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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — January 5, 2018 — Issue No. 787

Welcome Back To The Wireless Messaging News

It's cold and snowing here in Southern Illinois but not nearly as much as other parts of the country. We only have a light dusting of snow on the ground with no problems getting around on the roads.

Good luck to everyone where the snow is deep and the temperatures much colder.

I found some very good articles for you to read this week. I hope you enjoy them.

So . . . on to the news.





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Wayne County, Illinois

Wireless Messaging News

  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Two-way Radio
  • Technology
  • Telemetry
  • Science
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
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This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.

About Us

A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.

There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.

I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.

Editorial Policy

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 opinions.



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There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

The Wireless Messaging News
Board of Advisors

Frank McNeill
Founder & CEO
Communications Specialists
Jim Nelson
President & CEO
Prism Systems International
Kevin D. McFarland, MSCIS
Sr. Application Systems Analyst
Medical Center
Paul Lauttamus, President
Lauttamus Communications & Security
R.H. (Ron) Mercer
Wireless Consultant
Barry Kanne
Paging Industry Veteran
Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.
Consulting Engineer
Allan Angus
Consulting Engineer

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.

Advertiser Index

Hark Technologies
IWA Technical Services, Inc. (Ira Wiesenfeld)
Leavitt Communications
Prism Paging
Product Support Services (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC (Ron Mercer)

Voxpro founders have final say

Cork’s dynamic duo Dan and Linda Kiely are making a big noise in tech support with a €145m takeover deal

By Philip Connolly
December 24 2017, 12:01am
The Sunday Times

Bigger picture: Dan and Linda Kiely are in the frame for a huge windfall following the takeover by Telus International — but Dan says that ‘as long as we are enjoying it, we are here for the long haul’ CATHAL NOONAN

Last weekend, Dan and Linda Kiely signed off on a hectic year with a lavish Christmas party, with the theme: “Shine bright like a diamond”. Photos posted on Twitter show staff from Voxpro, their business process outsourcing company, perched on a prancing unicorn statue at “the sparkliest party in town.”

There was plenty to celebrate. The husband-and-wife duo were at the centre of one of the biggest business stories of 2017 when Voxpro was acquired in mid-August by Canadian group Telus International for up to €145m.

At Voxpro HQ, in the Mahon business campus in Cork, Dan describes the decision to sell the company they spent two decades building as a “no-brainer”.

“Nothing has changed but then everything has,” he says, reflecting.

He has joined the senior management team at Telus International, the global arm of the Canadian national telecoms company, which has C$12.8bn (€8.5bn) in annual revenues. Linda retains a strategic role at Voxpro, which has held on to its name and management team.

The Mahon office is buzzing, with different areas decked out to reflect the brand and culture of the companies that Voxpro serves, which include Google, Stripe and Airbnb. A recently decorated space is complete with murals of the characters from Clash of Clans, as Voxpro has recently started working with Finnish game developer Supercell.

From humble beginnings, Voxpro grew its revenues to €60m last year before a hunt for investment yielded the takeover by Telus International. Now, with the backing of the Canadian company, the plan is to grow even faster.

“We plan to double our turnover next year,” says Dan. “That is a hairy goal but we are constantly setting the bar high. We have aggressive growth plans for the next two years and I fully intend to be around to see us achieve those goals.”

Open, chatty and quick to laugh, both Kielys are natives of Cork. Dan was brought up in Turner’s Cross while Linda hails from the city suburb of Douglas.

They met while working at the Examiner newspaper, where Linda ran a short-lived magazine that Dan worked on.

In 1992, Dan joined Pageboy Communications — a paging technology company that was then in business for 20 years — as sales manager. Linda, meanwhile, joined the Department of Foreign Affairs.

As mobile phones began to take over from paging services, Dan was presented with a chance to buy Pageboy. Buying a business specialising in a declining technology proved a tough sell to funders, so Linda took a leap of faith and fronted up the cash by re-mortgaging her home.

