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Welcome Back To The Wireless Messaging News
I like Macintosh computers and I like Corvettes. I have owned several of both of them. The headline, “A maxed-out Mac Pro costs more than a 2020 Corvette coupe — wheels and all” turned out to not be exactly true — but close enough to make me stop and think. Read the corrected article following below. Which one would you rather have? I guess these prices are not so extreme if we pay ten bucks for a good cheeseburger and a coke.
Oh yes, as we are almost at the end of the year, now would be a good time to spend what's left in your advertising budget right here in The Wireless Messaging News.
Now on to the news and views.
NO POLITICS HERE
This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
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 the only remaining news source dedicated to information about Paging and Wireless Messaging.
Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
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Amazon is Launching a Home Internet Service – Here is Everything You Need to Know About It
by Jess Barnes on December 11, 2019 at 6:02 am CDT
We’ve heard a lot about companies making plans for low Earth orbit satellites to bring broadband to a large portion of the world. Amazon is one the companies making those plans. Here is everything we know about Amazon’s Home Internet Service.
Who is Running This?
Amazon is developing their plan under a subsidiary called Kuiper Systems. You’ll see that name a lot when reading about Amazon Home Internet.
Interestingly, Kuiper’s president is Rajeev Badyal, a former SpaceX vice president.
When Did Amazon Start Working on Internet?
Amazon has been looking into options for offering high speed Internet for some time, but asked the FCC for permission to start testing a service just this summer.
How Much Area Would Be Covered?
“The goal here is broadband everywhere, but the very nature of [having] thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit is very different from geostationary satellites. … You have equal broadband all over the surface of Earth. Not exactly equal, it tends to be a lot more concentrated toward the poles, unfortunately.,” Jeff Bezos said in June.
With low orbit satellites, broadband access could reach areas that have previously been underserved, including rural areas and developing countries.
“But you end up servicing the whole world. So, it’s really good. By definition, you end up accessing people who are ‘under-bandwidthed.’ Very rural areas, remote areas. And I think you can see going forward that Internet, access to broadband is going to be very close to being a fundamental human need as we move forward.”
How Many Satellites Will Amazon Have?
Amazon is planning to launch 3,236 satellites for their network.
Why is Low Orbit Important?
Amazon plans to have their satellites at altitudes of at 367 miles, 379 miles, and 391 miles. At these distances, satellites will be able to reach areas about 56 degrees North to 56 degrees South. Amazon has said this will cover about 95% of the world’s population.
Here’s how The Next Web describes how it works.
How Much Will It Cost?
We’re too early in the process to know how much customers will pay for Amazon Home Internet, or service from other low Earth orbit satellites. However, with several players in the game, there will be more providers and more competition, which will bring costs down.
|Source:||Cord Cutters News|
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.
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.
The Wireless Messaging News
The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.
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A maxed-out Mac Pro costs more than a 2020 Corvette coupe—wheels and all
The new Mac Pro is finally available for ordering, and it's as expensive as we thought it would be.
Michael Simon By Michael Simon Staff Writer
The new Mac Pro is finally ready to order and ship, and it’s undeniably one of the fastest PCs ever made. But all that speed is going to cost you.
We already knew that the Mac Pro started at $5,999, and that base model is nothing to sneeze at. You get a 3.5GHz 8‑core Intel Xeon W processor, 32GB of DDR4 ECC memory, a Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, and 256GB SSD storage, all wrapped in a gorgeous stainless steel enclosure with feet. Want wheels instead of feet? That’ll cost you an extra $399. What about AppleCare? Tack on another $299.
Of course, the Pro Display XDR is another $4,999, and the Pro Stand to go with it costs an additional $999. And if you want the special nano-texture glass that brings a matte finish, it’ll cost you a thousand bucks. All said, you’re not getting out of the store without dropping more than $10,000. Most people will probably end up paying way more than that.
Apple is offering several configuration options for the Mac Pro, and they go from reasonable to eye-watering. For example, upgrading to a terabyte of storage will cost an extra $400, while 4TB will run you $1,400. And upping the RAM to 48GB will set you back a paltry $300, but if you want 1.5TB, get ready to shell out an additional $25,000 on top of the $6,000 for the required 24-core processor.
Add it all up, and you could walk away with a machine worth nearly $55,000, more than the sticker price of a 2020 Corvette coupe once you add the cost of a XDR display and stand. However, if you use an Apple Card to buy it before December 31, you’ll get $3,700 back in Daily Cash—or nine sets of new Mac Pro wheels, whichever you prefer.
Click on the image above for more info about advertising here.
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.
Apple sued over iMessage support for SMS embedded links
By Mikey Campbell Thursday, December 12, 2019, 05:40 pm PT (08:40 pm ET)
Apple on Thursday became the latest target in a series of patent infringement lawsuits leveled by non-practicing Hypertext Technologies, which is leveraging a single piece of IP covering what is ostensibly widely employed embedded SMS clickable link technology.
Filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Hypertext's complaint against Apple hinges on U.S. Patent No. 7,113,801 for a "Method for receiving data using SMS and wireless Internet and system thereof."
