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Welcome Back To The Wireless Messaging News
Dec 5, 2019, 08:42pm
Apple Issues New Warning For Millions Of iPhone Users
Gordon Kelly, Senior Contributor
Yesterday Apple was caught red handed and now the company has admitted that the settings in millions of iPhones are misleading users about their use of location data, and promised to fix it.
Apple iPhone 11, Apple iPhone 11 Pro, Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple's new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max has checking your location without your ... APPLE
In response, Apple initially dismissed the finding (which Krebs documented in a video, embedded below) as “expected behavior”. But today the company has changed its tune, warning users that the range’s new Ultra wideband chip is behind the background checks:
“Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations,” said Apple in its statement. “iOS uses Location Services to help determine if an iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations.”
Apple states that “The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data.” Something that initial research backs up.
What will raise eyebrows, however, is Apple’s next course of action. Having claimed it had to follow international regulatory requirements, the company now says it will enable these background location checks to be disabled in an upcoming iOS update. Which means they didn’t need to be done in the first place.
Needless to say, Apple should’ve just come clean in the first place and this will raise suspicions among those who are protective of their privacy. Especially as it comes just months after Apple admitted it hired contractors to secretly listen to Siri audio snippets recorded by owners’ iPhones.
Although anonymised, a whistleblower revealed they heard clips which included private medical information, drug deals and recordings of couples having sex. Apple subsequently apologised, shut down the centre and promised to give users a privacy setting which would enable them to delete their Siri recordings in a future iOS update. That duly arrived in the form of iOS 13.2.
Personally speaking, I think there are enough differences between these new background location checks and the Siri recordings that users should be less concerned this time around. That said, when the company’s own Privacy Page states “At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right” - it set itself a high bar. And, along with transparency, it is one the company has fallen below again. [source]
Now on to the news and views.
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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.
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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
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Huawei sues US government over new FCC restrictions
Sherisse Pham byline By Sherisse Pham, CNN Business
Hong Kong (CNN Business) — Embattled Chinese tech company Huawei is fighting back against new restrictions from the US Federal Communications Commission that further limits what little business it has left in the United States.
Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker and a leading smartphone brand, said Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit in New Orleans challenging a recent FCC decision that prohibits American carriers from using federal subsidies to purchase Huawei equipment.
Song Liuping, Huawei's chief legal officer, said at a press conference Thursday that FCC chairman Ajit Pai is targeting Huawei because it "is a Chinese company, that's his only excuse."
"He has tried to spread fear about Huawei. He uses words like 'back door' to scare people, but offers no proof," Song added.
Huawei's lawsuit argues that the FCC order is unlawful because it gives no evidence of the national security threat that the company poses, which is in violation of the US Constitution and other laws. The company has made similar arguments in other litigation against the US government.
The latest lawsuit is part of Huawei's broader strategy of fighting Washington's pressure campaign on the Chinese company through US courts and public opinion. In March, Huawei sued the US government over a law that banned federal agencies from buying its products. Huawei executives have published op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, insisting that it is a private company and "not a tool of the Chinese government."
The company has also dramatically upped its spending on Washington lobbyists to nearly $1.9 million in the first nine months of this year, compared to $165,000 in 2018, according to Open Secrets, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group based in Washington.
In an interview with CNN Business last week, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said the FCC decision goes against "the bedrock principle [of the US political system] because the US government should serve the best interests of Americans."
But Washington says Huawei poses a national security threat and has taken several steps to curb its business, including barring US companies from supplying the Chinese firm with key tech and software. The Trump administration has also argued that installing Huawei's equipment in US networks could allow Chinese spies to eavesdrop on sensitive US communications. Huawei denies the allegations, and says none of its products pose a national security risk.
That has not stopped President Donald Trump from keeping up the pressure campaign. At a NATO summit outside London, Trump said on Wednesday that using Chinese equipment in 5G networks poses "a security risk," and that the US would not be using Huawei. He added that he had raised the issue with several countries.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, also speaking at the NATO summit on Wednesday, toughened his stance against the Chinese company.
Johnson told reporters that using Huawei equipment could pose a national security risk and could "prejudice" the UK's ability to cooperate with other members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance (the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada).
Huawei's US business is limited to sales of telecommunications equipment to a few small, rural carriers. The FCC estimates that the company only accounts for a small percentage of equipment in US networks, "likely in the low single digits," according to a recent FCC report.