By 2000, the mobile operator Eircell, later acquired by Vodafone, was offloading its paging business and the Kielys saw an opportunity to expand by taking over its client book. Their company, by now called Voxpro, initially provided SMS messaging services before graduating to selling more complex call-answering services to multinationals.

Married since 1998, the couple are clearly a formidable force. “We’re like yin and yang but it works for us,” says Linda. “It is hard to stop work coming up in the evenings.”

Voxpro’s earliest clients included Google Enterprise, and that deal set the company on a path to being one of Silicon Valley’s go-to providers of tech support services. It was not always plain sailing for the Kielys, however.

“We had been flying by the seat of our pants,” says Linda. “But the two of us are very positive, so failure wasn’t really an option. We just kept on going.” Dan elaborates: “We almost failed twice. I’m talking about being within a few days or a week of going out of business. But we never believed we wouldn’t find a way.”

The company hit fresh hurdles during the recession when the banks reined in lending. The cash crunch threatened to limit its ability to grow, despite interest from new clients such as Airbnb.

“At the height of the recession we had to cash in everything,” says Linda. “The banks weren’t open for business.”

She cashed in her pension and savings, and borrowed from the local credit union to keep the company going. At the time, Voxpro employed about 600 people. “It was a lot of mouths to feed,” she says, recalling the tighter times.

They pulled through and went on a growth streak. By 2013, when Voxpro moved into the Mahon head office, it was providing outsourcing services to more than 300 companies in 15 languages. That year, the Kielys were shortlisted for the EY entrepreneur of the year award.

In 2015, Voxpro opened an office in Folsom, California, and announced plans to hire 400 people, bringing its staff to 1,400. In 2016, the Kielys cut the ribbon on a new base in Dublin and said the company would grow to 3,000 people, including 2,000 in Ireland. Offices were added in Romania and the Philippines.

“Instead of going bust, we went global,” Dan says.

A year ago, after a meeting in San Francisco with the top brass from Airbnb, they knew something had to give. After years of meteoric growth, it was clear the company was at a turning point.

“I told them we were building out centres in Bucharest and Manila, but they wanted XYZ on top of that. We regrouped and made a decision that we wanted funding to be able to take advantage of the opportunity and also to derisk ourselves,” Dan says.

By the end of last year, the Kielys were seriously weighing up options for a large private equity investment or possible flotation of Voxpro. They “would have put money” on the company opting for the private equity route, says Dan.

Out in the market to meet potential investors, the Kielys got into talks with Telus International. It helped that Dan already knew the Telus chief executive Jeff Puritt and his wife, Annette.

“I met him in 2011 when we were both working with Google,” he says. “We built up a relationship over six years so I understood his values; to me, that was more important than a strategy.”

Sealing a deal while also running the business involved working “seven days and nights a week for pretty much eight or nine months”, says Dan.

Telus agreed a deal to take an initial 55% stake in Voxpro and will gradually take complete ownership of the Irish company by 2020. If all terms are met, the transaction values the Kielys’ business at about €145m.

The deal with Telus International was signed on August 16, which was also Dan’s 53rd birthday. The takeover will catapult the Kielys into the ranks of the Irish super-rich, though they say that fact has yet to fully sink in. Rather, their attention is still on Voxpro. The contacts and experience of Telus International will help boost turnover at the business to €100m this year, according to Dan.

“It is already bearing fruit. Telus have already put a new piece of business here in Cork that will create 60 new jobs, which we didn’t generate ourselves.”

He sees no reason why Voxpro cannot maintain its growth rate. Supercell, for example, had outsourced some services to lower-cost countries before taking the business back and giving it to Voxpro.

“We are noticing that trend now. There is tons of opportunity.”

While the deal has given the couple some long-earned financial security, they show no signs of slacking off.

“I am travelling more than I used to — and I was travelling a lot already,” says Dan. “[Since the deal closed] I’ve been in the country about one week a month.”

Dealing with a business across time zones from Los Angeles to Manila means the couple rarely switch off. They keep one night a week sacred for a night out to dinner without work interruptions, says Linda, but their phones are rarely quiet.

