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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.
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Everything You Need to Know About Hybrid Warfare and How to Be Prepared
Hybrid warfare has become a thing, it has always been a thing, and it even mentioned by the Chinese general and author of 'The Art of War,' Sun Tzu, more than 2,000 years ago. (Image: Photo by Oliver Hale, Unsplash/ Meme by Hermann Rohr)
Warfare as we know it has changed forever as the world becomes more connected. The key driver for this change is the “Re-Rise of Great Power Competition” between nation-states such as the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China, which is governed by the Chinese Communist Party, (CCP).
The extent of the possible risks to companies
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently addressed the threats and existential risk to companies associated with Great Power Competition during a keynote presentation at the CERAWeek 2019, on March 12, 2019, in Houston, Texas.
Pompeo’s message highlighted economic rivalry and competition for global energy markets between the United States, Russia, and China during his keynote address where he had the following to say:
Oil price, an alternate form of warfare
At present, a year later, we see Russia lowering oil prices during the global CCP coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak, creating a price war between OPEC and Russia and sending oil prices plummeting as the demand for oil drops because people are ordered by their governments to shelter-in-place due to the virus.
Russia dropping their oil prices during a global pandemic is a great example of what Mr. Pompeo was speaking about, pertaining to the Great Power Competition.
It is clear that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is using Russia’s oil as a weapon of an alternative form of warfare known as “Hybrid Warfare.” The modern battlefield is everywhere rather than centered on a traditional battlefield where two mechanized armies engage in war.
We have seen the Great Power Competition before. This is not the first competition for resources such as oil. The last one led to the United States’ entry into World War II. Back then, the U.S. embargoed oil, keeping Japan from fueling their invasion of China prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
‘Hybrid Warfare’: The modern battlefield is everywhere
Hybrid Warfare simply means that the modern battlefield is everywhere, not just on the battlefield between “organic soldiers.”
The new targets of Hybrid Warefare include companies, governments, armed forces, and even civilians, including adults, teens, children, doctors, lawyers, judges, govt. officials, artists, entertainers, and business professionals.
Was Hybrid Warfare already mentioned by Sun Tzu more than 2,000 years ago?
If you never heard of Hybrid Warfare, you may not have read The Art of War by Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese military strategist from the 5th century B.C.
Hybrid Warfare is not a new concept but a rebranding of The Art of War by Sun Tzu in my opinion. See the following quote by Sun Tzu, for example:
Casey Fleming, Chairman, and CEO of BlackOps Partners, a think tank, intelligence, and security strategy firm in Washington, D.C., gives his definition of Hybrid Warfare as it relates to threats against Western multi-national corporations who compete against nation state-controlled corporations from adversarial countries such as China and Russia.
Fleming’s review of Hybrid Warfare is highly relevant to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s views on the Great Power Competition between U.S. energy producers and energy producers from China and Russia, which validates that Russia is currently using their oil as a weapon during a global pandemic today.
Putin’s use of oil as a weapon during a global crisis such as a pandemic outbreak is a strategy right out of The Art of War.
‘Hybrid Warfare’: Some examples of risks to national and economic security
Hybrid Warfare presents a top existential risk to the national security and the economy of Western allies, such as the U.S., UK, and the EU, due to the fact that Western countries are reliant on China, an adversary, for the bulk of their supply chains associated with the manufacturing of vital products, medicine, electronics, and technology.
Providing college educations to Chinese nationals while doing business with your adversary, 100 percent controlled by the CCP, has grave consequences as the United States is finding out during the CCP coronavirus pandemic.
For example, the fact that the U.S. government, over the years, has made it profitable for U.S. corporations to outsource the manufacturing of many vital goods and services to China gives the leader of the People’s Republic of China, XI Jinping, leverage over U.S. manufacturers and the government when it comes to negotiations.
In a worst-case scenario, President Xi Jinping, and/or the CCP, could simply use the CCP virus pandemic as a means to cut off the supply chain to many vital industries, including pharmaceutical goods such as antibiotics, tech and telecom infrastructure, electronics, and tech products such as smartphones and PCs in general.
Ultimately, the CCP can intentionally disrupt or cut off these vital supply chains while knowing that companies doing business in China cannot easily repatriate back to their countries of origin while still being able to compete effectively with Chinese corporations.