Originally invented by Korean company KTFreetel Co., Ltd., which later merged into networking giant Korea Telecom, the IP covers methods of embedding clickable URL links in SMS texts, technology claimed vital to the development and longevity of the platform. Without a means to access Internet content, 140-byte SMS messages would still be limited to "things like the weather and stock price reports, 'how-are-you' and 'where-are-you' messaging between friends and family members, and other short messages," the complaint reads.
According to Hypertext, Apple's iMessage infringes on the '801 patent because, like nearly all smartphones, it incorporates support for clickable links in SMS messages. The complaint goes on to argue patent eligibility, though the cited cases appear to be generic and only tangentially related to Hypertext's owned IP.
The '801 patent dates back to 2001, when KTFreetel filed a parent patent application detailing a means to embed links in SMS correspondence with South Korean regulators. A U.S. version was granted in 2006 and was bounced between various companies including Pantech before ending up under Hypertext's control in August.
Following assignment, Hypertext this month began to level infringement charges against a number of big-name companies including Google, OnePlus and Coolpad. With today's Apple complaint, the firm is working four active suits based on the '801 patent in California.
Hypertext seeks a judgment on patent enforceability, compensatory damages, ongoing royalties on threat of injunction and reimbursement of court fees.
More details here.
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
GPS inventor: We need to fix GPS's jamming problem
As we become ever-more reliant on GPS, the prospect of it going down seems increasingly worrying.
By Daphne Leprince-Ringuet | December 12, 2019 — 10:30 GMT
Almost half a century ago, the US Department of Defense started working on an experimental project to launch a series of satellites into space to make it possible to pinpoint any location on Earth.
Fast-forward 47 years, and the Global Positioning System (GPS) is everywhere and in everything from the activity-tracking applications in our smartphones to the navigation systems found in airplanes.
Ahead of receiving the £1 million Queen Elizabeth Award for Engineering last week, the chief architect of GPS, Bradford Parkinson, told ZDNet that making the tool accessible to all was part of his plan from the earliest stages of the project.
And it became part of the US government's plan, too: in 1983, the Reagan administration declared that it would effectively guarantee and provide GPS for both military and civilian purposes.
"President Reagan established that reliable knowledge of your position is something that the government should provide as much as lighthouses for ships or navigation lights for planes," said Parkinson. "And here we are: now the whole world takes GPS for granted."
Reagan couldn't predict, at the time, that engineers would develop chips cheap and sophisticated enough to power more than five billion smartphones across the world, all fitted with GPS and contributing to a global dependence on the technology.
And now, Parkinson argues that the technology has to be protected from its biggest threat: jamming.
Jamming happens when too much noise is broadcast by third parties on the same frequencies used by satellites to send data to receivers on the ground, which in turn calculate their location by determining their distance from the satellite.
By sending radio signals on those frequencies, or on frequencies neighboring those used by technology, jamming effectively shuts down GPS navigation.
"We have to protect these frequencies," said Parkinson. "There are several billion people worldwide depending on them – and I don't think many are very good at reading a map if their GPS fails them."
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is well aware of the issue. It has taken steps to punish the use of GPS jammers, which are small devices that send out radio signals on the same frequencies as GPS to override or distort satellite signals.
"The worst threat of all," says Parkinson, "is when your national authority licenses ground transmitters to operate next to GPS frequencies. I have been fighting this problem for nine years now.
"The FCC could license nearby frequencies to the point that it would degrade GPS. No one believes me, but they are so close. To allow it would be to deliberately allow a license to a jam and make it legal."
And yet, there is much to lose from a failure of GPS signal, and not only for consumers relying on Google Maps for their morning commute. The UK Space Agency, for example, estimated that a five-day GPS outage could cost the UK economy more than £5 billion ($6.5 billion).
In Southern California, the technology is used to study the movement of tectonic plates and assess the likelihood of earthquakes. GPS is used for precision agriculture, to map fields and increase productivity while better spreading the use of fertilizers. And of course, emergency services and firefighters are increasingly reliant on GPS-powered navigation tools.
In other words, protecting GPS frequencies in the modern world is critical. For that reason, the US Department of Transportation last year published an assessment on "GPS adjacent band compatibility, an analysis of the frequencies neighboring GPS spectrum and of whether they should be used for commercial purposes.
Looking at the future, however, Parkinson is not all that optimistic; and one innovation that has been playing on his mind is GPS-controlled drones.
From disrupting the flights of 100,000 passengers in Gatwick last year to grounding 14 firefighting airplanes during the Maria fire in California last month, drones' ability to wreak chaos no longer has to be demonstrated.
And with Amazon now planning to deploy a fleet of drones to deliver packages straight to our doors, it is likely that more devices will be seen flying around sooner rather than later.
It's easy to see why the prospect of GPS signals getting jammed when drones are in the vicinity of airports or emergency services is "not a very good idea", in the words of Parkinson.
For him, the solution is pretty straight-forward. "Have companies stick to the license they've got", he said. "And if you really love them, find them another frequency band. But don't jam the GPS one."
