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AT&T Fined $5.25M for Two 911 Outages that Affected 15,000+ Emergency Calls
Thursday June 28, 2018 2:02 pm PDT
AT&T is paying the Federal Communications Commission a $5.25 million fine to settle an investigation into a pair of 2017 outages that blocked over 15,000 people from making 911 calls.
According to the FCC [PDF], during a five hour outage on March 8, 2017, 12,600 unique users across the United States saw their emergency 911 calls fail, while during a 47 minute outage on May 1, 2017, 2,600 users had 911 calls fail.
The outages, which impacted AT&T's Voice over LTE network used by many modern smartphones, were caused by planned network changes that were implemented on those days that inadvertently interfered with the routing of 911 calls.
During the March outage, the FCC says that AT&T also failed to “quickly, clearly, and fully notify” affected 911 call centers. These kinds of outages are “unacceptable” and according to the FCC, carriers have a responsibility to both prevent outages and in the event of an outage, notify call centers immediately.
In addition to paying a $5.25 million fine to end the investigation, AT&T is also required to implement “proactive system changes” to reduce the likelihood and impact of future 911 outages, improve its processes for notifying 911 call centers of future outages, ensure reliable 911 call completion, and file regular compliance reports with the FCC. [source]
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.
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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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is growing and they are looking for more good software developers with communications experience. Additional information is available on their web site.
Loris Fire Department says pagers don't always alert them of emergency
By: Staci Inez
LORIS, SC (WBTW) — The Loris Fire Department, along with other departments in the county, switched over to digital pagers last year, but Loris firefighters said they aren't always getting alerted when there's an emergency.
“All the pagers should be going off anywhere in Horry County without question, and they're not doing it,” said Loris Fire Chief Jerry Hardee.
WBTW reported last year that all fire departments in Horry County had to switch to digital pagers for emergency calls. There were initially reception issues with the new pagers, but the county said those problems were resolved.
The Loris Fire Department told WBTW the new pagers don't always go off to let firefighters know there is an emergency. Chief Hardee said they've been late or completely missed calls because of this. “We have a lot of complaints from people all the time talking about 'how long is it taking you to get here?'” said Chief Hardee. “I'll have to tell them, 'until this pager goes off, I don't know to come.'”
He said another issue is that too much information is printed on a small screen, and sometimes it isn't specific as to what type of call they're responding to. “The pagers we were told to buy are very hard to read, and there's no way you can be going down the highway and try to read these things,” said Chief Hardee. "It's very dangerous." He said that slows down their response times because they'll have to pull over just to read the pagers. The previous pagers had a dispatcher communicating with them, so they would not have to stop and read, but the new pagers have no voice communication at all.
Chief Hardee said they've had these pagers for a little more than six months and they originally spent $4500 to get them. Now, they're looking to get new ones that are easier to read on a call and have better reception.
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Man's antenna picks up PHI from pagers at 5+ hospitals
Written by Julie Spitzer | June 25, 2018
A Johnson County, Mo., man using an antenna to pick up TV channels on his laptop received unencrypted patient information from several local and distant hospitals, according to The Kansas City Star.
The man, whom the Star did not name but referred to as a "tech worker," saw patient information from five nearby hospitals, including Kansas City-based University of Kansas Health System, Cass Regional Medical Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Liberty (Mo.) Hospital, Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and St. Mary's Health Center in Blue Springs, Mo. — as well as some hospitals in Kentucky and Michigan.
According to the Star, the man — who downloaded the software for free and purchased the antenna commonly used by radio or tech hobbyists for just $30 — began seeing messages like the one below, with the patient's and physician's names included:
The man did not purposely seek out the data, which would be a violation of the the Electronic Communications Protection Act that prohibits the tapping of phone lines to to intercept other electronic communications, but is calling on hospitals to pay attention to the importance of data encryption. He also expressed concern that the failure to encrypt pager data is violation of privacy that constitutes a HIPAA breach.
Not all of the hospitals responded to the Star's requests for comment, and the responses the Star received were varied.
Officials from the University of Kansas Health System were thankful the pager issue was brought to their attention and told the publication they resolved "a specific vulnerability in our paging system that may allow access to certain personal health information in limited circumstances," adding that no financial information or Social Security numbers have been compromised.