A Huawei executive who previously headed the company's US business said on Thursday that the company's US revenue "is minimal" when compared with its global revenue, which hit $105 billion last year.
But Huawei is pushing back on the latest US restriction in part to defend its global brand. The company has signed more than 50 5G contracts with carriers around the world.
Being branded a national security threat by the US "will bring about reputation losses and that will have a further impact on our business," Alan Fan, vice president for IP strategy and international legal policy with Huawei, told reporters Thursday.
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
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Does Frontier CEO Change Signal Bankruptcy Plans?
12/4/19 at 1:50 PM by Joan Engebretson
The unnamed sources who spoke to Bloomberg about Frontier Communications several weeks ago were right about at least one thing: The company was looking for a new CEO, and that CEO – DISH Network veteran Bernie Han — was announced late yesterday.
When the unnamed sources spoke to Bloomberg, they also said Frontier was looking at filing for bankruptcy in early 2020, which raises the question: Will they be right about that too?
The New Frontier CEO
In yesterday’s press release, Han mentioned “challenges” that Frontier “must overcome,” although he did not state what those challenges were. He also said the company has “substantial opportunities.” He said he will work with the Frontier board of directors to “continue to execute on our initiatives to drive operational performance, invest in our business and become a strong partner to our residential and enterprise customers.”
Han has been working with the finance committee of the Frontier board in an advisory role since mid-October and has been “actively supporting efforts to strengthen the company’s financial position since that time,” Frontier said.
Han was at DISH Network for more than 11 years, where he served as CFO, COO and executive vice president of strategic planning. At DISH, Han led “turnaround initiatives that increased profitability, enhanced customer experiences and reduced churn rate,” Frontier said.
Previously Han worked in the airline industry for 20 years, including serving as CFO for Northwest Airlines and America West Airlines.
Han replaces Daniel McCarthy, who worked for Frontier for over 25 years, including serving as CEO since 2015.
A Frontier Bankruptcy?
Han takes the helm at Frontier at a time when publicly-held former monopoly phone companies without a wireless business are losing voice and broadband customers without a commensurate rise in other areas of business. As bandwidth demands climb, all telcos are having difficulty competing against cable companies, whose network infrastructure can support higher speeds in comparison with copper-based telco broadband.
The telcos can better compete where they have deployed fiber to the premises (FTTP), but it can be difficult to build a business case for such deployments in smaller markets, such as those that Frontier serves.
CenturyLink and Windstream face similar challenges, and Windstream already declared bankruptcy, although that bankruptcy was driven, at least in part, by a court decision that would potentially have left the company liable for large amounts of money. Meanwhile, CenturyLink has been emphasizing the enterprise market and gained considerable clout in that market when it acquired Level 3 Communications in 2017.
Some Frontier investors apparently are expecting a bankruptcy filing, according to Bloomberg, as they have hired advisors to work on post-reorganization business plans.
If Frontier does declare bankruptcy, the development may have relatively little impact on consumers, who the company will likely continue to serve as usual. Since its bankruptcy filing, Windstream obtained debtor-in-possession financing and has even been approved to participate in an upcoming spectrum auction. The company sees fixed wireless broadband as a more economical alternative to deploying FTTP that could make the company more competitive in the broadband market by supporting gigabit speeds.
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.
Robocalls on the rise: Americans get 18 spam calls per month, report says
Kristin Lam USA TODAY
The United States is again the eighth-most-spammed nation in the world and the annoying calls are on the rise, according to a new report.
Americans received 7% more spam calls in 2019 compared to the year before, said Truecaller, a Swedish company that tracks spam calls, but hung on to their ranking from the last annual report.
The report Tuesday comes after efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to crackdown on robocalls, which are the No.1 complaint consumers make to the agency.
Truecaller found robocalls in the U.S. increased by 35% in the last year, despite the four major service providers offering tools to block unwanted calls and identify potential scams.
Robocalls have gotten more sophisticated, said data analytics company Transaction Network Services, with some using the "spoofing" technique to avoid detection. Some scammers try to trick users into picking up a call that seems like it's coming from a neighbor.
To prevent spoofing, the FCC has mandated service providers use caller verification at the network level to verify the legitimacy of a call. Providers have until the end of the year to implement the SHAKEN/STIR, or Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited standard.
Brazil, which Treucaller ranked as the most-spammed-nation in 2019, received an average of 2.5 times more spam calls than the United States. Brazilians get about 46 spam calls per user per month, Truecaller said, while Americans get about 18.
