|Wireless News Aggregation|
Welcome Back To The Wireless Messaging News
Want to know my sad story for this week?
Well, here goes.
Frontier Communications is my ISP via aDSL. That is an Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line. It's not very good but it's the best I can get where I live.
On Wednesday morning I noticed that I could not access the Internet. I drove down to the corner on my way to town, and saw a couple of guys working on the telephone lines. I stopped and told one of them that I thought they had cut my line. He said that they would probably have it reconnected by the time I got back home, but if not, to call Frontier customer service.
Sure enough, later when I got home — still no Internet.
So I called customer service and went through all their voice prompts and then — a live operator, obviously reading from a computer screen — had me do a long list of ridiculous things, most of which had nothing to do with the problem.
Finally convinced that there really was something wrong, a trouble ticket was opened and I was told that a technician would be out to fix the problem in TWO WEEKS.
So today's newsletter is being published by using my iPhone's Hotspot feature — going out over Verizon's cellular telephone network to the Internet.
So a valuable lesson was learned about how to get access to the Internet when our normal connection has failed.
And —oh yes— when reconnected, my subscriber line will be inches closer to the main fiber-optic line that connects the whole town to the Internet. So maybe someday I will be able to get a “fiber to the neighborhood” connection. That class of service doesn't bring fiber all the way to your house — just much closer — and it does result in a much faster connection.
Thanks to the generosity of a newsletter supporter I have a brand new, very fast computer and so with a fast connection to the Internet, I will finally have . . .
. . . oh well I will have to figure out something new to worry about. ha ha ha
See the THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK below — near the end.
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.
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.
It’s a disaster! Does your cell phone work?
The sound of silence in a crisis is an eerie thing.
Yet, it’s what residents throughout Atlantic Canada heard in August 2017 when their cell phones went down. It’s frightening to realize the isolation of your situation, especially for those in hospitals and home care or for those in need of emergency attention. First responders know it can be a potentially deadly circumstance.
Four hours is a long time to go without cellular service on the Telus, Bell, Virgin and Koodo networks. That’s how long phone users could not reach family members or municipal authorities. We’re accustomed now to being connected, especially during dire circumstances. The problem was a damaged fibre-optic line in Quebec which led to a digital limbo for mobile phones, text, and data services.
Down south of the border, a tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri, in 2011 left a mile-wide path of destruction. The deadliest U.S. tornado since 1947 saw 161 people die and more than 1,000 injured.
St. John’s Mercy Hospital was in the eye of that storm. Their paging transmitter and antenna on top of the hospital were blown off the building. Thank goodness, their paging company had a simulcast network that delivered uninterrupted critical messaging when it was needed most. “The cellular systems in the Joplin area were disabled following the tornado for up to four days,” said Tom Jackson of Midwest Paging. “But our surrounding transmitters kept the paging network up and running for critical messaging to the hospital’s medical personnel and first responders.”
You remember the Katrina Hurricane? One of the lessons learned from that disaster is there’s a need for ongoing communication AFTER the event—when there is no power to run televisions. Battery-operated devices together with an alerting system helps to keep residents attentive to important next steps.
Power failures often coincide with a crisis, making it difficult or impossible to recharge a Smartphone. And, having a smartphone tethered to a charger on a regular basis just isn’t practical during emergency situations. The disposable battery in a pager generally lasts 3 to 4 weeks and is easily replaced. WiFi and Bluetooth enabled cell phones may provide redundancy, but they also significantly cut back on the phone’s battery life. If you forget to enable those features, you may not receive your critical messages at all even when the cellular system is working perfectly just outside the building.
Back to Atlantic Canada. Eddy Ng, professor of organizational behavior and the F.C. Manning chair in economics and business at Dalhousie University, recommends businesses “include telecommunications in their business recovery plans.”
Who’s on your emergency call list?
He suggests companies might want to build in redundancies and managers should ensure employees know what to do in a communications breakdown by providing a plan for call lists, customer notices and policies for hours of operations or reduced services.
All of us in critical messaging need to treat this as a serious wake-up call. Contingency plans need to be created and tested.
New smartphone paging apps are promising emergency medical personnel the same fast, reliable service as pagers. But before you retire your pager, remember that smartphone apps are only as reliable as the cellular or WiFi network they operate on. A comparison of cellular and paging networks and devices shows important differences that can dramatically impact the reliability and speed of critical messaging, as well as patient and public safety.