Children's Mercy officials said they worked with their communications vendor to move to a secure pager system, but noted the pager data was only available to "local hackers with specific scanning and decoding equipment — and technical knowledge of how to use it for this specific purpose."
Attorney and HIPAA expert Julie Roth told the Star she couldn't track down any federal rules pertaining to hospital pager data but noted any healthcare organization using airwaves to transmit personal health information should ensure it is encrypted. John Riggi, senior adviser for cybersecurity and risk at the American Hospital Association, agreed, noting all hospitals should deploy secure, encrypted pager systems.
“When sending or receiving personal health information, the AHA recommends all hospitals and health systems use secure data transmission platforms that are in full compliance with standards of the HIPAA Data Privacy and Security Rules,” Mr. Riggi told the Star.
Editor's Note: This story was updated June 25, 2018 at 8:10 p.m. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated St. Mary's Hospital in St. Louis had been affected. However, St. Mary's Hospital was not affected and instead, St. Mary's Medical Center in Blue Springs, Mo., had been affected.
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Test shows how much the iOS 12 public beta can speed up an older iPhone
By Chris Mills @chrisfmills June 28th, 2018 at 11:24 AM
When Apple announced iOS 12 at its developer conference earlier this month, there was an unusual lack of new features to show off. This year, we aren’t getting many fancily redesigned apps, new lock screens, or any of the major visual changes that iOS updates normally bring. Instead, Apple is pushing one feature above all else: Performance.
iOS 12 is supposed to be notably faster than previous versions of iOS, and not just on the iPhone X and iPhone 8. Apple is supporting iPhones all the way back to 2013’s iPhone 5S, and it promises that for once, the new software will actually speed things up.
To put the test to the claim, CNET restored two iPhone 5S devices back to factory settings, then loaded up the latest build of iOS 11.4 on one, and the public beta of iOS 12 on the other. Then, the site ran both phones through a non-scientific set of everyday actions and gestures to see whether there’s any significant performance improvements.
You can (and should) watch the video for yourself, but the conclusion seems to be simple: iOS 12 brings modest but very notable improvements to some of the simplest actions on an iPhone. Dumb things, like how long it takes the system to bring up the keyboard when tapping into the text field of iMessages, are a full second faster in iOS 12 than iOS 11.4. Loading websites appears to be faster, and even Siri has some small speed improvements.
Most of the big performance enhancements are related to core system tasks, like pulling up the keyboard, opening the share screen, or rendering web pages. More specific apps like Maps don’t appear to have any significant changes.
Running the tests on factory-reset phones, while more scientific, might have masked the biggest benefit of iOS 12: improving performance in sub-optimal conditions. Apple stressed during WWDC that iOS 12 better handled tasks when the system is already under load, for example if a FaceTime call is running in the background, or you have navigation open and you’re trying to load up other apps as well. Since both devices were wiped to factory settings, you can assume that fewer things were happening in the background than on someone’s daily driver.
There’s also the fact that this is still an early beta build of iOS 12. Historically, betas get much faster and more stable as the summer goes on, culminating in a version of iOS launching in September that’s much more stable than the one we see in June. If the trend pays out, the performance improvements that CNET found will be the absolute minimum.
If you’re on iOS 11.4 already, you can try out the iOS 12 beta for free by following the instructions here.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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FCC Tweaking Next Infrastructure Order
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
As the FCC continues its work to ease siting for small cell infrastructure, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr believes the agency will see support from mayors and other officials in local municipalities. No decision has been made on timing, Carr said during an appearance at the Brookings Institute on Tuesday.
Nicol Turner-Lee, a fellow in the program’s Center for Technology Innovation, moderated the panel discussion. She asked how cities will permit so-called “pizza box” size small cell antennas on utility or light poles. Carr said in big cities, 5G deployment will happen “regardless of what we do.” But in rural America, it will require a partnership comprised of federal, state, and local governments. “It’s about making sure every community gets a fair shot at 5G,” he said, adding that 20 states have adopted bills to ease small cell siting in public rights-of-way.