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.
Microsoft once again sends out the wrong Windows 10 update to users
By Matt Hanson, December 12, 2019
Another fail by Microsoft
In a rather embarrassing turn of events, Microsoft has once again released the wrong Windows 10 update to its users.
In October, Microsoft sent the wrong Windows 10 update, which was supposed to bring “quality improvements to Windows Autopilot configured devices”. However, rather than going to just devices powered by Autopilot, which is a tool used to set up devices in a business environment, the update was sent to all users of Windows 10, including Windows 10 Home users.
History has now repeated itself, with Microsoft making the same mistake by pushing Windows 10 Autopilot update ‘KB4532441’ out to everyone as part of its Patch Tuesday updates on December 10.
Here we go again
Like before, people using consumer versions of Windows 10 saw the Autopilot update, and even if installed, the update was offered to them continually.
To be fair to Microsoft, it was quick to acknowledge the mistake, and has taken down the update.
As Microsoft states in the release notes for the update, "This update was available through Windows Update. However, we have removed it because it was being offered incorrectly."
If you use Autopilot, then the device you're using should automatically update Windows Autopilot to the latest version.
If you don't use the feature, and have installed the update, then don't worry. Microsoft assures us that "There is no effect on Windows Autopilot being offered to Windows 10 devices. If you were offered this update and do not use Autopilot, installing this update will not affect you."
To be on the safe side, you can uninstall the update without any issues.
So, it's not a complete disaster, but it's another instance of Microsoft messing up a Windows 10 update, which is making the company a bit of a laughing stock at the moment. Let's hope this is the last issue we see for a while.
Via Windows Latest
Tower Worker OK After Getting Launched 40 Feet in the Air By Cable
A tower worker on the job in Atmore, AL experienced the scare of a lifetime when a snapped cable launched him high in the air and left him dangling. The Bennett Communications worker was part of the crew servicing a cell tower when the incident occurred, reports the Atmore News.
Responding to the 911 call, Police Chief Chuck Brooks said, “He was actually on the ground, and the wire shot up and wrapped around his leg. He was pulled about 40 feet in the air, and the other workers got him down. Lucky for him, he was pulled up at an angle and didn’t hit the tower on the way up.” Witnesses say a worker higher up attempted to help by cutting an interfering cable, and nearly imperiled another tower worker trying to climb up.
An observer at the scene called for emergency services saying, "I called 911. I stayed on the line for a while before they finally asked me what state and city I was calling from. They kept asking questions, so I finally texted them a picture to show what was happening. It was a scary situation.” The caller further described the suspended worker as “hanging upside-down, screaming his head off.”
The Atmore Fire Company was able to free the man, who was determined to be rattled but uninjured. Atmore Fire Department Captain Jeremy Blackmon sagely noted, “If he didn’t already believe in God, he does now.”
Although the unnamed worker refused an ambulance ride to the hospital, a co-worker drove him there to be examined for further injuries.
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter|| Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers.
It is a daily newsletter by subscription. Please check it out.
Selected portions [sometimes more — sometimes less — sometimes the whole updates] 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 Streamlined Enrollment Process for Lifeline Program
On December 10, the FCC announced the launch of its electronic interface that participating carriers can use when verifying a potential subscriber’s eligibility for the program. The application programming interface, or API, connects carriers’ systems to the Lifeline program’s National Eligibility Verifier. The API will enable carriers to send applicant information directly to the National Verifier for an eligibility check, thereby reducing the paperwork required from potential subscriber.
In addition to enrolling through a participating carrier, consumers can continue to apply for the Lifeline program through the National Verifier’s online consumer portal, which is available at www.checklifeline.org, or by using a paper application form.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Sal Taillefer.
FCC Announces 2020 Urbane Rate Survey Results
On December 5, the FCC announced announce the 2020 reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and broadband services for eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) subject to broadband public interest obligations, including incumbent local exchange rate-of-return carriers, incumbent price-cap carriers receiving CAF Phase II support, Rural Broadband Experiment providers, and Connect America Fund Phase II Auction (Auction 903) winners. the fixed voice and broadband services data collected in the most recent urban rate survey, and explanatory notes regarding the data, on the FCC’s website at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/urban-rate-survey-data.
Based on the survey results, the 2020 urban average monthly rate is $34.81. Therefore, the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services, two standard deviations above the urban average, is $54.76.
The following table provides the 2020 benchmark for a number of different broadband service offerings, though providers will need to determine the benchmark for services with characteristics not shown in the table:
To facilitate benchmark calculations, the Office will post an Excel file with a tool in which providers can enter the relevant variables to determine the benchmark for specific service characteristics at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/urban-rate-survey-data.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Issues Enforcement Advisory on Lifeline Eligibility
On December 9, the FCC issued an Enforcement Advisory reminding eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) receiving federal Universal Service Fund (USF or Fund) support for the Lifeline program that it is their responsibility for claiming Lifeline support only for eligible low-income consumers. Neither the NLAD nor the National Verifier creates a “safe harbor” that relieves ETCs of their responsibility for only claiming Lifeline consumers who are actually eligible for the program under the FCC’s rules.