The U.S. did not rank in the top 20 countries affected by spam SMS in 2019, according to Truecaller. Ethiopians get the most spam texts, with an average of 119 per month.
Robocall 'crackdown': FTC blocks more than a billion illegal calls, but problem festers
If you receive a robocall, the FTC's advice is:
Contributing: Dalvin Brown, Madeline Purdue and Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY
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
Dec 6, 2019, 07:33am
Clogged Up With Malware? Here’s The 5 Minute Reboot For Your Brain
Remy Blumenfeld Remy Blumenfeld, Contributor
If you’re like me, you hardly ever switch off your laptop and seldom run antivirus software. But, when you finally do get around to it, have you noticed how much faster and better your laptop operates, at least for a while? Well, it’s the same with your brain. Without proper maintenance, your brain gets clogged up by malware. So here’s how to reboot your brain.
The most common virus is the voice in your brain, which we’ll call your saboteur. If you're asking yourself ‘what voice?’ - that's who.
Typical advice you get from the voice in your head includes What makes you think YOU can do That? You'll make a fool of yourself!
Because your saboteur virus is so focused on steering you away from failure, rejection or pain, it invariably stops you from taking risks necessary for growth, connection, and success. This voice will always re-emerge to try to stop you from realizing your dreams.
You can’t erase the saboteur virus forever, but if you're tired of being alone in your head with this often critical and blaming voice, it’s time to re-boot and install some new programming software.
This particular virus has been growing slowly, since your earliest childhood. Perhaps an adult said you were fat, stupid or lazy. Whatever the words, you felt small, useless, or scared. Your power was diminished.
The antidote involves programming your brain with software to counter the saboteur virus. The secret is for you to add bespoke programming to counter the specific mutations the virus has taken in your brain.
If your saboteur virus is saying ‘I am stupid,’ you need to say aloud to yourself, ‘I am smart.’ Every morning. Three times.
If you wake up each morning feeling all over the place, try saying aloud to yourself, three times, ‘I am grounded.’
If your saboteur's voice is saying ‘I am ugly,’ you need to say aloud to yourself, ‘I am gorgeous.’
Combat the programming of ‘I am a failure’ by re-stating ‘I am successful.’ Of course, neither may be completely true, but to paraphrase Henry Ford, whether you think you can succeed or you think you can’t succeed, you’re right.
Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
FCC Amending Amateur Radio RF Exposure Safety Rules
The FCC is amending its Part 97 Amateur Service rules relating to RF exposure safety. In a lengthy document in ET Docket 19-226 released on December 4 that addresses a broad range of RF safety issues, the FCC said current amateur radio RF exposure safety limits will remain unchanged, but that the amateur-specific exemption from having to conduct an RF exposure evaluation will be replaced by the FCC’s general exemption criteria. Radio amateurs have always had to comply with RF exposure limits, but certain stations have been exempt from having to conduct evaluations based only upon power and frequency. The Commission indicated that by and large, if an RF source was “categorically excluded” from routine evaluation under the old rules, it will most likely still be exempt under the new rules, which are expected to take effect in the next couple of months.
“For applicants and licensees in the Amateur Radio Service, we substitute our general exemption criteria for the specific exemption from routine evaluation based on power alone in Section 97.13(c)(1) and specify the use of occupational/controlled limits for amateurs where appropriate,” the FCC said.
“The sky is not falling here,” ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, commented. “The major aspects of the rules will not impose major new burdens on the Amateur Radio Service. As in all regulatory matters, though, the devil may be in the details, so the ARRL technical staff, legal staff, and the experts on the ARRL RF Safety Committee are carefully evaluating this FCC document.”
Under the revised Section 97.13(c)(1), “In lieu of evaluation with the general population/uncontrolled exposure limits, amateur licensees may evaluate their operation with respect to members of his or her immediate household using the occupational/controlled exposure limits in Section 1.1310, provided appropriate training and information has been accessed by the amateur licensee and members of his/her household,” the amended rule says.
“RF exposure of other nearby persons who are not members of the amateur licensee’s household must be evaluated with respect to the general population/uncontrolled exposure limits. Appropriate methodologies and guidance for evaluating Amateur Radio Service operation is described in the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) Bulletin 65, Supplement B,” the revised rule concludes.