Explaining the FCC’s siting rules were created for tall towers, Carr said 85 percent of 5G deployment will require small cells. “More wired infrastructure is needed to connect all those new antennas.” Updating those rules requires “a lot of work. We’ve been systematically looking at that.”
And while local officials will always have an important role in siting, Carr said privately-deployed shared infrastructure is an option the agency is seeing more of. During a recent visit to Sioux City, Iowa, he toured Sabre Industries, which manufactures towers, poles and antennas. He cited a “smart stack” utility pole that several carriers can share.
|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.
FCC Announces Initial Bidding Schedule
On June 25, the FCC released a Public Notice providing additional details on the upcoming Connect America Fund Phase II Auction, as well as the detailed bidding instruction email and bidding file formats. According to the Public Notice, bidding in Auction 903 will begin July 24, 2018, with the following schedule for a single bidding round from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET, and continuing as such every other business day until further notice. The FCC will set the pace of the auction based upon monitoring of the bidding and assessment of the auction’s progress, and will announce any subsequent schedule changes via the CAF II Bidding System during the course of the auction.
The Public Notice also included information on additional qualified applicants, the mock-auction, and an upcoming workshop. See the full story below for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for July Open Meeting
On June 22, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the July 12, 2018 Open Commission Meeting. 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.
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 Announces 220 Applicants Qualified to Bid in CAF-II; Additional Information
On June 25, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing 220 additional applicants that are qualified to bid in Auction 903, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Importantly, the Public Notice also provides important information to qualified bidders regarding the CAF II Bidding System, available educational materials, the mock auction, and the start of bidding in Auction 903.
According to the Public Notice, all qualified bidders have been automatically registered for the auction, and registration materials will be sent by overnight delivery to the contact person at the contact person’s address identified in the qualified bidder’s FCC Form 183. Upon receipt, each qualified bidder should be in possession of: (i) At least two RSA SecurID® tokens; (ii) A web address and instructions for accessing and logging in to the CAF II Bidding System; (iii) An FCC-assigned user name (user ID) for each authorized bidder; and (iv) The FCC Auction Bidder Line phone number. The Commission advises any qualified bidder that has not received the registration mailing by 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on July 12, 2018 to contact the Auctions Hotline at (717) 338-2868.
According to the Public Notice, an online bidding tutorial will be made available through a link in the Education section of the Auction 903 website by June 29, 2018, at 12:00 p.m. ET. The tutorial will provide information about the bidding procedures for the auction, as well as how the bidding system reflects those procedures. The tutorial will allow viewers to navigate the presentation outline, review written notes, listen to an audio recording of the notes, and search for topics using a text search function. The FCC will also host a workshop on the bidding process for Auction 903 on July 9. This workshop will review the education materials available for Auction 903 and provide detailed information about the bidding system.
Bidding in Auction 903 will begin July 24, 2018, with a single bidding round between 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET, and continuing every other business day until further notice. The FCC will set the pace of the auction based upon monitoring of the bidding and assessment of the auction’s progress. The FCC will announce any subsequent schedule changes via the CAF II Bidding System during the course of the auction.
Finally, the FCC noted that staff and technical support staff will be available during the mock auction and the auction. To ask questions during the auction, a bidder may use the FCC Auction Bidder Line telephone number supplied in the registration materials or use the Messages feature of the bidding system. Only a person who has been designated as an authorized bidder, the contact person, or the certifying official on the qualified bidder’s FCC Form 183 should call on behalf of a bidder. Bidding by telephone will NOT be allowed for this auction.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Announces 90-Day Extension for 3.7-4.2 GHz Band Receive Only Earth Station Registrations
As we previously reported in our April 25, 2018 BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC implemented a temporary freeze on the filing of new or modification applications for fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth station licenses, receive-only earth station registrations, and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band in order to “preserve the current landscape of authorized operations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band pending Commission action as part of its ongoing inquiry into the possibility of permitting terrestrial broadband use and more intensive fixed use of the band.” At that time, the FCC delayed the implementation of the freeze for a period of 90-days for those receive only earth station facilities that had been constructed and made operational as of April 19, 2018 so that operators who had not already registered their receive only facilities could do so for interference protection. The FCC is now extending the filing window for earth station receive only registrations for an additional 90 days, until Wednesday, October 17, 2018. This filing widow is designed to provide the FCC and commenters in the Mid-band Proceeding with more accurate information about existing earth stations, which will inform the Commission’s pending inquiry addressing new opportunities for use of this band.
