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SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) Raised to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research
Posted by Sean Solarzano on Jun 26th, 2019
SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.
According to Zacks, “SK Telecom Co. is the world’s first commercial CDMA digital cellular service. As of September 30, 1997, they have provided the highest quality service for more than 4 million cellular customers which includes 2.3 million digital cellular customers, and 7.1 million paging customers.”
About SK Telecom
US government is working on mysterious malware detection project
By Anthony Spadafora
MalSee is able to detect malware faster than current methods
A malware infection can cripple organizations as well as governments which is why the US Navy's Center for High Assurance Computer Systems (CHACS) is currently working on a new mysterious malware detection project.
CHACS is branch of the Information Technology Division at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) which conducts research and development in the areas of Information Assurance (IA) and cybersecurity. As the organization's specialist arm, CHACS deals with a range of cyber issues ranging from communications security to software engineering.
Jane's 360 recently learned from the section head of CHACS' network security research division, Joseph Matthews that it is currently pursuing improved malware detection through a project called MalSee.
The project is being carried out in partnership with both academic and industry partners alongside the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
California-based Mayachitra is one of the industry partners currently working on the MalSee project which aims to use “vision, hearing, and other features to detect malware.
According to an award information post on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program's website, Mayachitra was awarded the contract to develop the project back in 2015 and was given almost $80k to do so. Further details regarding the project's scope and nature are provided in an abstract, which reads:
“We propose MalSee to leverage recent research performed by principals at Mayachitra to recast the suspect software binaries as images and exploit computer vision techniques to automatically classify malware. This approach offers the following advantages: Robustness to variations, speed and scalability, route for further exploration.”
On its website, Mayachitra explained that MalSee is a new malware detection and classification system that is deployed as a web-accessible service. The company's unique technology allows for robust and fast detection of harmful computer viruses, offering a 1,000x speedup compared to existing methods. MalSee leverages signal processing, pattern recognition and deep learning to detect malware faster than the current methods employed today.
Mayachitra joins the likes of Deep Instinct, Sentinel One, Cylance and other security companies that are using AI, deep learning and other emerging technologies in the fight against cybercrime.
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.
We are having a cold spell in Southern, Illinois
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
TIME TO HUDDLE UP
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Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do freely express my own opinions.
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Passive Audio Amps For Smart Phones
FCC lets Verizon lock cell phones to network for 60 days after activation
Verizon, seeking to deter theft, gets FCC waiver to lock phones for 60 days.
JON BRODKIN - 6/26/2019, 4:43 PM
Verizon yesterday received the government's permission to lock handsets to its network for 60 days after each device's activation, despite open-access rules that apply to one of Verizon's key spectrum licenses.
The Federal Communications Commission waiver approval said 60-day locks will "allow Verizon to better combat identity theft and other forms of handset-related fraud."
Verizon generally sells its phones unlocked, meaning they can be used on any carrier's network as long as the device and network are compatible with each other. This is largely because of rules the FCC applied to 700MHz spectrum that Verizon bought at auction in 2008. The 700MHz spectrum rules say that a license holder may not "disable features on handsets it provides to customers... nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers' networks."
But Verizon in February asked the FCC for permission to lock phones for 60 days, saying this is necessary to deter fraud when people buy phones on payment plans that require little or no down payment.
Verizon tries to deter armed robberies
Verizon already locks phones prior to sale in order to deter armed robberies from stores or trucks, and the company unlocks them at the time of activation. But Verizon told the FCC that fraudsters often "use a stolen identity or other fraudulent means to obtain a new handset on an existing customer's account or to open a new wireless service account, and then immediately turn around and sell the handset on the black market without ever paying for the device or the service."
Verizon argued that the 60-day locking period would give the company time to collect and verify the first device payment. The waiting period, says Verizon, would have "minimal, if any" effect on legitimate customers because few ever switch carriers within 60 days.
While the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted Verizon's request for a partial waiver from the open-access rule, it denied Verizon's request for a declaratory ruling "finding the handset unlocking rule already permits such temporary locking."
The FCC is "not persuaded that Verizon's interpretation" of the rule is accurate, the commission order said. "We do, however, find that the limited waiver of the unlocking requirement that Verizon requests would serve the public interest and therefore grant Verizon's request for a partial waiver."
Smaller carriers opposed Verizon request
The FCC approved Verizon's waiver despite opposition from T-Mobile and a trade group that represents rural carriers. T-Mobile told the FCC that "Verizon does not demonstrate that allowing it a 60-day period to lock phones would help address the problem."
T-Mobile imposes a stricter unlocking policy, requiring customers to pay for the entire cost of a phone before unlocking it. But T-Mobile doesn't face the same open-access rules because it uses different spectrum. The company told the FCC that the lack of a rule applying to other carriers "does not justify the Commission waiving a rule that it purposefully applied to spectrum that Verizon holds."
Verizon knew the restrictions when it bid on the spectrum, and "the no-locking provisions of the rules almost certainly affected the auction price of this spectrum," T-Mobile wrote.
The Rural Wireless Association (RWA) argued that Verizon's waiver would have negative effects on rural carriers and rural customers, and said that it opposes device locking in general.
The RWA also said the alleged benefits of a 60-day locking policy "are far outweighed by the public benefits that are derived from Verizon's continued compliance with the rule."
Rural carrier Pine Belt Cellular argued that the 60-day locks will make it harder for people to buy phones from Verizon and then switch to a different carrier.
"Verizon subscribers are given the freedom to, at any time, switch carriers for better wireless coverage or better-priced services and keep their existing handsets—a freedom of choice that no other carrier provides, and a freedom that likely explains, in part, why so many consumers initially select Verizon as their wireless provider," Pine Belt wrote. Rural customers are often dissuaded from buying the newest and best phones "because the larger carriers offering these devices do not provide strong service—or possibly any service—near the rural consumer's home or place of business," Pine Belt wrote.