“The reality is that ideally we should be living in the States rather than Ireland, but we are proudly Irish so it is difficult to make that leap,” says Dan.

“As it becomes more unsustainable, maybe we will have to spend a period of time there [in America] rather than getting on plane all the time.”

The jet-setting lifestyle has its compensations. Earlier this month, Dan was able to take in the Necker Cup tennis tournament in the Bahamas where he rubbed shoulders with actor Jamie Foxx. He also found himself across the court from Richard Branson for a few sets — with Martina Navratilova as a doubles partner.

The Telus deal also means that the couple can start looking at doing more projects outside of work. Linda is in the early stages of writing a book about her experiences over the past few decades.

The couple have also backed some young companies, such as Pundit Arena and Open for Vintage. Voxpro, however, still comes first, and neither are ready to leave the business just yet. “As long as we are enjoying it, we are here for the long haul,” says Dan. It sounds like there will be more sparkly parties to come.



Age: Dan is 53; Linda is 67

Home: Douglas, Cork

Family: Linda has two children, Suzanne and Keith

Education: Dan went to Cork Institute of Technology; Linda studied at the Cork College of Commerce and Cork Institute of Technology

Favourite book: They both “really like” Stieg Larsson, author of the Millennium trilogy of crime novels Favourite film: Dead Man Walking


There is no such thing as a typical day. Because of the global nature of the business, it doesn’t really stop so we start early and finish late. Finding work-life balance is difficult but we do really enjoy it.


We actually share a lot of the same interests. We both love tennis, and really like fashion and movies — we usually have the same taste.

Source: The Sunday Times  

Hark Technologies

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Wireless Communication Solutions

USB Paging Encoder

paging encoder

  • Single channel up to eight zones
  • Connects to Linux computer via USB
  • Programmable timeouts and batch sizes
  • Supports 2-tone, 5/6-tone, POCSAG 512/1200/2400, GOLAY
  • Supports Tone Only, Voice, Numeric, and Alphanumeric
  • PURC or direct connect
  • Pictured version mounts in 5.25" drive bay
  • Other mounting options available
  • Available as a daughter board for our embedded Internet Paging Terminal (IPT)

Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
  • Two contact closures
  • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

Other products

Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Hark Technologies
717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
Summerville, SC 29485
Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Web: left arrow CLICK

Hark Technologies


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Back To Paging


Still The Most Reliable Protocol For Wireless Messaging!



“Is Paging Going Away?” by Jim Nelson

  • Click here for English.
  • Click here for German. (Berlin Revision: November 8, 2016)
  • Click here for French.

Here is an English PDF edit of this paper formatted with page breaks and suitable for printing.

Volunteers needed for translations into other languages.

Disaster Communications Need an Integrated Strategy

Lessons from a Wildfire: Critical Messages

Published on December 29, 2017

By Igor Gluic

Muddled communications during Fort McMurray’s wildfire caught officials off guard last year. A report by wildlife experts from B.C. and Alberta said the fight to save the city was hampered because regional and provincial authorities failed to share information in the earliest, most critical days.

The consultants interviewed 90 people including firefighters, staff and management from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and staff and management from the regional municipality. Also questioned were aviation contractors, representatives from the oil sands, and forest industries.

As we all know, the evacuation directly impacted 90,000 people. Not to mention hundreds of thousands more throughout Canada who also were affected by the shut down of oil sands plants.

Media reports said the operation’s chief connection with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo was through the deputy duty officer at the Fort McMurray forest area office. This meant that critical messaging was, “two or three steps removed from the operations chief on the Alberta Forestry side of the incident.”

The consultants’ report noted that the two fire authorities weren’t even operating on the same radio frequencies. It also revealed the municipality had to learn from social media that the fire was entering their community.

Emergency Recommendations for Municipalities

Numerous reasons were cited in the analysis to establish a joint wildfire planning team made up of senior forestry staff and members of the oil sands, energy, forestry, and utility industries.