In order to facilitate the filing of registrations into the FCC’s International Bureau Filing System (IBFS) and reduce financial burdens, the FCC has clarified that operators with multiple receive-only antennas at a single geographic location or address may apply to register these antennas under a single earth station application and pay a single application fee of $435. Additionally, the FCC has announced that it will waive certain sections of its rules to permit operators of multiple geographically diverse receive-only earth stations to register those stations under Section 25.115(c)(2), which permits applications for “Networks of earth station operating in the 3700-4200 MHz and 5925-6425 MHz bands. Thus, during this limited filing window:
Please contact our office with any questions that you may have.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
Law & Regulation
Comment Deadline Extended for 2.5GHz Rulemaking Proceeding
On June 21, the FCC issued an Order granting in part two separate requests to extend the deadlines for comments and reply comments in the Transforming the 2.5GHz Band rulemaking proceeding (WT Docket No. 18-120). Comments are now due August 8, and reply comments are now due September 7.
On May 10, 2018, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to allow more efficient and effective use of the 2.5 GHz band by providing greater flexibility to current Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licensees as well as providing new opportunities for additional entities to obtain unused 2.5 GHz spectrum to facilitate improved access to next generation wireless broadband, including 5G. The National EBS Association and the Catholic Technology Network (NEBSA/CTN) jointly requested that the filing dates in this proceeding be extended to August 23, 2018, for comments, and September 20, 2018, for reply comments. NEBSA and CTN argued that the 2.5 GHz NPRM also “raises a host of other very significant issues about nearly all aspects of the EBS band.” They argued, “By extending the comment cycle for an additional 45 days, the Commission can ensure that the EBS community has an adequate opportunity to evaluate and respond to the important issues raised in the” 2.5 GHz NPRM.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
FCC Seeks Input on Robocalling Report
On June 20, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking input for a staff report (Report) on robocalling. The Report is intended to “encompass both the progress made by industry, government, and consumers in combating illegal robocalls, and the remaining challenges to continuing these important efforts” and should “focus on quantitative data, including, but not limited to, calling trends and consumer complaints” in order to “provide particular insight into the current state of the robocalling problem and how to target additional measures to help consumers avoid the fraud and annoyance that they experience.” Comments are due July 20, and reply comments are due August 20.
Specifically, the FCC is seeking input on the following topics:
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Seeks Input for State of Mobile Wireless Competition Report
On June 26, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking input on the state of mobile wireless competition as it would relate to the overall goal of providing the required Report to Congress on the state of the communications marketplace. Comments are due July 26, and reply comments are due August 16. Specifically, the Public Notice requests comment on whether laws, regulations, regulatory practices or demonstrated marketplace practices pose a barrier to competitive entry into the mobile wireless 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 mobile wireless marketplace. In addition, this Public Notice requests comment on the criteria or metrics that could be used to evaluate the state of mobile wireless competition. Comment and information also is sought on industry data, competitive dynamics, and trending factors in the mobile wireless industry, including but not limited to, the increasing number of connections, pricing, spectrum holdings, network coverage, and the development of innovative technologies.
For example, commenters are invited to submit data and information on: the number of mobile wireless subscribers/connections; trends in data traffic and consumer data usage; price levels and trends, as well as trends in service offerings; revenue metrics — including total revenue and average revenue per unit — for the industry as a whole and for individual providers; spectrum holdings, access to spectrum, spectrum usage, and spectrum aggregation; measurements of nationwide mobile coverage, as well as by urban and by rural areas, including any discussion of methodological issues; capital investment and technological upgrades; innovation and 5G; network quality and speed of service; the role of infrastructure in the mobile wireless marketplace; the role of entry conditions in mobile wireless competition, including for entrepreneurs and other small businesses; and the extent of competition between mobile and fixed providers of voice, broadband, and video services.