The danger of dead zones and dropped calls
First, when using a smartphone paging app, your critical messages will be delivered on a cellular system. Those are the same networks that are notorious for dead zones, dropped calls and poor in-building coverage. Cellular systems were not designed for the delivery of critical messaging. In fact, most cellular carriers provide a disclaimer and caution users not to rely on their system for the delivery of critical messaging.
Paging systems also have the unique capability to set up a common group address in any pager so that the same message is sent and received at the same time to as many people as needed in a group. Smartphone apps can’t do that. Mass message delivery with cellular networks can result in different delivery times for each device, often measured in minutes that can be critical for emergency responders.
While new smartphone paging apps tout single device convenience, smart phones have several drawbacks that limit their reliability for critical messaging. The smartphone interface can require users to take several steps to read a critical message, which can be difficult during emergencies.
First responders don’t need complexity with their critical messaging device. With a pager, critical messages do not compete with e-mails, text messages, streaming video and other information received by a smartphone. Pagers are easy to use and solely designed to meet the demands of critical messaging.
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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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.
#TBT: Paging Flatlines
By RCR Wireless News on JULY 12, 2018
Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!
RIP, Paging Industry
By Reily Gregson on July 23, 2001
It’s quiet out there in the paging and messaging industry.
Perhaps too quiet.
WebLink Wireless Inc., Arch Wireless Inc. and Metrocall Inc. are the three largest independent paging and messaging companies in the country, and it seems their fates are intricately entwined. They are all facing subscriber losses in the hundreds of thousands and are weighted down by massive debt and interest payments. And since no outside investor or company has shown any interest in financing or acquiring one of these players, it seems that the three are on their own.
Moreover, for the past several months all three have been quietly laboring away, working to maintain their own financial health, while the nationwide paging and messaging industry seems to be slowly sliding into bankruptcy.
WebLink is perhaps in the worst situation. In May, the company filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring after an ambitious, last-ditch-effort merger with Metrocall fell through. WebLink has remained virtually silent since the filing until Friday, when it announced it won $15 million in debtor-in-possession financing. The money comes from two of the company’s principal lenders, and is secured by a lien on almost all of the company’s assets.
“We have our financing approved by banks, bondholders and the courts,” said Topper Pardoe, WebLink’s senior vice president of marketing.
In WebLink’s announcement, the company said it is considering a variety of options to get out of bankruptcy.
First, the company said it is searching for a new line of financing to support a graceful exit from bankruptcy on its own, without merging with another company or selling itself. While this may be the most preferable way out of bankruptcy, it’s not very likely, most industry watchers agree.
“There ain’t no strategic money out there,” quipped Michael Gill, executive vice president and director of research with Tejas Securities Group Inc.
If there were any financing angels available, they would have made themselves know by now, he said. As the situation now stands, Arch, WebLink and Metrocall have likely tapped every possible source for money and have so far come up dry. The reason, most agree, is that lenders are extremely wary of the current paging and messaging industry.
In the United States, the number of paging and messaging customers has been dropping like a stone over the past year. Most observers expected a drop, but the one they got blew all predictions out of the water. The decline has driven infrastructure provider Glenayre Technologies Inc. out of the business, and paging carriers TSR Wireless L.L.C., PNI Technologies Inc. and WebLink into bankruptcy. And the situation in the United States seems to be reflected across the world, with major paging countries like China, Taiwan and Thailand losing millions and millions of paging subscribers. In South Korea alone, the number of paging subscribers has dropped from close to 3 million to about 500,000 in less than a year.
However, the situation doesn’t seem to be as grim for some of the nation’s smaller paging companies. Many have loudly stated that they are doing just fine and are not suffering under the enormous debt load of the nationwide players. The one-way paging market is still a viable business, these companies argue.
WebLink would likely not agree. Besides a standalone restructuring, the company’s other option is a sale or merger, an alternative WebLink explicitly addressed in its release Friday as a means of getting out of bankruptcy.
“We are continuing to look at various partnerships-mergers, acquisitions, etc.,” WebLink’s Pardoe said.
That option also presents some difficult challenges.
Outside messaging companies such as WorldCom’s SkyTel Communications Inc. or SBC Communication’s Ameritech Paging could potentially move to merge with or purchase WebLink. However, neither of these companies nor any other has made the slightest move to do so. Motient Corp. executives made sure to quickly squelch a rumor several months ago about a merger with Metrocall.
So, for WebLink, that leaves fellow carriers Arch and Metrocall.