The rules require all ETCs to implement policies and procedures that ensure that their Lifeline subscribers are eligible to receive Lifeline services. These efforts should include specific steps to ensure the accuracy of the information submitted as part of the initial Lifeline eligibility validation process, the Lifeline recertification process, and the Lifeline claims reimbursement process. If an ETC’s policies, when implemented in conjunction with the NLAD and National Verifier, are found to be inadequate for ensuring that a subscriber is eligible to receive Lifeline services, then that ETC may be subject to action from the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau or Office of Inspector General. ETCs must also maintain all relevant Lifeline documentation to clearly document compliance with all FCC and state requirements governing the Lifeline program, and if ETCs do not maintain sufficient documentation, they will be exposing themselves to potential enforcement action. Carriers with questions or concerns about implementing and maintaining their Lifeline eligibility requirements should contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Mary Sisak and Sal Taillefer.
Huawei Files Petition for Review of Supply Chain Report and Order
On December 5, Huawei Technologies USA, Inc., and Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (collectively, “Huawei”) filed a petition for review of the FCC’s Report and Order prohibiting the use of USF funds to purchase or obtain any equipment or services produced or provided by a covered company posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. In the same Report and Order, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE Corporation as covered companies for purposes of this rule.
Huawei contends the Report and Order exceeds the FCC’s statutory authority and violates federal law, the Constitution, and other laws; that it is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act; that it was adopted without observing the procedures required by law and in violation of the notice-and-comment rule-making requirements; that it is void for vagueness, and retroactive, in violation of the Constitution and Administrative Procedure Act; that it violates the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, U.S. Const. art. II, § 2, cl. 2, and the due process protections guaranteed by the Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.
BloostonLaw Contact: Sal Taillefer.
Law and Regulation
FCC Speed Testing Rules Effective January 8, 2020
On December 9, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Order on Reconsideration implementing speed testing measures for broadband service. As a result, those rules will be effective on January 8.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the Order on Reconsideration made clarifications and modifications to the speed testing requirements covered endpoints for test, specific speed test requirements, number of test locations, standards for full compliance, and remedies for non-compliance. The daily test period, specific latency test requirements, quarterly testing requirements, and choices in testing methods remain unchanged by the proposed Reconsideration.
In addition, the FCC adopted a revised implementation timetable for speed testing, as well as a pre-testing period that will occur prior to the commencement of each carrier’s testing start date. Pre-testing will require carriers to conduct testing according to the FCC’s requirements using a USAC-determined random sample of subscribers, and results must be submitted to USAC within one week of the end of each quarter. However, no support reductions will be assessed during the pre-testing period, as long as carriers actually undertake the pre-testing and report their results — carriers that fail to conduct pre-testing and submit results in a timely fashion will be considered to be at Level 1 noncompliance.
The revised schedule is as follows:
Carriers with questions about the FCC’s speed testing requirements should contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
Kari’s Law/RAY BAUM’S Act Effective January 6
On December 5, the FCC’s Order adopting rules to implement Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act appeared in the Federal Register. Accordingly, these rules will be effective January 6.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, Kari's Law requires MLTS systems in the United States to enable users to dial 911 directly, without having to dial a prefix to reach an outside line, and to provide for notification (e.g., to a front desk or security office) when a 911 call is made; RAY BAUM'S Act requires the FCC to conduct a rulemaking proceeding to consider adopting rules to ensure that “dispatchable location” is conveyed with 911 calls, regardless of the technological platform used, so that 911 call centers will receive the caller's location automatically and can dispatch responders more quickly. “Dispatchable location” is defined as “the street address of the calling party, and additional information such as room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party.”
In the Order, the FCC adopted rules to implement Kari's Law and initiated the rulemaking on dispatchable location required by RAY BAUM'S Act. The FCC also consolidated its existing 911 rules into a single rule part.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
House Passes Robocall Legislation
On December 4, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) announced that the House of Representatives passed the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, by a vote of 417-3. The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was announced as part of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement by the House and Senate last month, which reconciled the different anti-robocalls bills passed by the Senate in May and the House in June. According to the announcement, this agreement increases the chances of the bill passing the Senate and being signed into law by the President.
The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act:
“Today, the House is giving Americans back control of their phones. Talk to anyone, and you will hear just how annoyed people are by these calls. According to Robokiller, a whopping 5.6 billion robocalls were made to Americans in November alone. And in my district, according to YouMail, more than 200 million calls have been made to the 732 area code this year. That’s outrageous,” Pallone said.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Mary Sisak and Sal Taillefer.
FCC “Admonishes” ISPs for Transparency Rule Violations
On December 10, the FCC issued several Admonishment Orders to multiple Internet service providers (ISPs) for failing to disclose accurate information regarding its network management practices, performance, and the commercial terms of the services it provides via a publicly available, easily accessible website or by transmittal to the FCC, as required by the enhanced Transparency Rule adopted in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order.