Consequently, these Chinese companies will have competitive products, at lower prices, to market on a global basis, which is a tactic associated with Hybrid Warfare.
Goods and services most vulnerable to Hybrid Warfare
At-risk are vital goods and services that include necessities such as electronics, appliances, telecom infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, smartphones, tablet PCs, and PCs in general.
Even U.S. movie studios are doing business with China, leading to censorship within movies. Any subject matter pertaining to China’s appalling human rights record, or regarding the oppression of civil rights — such as free speech — is most likely to be censored by the CCP.
You can read more about the far reach of CCP censorship in the U.S. film industry in the article Tentacles of Communist Censorship: Hollywood Bows, While South Park Defiant.
Professional sports leagues, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA), are doing business in China and bowing to censorship enforced by the CCP in their lust for profits.
For example, in the fall of 2019, the NBA and the Houston Rockets organization officially and publicly apologized for a tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters sent by Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, outraging many in the United States for the fact that the NBA and the Rockets issued public apologies to China, governed by the CCP.
America’s leading tech giants — such as Google, Apple, HP, IBM, and Microsoft — are also doing business in China at the expense of their civil liberties, innovation, and intellectual property (“IP”) as a condition, enforced by the CCP, of doing business with the Chinese people who are oppressed by the CCP.
Senior executives for these companies appear to be more focused on profits than future economic consequences, civil liberties for the people of China, or even their own employees, such as the case with Rocket’s GM Daryl Morey.
What is also concerning is the fact that these senior executives from these tech giants are willing to give up innovation and IP to the CCP in order to make money in China.
These tech executives may not realize that Chinese companies will use their own innovation and IP to compete against these companies for global market share, ultimately trying to put these tech giants out of business, which is a method of Hybrid Warfare and/or The Art of War.
An example of this is the fact that Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat, developed by Tencent, and TikTok, developed by ByteDance, are taking huge global market share away from American social media giant Facebook, which also owns Instagram.
If this sounds outrageous, all these U.S. tech executives, including Mark Zuckerberg (CEO/Chairman of Facebook), should read the article The Theft That Led to Success: The Story of Nortel and Huawei, by Gadget Advisor. It describes how Huawei drove Nortel out of business after over a century of success within the telecom industry.
After reading the article The Theft That Led to Success, maybe these tech executives, including Mr. Zuckerberg, will understand who they doing business with and how these nation-state corporations from China compete using Hybrid Warfare techniques that mirror techniques described by Sun Tzu in The Art of War.
All of these examples of doing business with adversarial countries such as China have consequences, such as being leveraged by China, governed by the CCP, in a time of crises such as the CCP virus pandemic.
Examples of threats pertaining to Hybrid Warfare
Below are examples of threats posed by Hybrid Warfare and also areas or infrastructures that are most vulnerable to it:
All of these threat examples have one thing in common, they are all linked to Hybrid Warfare, which poses huge cybersecurity, privacy, safety, and civil liberty threats at the strategic and tactical level that need to be addressed by governments, corporations, universities, small businesses, and individuals.
Cybersecurity Threats Posed by Hybrid Warfare: Tactical vs. Strategic
For many years, governments, universities, and corporations focused on cybersecurity at the tactical level by way of IT departments, software patches and upgrades, plus the adoption of cybersecurity software.
Fighting cybersecurity threats at the tactical level is a lesson in futility since the battle is often fought from a reactionary position by way of software upgrades, patches, and the deployment of unproven apps/platforms.
The threat to apps and platforms by malware
These software upgrades, patches, and apps/platforms are all vulnerable to malware, developed by nation-state hackers, and are often dealt with at the tactical level within IT, but the long-term problem regarding nation-state-sponsored hacking is never dealt with at the strategic level by elected and government officials, senior executives, and board members, including the board chairmen.
Governments, universities, medical institutions, and companies need to implement cybersecurity at the strategic level by adopting a strategy at the board, senior executive, and elected and government official layer.
The threat to intellectual property and classified information by intrusive apps
Every company, medical institution, and university with innovation and IP is at immediate risk, along with governments looking to protect classified information that in today’s connected world can simply be acquired by adversarial nation-state tech companies through intrusive apps and platforms that support telecom products such as smartphones.