“The question is, how will they merge?” Tejas’ Gill said. “Nobody’s got any cash.”
Arch recently filed a complicated and detailed restructuring plan to reorganize its capital structure. Under the plan, Arch hopes to both cut its interest payments as well as eliminate a substantial amount of debt. Arch also included a potential pre-packaged plan for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy to indicate the severity of its position.
Gill said the plan will likely be modified over the course of the year-and praised it as a good pre-emptive tactic-but said it means Arch likely will be tied up in its own reorganization and unable to merge or acquire another company.
“Anyone trying to merge with them (Arch) is in limbo,” Gill said. The reorganization “has too many moving parts” to entertain a merger.
This assumption also repudiates current rumors about a merger between Arch and WebLink. Officials for both companies had no comment about a potential merger.
All of which leaves Metrocall.
Officials for Metrocall did not immediately return requests for comment, and the company has been virtually silent since the planned merger with WebLink fell through. The company has missed a variety of interest payments over the past few months, and most industry watchers are holding their breath in anticipation of a filing for bankruptcy-a move the company has repeatedly hinted at in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Whether WebLink and Metrocall could merge remains to be seen. Talks between the two companies broke down in May after Metrocall pulled out of its planned merger with WebLink because WebLink was forced to cut 15 percent of its work force and close the last seven of its field sales offices. Metrocall officials said the plan was to enter into bankruptcy conducting business as usual, and WebLink’s moves were anything but. Other unofficial reasons insiders have considered include WebLink’s possible inability to come up with additional financing to continue operating through a bankruptcy merger and arguments over whether the new company should be split evenly or by some other ratio.
Regardless, a merger between Metrocall and WebLink could still be in the works, but if it is still possible or whether it will ever happen is anyone’s guess.
So the situation in the independent paging and messaging industry is an interesting one: All of the players seem to be stuck in molasses. A merger or acquisition between any of the three players most likely is needed to break the current stalemate, but none of the companies are in a position to make such a move.
Will the nationwide paging industry slowly slip into lonely bankruptcy, where it could remain indefinitely?
“It’s a question that people have been asking for a couple of months now,” said Robert Hegblom, a senior analyst with the Strategis Group.
The companies that will survive, Hegblom said, are those that manage to move their business from the low revenues of one-way paging into the more profitable two-way messaging business. They also will need to continue expanding into telemetry and machine-to-machine communications.
“Those are the good markets to be in,” he said.
However, Hegblom asked, “is there room for all those companies?”
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.
CTIA Survey Shows It’s Been a Great Decade for Cell Site Growth
CTIA® yesterday released its Annual Wireless Industry Survey, which found the industry is beginning the transition from 4G to 5G wireless networks with significant growth in cell sites and data-only devices. That growth and continued demand for everything wireless contributed to Americans using an unprecedented amount of mobile data in 2017.
Several key wireless trends are illustrated in the survey: One key finding shows that the U.S. wireless industry is building wireless networks for tomorrow’s 5G services. To further extend coverage and prepare for 5G, a record 323,448 cell sites were in operation at the end of 2017—a 52 percent growth over the last decade. Analysts project that wireless carriers will need to deploy roughly 800,000 modern wireless antennas — small cells — in the next few years, and we are starting to see that investment now.
Another trend has mobile data continuing to skyrocket. Americans used a record 15.7 trillion megabytes (MBs) of mobile data in 2017—nearly quadrupling since 2014, and representing 40 times the volume of traffic in 2010, according to the survey. CTIA related that to being equal to nearly 250 million people simultaneously binge-watching every episode of Game of Thrones in HD.
“This year’s report shows that wireless is on the cusp of a transformation to tomorrow’s 5G networks and the Internet of Things,” said CTIA President/CEO Meredith Attwell Baker, “underscoring the need for continued efforts to modernize infrastructure rules and create a spectrum pipeline that ensures continued U.S. wireless leadership in the global race to 5G.”
According to the association’s research, wireless connectivity is evolving with IoT/5G on the horizon. The survey captures the beginning of the shift from the 4G era to the 5G-connected everything-era. Data-only devices—such as connected cars, IoT devices and wearables—rose to 126.4 million in 2017, up nearly 20 percent year-over-year and 147 percent in the past five years.
More than 400 million mobile devices are in service, meaning there are 1.2 wireless devices for each American. In addition to 15.7 trillion MBs of mobile data, U.S. wireless networks carried more than 2.2 trillion voice minutes and 1.5 trillion text messages.