FCC: Opposition “unconvincing”
The FCC said it found the RWA and Pine Belt arguments "unconvincing."
"[T]here is no need for rural customers to acquire handsets through Verizon if they intend to use another carrier's service; they can simply buy a handset directly from the manufacturer or through another retail outlet," the FCC said.
The FCC also rejected an argument by Verizon customer Alex Nguyen, who previously filed a net neutrality complaint against Verizon in 2016, when the net neutrality rules were still in place. (The FCC still hasn't ruled on his three-year-old complaint.) More recently, Nguyen urged the FCC to reject Verizon's waiver request, saying it is "inconsistent with the handset-locking prohibition," that it "won't protect customers from identity theft, and won't prevent fraudsters from using other people's money to buy a $999 phone from Verizon."
The FCC said it rejected this argument "because we find that a limited waiver of the handset-unlocking rule will provide Verizon with the tools to reduce identity theft and fraud without imposing an undue burden on Verizon's customers."
Verizon's request for a partial waiver got support from an unlikely source: consumer-advocacy group Public Knowledge, which has opposed Verizon on many other issues. Public Knowledge told the FCC that Verizon's waiver request meets "the high burden required to demonstrate that waiver of the rule would serve the public interest in this specific case."
"Public Knowledge is sympathetic to Verizon's goal of thwarting individuals from using stolen identities and fake credit cards to steal expensive mobile handsets," the group said. "Public Knowledge recognizes that ultimately consumers pay for these losses with increased prices."
But just like the FCC, Public Knowledge opposed Verizon's request for a declaratory ruling that would have changed the effective meaning of the open-access rule. Though Verizon's waiver request is reasonable, the open-access rule's ban on handset locking "is not ambiguous," Public Knowledge said.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), another federal agency, generally supported the waiver but urged the FCC to require a locking period shorter than 60 days. The commission could "appropriately tailor a waiver in part by requiring Verizon to unlock a newly obtained device as soon as the first payment is successfully processed," the NTIA said.
The FCC rejected the NTIA argument, pointing to Verizon's argument that "60 days is the minimum necessary to accomplish the purpose of the temporary unlocking, in order to allow for the amount of time it takes to receive and process customer payments, to identify fraud via checks from accounts with insufficient funds or stolen debit or credit cards, and to obtain information about transactions through indirect agents or national retailers."
The FCC also said it "agree[s] with Verizon's assessment that the 'added complexity of specifying exceptions' to [the] 60-day waiver of the unlocking rule, as suggested by NTIA, would not 'provide offsetting consumer benefits.'"
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.
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Back To Paging
Still The Most Reliable Protocol For Wireless Messaging!
I would like to recommend Easy Solutions for Support of all Glenayre Paging Equipment. This Texas company is owned and operated by Vaughan Bowden. I have known Vaughan for over 35 years. Without going into a long list of his experience and qualifications, let me just say that he was the V.P. of Engineering at PageNet which was—at that time—the largest paging company in the world. So Vaughan knows Paging.
GTES is no longer offering support contracts. GTES was the original group from Vancouver that was setup to offer support to customers that wanted to continue with the legacy Glenayre support. Many U.S. customers chose not to use this service because of the price and the original requirement to upgrade to version 8.0 software (which required expensive hardware upgrades, etc.). Most contracts ended as of February 2018.
If you are at all concerned about future support of Glenayre products, especially the “king of the hill” the GL3000 paging control terminal, I encourage you to talk to Vaughan about a service contract and please tell him about my recommendation.
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Jony Ive, iPhone designer, announces Apple departure
Outgoing chief design officer speaks to the FT about his venture, LoveFrom
Tim Bradshaw, Global Technology Correspondent
Jony Ive is leaving Apple after more than two decades in which his iconic designs for the Mac, iPod and iPhone turned one of Silicon Valley’s faded giants into the world’s most valuable company and defined a generation of consumer products.
Sir Jonathan is setting up his own new venture, a creative business called LoveFrom, with Apple as its first client. The transition will begin later this year, with LoveFrom launching fully in 2020.
“While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come,” Sir Jonathan told the FT in an exclusive interview. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change.”
The departure of the world’s most famous industrial designer and the custodian of the entire Apple aesthetic — from its hardware and software to its physical architecture — will come as a shock to its investors and customers. Many see Sir Jonathan as one of its most crucial assets as it looks beyond the iPhone into a new phase of products and services.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, sought to play down the changes as an “evolution”, pointing to an expanded group of in-house designers that is “the strongest it’s ever been.”
Apple's Jony Ive: why the chief design officer chose to leave
“We get to continue with the same team that we’ve had for a long time and have the pleasure of continuing to work with Jony,” Mr Cook told the FT. “I can’t imagine a better result.”
Nonetheless, news of another leadership change so soon after retail chief Angela Ahrendts left in April, at a time when trade tensions between the US and China have destabilised iPhone sales, brings yet more uncertainty for Apple investors after a tumultuous first half of 2019.
Sir Jonathan, who was knighted by the Queen in 2012, has provided vital continuity for Apple’s strategic vision since the death of its co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011 and is seen by some observers of the company as more important than Mr Cook to its pipeline of future innovations.
No immediate successor
No immediate successor will take Sir Jonathan’s title of chief design officer, which he has held since 2015. Alan Dye, who oversees Apple’s user interface team, and Evans Hankey, who now leads industrial design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, who also played a key role in the development of Apple Watch.
Little is known about LoveFrom but Sir Jonathan has ambitious plans for his new business, which he said would be based in California “for now.” Marc Newson, a longstanding friend and collaborator who became part of Apple’s design team in 2014, will also join the new firm, alongside what Sir Jonathan called “a collection of creatives” spanning several different disciplines beyond design.