According to the Admonishment Orders, FCC staff conducted online searches to verify whether ISPs were fulfilling their obligations to provide the disclosures required by the Transparency Rule in 2018. The offending parties were sent one or more letters, reminding them of the disclosure obligations pursuant to the Transparency Rule, and that FCC staff had been unable to locate the required disclosures. As of the date of the Admonishment Orders, the information was still not available.
The FCC did not fine the companies, but cautioned them that future such violations may subject them to substantial monetary forfeitures.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
USDA Announces $70 Million in Funding for Alabama
On December 5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the investment of more than $70 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure. $62.3 million will go to Alabama, where it will bring service to 8,000 rural households, 57 farms, 44 businesses, 17 educational facilities, 14 critical community facilities and three health care facilities; and $8.1 million will go to South Carolina to bring service to 3,780 rural households, 23 farms, 19 businesses, 19 educational facilities, and eight fire stations. This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.
Specifically, the USDA announced the following awards in Alabama:
In South Carolina, Home Telecom will use $8.1 million in ReConnect grant funding to deploy 96 miles of fiber-optic cable in unserved areas of Charleston and Berkeley counties.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. USDA received 146 applications between May 31, 2019, and July 12, 2019, requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three ReConnect Program funding products: 100 percent loan, 100 percent grant, and loan-grant combinations. USDA is reviewing applications and announcing approved projects on a rolling basis.
JANUARY 15: Form 855 HAC Compliance Certification The next Hearing Aid Compatibility regulatory compliance certification, certifying compliance with the FCC’s HAC handset minimums as well as enhanced record retention and website posting requirements for the 2019 calendar year, will be due January 15, 2020, for all CMRS service providers that had operations during any portion of 2019. Companies that sold their wireless licenses during 2018 and that didn’t otherwise provide mobile wireless service (e.g., via resale) during the 2019 calendar year won’t have any obligation to file a HAC compliance certification for the 2019 calendar year. Under current FCC rules, Tier III service providers are required to offer at least 50% or ten (10) handsets that are rated M3- or better, and at least 33% or ten (10) handsets that are rated T3- or better. Beginning April 3, 2020, at least 66% of a Tier III provider’s handset must meet ratings of M3- or better and T3- or better.
BloostonLaw has prepared a 2019 HAC Regulatory Compliance Template to facilitate our clients’ compliance with the revised HAC rules. Contact Cary Mitchell if you would like to obtain a copy of the HAC Regulatory Compliance Template.
BloostonLaw Contact: Cary Mitchell.
FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
FEBRUARY 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 February 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 are required to include their FCC Registration Number (FRN). 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, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
FEBRUARY 1: Live 911 Call Data Reports – Non-Nationwide Providers that do not provide coverage in any of the Test Cities must collect and report aggregate data based on the largest county within its footprint to APCO, NENA, and NASNA on the location technologies used for live 911 calls in those areas. Clients should obtain spreadsheets with their company’s compliance data from their E911 service provider (e.g., Intrado / West).
BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell.
Louis T. Fiore Inducted into Radio Club of America
On November 23, Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) Chairman Louis T. Fiore was inducted as a Fellow of the Radio Club of America in New York, New York. The firm works extensively with Mr. Fiore, and congratulates him on this significant achievement.
Mr. Fiore is the past chairman of the SIA's Security Industry Standards Council (SISC) and a longtime member of the Supervising Station Committee of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 72, chairing its transmission task group. He is also a member of various Underwriters Laboratories' Standards Technical Panels and a former member of NFPA's Premises Security Committee (NFPA 730 & 731). He is also past president of the Central Station Alarm Association (now The Monitoring Association), and a widely recognized expert in alarm security industry.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Ben Dickens.
Comments on 800 MHz Band Rulemaking Due December 16
On November 14, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in WT Docket No. 02-55, originally, released on October 28, in which it seeks comment on certain aspects of the Commission’s 800 MHz band reconfiguration program, or rebanding. Comments are due December 16, and reply comments are due December 30.
Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on eliminating the annual audit of the rebanding program and relieving the 800 MHz Transition Administrator of the responsibility to review and approve amendments to licensee Frequency Reconfiguration Agreements – the contracts between Sprint and licensees for rebanding of licensees’ systems, with respect to cost creditability. According to the FCC, taking these steps in the final stage of the rebanding program will lower program costs and administrative burdens and expedite completion of the rebanding process without adversely affecting full achievement of the program’s goals.
The 800 MHz rebanding initiative is a 14-year, $3.6 billion program, involving Sprint Corporation (Sprint) and 800 MHz licensees. The initiative was implemented o alleviate harmful interference to 800 MHz public safety radio systems (and other high-site, non-cellular systems operating in the 800 MHz band). The interference was caused by their proximity to the cellular-architecture multi-cell systems – primarily Sprint’s commercial “Enhanced” Specialized Mobile Radio system – also authorized to operate in that band. To increase the spectral separation between the high-site, non-cellular systems (primarily public safety) and the cellular-based systems like Sprint’s, the Commission adopted a plan backed by Sprint and others, which required the relocation of the bulk of Sprint’s system, as well as the systems of other cellular-based licensees in the band, to spectrum at the upper end of the band, and the relocation of the public safety and other high-site, non-cellular licensees, to spectrum at the lower end of the band.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
Chairman Pai Announces Membership, First Meeting of Precision Agriculture Task Force
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced the membership and first meeting date of the new task force assigned to explore ways to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the nation’s farms and ranches through broadband-based technologies — a.k.a. “precision agriculture.” Construction of wireless precision agriculture networks, and provision of high-capacity backhaul services to support these systems, should be viewed as significant current and future business opportunities, and an application for 5G wireless that is targeted to rural areas.