Some solutions to combat the dangers of Hybrid Warfare
An immediate cultural change is required at all levels of government, universities, and companies that are trying to protect innovation, IP, and classified information.
Due to threats from Great Power Competition and Hybrid Warfare, cultural change must be focused on security — overall including security associated with the supply chain and government contractors.
This cultural change must be led by elected and government officials, CEOs, and board chairmen. Information is power, making it extremely important that all employees and citizens are aware of threats posed by this new era of Great Power Competition and Hybrid Warfare.
Existential risks and threats need to be identified, while strategic level strategies are developed to mitigate plus eliminate these risks and threats.
A few cybersecurity firms, such as BlackOps Partners, have adopted tactical wargames as a means to help companies react to threats associated with Hybrid Warfare at the strategic level.
Through wargaming, companies, universities, medical institutions, and governments can reposition their overall strategy to remain relevant as Hybrid Warfare continues to evolve enabling adversarial nation-state competitors to replace them.
Stay safe and healthy during these trying and unprecedented times.
If you found this article interesting and informative, make sure to read this author’s next article for the Vision Times. It will be centered on Digital Authoritarianism and Cyber Oppression.
Author Information: Rex M. Lee
Rex M. Lee is a Freelance Tech Journalist and Cybersecurity and Privacy Advisor. For more information, contact Rex at www.MySmartPrivacy.com
Passive Audio Amps For Smart Phones
Buy An Amp today
Oh come on they are cool.
These are acoustic amplifiers for smartphones. They don't need electric power to operate and there are no moving parts. They work like a megaphone (speaking-trumpet, bullhorn, or loudhailer). Everyone that I have shown one to has said something like “Wow, I want one of those!” So I have built a few of them.
Of course there are more “Hi-Fi” ways to listen to audio on your smartphone but who would want to plug an elegant smartphone into some cheap, plastic gadget? Or even use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which are a pain in the neck to set up, even on a smartphone.
These have been made with hardwood bases and some of them are exotic hardwoods with interesting grain patterns. The horns are polished brass — made from mostly old horns that had rubber bulbs on the ends and were used in “times gone by” by taxis and even clowns in circuses. These horns have been re-purposed, reshaped, soldered, and polished.
They horns are now on display and for sale at:
The two large horns — the trombone and the gramophone — are difficult to pack and ship to they are for local pickup only. The remainder can be sent to you. I have the cowboy horn and the rest are in stock at the Colorado coffee shop.
Please call for pricing and availability or stop in for a demo and a great cup of espresso.
P.S. Allan, Virginia and I worked together at WebLink Wireless in Dallas.
FEMA Selects HF Backup Disaster Communications Network
Tuesday, June 09, 2020
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a mission-critical backup communications network with its recent selection of Collins Aerospace Systems’ UrgentLink HF disaster communications system. UrgentLink is the first nationwide public-safety network, designed for high availability and ease of use in disasters, the company said.
Collins Aerospace is a unit of Raytheon Technologies. The solution enables first responders and other critical public health, safety and industry officials to communicate with each other when traditional communications networks are damaged or destroyed.
“UrgentLink will provide a redundancy capability to our existing communications infrastructure to help us ensure the protection of life and property in the event of a major disaster,” said Damon Penn, assistant administrator, response directorate, FEMA.
The UrgentLink subscription-based service is fully managed and maintained by Collins Aerospace and calls for the deployment of radios in FEMA’s six regional Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) locations and 100 cached radios for use during disasters. Operating on an HF spectrum specifically authorized by the FCC for disaster use, UrgentLink uses ground stations throughout the U.S. to create redundant coverage when landlines and cellular, satellite and microwave networks and other systems have been disabled or destroyed by hurricanes, wildfires, terrorist acts or other catastrophic events.
The UrgentLink network will be available to FEMA as soon as the radios are deployed, expected to be by June in preparation for the 2020 hurricane season. FEMA will join other UrgentLink customers, such as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the second-largest public-safety agency in the country.
The system was introduced in 2015.