While he would not be drawn on the full extent of LoveFrom’s work, Sir Jonathan said that he would continue to work on wearable technology and healthcare, two of Apple’s strategic priorities, as well as various “personal passions.” Apple will retain LoveFrom for design services relating to a variety of unspecified projects but LoveFrom will also take on other clients.
“There are products that we have been working on for a number of years,” he said of his continuing work at Apple. “I’m beyond excited that I get to continue working on those, and there are some new projects as well that I’ll get to develop and contribute to.”
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NSA Improperly Collected U.S. Phone Records a Second Time
Documents show the agency gathered metadata about calls and text messages last October in error
By Dustin Volz
The National Security Agency collected records about U.S. calls and text messages that it wasn’t authorized to obtain last year, in a second such incident, renewing privacy concerns surrounding the agency’s maligned phone-surveillance program, according to government documents and people familiar with the matter.
The previously undisclosed error, which took place last October, occurred several months after the NSA said it had purged hundreds of millions of metadata records it had amassed since 2015 due to a separate over-collection episode. Metadata include the numbers and time stamps of a call or text message but not the contents of the conversation.
The American Civil Liberties Union obtained the documents, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit involving the surveillance program. They are heavily redacted internal NSA memos that discuss oversight of intelligence-collection activities.
“These documents only confirm that this surveillance program is beyond redemption and should be shut down for good,” Patrick Toomey, an ACLU staff attorney, said in a statement. “The NSA’s collection of Americans’ call records is too sweeping, the compliance problems too many, and evidence of the program’s value all but nonexistent. There is no justification for leaving this surveillance power in the NSA’s hands.”
It wasn’t clear from the documents how many records the NSA improperly collected in October. The NSA’s media relations chief, Greg Julian, declined to comment specifically on the episode, but referred to the previously acknowledged incident of over-collection, disclosed last summer, in which telecommunications firms supplied information the NSA hadn’t been authorized to obtain.
“While NSA lawfully sought data pertaining to a foreign power engaged in international terrorism, the provider produced inaccurate data and data beyond which NSA sought,” Mr. Julian said.
The documents obtained by the ACLU suggest a similar situation, where a telecommunications firm, whose name is redacted, furnished call-data records the NSA hadn’t requested and weren’t approved by orders of the secretive U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The company told the NSA it began delivering those records on Oct. 3, 2018, until that Oct. 12, when the agency asked it investigate the “anomaly.”
The ACLU said the documents also suggest an individual may have been targeted for surveillance as a result of the first over-collection episode, which led to the deletion of the program’s entire database in June 2018. The documents reveal that violation involved “targeting requests” that were approved by the surveillance court.
The revelation of another compliance issue is the latest hurdle for the once-secret surveillance program that began under the George W. Bush administration following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. As initially designed, the program sought to collect the metadata of all domestic calls in the U.S. to hunt for links among potential associates of terrorism suspects.
Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, leaked the existence of the program—along with a trove of documents exposing other surveillance operations carried out by the NSA—to journalists six years ago. The disclosures ignited an international uproar over the scope of the U.S.’s electronic-spying capabilities. Disclosures in 2013 by Edward Snowden caused an international uproar over the scope of the U.S.’s electronic-surveillance capabilities.
Following Mr. Snowden’s 2013 disclosures, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act in 2015, requiring the NSA to replace its bulk-metadata program with a pared-down system under which call records are retained by telephone companies. But that new system is now viewed by many within the intelligence community as more of a burden than a useful tool, in part due to the compliance issues. The Journal reported in April that the NSA has recommended shuttering the program due to logistical and legal burdens.
It wasn’t clear if the October episode is a factor in the NSA’s current thinking about the program’s fate. A national-security adviser for the Republican congressional leadership said in a March podcast interview that the NSA hadn’t used the program in the preceding six months, which would roughly align with the reported October collection violation.
Any final decision on whether to push for legislation to renew the surveillance tool would be made by the White House, which hasn’t yet reached a policy decision. “This is an interagency deliberative process that will be decided by the Administration,” said Mr. Julian, the NSA spokesman.
The NSA report said the impact on civil liberties or privacy of the October over-collection incident was limited due to quick identification of the issue and “purge processes,” but it said a further review would be provided once the investigation was completed. The file, from February, listed the investigation into the matter as still active.
The documents are surfacing publicly as Congress is moving closer to debating portions of the Patriot Act that will lapse in December if lawmakers don’t pass renewal legislation before then. Congressional committees with oversight of the NSA’s surveillance operations were briefed on the October over-collection episode, according to people familiar with the matter.
Late Tuesday, the ACLU sent a letter to Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Democrat and Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee, saying the documents showed the surveillance program wasn’t operating within the law and should be terminated.
The Judiciary Committee has begun considering legislation to deal with the expiring Patriot Act provisions, and it likely won’t include a renewal of the phone-surveillance program, a committee aide said.
Congressional support for the program has been waning in both parties.
“Every new incident like this that becomes public is another reason this massive surveillance program needs to be permanently scrapped,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), a longtime critic of the program, said. “But it is unacceptable that basic information about the program is still being withheld from the public.”
|Source:||The Wall Street Journal|
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Internet Protocol Terminal
The IPT accepts Internet or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.
An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.
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Paging Data Receiver PDR-4
The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.
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Wireless Network Planners
The ARCIA Communications Update - future trends in communications
As a Queensland ARCIA member, we are excited to invite you to our first conference - hosted in Brisbane on 25 July!
There will be presentations and workshops on topics of interest to both industry and public safety. We invite you to come along to this event and learn more about future trends and what this will mean for many communications users.
The program content includes –
In parallel with the above program, ARCIA will also be running two Professional Development sessions on the day. The content will be –
Both of these sessions are designed for technical staff and successful completion will be logged under the ARCIA Technical Development program.
The conference and workshops have been priced to make it accessible for members to attend.
ARCIA Head Office
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.