We also recommend adding chief information officers and clinicians to the team who speak to the need for a mobile device strategy. Fire fighters, health care professionals, and first responders need workflows that enable maximum benefit and coverage, especially when it comes to paging when cellular and Wi-Fi communications can fail.

Where is an organization at risk?

Immediate notification prevents problems from developing and impacting the community involved with a disaster. Here are three points to remember when it comes to risk.

  • Have you developed a Critical Messaging strategy that is integrated into the broader municipal plan?
  • Do you have a database of your first responders, emergency personnel, municipal authorities, even patients in elder care homes and patients in hospitals? We’re talking about email address, mobile phone number, home address, phone number. If yes, how secure is this database?

High-frequency radio signals reach further — and faster — in remote locations.

  • Does your organization communicate confidential information via email? If so, how secure it your email service provider and are your employees required to change their passwords regularly?
  • Do you know the location and serial numbers of your pagers, smart phones, and tablets? Do these mobile devices contain email and other apps that are used for and at work? Do your employees now how to keep their mobile devices safe and secure?

Two types of paging

There are two different types of paging: limited range and wide-area.

Limited-range paging sends messages over a relatively small area using a low-powered transmitter. It’s perfect for sending emergency messages to members of a fire hall, for example.

On the other hand, wide-area paging is more like radio broadcasting. A system of radio transmitters sends pager messages across a region, even the entire province. In Greater Edmonton, for example, Citipage has 17 transmitters in these places:

  • Fort Saskatchewan Hospital
  • Walter MacKenzie, University of Alberta
  • Edmonton Clinic
  • Glenrose Hospital
  • Grey Nuns hospital
  • Sturgeon Hospital in St. Albert

The key is that pager messages are broadcast from multiple towers at the same time. If one transmitter tower stopped working, an adjacent tower’s signal would fill in which increases reliability. Paging systems can use “one-to-many” coding technology that makes it easy to send group messages that are received by all intended pagers instantaneously.

How do pagers compare with cellphones?

Pagers are not meant to compete with mobile phones; they have a very different purpose. Pagers receive quick, instant messages — and, for this reason, they’re often much more efficient than phones. Two-way pagers, by the way, were designed in 1995 by Motorola ReFLEX; trade name, Tango.

Why do we still believe in paging? Because these devices deployed within a Critical Messaging strategy help to save lives. They are powerful — given the ability to send a VHF (very high frequency) radio signal, typically broadcast in the range 138–466 MHz (like normal FM radio programs).

Using high-frequency radio means the signals reach further, need fewer transmitters, and suffer less from interfering obstacles than cellphone signals.

Disaster workers are much more likely to receive a pager message in a remote area than a cellphone call or text message, where they may not even pick up a signal. That’s why pagers are often used by mountain rescue teams, emergency workers, and lifeboat crews.

Unlike cellphone SMS text messages, wide-area pager messages are typically broadcast and received within 30 seconds. Messages sent over local paging networks, such as those operated by hospitals for their doctors, can be sent and received within five seconds.

Yes, smart phones have their place in the emergency ecosystem, as well. But we are constantly reminded that cell phone users sometimes receive messages hours — and even days — after a message was sent during times of congested signal traffic.

Paging with broad coverage includes reminder alerts, personal alarms, and duplicate messages that contain the latest timestamp to prevent a repeated message from taking an extra memory slot.

We encourage all municipalities to develop a Critical Messaging strategy that includes pagers and other relevant mobile devices within their disaster plans.

Source: Linkedin  

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Prism-IPX Systems

prism-ipx systems
Critical Messaging that works
Secure . . . Dependable . . .
and Encrypted

Who We Are

Prism-IPX is a leader in providing reliable communications systems using modern designs to meet today’s demands for critical message alerting and delivery. Prism-IPX designs versatile and robust Critical Message Management systems using paging and other wireless technologies for high performance and dependable communications.

What We Make

Prism-IPX Systems products include full-featured radio paging systems with VoIP input, IP based transmitter control systems and paging message encryption. Other options include e-mail messaging, remote switch controllers, Off-The-Air paging message decoders and logging systems.