Editor's note: Amateur radio operators have known for many years that HF radio communications can be used during a major disaster when just about everything else is out of service. The HF radio spectrum can be used to communicate over a few miles or completely to the other side of the world. We “hams” practice for disaster operations every year during “field day” using our own equipment purchased at our own expense. We are called amateurs, not because of our level of expertise but because we are not paid for our services.
|Source:||RR Media Group|
In Reference to The Three Products Above
One of the catchy phrases composed by Rob Lockhart to promote diversification in paging was:
The last three have long been my favorite for "non-traditional" use of paging channels for machine communication. These can be used for:
So if this got you thinking about new applications, I draw your attention to the telemetry products from Wex International Limited. These are basically the "guts" of a pager including the radio receiver and/or the protocol decoder. There are both POCSAG and FLEX™ products available. Making a new product with these devices is not a major technical issue. Please see the ad following.
One good example that I heard was this: An on-call technician gets a phone call late at night. An important server has crashed or frozen. He or she has to get out of bed, get dressed, drive to the server location, unlock the building and push the reset button on the server. All of this could be done with one telephone call to a paging system that would then send a simple tone-only page to the Wex telemetry device and "push" the reset button (electrically).
Another cool application is sending text messages to scrolling LED signs with many different uses:
More application information here.
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.
The Wireless Messaging News
The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.
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iOS 14 could let you retract embarrassing iMessages
By Roland Moore-Colyer — June 12, 2020
iOS 14 leak shows message redaction could be coming to iPhones
Apple’s iOS 14 is due for a major showcase at the virtual WWDC 2020 event taking place this month. But that’s not stopping various leaks from teasing what the next iPhone operating system will have.
The latest leak comes courtesy of MacRumors, which noted that iOS 14 will have the ability to retract sent iMessages. If you’re someone who’s a little too fast at sending messages without considering their content or impact, then this feature could be a boon.
According to the developer community that got its hands on an early build of iOS 14, the iMessage redaction feature will be visible to both parties, so the receiver of, say, an overly salacious message will see that it’s been sucked back up by the sender. This is all very well in terms of transparency, but seeing that a message has been retracted could raise a whole load of questions from the recipient.
Such a feature already exists in WhatsApp, with the ability to delete messages sent to another person or in a group chat. But that message is replaced by text that in no uncertain ways flags that the message has been deleted, meaning people can sneakily purge messages that might contain sensitive information or take a particularly racy joke a bit too far, for example.
Adding a redaction feature in iMessage would help bring Apple’s native iPhone messaging app up to speed with other services.
iOS 14 call recording
Another leak has signalled that iOS 14 will come with the ability to record incoming and outcoming calls on an iPhone, as flagged by 9to5Mac. This could be handy for journalists like us who want to have recordings of phone interviews to refer back to. But for others, it could be a slightly creepy feature that would seemingly fly in the face of Apple’s strong stance on privacy.
But more information around the feature has revealed that if such call recording does come to iOS 14 it will actually be used as a debugging tool for Apple and not a feature that will be made available for iPhone users.
|PRISM IPX Systems|
Providing Expert Support and Service Contracts for all Glenayre Paging Systems.
The GL3000 is the most prolific paging system in the world and Easy Solutions gladly welcomes you to join us in providing reliable support to the paging industry for many more decades in the future.
Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.
Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or
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.
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.
JUNE 11, 2020 / 10:49 PM
China set to complete Beidou network rivaling GPS in global navigation
Ryan Woo, Liangping Gao
BEIJING (Reuters) — The Chinese Beidou navigation network will be complete this month when its final satellite goes into orbit, giving China greater independence from U.S.-owned GPS and heating up competition in a sector long dominated by the United States.
The idea to develop Beidou, or the Big Dipper in Chinese, took shape in the 1990s as the military sought to reduce reliance on the Global Positioning System (GPS) run by the U.S. Air Force.
When the first Beidou satellites were launched in 2000, coverage was limited to China. As use of mobile devices expanded, China in 2003 tried to join the Galileo satellite navigation project proposed by the European Union but later pulled out to focus on Beidou.
In the age of the iPhone, the second generation of Beidou satellites went operational in 2012, covering the Asia-Pacific.
China began deploying the third generation of satellites aimed at global coverage in 2015.