Tasty Fiber Network Appeals to Kentucky Squirrels
As quickly as Kentucky is working to establish a broadband network, the state’s squirrels are busily chewing it apart, reports Vice.com. Project COO Mike Hayden, recently said, “It seems Kentucky has an abundance of squirrels that like to chew through fiber.” Experts have been unable to determine if the squirrels enjoy the taste of the casing, or if the material simply provides a good chew for rodent teeth.
Squirrels in other states also find the telecommunication fibers irresistible. Fred Lawler, president of transit carrier Level 13 commented, “Honestly, I don’t understand what the big attraction is or why they feel compelled to gnaw through cables. Our guys in the field have given this some thought and jokingly suspect the cable manufacturers of using peanut oil in the sheathing.”
Whatever the reason for the attraction, squirrel damage can be significant, and expensive. Kentucky determined it needs an additional $110 million to continue with the broadband fiber installation, in part, to combat squirrel infractions. Talk within the industry, speculates the hungry rodents are responsible for numerous outages, and may be responsible for more destruction than cyber attacks.
As it moves forward, KentuckyWired said it will use some of its funding to install more, “armored fiber” in wooded areas where the squirrel population is the highest. The project is already well past its original deployment date of 2018, but with rodent countermeasures in place, Kentucky’s broadband outreach program marches on.
|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.
REMINDER: Form 481 Due Monday, July 1
On Monday, July 1, all eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) must report the information required by Section 54.313, which includes information on the ETC’s holding company, operating companies, ETC affiliates and any branding in response to section 54.313(a)(8); its CAF-ICC certification, if applicable; its financial information, if a privately held rate-of-return carrier; and its satellite backhaul certification, if applicable.
Network outage information for voice; unfulfilled service requests for voice and broadband; number of complaints per 1,000 subscribers for voice and broadband services; voice and broadband service rates; and the service quality certification are not required for full ETCs or Lifeline-only ETCs that were not granted ETC status by the FCC. Further, the FCC no longer requires full ETCs to file copies of Form 481 with the FCC, state commissions, or tribal authorities. However, Lifeline-only ETCs are still required to file such copies, and state commissions may have their own rules regarding the form that are still in effect.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for July Open Meeting
On June 21, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the June Open Commission Meeting, which is currently scheduled for July 10:
Please note, the links included in the descriptions of these items are to public drafts that are not final and may differ from what the FCC ultimately considers.
Meetings are streamed live at www.fcc.gov/live and can be followed on social media with #OpenMtgFCC.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
FCC Sets September 9 Short-Form Deadline for Next 5G Spectrum Auction
The FCC’s auction of licenses in the Upper 37 GHz (37.6–38.6 GHz), 39 GHz (38.6–40 GHz), and 47 GHz (47.2–48.2 GHz) bands – known as “Auction 103” – is currently scheduled to begin on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. A draft item on Auction 103 procedures that is on circulation (attached) sets a short-form application deadline of Monday, September 9, 2019. Assuming the item is adopted without significant changes in the FCC’s July Open Meeting, this leaves just ten weeks for interested clients to form bidding entities and to negotiate joint bidding arrangements, if they are so inclined. Upfront payments for Auction 103 will be due by October 22nd.
Auction 103 is the FCC’s third and largest auction of high-band spectrum that is intended to further the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other advanced spectrum-based services. Small business and rural service provider bidding credits will be available for qualified bidders. The proceeding will make available for bidding 100 megahertz blocks of spectrum licensed by Partial Economic Area (PEA) service area. The specific number of Upper 37 GHz and 39 GHz licenses to be auctioned in each PEA will be determined by the Initial Commitments of 39 GHz incumbents to either accept modified licenses, reconfigured to conform with the new band plan and service areas, or to relinquish their existing spectrum usage rights in exchange for a share of the auction proceeds and the opportunity to bid for new licenses in Auction 103. If all incumbents choose to relinquish their licenses, the FCC will offer new licenses for 3,400 megahertz of spectrum across all three spectrum bands, or 34 licenses in every PEA.
The “high-band” spectrum that is the subject of Auction 103 has similar technical characteristics to 28 GHz Band spectrum that was made available in Auction 101 and 24 GHz Band spectrum that is the subject of Auction 102, although signal propagation will not be as good as in those bands. The 37-39 GHz and 47 GHz bands offer large 100 megahertz channels for high capacity networks, but the short transmission paths and high propagation losses in the millimeter wave (mmW) bands make the spectrum better suited for micro-cellular deployments, rather than coverage of large or rural areas.
With respect to Auction 103 bidding procedures, the FCC will use an “ascending clock auction” format for generic spectrum blocks in each band, followed by a sealed bid assignment phase whereby winning clock-phase bidders have the option to submit additional bids for particular channels or channel groupings. This is similar to the format used for the 24 GHz auction that just ended. All winning bidders, regardless of whether they bid in the assignment phase, will be assigned licenses for contiguous spectrum blocks in a PEA. The clock phase of Auction 103 will serve as both the forward and reverse portions of the incentive auction by determining the prices and winners of new flexible use licenses, as well as determining the amount of incentive payments to those incumbent 39 GHz Band licensees that relinquish spectrum usage rights.
As in Auctions 101 and 102, the FCC is using a tiered approach under which upfront payments and minimum opening bid amounts will vary by market population. This has resulted in very reasonable upfront payment and minimum opening bid amounts for rural PEAs, and some participants in Auctions 101 and 102 have been fortunate enough to acquire licenses for their desired PEA(s) for not much more than the minimum amount. Such a result could be even more likely if a large supply of license blocks in a given PEA exceeds bidder demand.