Wireless provider capital expenditures totaled $25.6 billion in 2017, and since 2010, when 4G networks were launched, capital investment has exceeded $226 billion. For the top-line results of the 2017 survey’s key metrics, click here.
First Nationwide WEA-EAS Test in The Works
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
FEMA wants to conduct the first nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system this September. The proposed date of the live test is September 20 (with October 3 as a backup).
A 87-character test message would be originated at 2:18 p.m. and sent to participating commercial mobile carriers. The message to be displayed on handsets would read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” That’s according to Al Kenyon, Chief of the Customer Support Branch of the FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Program Office; He spoke at the Chapter 37 meeting of the Society of Broadcast Engineers Wednesday night.
This will be the first nationwide test of WEA, and the first using the Presidential level code, according to Kenyon. “This test is necessary because it will determine if carrier WEA configuration, systems, and networks can and will process a Presidential WEA, delivering the message via all WEA enabled cell sites with minimal latency,” Kenyon wrote in a letter to the FCC seeking a waiver of its rules, to conduct the test. Commission rules allowing periodic WEA testing won’t change until May 2019.
FEMA also proposes to conduct a nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) test two minutes after the WEA test. This would be the fourth nationwide EAS test and the first nationwide joint WEA-EAS test. The FCC in May authorized a joint WEA-EAS test in Minnesota, Inside Towers reported. Sources tell Inside Towers, the nationwide joint test has been regulators’ goal for a while.
If the Commission okays the request, FEMA IPAWS will develop multi-media public announcements to educate the public before-hand. FEMA and Department of Homeland Security employees will be asked to respond to a questionnaire to provide a snapshot of the WEA test message delivery. FEMA will also review any test observations from states or other organizations.
|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.
FINAL REMINDER: Form 481 Due July 16 On June 6, the FCC issued an Order granting, on its own motion, a limited waiver of the filing deadline for the annual FCC Form 481 until July 16. BloostonLaw is experienced in preparing and filing Form 481, as well as meeting the FCC’s requirements to obtain confidentiality for the filings.
Carriers interested in obtaining assistance should contact the firm.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Adopts Uniform Broadband Speed Measurements
On July 6, the FCC released an Order establish a uniform framework for measuring the speed and latency performance for recipients of high-cost universal service support to serve fixed locations. Providers are required to submit results to the FCC, and will be subject to reductions in support commensurate with their level of non-compliance. The new requirements will be effective 30 days after the Order is published in the Federal Register, except for those provisions requiring approval by the Office of Management and Budget (i.e., those parts of the Order requiring the submission of information to the FCC).
Specifically, ETCs subject to fixed broadband performance obligations may conduct required testing by employing either (1) Measuring Broadband America testing infrastructure (MBA testing), (2) existing network management systems and tools (off-the-shelf testing), or (3) provider-developed self-testing configurations (provider-developed self-testing or self-testing). A speed test is a single measurement of download or upload speed of 10 to 15 seconds duration between a specific consumer location and a specific remote server location. Similarly, a latency test is a single measurement of latency, often performed using a single User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packet or a group of three Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) or UDP packets sent at essentially the same time, as is common with ping tests.
For speed, we require a minimum of one download test and one upload test per testing hour at each subscriber test location. For latency, we require a minimum of one discrete test per minute, i.e., 60 tests per hour, for each of the testing hours, at each subscriber test location, with the results of each discrete test recorded separately. To capture any seasonal effects on a carrier’s broadband performance, we require that carriers subject to the latency and speed testing requirements conduct one week of testing in each quarter of the calendar year. Carriers must conduct tests between 6:00 pm and 12:00 am (testing hours), including on weekends. Carriers test up to 50 locations per CAF-required service tier offering per state, depending on the number of subscribers a carrier has in a state:
The FCC adopted a separate scaled table for the number of locations that are subject to Mean Opinion Score (MOS) testing.
All high-cost support recipients serving fixed locations, except those carriers submitting high-latency bids in the round-trip latency are at or below 100 ms. High-latency bidders must certify that 95 percent or more of all testing hours measurements are at or below 750 ms. Providers must record the observed latency for all latency test measurements, including all lost packet tests. For speed, we require that 80 percent of download and upload measurements be at or above 80 percent of the CAF-required speed tier (i.e., an 80/80 standard).