Title IV of RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018 amends Section 13 of the Communications Act (the Act) of 1934, and requires that the Commission publish a “Communications Marketplace Report,” in the last quarter of every even numbered year that, among other things, “assess[es] the state of competition in the communications marketplace,” including providers of commercial mobile service (as defined in Section 332). The Communications Marketplace Report will include information that was previously submitted to Congress as a separate Mobile Wireless Competition Report under Section 332(c)(1)(C) of the Act.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell
FCC Announces Lead for T-Mobile Transaction Task Force
On June 27, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that David Lawrence will lead the FCC task force coordinating the agency’s review of the transaction proposed by T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation. The parties filed their applications with the Commission on June 18, 2018.
Lawrence comes to the FCC from the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, where he served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, most recently for AAG Makan Delrahim. Lawrence joined the Front Office of the Antitrust Division in 2016, assisted the management of the Division through the transition between Administrations, and has focused on issues in the telecommunications and transportation sectors.
Lawrence started his career at the Antitrust Division as an Honors Program attorney in the Telecommunications and Broadband Section. While there, he served as lead attorney for several complex investigations. He also won three Antitrust Division Awards of Distinction, including for his work on a number of high-profile transactions before the Department.
Before joining the Department of Justice, Lawrence clerked for Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge Richard J. Holwell of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Lawrence is a graduate of New York University School of Law and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he majored in Physics.
“I am delighted that David has agreed to lead our review of this proposed merger,” said Chairman Pai. “With his wide range of experience and expertise, David is well-positioned to ensure that we conduct a thorough investigation into whether approval of this transaction would be in the public interest.”
JULY 2: MOBILITY FUND PHASE I ANNUAL REPORT. Winning bidders in Auction 901 that are authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support are required to submit to the FCC an annual report each year on July 1 for the five years following authorization. Each annual report must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of the FCC, clearly referencing WT Docket No. 10-208; the Universal Service Administrator; and the relevant state commissions, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described in Section 54.1009 of the FCC’s rules.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast 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.
FCC Proposes Fines for Equipment Marketing Rule Violations
The FCC has proposed fines for apparent violations of FCC equipment marketing rules. Specifically, on May 30 proposed a penalty of $590,380 against Bear Down Brands, LLC, doing business as Pure Enrichment (Pure Enrichment), and on June 7 the FCC proposed a penalty of $2.8 million against ABC Fulfullment Services LLC, doing business as HobbyKing USA, LLC.
According to the Pure Enrichment Notice of Apparent Liability, the FCC received a complaint in March 2017 that Pure Enrichment was marketing humidifiers that were not compliant with FCC requirements. Specifically, the complaint alleged that certain humidifiers marketed by Pure Enrichment had no identification showing whether the model was tested and compliant with the FCC equipment authorization requirements. The complaint noted that the humidifiers use an ultrasonic disc that oscillates at a high frequency to create fine water particles that are then dispersed into the air. According to the complaint, the electronic circuits that control these humidifiers can put out radio frequency emissions that may interfere with other appliances if not properly tested under the Commission’s rules. The FCC found that over a three-year period, Pure Enrichment apparently willfully and repeatedly marketed 14 models that are Part 15 and Part 18 devices without testing or authorization in violation of the Commission’s equipment marketing rules.
The HobbyKing NAL stated that through its website HobbyKing.com, HobbyKing marketed devices that provided a video link between transmitters mounted on unmanned aircraft systems and users’ flying drones. While HobbyKing represented that its transmitters operated in designated amateur radio bands, the FCC’s investigation found that sixty-five models of devices marketed by HobbyKing could also apparently operate outside those bands. Radio frequency-emitting devices that can operate outside of radio frequency bands designated for amateur use must obtain FCC certification. The devices in question marketed by HobbyKing apparently were not certified by the Commission.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
Maricopa County, Arizona Obtains Waiver of 800 MHz Freeze
Maricopa County requested a waiver of the 800 MHz Wave 4 application freeze along the U.S./Mexico border so that it could operate on 10 NPSPAC frequencies for mobile only communications. The freeze was mandated by the FCC as part of the 800 MHz Report and Order that was adopted as part of the 800 MHz rebanding to eliminate interference to 800 MHz public safety communications. During this reconfiguration, the FCC imposed the freeze on new facilities applications in order to “maintain a stable spectral environment during the reconfiguration of each NPSPAC region.”