UMFUS Buildout Requirements
Previously established construction requirements in the Part 30 Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) provide licensees with a variety of options for meeting their minimum buildout requirements at Year 10 (as part of their license renewal application). Licensees relying on mobile or point-to-multipoint service must show that they are providing reliable signal coverage and service to at least 40 percent of the population within the service area and that they are providing service either to customers or for internal use. Licensees relying on point-to-point service must demonstrate that they have four links operating and providing service, either to customers or for internal use, if the service area population is 268,000 POPs or less.
Under new rules that were published in the Federal Register last summer, UMFUS licensees may alternatively choose to demonstrate buildout though meeting a geographic construction benchmark. Licensees relying on the geographic benchmark for mobile or point-to-multipoint services must show that they are providing reliable signal coverage and service to at least 25% of the geographic area of the license. For rural service areas, which may be quite large and sparsely populated, a geographic benchmark based on land area may not always be feasible. Alternatively, licensees relying on the geographic benchmark for fixed point-to-point links or other, low-power point-to-point connections must show that they have deployed at least one transmitter or receiver (i.e., presence) in at least 25% of the census tracts within the license area.
This latter buildout metric was created to accommodate deployments, such as sensor networks, that are not designed to provide mobile or point-to-multipoint area coverage, and for whom calculating “coverage of 25% of the area” would therefore not be a meaningful standard. Assuming the cost of low-power IoT systems is reasonable, and if precision farming/ranching services develop as expected, then this “25% of the census tracts” IoT buildout metric could provide a feasible alternative for rural counties that may consist of just one or only a handful of census tracts.
Auction 103 will provide our clients with an opportunity to acquire a significant amount of millimeter wave spectrum that could be utilized for 5G services such as precision agriculture or smart roadways, as well as IoT services and/or high capacity last half-mile links. Interested clients should discuss business plans with their strategic partners and begin their due diligence now. We are available to assist our clients in this regard, and will be available throughout the summer for organizational calls with prospective bidders and/or bidder groups that wish to find out further about this auction opportunity.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell and John Prendergast.
USDA Announces $50 Million in Broadband Funding Awards; More than $2 Billion Still Available
On June 24, Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley announced the names of 40 rural communities that are receiving a total of $50 million for projects in 17 states, and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has more than $2 billion still available this year to invest in community facilities and infrastructure projects in rural areas.
According to the Press Release, more than 100 types of projects are eligible for funding under USDA’s Community Facilities program. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks. Congress appropriated $2.8 billion for Community Facilities direct loans and grants in fiscal year 2019.
The 40 projects Baxley announced today are in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia. For example:
“Modern and accessible education, health care, public safety and municipal services are foundational to quality of life in any community,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities to build the facilities in which these essential services are located, and to improve the infrastructure these services rely on to operate in rural America.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Sal Taillefer.
Law & Regulation
House Committee Advances Bipartisan Robocall Bill
On June 20, Rep. Pallone(D-NJ), Rep. Walden (R-OR), Rep. Doyle (D-PA), and Rep. Latta (R-OH) introduced a bi-partisan version of the “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” originally introduced by Rep. Pallone on February 4, 2019. If enacted into law, this bill would, among other things:
The bill passed a committee markup on June 21 by voice vote, will now move on to consideration by the full House. The Senate, which will consider the bill after House approval, approved a similar measure by a 97-1 margin last month.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
Leased Commercial Access Rule Revisions Effective July 22; Comment on Further Revisions Sought
On June 20, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, in which the FCC adopted certain updates to its existing leased access rules, and sought comment on further revisions. The revisions in the Report and Order are effective July 22, and comments on the NPRM are also due July 22. Reply comments on the NPRM are due August 5.
Specifically, in the Report and Order the FCC:
In the NPRM, the FCC proposed to modify the leased access rate formula so that rates will be specific to the tier on which the programming is carried. It also seeks comment on whether to make additional adjustments to the formula, and on whether leased access requirements can withstand First Amendment scrutiny in light of video programming market changes.
In this item the FCC also vacated the 2008 Leased Access Order, but this has no practical effect on existing operations because that order never went into effect due to a stay by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Office of Management and Budget issuance of a notice of disapproval of the associated information collection requirements.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy.
Comments on SHAKEN/STIR Call Authentication NPRM Due July 24
On June 24, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking inviting issues pertaining to the implementation of SHAKEN/STIR. Comments are due on or before July 24, 2019, and reply comments are due on or before August 23, 2019.
Specifically, the FCC proposes:
The NPRM appeared in the Federal Register alongside the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling on carriers’ ability to implement call blocking services, which was effective upon release on July 7.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
Four More Attorneys General Join Lawsuit over Sprint/T-Mobile Merger
On June 21, Reuters reported that Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Nevada will be included in an amended complaint in the lawsuit to block the T-Mobile/Sprint merger in federal court in New York. Lawyers for the states and the companies also proposed Oct. 7 for the start of a trial.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, earlier this month ten state attorneys general, led by Letitia James of New York and Xavier Becerra of California, filed a lawsuit to block the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, alleging that it would cost subscribers at least $4.5 billion annually, and that lower-income and minority communities would be hit especially hard.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai criticized the states’ lawsuit in remarks made last week to the New York State Wireless Association, calling it “misguided,” and arguing it will harm efforts to build out 5G wireless access. “Make no mistake about it, government officials trying to block this transaction are working to stop many upstate New Yorkers and other rural Americans from getting access to fast mobile broadband,” the Chairman said. He also noted that Sprint would not be able to build a 5G network alone, but “[i]f the T-Mobile/Sprint transaction is approved, the combined company will have the capacity to do just that,” he said. “I hope that these misguided efforts fail.”
Commissioner Starks Announces Network Security Workshop
On June 21, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks announced that he will host a workshop to hear from interested parties on how to address the national security threats posed by insecure equipment within communications networks. The workshop is scheduled for June 27 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC Headquarters, and audio/video coverage of the meeting will be broadcast live with open captioning over the Internet from the FCC's web page at www.fcc.gov/live.