Finally, the FCC established a four-level framework that sets forth particular obligations and automatic triggers based on an ETC’s degree of compliance with our latency, speed, and, if applicable, MOS testing standards in each state and high-cost support program. The following table provides a summary of the compliance framework, where x is the carrier’s compliance percentage:
Compliance Levels and Support Reductions
Carriers that serve 50 or fewer subscribers in a state and particular service tier but cannot find five active subscribers for conducting the required testing may test non-CAF-supported active subscriber locations to the extent necessary.
Carriers with questions about the new measurement requirements should contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
FCC Announces Mock Auction Schedule for CAF Phase II
On July 6, the FCC released a Public Notice official announcing the mock auction for qualified bidders in the upcoming Connect America Phase II auction. The mock auction will be held on July 18-19, 2018.
For the mock auction, each qualified bidder will be assigned a set of states and performance tier and latency combinations for which it may bid. A qualified bidder’s assigned states and performance tier and latency combinations in the mock auction will not represent the actual states and performance tier and latency combinations for which it is qualified to bid in Auction 903, but the number of states and tier/latency combinations assigned will equal the number for which the applicant is qualified.
Bidding in the mock auction will begin on July 18, 2018, and end on July 19, 2018. The mock auction will begin with round 1 and proceed through six rounds of bidding, with the following schedule:
The opening base clock percentage for the mock auction will be set at 140 percent. The decrement percentage will be set at 20 percent for the first two rounds, and at 10 percent for the following rounds.
Carriers with general questions about the auction may contact the firm for more information. However, attorneys are not able to discuss bids, bid strategy, or other topics prohibited by the FCC’s anti-collusion rules.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast.
FCC Drops Controversial Informal Complaint Rule Revisions After Congressional Letter
On July 11, the Washington Post reported that the FCC has dropped parts of its upcoming Report and Order, to be considered at tomorrow’s Open Meeting, dealing with informal complaints, after Congressmen Frank Pallone, Jr. and Mike Doyle sent a letter expressing concern that the revisions “would eliminate the agency’s traditional and important role of helping consumers in the informal complaint process.” The Washington Post writes:
Of the proposed revisions, Ars Technica wrote:
However, in reviewing the proposed changes, it is unclear that this is actually the case. The current version of the informal complaint rule reads:
The revised version reads:
Looking at the revision, it appears unclear why the FCC would even change the language in the first place. Ars Technica later updated its story to wonder the same, noting:
Nevertheless, it appears that the revision has been removed from the item to be considered tomorrow.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
Law & Regulation
FCC Announces Official Agenda for July 12 Open Meeting
On July 5, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the official agenda for the next Open Meeting, scheduled for July 12. At the Open Meeting, the FCC will consider the following items. Linked in each summary item is the draft text of each item expected to be considered at this Open Commission Meeting. One-page cover sheets are included in the public drafts to help summarize each item. The final item may differ.
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.
FCC Reminds CAF Phase II Auction Applicants of FCC ETC Designation Process
On July 10, the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding participants in the Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF Phase II) auction (Auction 903) about the process for obtaining designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) where a state lacks jurisdiction to do so. Successful bidders must submit proof of their ETC designation in all supported areas within 180 days of the Commission’s announcement of their winning bids.
Petitioners seeking an FCC ETC designation to serve non-Tribal lands must submit “an affirmative statement from the state commission or a court of competent jurisdiction that the carrier is not subject to the state commission’s jurisdiction.” The statement may take the form of a “duly authorized letter, comment, or order, from the relevant state regulatory commission or a court of competent jurisdiction, indicating that the state lacks authority to designate the carrier.” Carriers cannot rely on jurisdictional statements in past orders relating to different carriers or simply challenge the state commission’s jurisdiction in their petition directly. If a state law expressly articulates that it does not have jurisdiction over a relevant type of technology, Commission staff would consider such a statute relevant in its determination of Commission jurisdiction.
Petitioners seeking an FCC ETC designation to serve Tribal lands may petition the FCC directly so long as they have not initiated an ETC designation proceeding before the relevant state commission. The petition must accurately describe and demonstrate that the specific geographic area satisfies the definition of Tribal lands adopted for this purpose and provide fact-specific support for FCC jurisdiction, including citations to relevant case law, statutes, and treaties. Generalized statements of FCC jurisdiction are insufficient and will result in dismissal of the petition (thereby putting the carrier in jeopardy of defaulting on its auction obligations, thereby losing support and facing fines).
