this important legislation, and I will always do everything in my power to fight for our first responders.”
“Our first responders put their lives on the line for us every day, running towards danger rather than away from it,” said Senator Casey. “We have a duty to ensure they have all the resources they need to keep the public, and themselves, safe. I’m proud to join my colleagues in supporting the radio communications system utilized by first responders throughout Pennsylvania.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
“Public safety and American taxpayers have invested wisely to build out T-Band land mobile radio networks to meet mission critical voice requirements of major metropolitan jurisdictions across the country,” said Chief Tom Jenkins, President and Chairman of the Board at the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). “In addition, these LMR networks provide the option for off-network unit-to-unit operations, local control, specialized operations such as paging for volunteer firefighters, and regional interoperability in large metropolitan areas. This is why the IAFC strongly supports the Don’t Break Up the T Band Act.”
“Many of the sheriffs we represent will endure severe public safety ramifications by the auctioning of the T-Band as required by Section 6103 of Public Law 112-96,” said Jonathan F. Thompson, Executive Director and CEO of the National Sheriff’s Association. “Enactment of this legislation introduced by Senator Markey, together with H.R. 5085 introduced by Representative Engel, would repeal Section 6103 and enable public safety officers to continue use of the T-Band spectrum in which it has made significant investments of taxpayer funds to deploy mission critical communications systems.”
“Most all people in need of emergency Public Safety services just dial 9-1-1 and wait for the Calvary to arrive. However, the Calvary is directed to the location via the use of a Land Mobile Radio (LMR). This ability to communicate directly with first responders is essential in providing necessary Public Safety services,” said Joseph Griffin, Director of Operations at the Greater Boston Police Council. “Key to this communication in Eastern Massachusetts is the T-Band the 470 – 512 MHz band of radio spectrum. There are 172 Police agencies alone, as well as Fire and EMS, in Eastern Massachusetts, serving a population in excess of 3.5 million people who rely on the T Band to communicate in the delivery of emergency services. To eliminate the T Band would impact both local and interoperable communication among all emergency providers and have a devastating effect on their ability to provide vital Public Safety Services. T Band is the life blood of Massachusetts emergency communications and should be preserved at all costs.
[Color added to paging.]
|THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK|
“It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.”
—Dr. Bob Jones Sr.
|VIDEO OF THE WEEK|
Ahoulaguine Akaline featuring Bombino • Playing For Change • Song Around The World
|Source:||YouTube||To learn more about the work of the PFC Foundation, visit http://www.playingforchange.org|
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