The 35th and final Beidou-3 satellite will be launched this month - the day has yet to be announced - meaning Beidou has more satellites in its system than GPS’s 31, and more than Galileo and Russia’s GLONASS.
With estimated investment of $10 billion, Beidou keeps the communications network of the Chinese military secure, avoiding the risk of disruption to GPS in the extreme event of conflict.
Weapons targeting and guidance also improves. When complete, Beidou’s location services are accurate down to 10 cm in the Asia-Pacific, compared with GPS’s 30-cm range.
“Beidou was obviously designed a few decades after GPS, so it has had the benefit of learning from the GPS experience,” said Andrew Dempster, director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research.
“It has some signals that have higher bandwidth, giving better accuracy. It has fewer orbit planes for the satellites, making constellation maintenance easier.”
SPACE SILK ROAD
Beidou-related services such as port traffic monitoring and disaster mitigation have been exported to about 120 countries, state media reported.
Many of those countries are involved in the Belt and Road initiative, spearheaded by President Xi Jinping to create a modern-day Silk Road of trade and investment.
In a 2019 report, the U.S. congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission warned that China promoted launch services, satellites and Beidou under its “Space Silk Road” to deepen reliance on China for space-based services, potentially at the expense of U.S. influence.
Thailand and Pakistan were the first foreign countries to sign up for Beidou’s services, in 2013.
Within China, more than 70% of mobile phones were Beidou-enabled as of 2019, state media reported, including models made by Huawei [HWT.UL], Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo and Samsung.
Millions of taxis, buses and trucks were also able to receive Beidou signals.
China’s satellite navigation sector may top 400 billion yuan ($57 billion) in value this year, state media said.
Ahead of the Beidou-3 completion, satellite-related shares have soared.
Beijing BDStar Navigation Co, which makes chips that receive Beidou signals, has surged 34.4% this year. Hwa Create leapt 52.3%, outpacing the 7.6% gain in the Shenzhen benchmark.
Reporting by Ryan Woo and Liangping Gao; Additional reporting by Josh Horwitz and Yilei Sun; Editing by Robert Birsel
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
JOE TAYLOR HINTS AT POSSIBLE NEW MODE!
In a post to the WSJT-X email group today, Joe Taylor K1JT hinted at some ongoing experimentation of a new digital mode with sub-modes. His post was a response to a question about a very early version of the weak signal WSPR mode (version 7) back in 2008. Back then, there was a facility for QSOs to be made between radio amateurs but it was later dropped. Joe included a link to an early Quick Start guide and background information that makes very interesting reading and is worth checking out! (link below)
Importantly, however, was the news that the brilliant development team behind WSJT-X is continuing with further experimentations in digital communications. There is no timeline or, indeed any indication that a new mode will see the light of day . . . but we certainly appreciate their energy and commitment to this fascinating aspect of the radio hobby.
Here's Joe's response in the WSJT-X group today:
73 and good DX to you all, Rob Wagner VK3BVW
|Source:||Mount Evelyn DX Report|
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.
|Inside Towers Newsletter|
Digital Signage Market Will Be Worth $36 Billion by 2026
According to a study by the Digital Journal, the Digital Signage Market will be worth $36 billion by 2026. Relying on 5G and a plethora of small cell/DAS applications, the market will be driven by efforts to make cities smarter through advanced technology. Urbanization around the globe will create the demand as the report projects people world-wide will move from rural to urban areas. According to UN estimates, by 2050, around 68 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas prompting large urban areas to transform cities into smart cities and make governance more efficient and effective. An example given in the report for smart city digital signage application is police authorities in Shenzhen, China deploying facial recognition technology, using AI-based CCTV cameras to catch jaywalkers and implement traffic rules.
The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected to develop at 7.8 percent according to the report. Globally, the digital signage market value was at $19.78 billion in 2018. North America, however, is expected to dictate the market share as the region generated a revenue of $8.32 billion in 2018.
Two of the key recent developments in digital signage, according to Fortune Business Insights have been:
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter||
Courtesy of the editor of
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
FCC Temporarily Waives RUS Operating Report Requirement for Upcoming Form 481 Filing
On June 8, the FCC entered an Order temporarily waiving the requirement that privately held rate-of-return eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that receive loans from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) file electronic copies of their annual RUS Operating Report for Telecommunications Borrowers with their FCC Form 481 filings by July 1, 2020. Instead, these carriers must submit a copy of this report to USAC at the time it is due to USDA. (As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, USDA waived all financial reporting requirements for RUS loan recipients through June 30, 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.)