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
FCC Announces Next Meeting of Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee
On July 6, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that the next meeting of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) will be held Thursday and Friday, July 26 and 27, 2018, beginning at 9:00 a.m. each day. At this meeting, the BDAC will consider and vote on reports and recommendations from its Harmonization Working Group to harmonize the Model Code for Municipalities and Model Code for States adopted by the BDAC on April 25, 2018. In addition, the Ad Hoc Committee for Rates and Fees will give a presentation. The BDAC will also discuss its next steps. This agenda may be modified at the discretion of the BDAC Chair and the Designated Federal Officer (DFO).
The Commission will also provide audio and/or video coverage of the meeting over the Internet from the FCC’s web page at www.fcc.gov/live. Members of the public may submit comments to the BDAC in the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System.
Radio Engineer Coalition Disputes Verizon 4G Coverage Claims
On July 5, 4G Unwired, Inc., Monte R. Lee and Company, Palmetto Engineering & Consulting, and CT&T filed an ex parte letter with the FCC stating that, “Verizon’s claimed 4G LTE coverage is grossly overstated and not supported by rational RF engineering practices.” According to the letter, the companies represent “coalition of radio frequency engineering firms that serve mobile wireless carriers across the country.”
The basis of the coalition’s assertion is formed by testing conducted by Panhandle Telecommunication Systems, Inc. (Panhandle), an Oklahoma rural wireless carrier. The letter states that Panhandle’s data collection covered 4,911.84 miles and a total of 402,573 test points. Of the total test points collected, the coalition claims, “357,374 (88.8%) tested below 5 Mbps download speed or did not register 4G LTE service at all on Verizon-designated handsets.”
The coalition points to multiple issues that could have lead to the overstatement of coverage the coalition contends exists: fade margin values, propagation model choice, and clutter factors, among others.
A copy of the letter can be found here.
Senate Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Rural Broadband
On July 10, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce announced that the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 entitled “Realizing the Benefits of Rural Broadband: Challenges and Solutions.” Witnesses have not yet been announced.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
JULY 16: FCC FORM 481 (CARRIER ANNUAL REPORTING DATA COLLECTION FORM). All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) must report the information required by Section 54.313, which includes outage, unfulfilled service request, and complaint data, broken out separately for voice and broadband services, information on the ETC’s holding company, operating companies, ETC affiliates and any branding in response to section 54.313(a)(8); its CAF-ICC certification, if applicable; its financial information, if a privately held rate-of-return carrier; and its satellite backhaul certification, if applicable. Form 481 must not only be filed with USAC, but also with the FCC and the relevant state commission and tribal authority, as appropriate. Although USAC treats the filing as confidential, filers must seek confidential treatment separately with the FCC and the relevant state commission and tribal authority if confidential treatment is desired.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
JULY 31: FCC FORM 507, UNIVERSAL SERVICE QUARTERLY LINE COUNT UPDATE. Line count updates are required to recalculate a carrier's per line universal service support, and is filed with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). This information must be submitted on July 31 each year by all rate-of-return incumbent carriers, and on a quarterly basis if a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier (CETC) has initiated service in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area and reported line count data to USAC in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area, in order for the incumbent carrier to be eligible to receive Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS). This quarterly filing is due July 31 and covers lines served as of December 31 of the previous year. Incumbent carriers filing on a quarterly basis must also file on September 30 (for lines served as of March 31); December 30 (for lines served as of June 30, 2014), and March 31, for lines served as of September 30 of the previous year).
BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
JULY 31: CARRIER IDENTIFICATION CODE (CIC) REPORTS. Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Reports must be filed by the last business day of July (this year, July 31). These reports are required of all carriers who have been assigned a CIC code by NANPA. Failure to file could result in an effort by NANPA to reclaim it, although according to the Guidelines this process is initiated with a letter from NANPA regarding the apparent non-use of the CIC code. The assignee can then respond with an explanation. (Guidelines Section 6.2). The CIC Reporting Requirement is included in the CIC Assignment Guidelines, produced by ATIS. According to section 1.4 of that document: At the direction of the NANPA, the access providers and the entities who are assigned CICs will be requested to provide access and usage information to the NANPA, on a semi-annual basis to ensure effective management of the CIC resource. (Holders of codes may respond to the request at their own election). Access provider and entity reports shall be submitted to NANPA no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31, and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. It is also referenced in the NANPA Technical Requirements Document, which states at 7.18.6: CIC holders shall provide a usage report to the NANPA per the industry CIC guidelines. . . The NAS shall be capable of accepting CIC usage reports per guideline requirements on January 31 for the period ending December 31 and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. These reports may also be mailed and accepted by the NANPA in paper form. Finally, according to the NANPA website, if no local exchange carrier reports access or usage for a given CIC, NANPA is obliged to reclaim it. The semi-annual utilization and access reporting mechanism is described at length in the guidelines.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
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 2: 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 Commission 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.