Contact Us   left arrow

Product Support Services, Inc.

Repair and Refurbishment Services

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Product Support Services, Inc.

511 South Royal Lane
Coppell, Texas 75019
(972) 462-3970 Ext. 261 left arrow left arrow

PSSI is the industry leader in reverse logistics, our services include depot repair, product returns management, RMA and RTV management, product audit, test, refurbishment, re-kitting and value recovery.

Leavitt Communications


Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

UNICATION bendix king

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

COM motorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
Philip C. Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Web Site:
Mobile phone: 847-494-0000
Telephone: 847-955-0511
Fax: 270-447-1909
Skype ID: pcleavitt


Disaster-Proven Paging for Public Safety

Paging system designs in the United States typically use a voice radio-style infrastructure. These systems are primarily designed for outdoor mobile coverage with modest indoor coverage. Before Narrowbanding, coverage wasn’t good, but what they have now is not acceptable! The high power, high tower approach also makes the system vulnerable. If one base station fails, a large area loses their paging service immediately!

Almost every technology went from analog to digital except fire paging. So it’s time to think about digital paging! The Disaster-Proven Paging Solution (DiCal) from Swissphone offers improved coverage, higher reliability and flexibility beyond anything that traditional analog or digital paging systems can provide. 

Swissphone is the No. 1 supplier for digital paging solutions worldwide. The Swiss company has built paging networks for public safety organizations all over the world. Swissphone has more than 1 million pagers in the field running for years and years due to their renowned high quality.

DiCal is the digital paging system developed and manufactured by Swissphone. It is designed to meet the specific needs of public safety organizations. Fire and EMS rely on these types of networks to improve incident response time. DiCal systems are designed and engineered to provide maximum indoor paging coverage across an entire county. In a disaster situation, when one or several connections in a simulcast solution are disrupted or interrupted, the radio network automatically switches to fall back operating mode. Full functionality is preserved at all times. This new system is the next level of what we know as “Simulcast Paging” here in the U.S.

Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.

Bluetooth technology makes it possible to connect the s.QUAD with a compatible smartphone, and ultimately with various s.ONE software solutions from Swissphone. Thanks to Bluetooth pairing, the s.QUAD combines the reliability of an independent paging system with the benefits of commercial cellular network. Dispatched team members can respond back to the call, directly from the pager. The alert message is sent to the pager via paging and cellular at the same time. This hybrid solution makes the alert faster and more secure. Paging ensures alerting even if the commercial network fails or is overloaded.

Swissphone sets new standards in paging:

Paging Network

  • It’s much faster to send individual and stacked pages digitally than with analog voice.
  • If you want better indoor coverage, you put sites closer together at lower heights.
  • A self-healing system that also remains reliable in various disaster situations.
  • Place base station where you need them, without the usage of an expensive backhaul network.
  • Protect victim confidentiality and prevent unauthorized use of public safety communications, with integrated encryption service.


  • Reliable message reception, thanks to the best sensitivity in the industry.
  • Ruggedized and waterproof, IP67 and 6 1/2-feet drop test-certified products.
  • Battery autonomy of up to three months, with a standard AA battery.
  • Bluetooth enables the new s.QUAD pager to respond back to the dispatch center or fire chief.


  • Two-way CAD interfaces will make dispatching much easier.
  • The new s.ONE solution enables the dispatcher or fire chiefs to view the availability of relief forces.
  • A graphical screen shows how many of the dispatched team members have responded to the call.

Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
Visit: or call 800-596-1914.

Leavitt Communications

We can supply alphanumeric display, numeric display, and voice pagers.

We also offer NEW and refurbished Alphamate 250s, refurbished Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate refurbished, and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts, and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging! Outstanding service is our goal.