Specifically, the first meeting of the Task Force for Reviewing Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture is set for Monday, December 9, at 9:30 a.m. Chairman Pai has designated Teddy Bekele, Land O’Lakes Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, to serve as Chair of the Task Force, and Catherine Moyer, Pioneer Communications Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, to serve as Vice Chair, among others.
“There is an urgent and growing demand for broadband from America’s farmers and ranchers,” said Chairman Pai. “As I’ve seen for myself in places like Rifle, Colorado, King Hill, Idaho, and Charles City, Virginia, farmers and ranchers are using connected technologies to collect real-time data in the field, make the most efficient use of resources like water, fuel, and seed, and increase yields, all to the benefit of American consumers. Making modern networks available from coast to coast is the FCC’s top priority. The Task Force’s recommendations and reports will enable us to help America’s food producers deliver more, better, and cheaper goods to the table.”
The Task Force is a federal advisory committee and was created by the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, which includes provisions directing the FCC to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of broadband Internet access service on agricultural land where service is not available. Federal advisory committees were established by Congress to provide federal agencies with outside, expert advice on policy matters.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
FCC Grants Waiver to Allow Land Based Use of High Seas Marine Frequencies by First Responders and Federal Government During Disasters
ShipCom, LLC (ShipCom) and Global HF Net, LLC (GHFN) (collectively, Petitioners) requested a waiver of section 80.123 of the Commission's Rules to permit them to provide service to land-based (base and mobile) Public Safety and Federal Government entities on high frequency (HF) public coast frequencies when normal communications systems are not available to such entities during disasters.
While Rule Section 80.123 permits very high frequency (VHF) public coast stations to provide service to units on land under certain conditions, the FCC’s Rules do not allow HF public coast stations to provide this service. In 2009, ShipCom, an HF public coast station licensee, requested a waiver of section 80.123 to allow it to provide service to land units operated by Public Safety entities when normal communications systems are not available. At the time of its initial request, which did not include Federal Government agencies, ShipCom stated that it had received requests from Public Safety entities to provide an emergency watch-keeping service on HF frequencies that would enable these entities to make contact with the “outside world” in the event of a natural or man-made disaster that rendered their normal communications infrastructure inoperable. ShipCom proposed to notify the Commission of the Public Safety entities with which it made arrangements for such service and to comply with all of the conditions in Rule Section 80.123 (including the requirement that priority be afforded to marine-originating communications), except for the limit on antenna height of land units.
The request was granted by the FCC in 2010 upon the conclusion that the limited use of HF maritime spectrum would enhance public safety during catastrophes. The waiver permits service to land-based (base and mobile) Public Safety stations on HF frequencies in the event of a natural or man-made disaster that renders the normal communications infrastructure inoperable, and for limited testing and training necessary to familiarize personnel with how to operate the equipment and make sure it is operable.
In 2017, ShipCom and GHFN, which are commonly owned, requested that the waiver be extended to GHFN and that the waiver be amended to permit both ShipCom and GHFN to provide service to land-based stations owned or operated by Federal Government entities as well as entities that are eligible to use Public Safety Pool frequencies.
In reviewing the waiver request, the FCC concluded the requested waiver would be consistent with the purpose of Rule Section 80.123 — which is to ensure that internationally allocated maritime spectrum is preserved for maritime use. In this circumstance, the FCC recognized that the potential for interference to maritime communications was not present, since service to units on land would only be provided during disasters and that priority would nonetheless be given to marine communications. Further, the FCC noted that the public interest would be served because it would allow emergency back-up communications for Federal entities as well as non-Federal first responders, where a catastrophic event disrupts normal local wired and wireless communications.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
FCC Poised to Adopt 3-Meter Vertical Accuracy for Indoor 911 Calls
Because of challenges placed upon first responders when attempting to locate callers in multi-story or multi-use buildings, the FCC is planning to adopt, as part of its ongoing efforts to improve location information for indoor 911 callers, a 911 vertical location (or “z-axis”) accuracy standard that would help 911 call centers/public safety answering points (PSAPS) and first responders more accurately determine the floor of a multi-story building in which a caller is located. This is particularly important in urban and even suburban areas.
The standard will require the vertical location of 911 callers to be within plus or minus 3 meters for 80% of wireless 911 calls in the top 25 markets by April 2021 and the top 50 markets by April 2023. Non-nationwide CMRS providers that serve any of the top 25 or 50 Cellular Market Areas will have an additional year to meet these benchmarks. Non-nationwide CMRS providers that do not serve these larger CMAs would not be required to meet vertical location standards under current FCC rules.