Secure FCC Approval Before
|Source:||Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA)|
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
In the September 8, 2017 issue, there was a discussion regarding new FCC rules for CMRS operators regarding operation of its licensed system, and a requirement that it provide communication services to non affiliated customers. It also discussed requirements to notify the FCC within 10 days of a permanent discontinuance of operation for Non geographic licenses, and a requirement for geographic licenses to provide at least the level of service provided for in its final construction requirements. When renewing they must also certify that no permanent discontinuance of service has taken place in the previous license term. As just a paging customer, I did not see this affecting me. . . Until now.
My pager frequency is covered by both a geographic and non geographic license. I have had service on this frequency since 2008, when they moved me to this channel after they shut down their 150 transmitter "Florida Gold" system on 931.4875 which served me very well for 15 prior years. This smaller system has 118 licensed transmitter sites, but I wonder how many licensed transmitters are no longer operating.
In mid April, I was at a regular weekend location where I have never had pager issues, and all of a sudden my cell phone starts blowing up, wanting to know why I did not take care of a server down issue. I sent myself a test page and discovered it did not go off, and I could not hear the transmitter with my ham radio in my car. I looked up the license and discovered the transmitter was less than a mile from my location and I could see the tower from where I was at. This is the only paging transmitter licensed in Pasco County for my system. I figured the transmitter or com link died, so I sent a message to American Messaging expecting that the transmitter would be soon fixed. I do understand things break during the worst possible times.
The engineer for American Messaging called me on Monday, and I was told that they had removed this transmitter many months ago, even though it is still showing on their FCC license. This is when I discovered that American Messaging has been moving many of their transmitters to hospitals in order to save rent payments on commercial tower locations. In this case, the nearest hospital is a Spok customer, so there is no nearby hospital to host a paging transmitter from American Messaging. I was told the process was to turn off "unneeded" or "high rent" transmitter locations for a period of time as a test, and if no complaints were received, that location would be slated for removal. So much for any redundant transmitters, let alone maintaining the previous coverage map. Later I contacted the Pasco site owner and went to the site, and was able to see all the equipment was removed, except for the antenna and feed line.
I asked the technical department of American Messaging to please provide a list of the transmitter sites that are actually operating, so that I would be able to determine if I am in a coverage void as I travel. They refused saying this data is private. I told them that it was wrong to withhold this data from their existing customers, and let them know I would simply find the transmitters with my Ham gear. I also told them that their coverage maps needed to be revised to remove the areas no longer covered by their current coverage footprint such as Pasco County, which is shown to have 100% coverage on their map, but no longer is after the removal of that transmitter in the center of the county.
In Orlando, according to the license data, there are 2 transmitters, serving downtown, one to the north of downtown (107m high) and one to the south of downtown (68m tall). Their coverage map shows 100% coverage for the entire county. Both transmitters have been removed. Instead, a single transmitter at Arnold Palmer Hospital (45m tall) about a mile south of downtown is being used but is not on the license. Two other hospitals in the same health system are north of this hospital, and are twice as tall. Downtown Orlando is in a "dead" zone behind these buildings. This includes the Courthouse and other major downtown buildings. The reduction in the transmitters from two to one, and lowering its height has left many other dead zones in the suburbs surrounding Orlando as well. Moving that transmitter to the tallest hospital roof would improve coverage, but would not match the coverage present when the taller sites were active.
In Seminole County, they still use a commercial tower in the center of the county in Longwood, even though one of the same health system's hospitals is less than a mile away. The only reason I can guess for this is that they also provide paging service to Seminole County Fire Rescue, and a transmitter at the hospital would only be about 1/3 of the height of the commercial site, and would never be able to cover the entire county. They might also consider this site also helps fill in the Orlando areas from the North from the 107m tower that is no longer operational.