The tentative agenda for the workshop includes a panel that will focus on how to identify which equipment poses a threat and where it is located; a panel that will consider options for fixing identified security problems, including discussion of what equipment needs to be fixed, whether replacing equipment is the best approach, or whether monitoring or other measures can be part of the solution; and a panel that will address questions regarding funding, including the amount required for equipment replacement and threat mitigation, potential public and private sources, and what safeguards and other conditions should be attached.
FCC to Hold EAS Workshop for Low Power Broadcasters
On June 25, the FCC announced an upcoming webinar for low power broadcasters. According to the Public Notice, the webinar will include an overview of the EAS and instructions on how to register and file in the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). It is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 11. Access is available through WebEx.
JULY 1: FCC FORM 481 (CARRIER ANNUAL REPORTING DATA COLLECTION FORM). All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) must report the information required by Section 54.313, which includes information on the ETC’s holding company, operating companies, ETC affiliates and any branding in response to section 54.313(a)(8); its CAF-ICC certification, if applicable; its financial information, if a privately held rate-of-return carrier; and its satellite backhaul certification, if applicable.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
JULY 1: MOBILITY FUND PHASE I ANNUAL REPORT. Winning bidders in Auction 901 that are authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support are required to submit to the FCC an annual report each year on July 1 for the five years following authorization. Each annual report must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary, clearly referencing WT Docket No. 10-208; the Universal Service Administrator; and the relevant state commissions, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described in Section 54.1009 of the FCC’s rules.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Sal Taillefer.
JULY 31: FCC FORM 507, UNIVERSAL SERVICE QUARTERLY LINE COUNT UPDATE. Line count updates are required to recalculate a carrier's per line universal service support, and is filed with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). This information must be submitted on July 31 each year by all rate-of-return incumbent carriers, and on a quarterly basis if a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier (CETC) has initiated service in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area and reported line count data to USAC in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area, in order for the incumbent carrier to be eligible to receive Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS). This quarterly filing is due July 31 and covers lines served as of December 31, 2018. Incumbent carriers filing on a quarterly basis must also file on September 30 (for lines served as of March 31, 2019); December 30 (for lines served as of June 30, 2019), and March 31, 2020, for lines served as of September 30, 2019).
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
JULY 31: CARRIER IDENTIFICATION CODE (CIC) REPORTS. Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Reports must be filed by the last business day of July (this year, July 31). These reports are required of all carriers who have been assigned a CIC code by NANPA. Failure to file could result in an effort by NANPA to reclaim it, although according to the Guidelines this process is initiated with a letter from NANPA regarding the apparent non-use of the CIC code. The assignee can then respond with an explanation. (Guidelines Section 6.2). The CIC Reporting Requirement is included in the CIC Assignment Guidelines, produced by ATIS. According to section 1.4 of that document: At the direction of the NANPA, the access providers and the entities who are assigned CICs will be requested to provide access and usage information to the NANPA, on a semi-annual basis to ensure effective management of the CIC resource. (Holders of codes may respond to the request at their own election). Access provider and entity reports shall be submitted to NANPA no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31, and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. It is also referenced in the NANPA Technical Requirements Document, which states at 7.18.6: CIC holders shall provide a usage report to the NANPA per the industry CIC guidelines … The NAS shall be capable of accepting CIC usage reports per guideline requirements on January 31 for the period ending December 31 and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. These reports may also be mailed and accepted by the NANPA in paper form. Finally, according to the NANPA website, if no local exchange carrier reports access or usage for a given CIC, NANPA is obliged to reclaim it. The semi-annual utilization and access reporting mechanism is described at length in the guidelines.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its recent decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual form (Form 499-A) that was due April 1.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT: Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by August 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
AUGUST 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.
AUGUST 29: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS. The Copyright Statement of Accounts form plus royalty payment for the first half of calendar year 2019 is due to be filed August 29 at the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office by cable TV service providers.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
FCC Proposes Amendments to Aviation Safety Rules
The FCC has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) which would amend its Part 87 Aviation Radio Service rules to support the deployment of more advanced avionics technology, increase efficient use of aeronautical spectrum, and improve aviation safety. Comments will be due 60 days following publication in the Federal Register and Reply Comments will be due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.
The Part 87 Aviation Radio Service was established to ensure the safety of aircraft in flight, and to facilitate the efficient and safe movement of aircraft both while airborne and on the ground through reliable and effective communications. In the NPRM, the FCC is proposing to modernize its rules in order to keep up with technological changes and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Next Generation Aviation System. As a result, the NPRM is proposing technical and service rules for the Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System, which will enable broadband communications capability to support airport surface operations. Likewise, the FCC has proposed rule changes that are designed to facilitate the detection of objects by pilots in low visual environments, and detect potential land-based obstructions.
The FCC’s proposed rule changes are designed to promote the safety of aircraft in flight, including: (a) providing equipment that increases the pilots’ ability to see during reduced visual conditions such as fog; (b) providing warnings to alert pilots and aircraft of potential obstacles in their path; (3) authorizing flight safety-related aeronautical mobile services in the 108-117.975 and 960-1164 MHz frequency bands, including the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Service; and (d) allowing the use of Unicom stations at different types of airports. In addition to these changes, the FCC has proposed amendments to its rules that would facilitate NextGen’s Data Communications (Data Comm) component, which is designed to augment voice channels between air traffic controllers and pilots with digital text-based messages. Digital text messages will increase the speed and reliability of communications between aircraft and air-traffic control while reducing the risk of miscommunications. The FCC has indicated that the proposed amendments to Part 87 are necessary to accommodate the use of the 136-137 MHz band for transmission of air traffic control communications and aeronautical operational control communications in a single data stream, so that the Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications Systems can better support communications for airport surface operations. Finally, the FCC is proposing rules that would improve communications between aircraft and other assets on the ground, including (i) the flexible use of vehicle squitters (Mode S transponders that broadcast a period burst or aircraft tracking data) to help reduce runway incursions by airport vehicles; and (ii) providing for the effective testing of emergency locator transmitters that alert search and rescue personnel of downed aircraft.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Seeks Comment on Aviation Spectrum Resources Inc.’s Petition for Waiver of Part 87 Aviation Rules
The FCC is seeking comment on a request for waiver filed by Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc. (ASRI) for waiver of Rule Sections 87.173(b) and 87.263(a) in order to permit aeronautical enroute service stations to use the 136.000-136.4875 MHz band (the lower 136 MHz band). Comments are due July 24, 2019 and Reply Comments are due August 8, 2019.