All ETCs, including those who are RUS loan recipients, are still required to complete the remainder of their Form 481 filing and submit it to USAC by the July 1, 2020 deadline.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Announces Auction 105 Application Short Form Status; Corrections Due June 19
On June 8, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the status of 348 short-form applications received for Auction 105 for Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service in the 3550-3650 MHz band (3.5 GHz). Specifically, 106 applications were found to be complete, and 242 applications (70%) were found to be incomplete, including applications by Verizon and T-Mobile.
Each applicant whose application for Auction 105 was identified as incomplete must address each defect in its application during the resubmission window, which is now open. Any short-form application corrections must be made electronically using the FCC’s auction application system prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, June 19, 2020. According to the Public Notice, this will be the only opportunity to cure application defects, and late resubmissions will not be accepted. An applicant that filed an application deemed to be incomplete must also submit a timely and sufficient upfront payment (also due June 19) before the FCC will review its resubmitted application. If an application is incomplete or otherwise deficient after the resubmission deadline has passed, or if the required upfront payment is not made by the specified deadline, the applicant will not be permitted to bid in Auction 105.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast.
FCC Seeks Comment on 5G Fund Adjustment Factor Values
On June 5, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on proposed adjustment factor values for the recently-proposed 5G Fund for Rural America reverse auctions, and on three economic analyses that have informed its proposed adjustment factor values. Comments are due July 7, and reply comments are due August 6.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC recently proposed to adopt rules and a framework for establishing the 5G Fund for Rural America, which would use multi-round reverse auctions to provide up to $9 billion to support 5G service in rural areas of the country. To account for the relative costs of serving areas that vary in terrain characteristics and potential business cases, the FCC proposed to apply an adjustment factor to make the most difficult areas to serve more attractive at auction in order to encourage more bidding for these areas. The adjustment factor also would be used to transition legacy high-cost support to 5G Fund support.
Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on the following adjustment factors:
The Demand Factors are calculated using various economic characteristics—including income, GDP, and population density—as proxies for the demand factors in each of the economic analyses. The Terrain Elevation was calculated and characterized as follows: “flat” is a standard deviation of terrain elevation of 40 meters or less; “hilly” is a standard deviation of terrain elevation between 40 and 115 meters; and “mountainous” is a standard deviation of terrain elevation of greater than 115 meters. Using the FCC’s calculations, the following map shows where the three elevations lie:
The FCC also seeks comment on three analyses used to support these factors. In the first analysis, the FCC examined how geographic areas’ physical and demographic characteristics affect carriers’ network deployment decisions. In its second analysis, the FCC estimated the difference in the number of cell sites required to provide high-quality 5G service in hillier terrain areas compared to flat areas. In its third analysis, the FCC used Mobility Fund Phase I (Auction 901) sealed bid data (i.e., a firm’s requested subsidy to provide mobile service to a specified unserved geographic area) to understand how terrain and other factors impact the bid amount requested by a carrier to deploy service.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
Sen. Wicker Seeks Information on Regarding Proposed Bill to Speed Up RDOF Auction
On June 2, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai seeking additional information on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. In his letter, Sen. Wicker indicated that Congress is currently considering a piece of legislation that would, among other things, speed up the RDOF auction. His questions go to whether other legal constraints are in place that would prevent the RDOF auction from proceeding more quickly if this legislation is passed.
The legislation in question is H.R. 7022, which the Senator indicates is titled “The Rural Broadband Acceleration Act.” The text of the bill is not yet available, but according to Sen. Wicker’s letter, under this proposal the FCC “would be required to allocate the RDOF monies to broadband providers that are expected to be the sole bidder to deliver gigabit-speed service in a census block or census block groups before the reverse auction scheduled for October 22, 2020. Winning bidders would have to commit to beginning construction within six months of funding authorization and make service available to consumers within one year of authorization.”