In my home county of Brevard, all transmitters have moved to Hospitals. The closest licensed transmitter to my home shows on the license as 135m on a commercial tower. However, this transmitter was removed and moved about 4 miles north to the Rockledge hospital which is only 26m in height as shown on an expired paging license once held by the hospital itself. This transmitter location has nowhere near the range and power of the location shown on the license. There are holes in the coverage, especially to the south. I strongly suspect the exact same thing is happening statewide and nationwide with American Messaging. The customers and the FCC are not being told paging coverage is being reduced and they hope to not get caught by the FCC. The fact that most of the in service pagers are used near these hospitals help them keep the reception issues to a minimum, and only people like me that travel are noticing the missed pages.
Has anyone else found that American Messaging has reduced their paging coverage in other areas of the country as has happened here? And should not the FCC get after American Messaging for moving transmitters to undisclosed locations without adding them to their license, and removing other transmitters without reporting this fact to the FCC within 10 days?
I have tried addressing this service reduction with American Messaging management, but they do not seem to care, since they claim most of their customers are happy since they are at the hospitals where they have moved their transmitters. The hospitals themselves might want to go back to running their own system instead of paying for American Messaging. One of the advantages promoted by American Messaging of using their commercial paging instead of in house paging was so staff could be reached when on call away from the hospital. It now appears the transmitters in Brevard County are only at the hospitals including Melbourne and Cape Canaveral. The original promoted advantage of commercial paging over in house paging in Brevard as well as the Orlando Area is gone.
While some suggest that paging is not dead, it does not help that one of the national players has been quietly reducing their coverage area. Does anyone know if Spok has been doing this too? Will actions like this lead to the demise of regional and national paging? If the FCC enforces the final construction rule in this case, American Messaging will find themselves without a FCC license in 2019, since at least in Florida, they have reduced their coverage area below the required amount. While American Messaging may blame the FCC for their demise, they only have themselves to blame for choosing to reduce their coverage and risking their license by doing so. I invite them to put the sites that have reduced their coverage back in service. In the case of Pasco, the antenna and feed line are still there, and the rent quote I was given is about 1/3 less than they paid before. Nice dream, but I doubt they will be smart enough to put things back enough to get their license renewal in 2019, or they will simply LIE to get their renewal and hope they do not get caught by the FCC.
Thank you for this great report although it was painful to read. It reminded me of 2002 when I was VP of International Networks at WebLink Wireless in Dallas. As the company was going bankrupt I got fired along with around 2,000 others. To make a long story short, I lost my home, my new car, my health insurance, and my stock options (for retirement). I haven’t had a regular job since (except for the newsletter). There have been some tough times in the following years. Before starting to draw social security I had to choose between keeping the newsletter going, food, medicine, and a place to sleep each month.
So this attrition of the paging systems has been going on since then.
I will publish your report in this week’s newsletter — with your approval. [approval obtained]
Just in case you missed the article above “#TBT: Paging Flatlines”, it covers the beginning of the sad story of Paging's attrition as cellphones took over the personal messaging market.
GREAT song and Thought For the Day, even if it was a few days late. Just a short “Thank You” for all you do. As a fellow “publisher,” I know that a word of thanks and encouragement from readers are few and far between. So few today are willing to share an opinion and contribute their own thoughts (if indeed they have any). They just take and take and take, and when the well runs dry, they just move over and continue taking until there is nothing left.
In the world of the 140-character mindset, there is little desire to thank those who try to share useful information with others. Just say something cute, false, mean, or just plain stupid; and you will get more thumbs up than some can count.
Don’t even think of quitting what you're doing. You ARE appreciated!
I almost forgot the original reason for my earlier e-mail. It had to do with smart phone battery life. I happen to be an Android user (aways swimming upstream). I noticed your comments on excessive battery drain on iOS 11.4. I was having a similar problem with my Samsung Galaxy — less than an eight hour battery life even though there was very little conversational time. And then, I turned off notifications and active full time GPS. Guess what happened? My operating time increased from less than eight hours to as much as 14 DAYS standby time. I'll admit I took the Samson option (some will know what I am talking about). I even turned down the ultra bright display and I turned off a bunch of Apps that I rarely if ever used.
As much as I hate to admit, there was nothing wrong with the phone or the battery. The problem was ME! In the airplane flying business, this is known as “Pilot Error.” The error has been corrected. Now flying straight and level, and we will make it to our destination. Life is good!
You reminded me of this:
Have a great week!
|THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK|
|VIDEO OF THE WEEK|
“90 in 90: Croatia vs. England
Watch 90 minutes of Croatia vs. England in 90 seconds.
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