ASRI seeks the waiver in order to provide both aeronautical operational control (AOC) and air traffic control data communications (ATC) to aircraft in flight. ASRI, which is owned by US airlines and other users of airspace in the United States, manages the Aeronautical Enroute Service on behalf of the US air transport industry. Aeronautical enroute stations provide AOC communications in order to ensure that aircraft are operated in a safe and efficient manner. Information provided by aeronautical enroute stations includes: fuel, weather, position reports and essential services to aircraft on domestic and international routes using the 136.4875-137.000 MHz band (also known as the upper 136 MHz band).
Under the FCC’s current rules, the lower 136 MHz band is designated for ATC communications – which are communications concerning the “safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic.” This rule section does not address whether AOC communications can utilize this band. In this regard, ASRI has previously filed a Petition for Rulemaking to amend Part 87 to allow aeronautical enroute service stations to use the lower 136 MHz band to provide AOC and ATC communications to aircraft in flight. ASRI has asserted that its proposal would support FAA efforts to modernize the US transportation system which is known as the Next Generation Aviation System (NextGen). This system is designed to transmit digital data that includes both ATC communications and AOC communications over the entire 136-137 MHz band – which is contrary to the current frequency allocation of the 136 MHz band that is divided into a lower 136 MHz band for ATC communications and an upper 136 MHz band for AOC communications. As a result, in a separate proceeding, the FCC recently proposed to amend Rule Sections 87.173(b) and 87.263(a) to permit aeronautical enroute service stations to use the lower 136 MHz band to provide both AOC and ATC communications, provided that the aeronautical enroute service station licensee and the FAA agree upon the specific frequencies and traffic sharing methodology (see prior story).
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
MBTA Obtains Authorization to Operate 228 PTC Wireless Base Stations Using AMTS Spectrum
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the nation’s fifth busiest commuter rail system, has obtained permanent authority to operate 228 positive train control (PTC) wireless base stations under Automated Maritime Telecommunications System (AMTS) licenses WRAN721 and WRAN723, provided certain conditions are met.
PTC systems are designed to reduce human-error rail accidents, by “prevent[ing] train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and the movement of a train through a switch left in the wrong position.” By way of background, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, as amended by the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015 (together, the Rail Safety Act), required MBTA and most U.S. freight and commuter railroads to install and operate interoperable PTC systems by December 31, 2018, in the wake of multiple horrendous and preventable derailments. This deadline was extended for 37 of the 41 railroads in the US that were required to implement a PTC system.
MBTA, which had acquired partitioned AMTS spectrum for its PTC system, was required to file specific applications for modification of license because 228 of its AMTS base stations that would be located less than 105 miles from a channel 13 TV station, or less than 80 miles from a channel 10 TV station, raising the issue of interference to television broadcasts. The FCC evaluated MBTA’s engineering showings and commitments for resolving the potential for harmful interference to TV channel 10 and 13 reception. Under the terms of the grant, MBTA will be required, among other things, to investigate complaints of interference from consumers or broadcasters within 30 days of receipt and provide resolution within 60 days of the complaint.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
US Attorney Settles with Operators of Illegal Radio Station
The US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts has reached a settlement in its litigation with Vasco Oburoni and the Christian Praise International Church regarding the operation of a radio station on the frequencies 97.1 and 102.3 MHz without a license. Previously, the FCC had issued multiple warnings and ultimately a forfeiture order against Mr. Oburoni in the amount of $15,000 in connection with the illegal operation. While Mr. Oburoni had agreed to a payment plan in connection with the $15,000 fine, he nonetheless resumed unlicensed broadcast operations – but this time, on a different frequency which resulted in interference complaints.
It is important to remember that operation of radio facilities without a license are generally prohibited by the Communications Act of 1934 and can subject the illegal operator to fines and other enforcement action. As part of the tools in its toolbox, the FCC is permitted to seek the assistance from the Department of Justice (and in this case, the local US Attorney) in order to obtain injunctions against illegal operators, and to enforce FCC fines.
Here, the US Attorney filed a consent decree in federal court in which Vasco Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church agree not to operate an unlicensed radio station in violation of the Communications Act. Under the terms of the agreement, they also agreed to surrender all of their broadcasting equipment and pay a $75,000 fine in the event that they operate an unlicensed broadcasting station in violation of the settlement agreement. Finally, should the FCC reasonably suspect a violation the Act, the FCC may inspect the premises and seize any broadcasting equipment.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
David Larken Causes Interference to Public Safety System, Enters into Consent Decree Over Unlicensed Operations
David Larken, a former member of the town’s First Aid Squad, is a HAM radio licensee who transmitted on frequencies licensed to Highland Park, New Jersey. These transmissions consisted of “brief, pre-recorded sounds (such as the Sad Trombone Sound).” As part of its investigation, the FCC issued a letter of inquiry to Mr. Larken, who denied that he was the source of the unauthorized transmissions that were identified in the letter. Shortly thereafter, the unauthorized transmissions resumed. Using direction finding equipment, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau was able to confirm that Mr. Larken was in fact the source of the harmful interference. In particular, on one occasion, the FCC’s field agents observed Mr. Larsen pull his car over to the side of the road on the way to his home. During the brief stop, a transmission consisting of the Sad Trombone Sound came from the direction of Mr. Larsen’s car on a frequency licensed for use by the Highland Park Radio System. Following the transmission of the Sad Trombone Sound, Mr. Larsen continued driving to his house. On subsequent trips to Highland Park, the FCC’s field agents were able to observe Mr. Larsen engage in similar behavior.