Maricopa County’s request would allow it to deploy a mobile only 10-channel 800 MHz system with talk-around capability for its new Project-25 public safety radio system. In requesting a waiver of the freeze, Maricopa County stated that the proposed 800 MHz frequencies would be used as part of a wide-area system with neighboring counties that currently use those frequencies for law enforcement. Maricopa County notes that while its proposed mobile area of operation for the proposed 800 MHz frequencies is within the Wave 4 freeze area, Maricopa County notes that it has completed its rebanding process and that it is in the process of closing out its work with Sprint. To that end, Maricopa County stated that
In reviewing Maricopa County’s waiver request, the FCC found that its proposal to license 10 base transmit frequencies for mobile-only communications would not frustrate the purpose of its rules since the selected channels would be unlikely to cause harmful interference to other public safety users in Maricopa County. Further, because Maricopa County’s system will be part of a larger, wide-area communications system, Maricopa County will coordinate its use of the frequencies with neighboring jurisdictions. The FCC noted further that because the frequencies will be used for mobile only operations rather than associated with a base station, its use would be secondary rather than exclusive use like base station operations.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Trump Nominates Geoffrey Starks to take Clyburn’s Seat
On June 1, President Trump nominated Geoffrey Starks to replace outgoing Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who stepped down after the last FCC Open Meeting. Starks currently serves as assistant bureau chief of the FCC's enforcement bureau, also served as senior counsel at the U.S. Justice Department, the White House said in a statement. His nomination, which is subject to Senate confirmation, was backed by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Reuters reports that Starks’ nomination is expected to be considered in the coming months along with a new term for Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr. If confirmed, his tenure would run through June 30, 2022.
In a statement, outgoing Commissioner Clyburn said, “I congratulate Geoffrey Starks on his nomination to become the next FCC Commissioner. He is a sharp communications attorney committed to public service. I wish him all the best during the confirmation process.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
FCC Confirms Aeronautical Enroute Stations May Use AOC and ATC Communications
Pursuant to a request by the Federal Aviation Administration, the FCC has confirmed that Part 87 of the FCC’s Rules permit aeronautical enroute stations to transmit both aircraft operational control (AOC) and air traffic control (ATC) communications in the 136.4875 - 137.000 MHz band, provided that priority is given to ATC communications. The FCC’s rules define an aeronautical enroute station an “[a]n aeronautical station which communicates with aircraft stations in flight status or with other aeronautical enroute stations.”
Further, Rule Section 87.261(a) provides that “[a]eronautical enroute stations provide operational control communications to aircraft along domestic or international air routes.” Rule Section 87.261(a) continues that “[o]perational control communications include the safe, efficient, and economical operation of aircraft, such as aircraft performance, fuel, weather, position reports, essential services, and supplies” and that “[p]ublic correspondence is prohibited.” Further, the table of frequencies in Part 87 of the FCC’s Rules reflects that 136.4875 - 137.000 MHz frequencies are assignable to aeronautical enroute stations. While the frequency table also reflects that certain frequencies, including the 136.000-136.475 MHz band, may be used for ATC communications, the listing for the 136.4875 - 137.000 MHz band frequencies does not expressly reference ATC, even though ATC communications concern the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic.
The FAA requested confirmation of its understanding of Part 87 of the FCC’s Rules since it is in the process of implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) program, one component of which is Data Communications (Data Comm), which will use aeronautical enroute stations for transmission of digital data that includes both ATC and AOC traffic, with ATC automatically accorded priority. The FA noted that the frequency table also reflects that certain frequencies, including the 136.000 - 136.475 MHz band, may be used for ATC communications, but the listing for the 136.4875-137.000 MHz band frequencies does not expressly reference ATC. ATC communications concern “the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic. As a result, the FAA interpreted Rule Section 87.261(a) as permitting ATC communications by aeronautical enroute stations, since the rule only prohibits “public correspondence communications.” In reaching this conclusion, the FAA noted that its interpretation of the FCC’s rules was consistent with the international approach adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which allows ATC channels to also transmit AOC communications provided that AOC communications do not interfere with ATC communications.