Notwithstanding the Senator’s letter, it is hard to see how this legislation could be signed and passed in time to affect the RDOF auction, given the pandemic, the start of the 3.5 GHz auction bidding in July, the upcoming summer break, and the election.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
Law and Regulation
Comments on Robocall Enforcement Actions for Carriers with Delayed Compliance Due July 10
On June 10, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on certain aspects of the TRACED Act, which among other things requires the FCC to take action if a voice provider that is subject to a delay in compliance requirements with STIR/SHAKEN is identified as repeatedly originating large-scale unlawful robocall campaigns. Comments are due on or before July 10, 2020 and reply comments are due on or before July 27, 2020.
Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on what standard should be used to identify voice service providers that are originating unlawful robocall campaigns, and how should it be assessed whether a campaign is “large-scale.” The FCC further seeks comment on what actions should be required of providers who are identified as repeatedly originating large-scale unlawful robocall campaigns. Proposals include prescribing specific robocall mitigation practices; close monitoring of the identified carrier’s practices; submission of a compliance plan and periodic reports on its efforts to conform to that plan; and implementation of know-your-customer obligations.
The TRACED Act includes two provisions for extension of the June 30, 2021 implementation date for caller ID authentication frameworks. First, in connection with an assessment of burdens or barriers to implementation, the FCC “may, upon a public finding of undue hardship, delay required compliance” with the June 30, 2021 date for caller ID authentication framework implementation.244 Second, the FCC “shall grant a delay of required compliance” with the June 30, 2021 implementation date “to the extent that . . . a provider or class of providers of voice services, or type of voice calls, materially relies on a non-[IP] network for the provision of such service or calls.” As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC has proposed a blanket hardship delay for small carriers, and as such may be impacted by this proceeding.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Reopens Comments on RF Exposure Proceeding
On June 10, the FCC published in the Federal Register a notice that it is reopening the comment and reply comment date for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which the FCC seeks comment on expanding the range of frequencies for which its radiofrequency (RF) exposure limits apply; on applying localized exposure limits above 6 GHz in parallel to the localized exposure limits already established below 6 GHz; on specifying the conditions and methods for averaging the RF exposure, in both time and area, during evaluation for compliance with the RF exposure limits in the rules; on addressing new RF exposure issues raised by wireless power transfer (WPT) devices; and on the definition of a WPT device. Comments are now due on or before June 17, 2020, and reply comments are due on or before July 20, 2020.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
FCC Proposes $225 Million Fine for Spoofed Robocalling Campaign
On June 9, the FCC issued a Press Release announcing it has proposed a $225 million fine against Texas-based health insurance telemarketers John C. Spiller and Jakob A. Mears, who used business names including Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom, for apparently making approximately 1 billion illegally spoofed robocalls.
According to the Press Release, Rising Eagle made approximately 1 billion spoofed robocalls across the country during the first four-and-a-half months of 2019 on behalf of clients that sell short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans. Mr. Spiller admitted to the USTelecom Industry Traceback Group that he knowingly called consumers on the Do Not Call list as he believed that it was more profitable to target these consumers. He also admitted that he made millions of calls per day, and that he was using spoofed numbers. The robocalls falsely claimed to offer health insurance plans from well-known health insurance companies such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and UnitedHealth Group. Rising Eagle’s largest client, Health Advisors of America, was sued by the Missouri Attorney General for telemarketing violations in February 2019.
Beginning in 2018, there was an increase in consumer complaints and robocall traffic related to health insurance and other health care products. The Traceback Group determined that approximately 23.6 million health insurance robocalls were crossing the networks of the four largest wireless carriers each day. The FCC Enforcement Bureau’s investigation found that a large portion of this unwelcome robocall traffic was driven by Rising Eagle.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Reaches $5 Million Settlement with VoIP Provider MagicJack
On June 5, the FCC announced a $5 million settlement with magicJack VocalTec Ltd., magicJack, LP, and YMax Communications Corp. (collectively, magicJack) over an investigation into whether magicJack violated federal regulatory reporting and contribution rules. The specifics of the investigation do not appear to have been made available at the time this edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update went to press, but it appears from a Press Release that the investigation involved magicJack’s failure to report its interstate revenues and contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
“Today’s settlement sends a strong message that we take seriously the requirements on VoIP service providers to meet their legal obligations,” said Chairman Ajit Pai. “I am glad we can resolve this long-standing investigation. I thank the FCC Enforcement Bureau team for their hard work and dedication to enforcing the law.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
Senators Criticize AT&T for HBO Max Data Cap Exclusion
On June 4, Sens. Ed Markey (D., MA), Ron Wyden (D., OR), and Richard Blumenthal (D., CT) wrote to AT&T, Inc., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson regarding the company’s data cap exclusion practices. Specifically, the letter focuses on AT&T’s exclusion of the HBO Max streaming service from its data caps. According to the letter, this practice “appears to run contrary to the essential principle that in a free and open Internet, service providers may not favor content in which they have a financial interest over competitors’ content.”