In order to settle this serious matter, Mr. Larsen has agreed to (a) admit that he made the unauthorized radio transmissions, (b) not make unauthorized transmissions in the future, (c) surrender his amateur radio license for cancellation – with a 3-year bar for relicensing, (d) surrender of any radio equipment that is capable of transmitting on frequencies licensed to the Borough of Highland Park, and (e) payment of a $7,500 civil penalty and an additional $32,500 civil penalty if he is caught making unlicensed radio transmissions in the next ten-year period.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Robocalls Overwhelm Hospitals – FCC Affirms Robocall Blocking by Default
The Washington Post recently reported that hospitals around the country are experiencing a wave of robocalls that are disrupting communications for hours on end. According to the article, Tufts Medical Center administrators registered more than 4,500 calls between about 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. on April 30, 2018. In testimony before the House Energy Committee, the chief information security officer for the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute testified that over a 90-day period, robocallers called more than 6,600 times, which he estimated had consumed 65 hours of hospital response time. The article goes on to describe how, when representatives from these institutions reached out to Windstream and CenturyLink, they were reportedly told there was nothing the carriers could do.
“These calls to health-care institutions and patients are extremely dangerous to the public health and patient privacy,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), the Democratic chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement to the Post. “The FCC and Justice Department need to go after these criminals with the seriousness and urgency this issue deserves.”
In a related matter, earlier this month, the FCC made clear that carriers “may aggressively block unwanted robocalls before they reach consumers” by using reasonable call analytics so long as customers are advised and given the opportunity to opt out of the call blocking. This means that carriers such as Windstream and CenturyLink can now take steps to block unwanted robocalls by default which would reduce the potential for individuals and businesses being overwhelmed by a multitude of robocalls.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Richard Rubino and Sal Taillefer
FCC Grants Echodyne Corp Request for Waiver to Permit Ground-Based Radiolocation Use of its Security and Surveillance Radar for Detection of Drones, Etc.
The FCC recently granted a request by Echodyne Corp for a limited waiver of the Commission’s Rules to permit ground-based radiolocation use of its EchoGuard (formerly MESA-SSR) security and surveillance radar. The limited waiver request is subject to significant limitations and the outcome of a pending rulemaking petition that proposes to establish permanent rules for secondary use of the 24.45-24.65 GHz band for radiolocation operations.
Currently, the 24.45-24.65 GHz band is allocated to the Radionavigation Service on a primary basis for Federal and non-Federal use. Part 87 of the Commission’s Rules allows airborne and ground-based use of the band for aeronautical radio navigation, while radiolocation is not currently authorized in the band. Echodyne markets the EchoFlight (formerly MESA-DAA) radar that operates in the 24.45-24.65 GHz band for airborne radio navigation use in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to detect and avoid obstacles. Echodyne states that others expressed interest in using the device for ground-based security and surveillance radiolocation, so the company developed the EchoGuard, a low-power, low-cost, small radar that is optimized for ground-based use but uses the same frequency band and core technologies as the EchoFlight. Potential uses of the EchoGuard include UAS detection at sensitive sites, such as prisons and stadiums, or ground perimeter surveillance at borders and other locations. Echodyne asserts that allowing radiolocation operations in the 24.45-24.65 GHz band would address a public safety need and promote the efficient use of spectrum without causing any interference issues (given that the EchoFlight and EchoGuard perform the same radio determination function from an RF perspective). As a result, Echodyne’s pending Petition for Rulemaking requests that the Commission add a radiolocation allocation to the 24.45-24.65 GHz band and authorize use of the band under the Part 90 Radiolocation Service on a secondary basis.
In particular, Echodyne seeks a waiver of the Rule Section 2.106 Table of Allocations and Rule Sections 87.471 and 87.475, to permit ground-based use of the EchoGuard on a secondary basis to other authorized operations, with a proposed limitation of 15,000 units during the first five years of the waiver period – which could be extended if the FCC has not acted on Echodyne’s rulemaking petition. Echodyne argues that interference is unlikely because the EchoGuard operates with low power, a narrow beam, and a minimal transmission footprint compared to traditional radars. AT&T has not objected to the grant of Echodyne’s waiver request, provided that potential interference to current or future in-band and adjacent band users is minimized by requiring the device to comply with the Commission’s Part 87 regulatory framework, and by authorizing only fixed deployments at specific locations. Echodyne has agreed to the conditions proposed by AT&T.
In granting the waiver request, the FCC agreed that the rule waiver would serve the underlying purpose of the Commission’s rules, since Part 87 already permits use of the 24.45-24.65 GHz band for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) detection as part of a ground-based air traffic control system. As a result, the Commission determined that allowing use of the band for other UAS detection purposes would not undermine or conflict with that purpose, but instead, would further the purpose of the rule since UAS detection is an important public safety function. Further, the FCC noted that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Echodyne have worked together to develop the operational conditions with which Echodyne will be required to comply when operating pursuant to the waiver.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Current member or former member of these organizations.
|MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK|
“Just A Closer Walk”
|THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK|
I read somewhere that the great American theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards taught that bear hunting was sinful. Not for the sake of the bears, but because the hunters enjoyed the sport.
His most famous sermon was: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” preached on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut. Jonathan Edwards owned several slaves throughout his lifetime, and a “Negro boy named Titus” was listed, terribly, among the “Quick Stock” in the inventory of his will. [source]
I wonder if I am in trouble for liking Blues, Folk Music and Dixieland Jazz. (Josie Posey?)
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