In 2015, the FCC adopted comprehensive rules to improve location accuracy for 911 wireless calls made from indoor locations. These rules established benchmarks and deadlines for wireless carriers to provide either (1) dispatchable location (generally, street address plus floor, apartment, or suite), or (2) coordinate-based location information to assist first responders in locating 911 callers. The FCC established accuracy metrics for horizontal location (x/y axis) information, but it deferred a decision on adopting a vertical location (z-axis) metric pending further testing. It required the nationwide CMRS providers to test and develop a proposed z-axis accuracy metric and submit the proposed metric to the FCC for approval by August 3, 2018.
In March 2019, based on a CTIA independent test bed involving two vendors, NextNav and Polaris Wireless, and using technology that relies upon barometric sensors inside smartphones to provide information that could be used to calculate a caller’s vertical location, the FCC proposed a z-axis location accuracy metric of plus or minus 3 meters for 80 percent of indoor wireless E911 calls. Public safety agencies have expressed support for a plus-or-minus 2-meter rule, which would more accurately place a caller on a specific floor and even in a specific apartment.
The draft E911 location accuracy Fifth Report and Order that the FCC is poised to adopt later this month concludes that a 3-meter metric will bring real public safety benefits and is technically feasible in the near term. In the Stage Z test bed, NextNav’s technology was accurate within 1.8 meters or better for 80% of indoor fixes and 3 meters or better for 94% of indoor fixes. Polaris can also achieve accuracy within 2.8 meters for 80% of test calls by using additional available location data to recalibrate and refine its Stage Z data. The record also suggests that other technological options for vertical location accuracy are emerging, and the market is driving innovation in location accuracy technology for E911.
The Fifth Report and Order does not address the alternative “dispatchable location” compliance standard, which some technologies hope to achieve through the use of managed Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth beacons inside buildings. Dispatchable location has been called the “Holy Grail” of location accuracy for 911 dispatchers, but in order to support such a solution, carriers will need to deploy tens of millions of access points and beacons to provide sufficient density of reference points that are dispersed throughout a CMA. Further complicating this solution is the question of backup power to these access points, since commercial power can be interrupted during many types of emergencies, as well as privacy and data security issues that arise with management of a database that correlates the media access control (“MAC”) address of each beacon with a dispatchable location. The MAC address is a unique identifier assigned to a network interface controller for use as a network address for communications within a segment of a network, and is common in most IEEE 802 networking technologies, including Ethernet, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. To the extent any of our law firm’s clients may provide mobile wireless service in any top 50 CMAs, the FCC has observed that both NextNav and Polaris have software-based solutions. Thus, if carriers choose either of these solutions, hardware upgrades to handsets should not be required, and solutions can be implemented by means of software modifications that are readily achievable ahead of the 2021 compliance deadline.
With respect to z-axis requirements for E911 location accuracy nationwide, a Further NPRM issued as part of the Fifth Report and Order seeks comment on the possible nationwide deployment of Z-axis technology, which would result in a nationwide x, y and z location accuracy standard. The Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) has previously urged the FCC to implement “a glide path for non-nationwide carriers to comply with any adopted time frames, particularly if those carriers operate outside the top 50 markets.” Comments on the FNPRM will be due 30 days from the publication date of the item in the Federal Register.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell and Richard Rubino.
FCC Fines Unlicensed Operation in the 3650-3700 MHz Band
The FCC has issued an Order resolving its investigation into whether NE Colorado Cellular, Inc. dba Viaero Wireless (Viaero) operated an unregistered base station without authorization in the 3650-3700 MHz band. Viaero admitted that it operated an unregistered base station without authorization, will implement a compliance plan, and will pay a $16,000 civil penalty.
The investigation was the result of received a complaint of harmful interference near Kersey, Colorado to licensed and registered base stations operating in the 3650-3700 MHz band. On February 13, 2018, an agent from the Bureau’s Denver Field Office began investigating the complaint. Using direction-finding techniques, the agent determined that the source of the interference was a transmission by Viaero from a communications tower with FCC Antenna Structure Registration #1278898, near Kersey, Colorado (Kersey Location).
In response to the FCC’s notice of violation, Viaero stated that “on or about February 12, 2018, Viaero's operations team, working on the incorrect assumption that the Kersey Location had already been registered, conducted periodic testing at the Kersey Location that continued through February 13, 2018.” It also states that it failed to coordinate with other licensees prior to this testing. Further, Viaero stated that on March 29, 2018, it registered the Kersey Location and that it would commence operations only after it completed frequency coordination with other licensees to ensure that no harmful interference would happen in the future.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
Office of Management and Budget Seeks Comment on Various FCC Information Collection Requirements Affecting Public Coast, Land Mobile Operations
Clients affected by the rules under re-examination may want to weigh in on whether they should be maintained.