The Senators wrote that “HBO Max is benefiting from AT&T’s “sponsored data” system, which allows content companies to pay AT&T for the right to be exempt from data caps. Although HBO Max may technically be paying for this benefit, AT&T is essentially paying itself. This practice of allowing one arm of your company to “pay” another arm of your company for preferential treatment attempts to mask its true impact.”
This concern was raised in the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding by several parties.
Commissioner Starks Announces Digital Opportunity Equity Recognition Program, Seeks Nominees
On June 8, Commissioner Geoffrey Starks announced the creation of the Digital Opportunity Equity Recognition (DOER) Program to commend organizations, institutions, companies and individuals who, through their actions and responses to the COVID-19 crisis, have helped to make quality affordable broadband service available to unserved or underserved communities. Commissioner Starks also called for nominations of candidates that demonstrated a dedication to public service and community advancement by providing or supporting access to high-speed broadband; creating or advancing affordable options for connectivity to individuals and communities especially those most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis; leveraging the use of broadband to improve healthcare, education, public safety, civic engagement, or other essential services; or promoting digital education and literacy. Nominations for the first round of recognitions should be submitted by July 8, 2020.
“The COVID-19 crisis has changed so much of how we go about our daily lives in ways no one could have foreseen, and many have stepped up to ensure that no one gets left behind because they lack broadband connectivity,” said Commissioner Starks. “I am excited to introduce the DOER Program as a way to recognize and applaud those going above and beyond to help connect all Americans to reliable, equitable and affordable broadband services. The Advisory Board members I have assembled to help me select recipients worthy of recognition represent diverse sectors and are themselves fully engaged in the fight for digital opportunity and equity. I am thankful for their perspectives and judgment as we work to make this program a meaningful endeavor.”
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: 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 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 year is due to be filed August 29 at the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office by cable TV service providers.
BloostonLaw contact: Gerry Duffy.
|THIS WEEK'S MUSIC VIDEO|
“LA VIE EN ROSE” — ENGLISH/FRENCH
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
Cognizant of our responsibilities as the elected and appointed officers of American Mensa, we reaffirm Mensa's Constitution, which states that “Mensa encompasses members representing many points of view. Consequently, Mensa as an organization shall not express an opinion as being that of Mensa . . . or have any ideological, philosophical, political, or religious affiliations.”
However, we recognize that many of our members feel — as do we — the same outrage over the death of George Floyd, and all the other incidents of which his death was emblematic. We honor the public outcry and responses that are now changing the world. As Mensans, as human beings, we abhor racism, abuse of positions of authority, and institutionalized inequality. We recognize that such issues have been endemic to societies worldwide for a long time.
Mensa's Constitution states our purposes: “to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for our members.” Further, it lays out our policy that “Intelligence should be used for the benefit of humanity.”
We also echo our long-held policy that “bigotry and prejudice are antithetical to the nature of American Mensa.” We welcome healthy conflict of opinion, but we take seriously occasions when those differences overflow into personal attack or abuse of any kind. We believe that Mensans, and people in general, can and should disagree without being disagreeable.
To that end, we pledge to work within the organization we lead to eradicate any such abuses of people. We have already begun work on making changes, but Mensa is a society of equals: all intelligent, all opinionated. We ask for our members' input on how we can make those changes positive for them and for the organization.
— The American Mensa Committee
© 2020 American Mensa
Good afternoon Brad,
We at PageNet have a need for PF1500 two-way pagers and interested to buy any quantity that might be available. . . If you can be of any help it would be appreciated.
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