The FCC said it was not persuaded by ARRL’s argument in its comments that the routine evaluation exemption for amateur radio stations operating below a certain power threshold should be maintained. “Amateur radio licensees operate a variety of installations of different size, power, and frequency, which can be located in close proximity to people, giving rise to various RF exposure concerns,” the FCC noted.
In a meeting with FCC OET Chief Julius Knapp and senior staff in early November, ARRL asked the FCC to make available on the Internet a calculator to facilitate making the correct calculations the rules require. ARRL said that would be preferable to unofficial third-party calculators, the results from which might not be accorded the same degree of deference in local disputes. Several software programs were suggested as models.
The FCC did not single out amateur radio in drafting its latest RF exposure rules. The rules affect multiple services, and exemptions for many other services were also deleted as part of a broader policy driven by a proliferation of RF devices, some resulting in situations where gain antennas are sited much closer to people than was expected in 1996 when the rules were last revised.
House Heaps Criticism on Pai for Rural 5G Plans
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
House Commerce Committee members had pointed questions for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Thursday during an oversight hearing. Pai’s news Wednesday of the agency’s plans to create a $9 billion 5G rural fund generated a lot of questions about where that money would come from. Ranking member Greg Walden (R-OR) admonished the Chairman to give lawmakers, “a little more notice and communication” on future announcements.
Several lawmakers also questioned the agency’s decision not to prosecute carriers (such as Verizon, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular) for apparently giving false broadband coverage data to the FCC. Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) said the Commission’s “bungled” process means rural residents will wait even longer to get broadband.
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) said: “Many people buy their phones based on those [coverage] maps. Why in the world would they not be held accountable?”
Pai replied, “The maps we had were simply inaccurate. That’s why we chose to close down the process.” Earlier this week, agency officials told reporters the staff felt the carriers didn’t deliberately provide bad 4G data.
Doyle pressed Pai on when lawmakers would see the results of the FCC’s investigation. Pai said he’d get the information that was left out of what was publicly released and pass it on by the end of January. He clarified bad 4G coverage data doesn’t impact what the agency needs for 5G, and that the Commission wants to get public input early.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stressed: “We need maps before money,” meaning have accurate data concerning where the subsidies should go before handing out grants to carriers.
Some panel members questioned Pai’s plans to reallocate some 5.9 GHz spectrum reserved for auto safety purposes. Indeed, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao asked Pai to keep the band reserved for vehicle communications technology just two days before he announced his plan to carve out the lower 45 MHz for unlicensed Wi-Fi use.
Pai said much of the band has largely gone unused for decades. “This is unacceptable,” he said, which is why the agency at its meeting next week is planning to propose allowing unlicensed operations in the lower portion of the band via Wi-Fi. It plans to seek public input on retaining the upper portion of the band for auto safety communications via Dedicated Short Range Communications, and whether to allow Cellular Vehicle to Everything operations in the upper 20 MHz of the band.
Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said the issue is important because estimates show 80 percent of commercial wireless traffic will be carried on Wi-Fi in the coming years. “We’re talking about trillions of benefits to the economy.”
The hearing wasn’t all about bashing the FCC. Several lawmakers praised Pai for choosing a public auction option for the upcoming re-purposing of 200 MHz of C-band spectrum for wireless use.
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter|| Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers.
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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.
Auction 103 Mock Auction Tomorrow (Dec. 5); Actual Bidding Starts Dec. 10.
Participants in Auction 103 (the Spectrum Frontiers – Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz auction) should have received their SecurID bidding tokens for each of the authorized bidders directly from the FCC last week, and “activated” them today (Wednesday, December 4th) by assigning a Password and 4-digit PIN that they will use to access the bidding system. Step-by-step instructions for first-time activation of the SecurID tags is provided on the Getting Started guide sent with the auction registration materials or on pages 7-8 of the Auction 103 Clock Phase Bidding System User Guide. The web site address for the clock-phase bidding system is: https://auctions.fcc.gov/103.
The “mock auction” practice session will begin on Thursday morning, December 5th, with the following schedule:
Actual bidding in Auction 103 will begin on the morning of December 10.
FCC Chairman Announces $9 Billion 5G Fund for Rural America
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced today that he intends to establish a 5G Fund which would make up to $9 billion in Universal Service Fund support available to carriers for deployment of advanced 5G mobile wireless services in rural America. This major investment in rural America would be allocated through a reverse auction, and would target hard-to-serve areas with sparse populations and/or rugged terrain. The $9 billion Fund also would set aside at least $1 billion specifically for deployments facilitating precision agriculture needs.