Title: Section 90.179, Shared Use of Radio Stations. (Comments are Due December 16, 2019)
The Commission was directed by the United States Congress, in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, to dedicate 2.4 MHz of electromagnetic spectrum in the 746-806 MHz band for public safety services. Section 90.179 requires that Part 90 licensees that share use of their private land mobile radio facility on non-profit, cost-sharing basis to prepare and keep a written sharing agreement as part of the station records. Regardless of the method of sharing, an up-to-date list of persons who are sharing the station and the basis of their eligibility under Part 90 must be maintained. The requirement is necessary to identify users of the system should interference problems develop. This information is used by the Commission to investigate interference complaints and resolve interference and operational complaints that may arise among the users.
Title: Section 80.409, Station Logs (Maritime Services). (Comments are Due December 16, 2019)
Section 80.409(c), Public Coast Station Logs: This requirement is necessary to document the operation and public correspondence of public coast radio telegraph, public coast radiotelephone stations, and Alaska public-fixed stations, including the logging of distress and safety calls where applicable. Entries must be made giving details of all work performed which may affect the proper operation of the station. Logs must be retained by the licensee for a period of two years from the date of entry, and, where applicable, for such additional periods such as logs relating to a distress situation or disaster must be retained for three years from the date of entry in the log. If the Commission has notified the licensee of an investigation, the related logs must be retained until the licensee is specifically authorized in writing to destroy them. Logs relating to any claim or complaint of which the station licensee has notice must be retained until the claim or complaint has been satisfied or barred by statute limiting the time for filing suits upon such claims.
Section 80.409(d), Ship Radiotelegraph Logs: Logs of ship stations which are compulsorily equipped for radiotelegraphy and operating in the band 90 to 535 kHz must contain specific information in log entries according to this subsection.
Section 80.409(e), Ship Radiotelephone Logs: Logs of ship stations which are compulsorily equipped for radiotelephony must contain specific information in applicable log entries and the time of their occurrence.
Title: Section 80.605, U.S. Coast Guard Coordination. (Comments are Due January 13, 2020)
The information collection requirements contained in Section 80.605 are necessary because applicants are required to obtain written permission from the Coast Guard in the area where radio-navigation/radio-location devices are located. This rule ensures that no hazard to marine navigation will result from the grant of applications for non-selectable transponders and shore based radio-navigation aids. The Coast Guard is responsible for making this determination under 14 U.S.C. 18. Section 308(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 308(b) mandates that the Commission have such facts before it to determine whether an application should be granted or denied. The potential hazard to navigation is a critical factor in determining whether this type of radio device should be authorized.
BloostonLaw Comments: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
FCC Plays Hardball with Public Safety Entities’ Construction Efforts
Over the past month, the FCC has issued two orders resolving Petitions for Reconsideration of FCC proposals to terminate license authorizations for failure to construct. Under the FCC’s Rules, licensees have one year to construct and place private land mobile stations into operation and 18 months to construct and place microwave stations into service. Additionally, wireless licensees are required to notify the FCC of the station construction no later than 15 calendar days following the construction deadline. Finally, if a licensee is not able to complete construction within the required construction time-frame and it would like to seek an extension, the extension request must be filed prior to the expiration of the construction period and must demonstrate that the failure to complete construction prior to the end of the construction period is due to reasons beyond the licensee’s control.
In the recent cases, Etowah County Communications District E-911 and El Paso County, Colorado filed petitions for reconsideration of the FCC’s proposal to terminate their respective license authorizations for failure to construct within the time period specified on the face of the license. In Etowah County’s case, the petition was filed approximately two weeks after the filing deadline for petitions for reconsideration (which is 30 days following the issuance of a Public Notice seeking termination of the license). El Paso County timely filed its petition for reconsideration – which demonstrated that certain facilities had been timely constructed, but that one location had not been constructed. With respect to the unconstructed facility, El Paso County requested additional time to complete construction.
The FCC dismissed Etowah County’s petition as untimely, since it was filed more than 30 days after the issuance of the public notice seeking termination of the County’s license. With respect to El Paso County, the FCC granted the petition with respect to the facilities that had been timely constructed, thereby reinstating the license with respect to those facilities. With regard to the facility that had not been constructed, the FCC denied the petition and dismissed the extension request, since the extension request had been filed after the expiration of the construction period.
These two cases demonstrate the importance of ensuring that the FCC is notified of your facility construction activities in a timely manner. We recommend that you notify us promptly after any facility is constructed so that we can prepare the necessary construction notification for your review. If you have multiple facilities under the same license, please let us know as each facility is constructed so that it is not inadvertently overlooked.
Finally, if you determine that you will not be able to meet the construction deadline, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can assist you in the preparation of the necessary extension request. In this regard, it is important to note that the FCC does not routinely grant extensions of time. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate (a) due diligence by ordering your equipment no later than 60 days after the grant of the license and (b) that the reason for the extension is for reasons beyond your control. The FCC has made clear that circumstances within the control of the licensee — such as budgetary and transactions — will generally not justify the grant of an extension of time.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
|MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK|
Tuba Skinny — Great vocal by Erika Lewis
Tuba Skinny, “True Love” Great vocal by Erika Lewis, Philadelphia August 30, 2019.
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