The FCC agreed with the FAA’s conclusion that Part 87 permits aeronautical enroute stations to transmit ATC as well as AOC communications in the 136.4875 - 137.000 MHz band. The FCC noted that when it adopted Rule Section 87.261, it stated that “aeronautical enroute stations are authorized to transmit ATC communications, for ‘we consider such uses (as we have in the past) to be related to the safe operation of aircraft . . .”
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Notice of Unlicensed Operation Issued for Interference to Terminal Radar Approach System
As we have previously reported, the FCC is stepping up its enforcement activities against pirate radio or unlicensed operations. In response to a complaint from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau investigated a complaint that a signal was interfering with its Northern California Terminal Radar Approach (TRACON) on the frequency 122.25 MHz. Upon investigation, the FCC determined that the signal was coming from the roof of the Pimera Inglesia Del Sur SF on the frequency 87.9 MHz. The FCC’s investigation revealed that no license had been issued which would permit operations on the frequency 87.9 MHz. The FCC noted that operations on the frequency 87.9 MHz (as well as most other frequencies) generally require licensing by the FCC. The only exception for transmitters in the FM radio band is if they are operating at a power level or mode of operation that complies with Part 15 of the FCC’s Rules. In this case, the FCC determined that the radio transmitter was being operated at a higher power than the permitted 100 μV/m at 3 meters for unlicensed transmitters. As a result, licensing would have been required.
It is important to note that unlicensed or improper operation of a radio transmitter can cause harmful interference to other licensed transmitters — whether co-channel or on a totally different frequency as occurred here. Harmful interference has the potential to cause harm to the safety of life and property which could result in civil or criminal liability in addition to any enforcement action that might be taken by the FCC. We encourage our clients to review their radio operations in order to ensure that all transmitters are being operated in accordance with their licenses and the FCC’s Rules. Please contact our office with any questions that you may have.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
If we never got the iPhone, this is the phone we’d all be stuck with
WRITTEN BY Mike Murphy June 28, 2018
The year 2008 was a different time. It was a time for trying new things. Katy Perry kissed a girl and liked it, the US elected its first African-American president, and many were swapping their flip phones for their first smartphones.
In 2008, that most likely meant a BlackBerry.
While Apple’s iPhone was introduced in the summer of 2007, its dominance was not a foregone conclusion. By the end of 2008, Apple had sold around 10 million iPhones—a far cry from the 45 million to 75 million it sells per quarter these days. BlackBerry had 14 million users and had generated $6 billion in revenue for the year. People were addicted to their email-friendly smartphones, which were (somewhat) affectionately referred to as “CrackBerries” by the mid-2000s.
After the iPhone was released, BlackBerry’s parent, Research in Motion (RIM), was unfazed by the revolutionary device. A tale from the time suggests that RIM founder Mike Lazaridis showed an iPhone to co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who was more concerned about how closely AT&T had worked with Apple on the device than what the sleek competitor could mean for his own business.
“It’s OK—we’ll be fine,” he reportedly told Lazaridis.
Well, they weren’t.
Within a few years, the world’s dominant smartphone manufacturer lost all but 1% of the market to Apple and devices running Google’s Android operating system. In 2016, it stopped producing smartphones altogether, instead focusing its operations on software and automotive services. In 2017, it generated around $1 billion in annual revenue.
But the world loves a comeback story. And now BlackBerry is back.
The BlackBerry Key2: A new hope
Much like Nokia, another 2000s telecoms powerhouse, BlackBerry is now licensing its name to another company to build its phones. Unlike Nokia, which rode a massive wave of nostalgia over its remastered simple phones, the devices that Chinese company TCL is putting out under the BlackBerry name feel as pointless as BlackBerry’s own desperate attempts to stay relevant as the iPhone rose to power.
At an event in New York earlier this month, the new BlackBerry Key2 was unveiled. It’s the successor to the first TCL-made BlackBerry released in April 2017, the KeyOne. For the last few weeks, I’ve been testing out the Key2, trying to figure out if there’s anything BlackBerry can bring to the table in 2018, anything that could possibly bring it back to its glory days where you’d hear the clickety-clack of users everywhere furiously typing away on their tiny keyboards.