“5G has the potential to bring many benefits to American consumers and businesses, including wireless networks that are more responsive, more secure, and up to 100 times faster than today’s 4G LTE networks,” said Chairman Pai. “We want to make sure that rural Americans enjoy these benefits, just as residents of large urban areas will. In order to do that, the Universal Service Fund must be forward-looking and support the networks of tomorrow. Moreover, America’s farms and ranches have unique wireless connectivity needs, as I’ve seen across the country. That’s why I will move forward as quickly as possible to establish a 5G Fund that would bring next-generation 5G services to rural areas and would reserve some of that funding for 5G networks that promote precision agriculture. We must ensure that 5G narrows rather than widens the digital divide and that rural Americans receive the benefits that come from wireless innovation.”
The 5G Fund would replace the planned Mobility Fund Phase II, which would have provided federal support for 4G LTE service in unserved areas. Pursuant to the Mobility Fund Phase II rules, wireless providers were required to submit 4G LTE coverage data in order to help the Commission target federal subsidies to unserved parts of the country. The Mobility Fund Phase II challenge process gave stakeholders an opportunity to dispute these coverage maps by submitting speed tests to the Commission. But in a report released today, Commission staff finds that the 4G LTE coverage data submitted by providers is not sufficiently reliable for the purpose of moving forward with Mobility Fund Phase II.
Specifically, FCC staff conducted thousands of speed tests to measure network performance and concluded that the MF-II coverage maps submitted by certain carriers likely overstated each provider’s actual coverage and did not reflect on-the-ground experience in many instances.
The staff report recommends that the Commission terminate the challenge process, audit the coverage filings of carriers in other proceedings before the Commission, and take additional steps to make sure that coverage data the Commission and the public rely on is accurate.
The report, which includes additional staff recommendations regarding future collections of mobile coverage maps, is available here: DOC-361165A1.pdf.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC to Open Six-Month Window for 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Licensing; Announces Schedule for Workshop and Outreach Events
In a Public Notice that was issued on Monday (DA 19-1226), the FCC announced that it would open its 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window on Monday, February 3, 2020, running through Monday, August 3, 2020. The item also established dates and times for its workshop on Rural Tribal Priority licensing in the 2.5 GHz band in Washington DC (at FCC Headquarters on Tuesday, January 14, 2020).
The FCC also scheduled a series of outreach events that interested clients may want to attend during the month of December, as follows:
As previously reported in the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC last summer voted to modernize the regulatory framework for the 2.5 GHz Educational Broadband Service (EBS) and to make a significant amount of EBS “white space” spectrum available for commercial service providers. A significant part of this action included establishing a Rural Tribal Priority Window to give federally recognized Tribes an opportunity to apply for unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum over their Tribal lands.
Additional information about the Rural Tribal Window is available on an FCC website located at www.fcc.gov/RuralTribalWindow. The website provides access to a mapping tool that can be used by Tribal entities to help them assess whether and to what extent there is unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum available over their eligible Tribal lands. We have reviewed the mapping tool, and since it identifies and maps the protected service areas of EBS incumbents nationwide, it can be used to determine the extent to which 2.5 GHz EBS spectrum may be available for commercial licensing after the Rural Tribal Priority licensing opportunity is complete.
Our law firm’s clients that are interested in obtaining valuable mid-band spectrum for fixed or mobile broadband services should evaluate the levels of incumbency and availability of EBS spectrum in their counties of interest, since the 2.5 GHz band (with county-based licenses) would now appear to be ready for auction in late 2020 and may provide a workable alternative to 3.5 GHz Priority Access Licenses (PALs) that will be auctioned starting next June (Auction 105) or c-Band spectrum (3.7-4.2 GHz) that is also slated for auction but which faces congressional and FCC hurdles due to the need to clear incumbent satellite operations from the band.
The 2.5 GHz band is the single largest band of contiguous spectrum below 3 GHz and offers coverage and capacity characteristics for next-generation fixed and mobile services that may be more effective in certain circumstances. The availability of county-based licenses, and relative lack of EBS incumbent licensing in many rural areas, make the EBS white space spectrum an opportunity for some our law firm’s clients to address wireless needs.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell and John Prendergast.