It seems there is not.
BlackBerry actually unveiled its first touchscreen phone in 2008, the BlackBerry Storm, and spent years attempting to shoehorn what made the iPhone great into a box with a small keyboard attached to it. And the Key2, a decade later, makes the same struggle.
The Key2 is effectively a smallish Android smartphone with a tiny 1.5-inch keyboard attached the bottom. It offers nothing that you can’t find better on other smartphones—its cameras are poor, its battery is average, the display is nothing special, and it is painfully slow—barring the physical keyboard. Even the software BlackBerrys used to be known for, including BlackBerry Messenger and the messaging hub, offer nothing special. (That being said, I couldn’t really test out Messenger as, this being 2018, I had no friends who still use BBM.) Sadly, TCL also didn’t include a version of BrickBreaker, the BlackBerry game that was nearly as addictive as the device itself, in the Key2.
For years, many held onto their BlackBerrys because they believed typing on a physical keyboard was far superior to tapping a piece of glass. Then Apple’s App Store opened up the iPhone to other companies and the resulting boom in apps led to an absolute revolution in how we use the Internet. Many chose an iPhone or an Android just because of how many more apps and services they featured.
Another sequel nobody wanted
With the Key2, I have access to any app available on Android’s Google Play Store. In using them, I was constantly reminded how much of a chore it was to wait for apps to load—and wondering how much a physical keyboard was really worth. And after a decade of not using one, I actually found it quite difficult to navigate. The phone also doesn’t have many of the other modern conveniences that its competitors offer, such as water-resistance, wireless charging, or facial-recognition security. It’s a large, angular phone that doesn’t fit comfortably in your hand or pocket, gently stabbing you as you move, perhaps reminding you of your poor life decisions that have led up to you using a BlackBerry in 2018. The Key2’s only really saving grace is that it costs $650. That’s far less than an iPhone X, a Samsung Galaxy S9 or Note 8, and a little less than an iPhone 8. But there are other, more powerful devices available for around that same price, including the Google Pixel 2 and the OnePlus 6.
In some counter-factual re-creation of history, where BlackBerry still reigned supreme and Apple had never decided to get into phones (and become the richest company in the US), its flagship phone in 2018 would probably look a lot like the Key2. It’s a mutant device that no one really needed, or asked for. But if it was all that was available, we’d begrudgingly get by with it. Thankfully, there are many better phones out there today.
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
Oh how simple it is for those who believe in trickle down economics. Correlation does not mean causation. The nice, condescending man in the clip [the video in last week's LETTER TO THE EDITOR] provide great statistics based on correlation. I will point to the Scandinavian countries to counter the simplistic examples provided in the clip.
A recent Atlanta Journal Constitution piece on childhood hunger pointed out that 60% of Georgia school children are eligible for reduced or free school lunch. The paper pointed out the problem of feeding the children during the summer break. Given the clip on your site we should be thankful for people like the Koch brothers. Without them the number would be much higher.
Unfortunately, the solution to the problem is much more complex to solve than pointing at the-super rich and blaming them. Americans are very reluctant to offer compassion to anyone who doesn’t look like them and go to the same church as they do. The southern states will not accept Medicaid expansion but will accept adding a trillion dollars to the deficit to provide tax cuts to the super-rich.
[Writer's name withheld on request.]
|THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK|
JUNE 29, 2018
Changing the Water
by William White
On May 21, 2005, David Foster Wallace opened his commencement address at Kenyon College with the following story.
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
Each of us swims in a near-invisible cultural stew of words, ideas, attitudes, images, and sounds that constitute the personal stage upon which the actions of our daily lives unfold. These near-invisible contextual elements of our lives are so deeply embedded that they rarely if ever enter our conscious awareness. Yet, they exert a profound influence on how we view ourselves and our relationship with the world. They bestow or deny personal value, convey our degree of safety and vulnerability, and impregnate us with hope or hopelessness.
|VIDEO OF THE WEEK|
“Teach Your Children”
|Source:||YouTube||To learn more about the work of the PFC Foundation, visit http://www.playingforchange.org|
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