FCC Suspends Processing of Renewal Applications for Part 22 and Part 90 Systems Operating on 470- 512 MHz (T-Band) Spectrum; Chairman Pai Urges Congress to Repeal T-Band Mandate
In a Public Notice released on Monday, the FCC announced that, until further notice, it would accept, but not grant, applications to renew Part 22 and Part 90 licenses for operation in the 470-512 MHz band (also known as the “T-Band”). As a related matter, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a statement urging Congress to repeal the mandate to auction T-band spectrum and allow public-safety officials to continue using the UHF spectrum.
“In 2012, Congress passed legislation requiring the FCC to reallocate and auction T-band spectrum used for decades by public-safety licensees and fund the relocation of those licensees elsewhere,” Pai said. “The agency has extensively analyzed the T-band and concluded that moving forward is not viable. Relocation costs for public-safety licensees would likely far exceed any potential auction revenue, making it impossible to fund the relocation and comply with the mandate. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed, reporting to Congress that the T-band mandate is unworkable and could deprive first responders of their current ability to communicate by radio.”
“Because of these concerns, I’m calling on Congress to repeal the T-Band mandate. I’m hopeful that Congress can resolve this matter without delay. Doing so will not only protect public safety communications in the T-Band but will also allow our dedicated auction staff to focus in 2020 on auctions that will make new airwaves available for 5G, like spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands.”
According to the FCC, licensees that have filed, and will in the future file, timely and complete applications for renewal of license may continue to operate using their licensed facilities past the license expiration date while the suspension is in effect.
Wireless use of the T-band consists of otherwise unused broadcast spectrum in TV channels 14 – 20 in 11 cities. The spectrum contains about 925 public-safety entities and 700 industrial/business entities. Significantly, the industrial/business operations are on frequencies interleaved with public safety channels; yet the 2012 Act mandating relocation of public safety T-band operations did not address the fate of these industrial/business licensees, adding to the problematic nature of trying to clear and auction off T-band spectrum.
Five senators last month reintroduced the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act, legislation that repeals the provision of the 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act that directed the FCC to auction this band of spectrum by 2021. Rep. Eliott Engel introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
BloostonLaw Contact: John Prendergast
FCC Maintains RF Radiation Exposure Limits, Seeks to Establish a Uniform RF Evaluation Requirement that May Mean More Work for Licensees
In a “Resolution of Notice of Inquiry, Second Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order” (Order) released on December 4, the FCC announced a plan to continue to ensure the health and safety of workers and consumers of wireless technology. The Order maintains the FCC’s existing radio-frequency (RF) exposure limits and also establishes a uniform set of guidelines for ensuring compliance with the limits regardless of the service or technology, replacing the FCC’s current inconsistent patchwork of service-specific rules. In addition, the FCC seeks comment on establishing rules formalizing its existing methods of determining compliance with the RF exposure standard for high-frequency devices.
The Order includes these main components:
Finally, the FCC denied a pending petition for reconsideration and affirmed its prior finding that the pinnae (outer ears) should be treated like other extremities for purposes of determining compliance with the RF emission exposure limits.
In 2013, BloostonLaw submitted Comments in this proceeding for certain clients, urging the FCC to (1) apply any RF rule changes on a prospective basis only; (2) retain the existing service-based exemption for Private Land Mobile Radio Service licensees, even if the proposed “uniform” exemption is adopted; (3) adopt the proposed uniform exemption only as an option, and with appropriate safeguards; (4) adopt a 2-watt blanket exemption option; (5) develop workable and common sense criteria for multiple antenna situations, and refrain from imposing liability on radio operations if subsequent site users cause a non-compliance situation; (6) refrain from adopting signage/notification requirements that would create undue public concern; and (7) ensure that any revisiting of the current RF emission standards allow the new requirements adopted in this proceeding to be implemented, the results evaluated, and the compliance costs recovered.
We are in the process of reviewing the details of the 159-page Order. At first blush, it appears that commercial and private radio licensees benefit because they will not have to worry about retroactive application of a tougher RF radiation standard; however, the FCC’s decision to move to a uniform, one size fits all rule for determining compliance with RF standards may create more work for licensees to verify compliance, whereas the prior rule allowed most of our clients to quickly and easily determine that they were exempt from measuring RF compliance, based on the type of license they held, antenna height and ERP. Most commercial wireless licensees and private radio licensees could take advantage of service-based exemptions that now appear to have been eliminated.
BloostonLaw Contact: John Prendergast
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.
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