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information, or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

Phil Leavitt

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Tuesday, January 5, 2018

Volume 6 | Issue 3 

MD Think Tank Exposes Muni Broadband ‘Hypocrisy’ Over Net Neutrality

Maryland conservative think tank Free State Foundation called out mayors this week who oppose the FCC’s recent vote to roll-back Net Neutrality rules, yet appear to restrict internet use on municipal broadband networks with service terms that prohibit certain types of content.

Free State Foundation Board member Enrique Armijo, a law professor at Elon University and also a fellow at Yale’s law school, wrote in a policy paper about the “hypocrisy” of many local and state governments that claim what the FCC recently voted on is unlawful. “The mayors of more than 50 cities, many of which own or operate their own municipal broadband networks or are exploring ways to do so, want the FCC to preserve the restrictions on private ISPs” set out in the previous 2015 order. Abandoning that order, the mayors argue, would “permit blocking, throttling and other interference with access to the internet,” states Armijo.

The record of local governments with the restrictions they place on speech traffic carried over their municipal broadband networks is “decidedly mixed,” while pointing out they may engage in the same practices. For example, the “Acceptable Use Policy” for the municipal utility-owned and operated Chattanooga, TN, fiber optic network, bars users from using the network to “transmit, distribute, or store material . . . that is,” in addition to illegal or obscene, “threatening, abusive or hateful,” or that offends “the privacy, publicity or other personal rights of others.”

In New York City, the Terms and Conditions for GOWEX, the private partner offering internet access for NYC as part of the city’s Wireless Corridor Challenge, “bars the transmission of data . . . via Hotspots managed by GOWEX . . . whose content is threatening, derogatory, obscene, pornographic.” It continues: “The transmission of any other type of material which constitutes or incites a conduct which may be considered a criminal offense, is prohibited.”

These terms of service “decidedly are not examples of network neutrality” according to Armijo, but the government owned networks “severely restrict users’ speech” on the network in exchange for access. “It’s worth remembering that the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting speech, not private parties,” he writes in support of the FCC’s recent action.

“We should thus be wary of mayors arguing that what is good for Comcast or Verizon is no good for them,” states Armijo. “The fact that they proclaim, however loudly, that they favor Net Neutrality, including the restrictions on blocking and other practices contained in the FCC’s 2015 Order, while employing terms of service for their own government networks that are wholly inconsistent with those restrictions, ought to give one pause.”

Source: Inside Towers newsletter Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers.

BloostonLaw Newsletter

Selected portions [sometimes more — sometimes less] of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section of The Wireless Messaging News with kind permission from the firm. The firm's contact information is included at the end of this section of the newsletter.

 BloostonLaw Telecom Update Vol. 21, No. 1 January 5, 2018 

HAC Report Deadline Approaching – January 16, 2017

The next Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) reporting deadline for digital commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers (including carriers that provide service using AWS-1 spectrum and resellers of cellular, broadband PCS and/or AWS services) is January 16, 2017. All service providers subject to the FCC’s HAC rules – including companies that qualify for the de minimis exception – must participate in annual HAC reporting. To the extent that your company is a provider of broadband PCS, cellular and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using newly licensed (or partitioned) AWS or 700 MHz spectrum, you and your company will need to be familiar with the FCC’s revised rules.

BloostonLaw is available to assist in the preparation and filing of HAC reports. Carriers should contact our firm with any questions.

BloostonLaw contacts: Cary Mitchell, John Prendergast, and Sal Taillefer.


REMINDER: CAF Phase II Eligible Locations Available for Review

On December 19, the FCC issued a list of locations that are eligible for up to $2 billion in support for broadband deployment over the next decade. A list of eligible census blocks can be found here, and a map of those locations can be found here.

Census blocks eligible for the Phase II auction include those in price cap study areas where the price cap carriers declined the statewide offers of model-based support. They exclude census blocks where the price cap carriers accepted the statewide offers; any provider provides service with voice and broadband at speeds of 10/1 Mbps or higher based on FCC Form 477 deployment data; or those located in rate-of-return areas. Accordingly, the final list of census blocks eligible for support in the Phase II auction consists of census blocks located in price cap carrier territories that, based on December 31, 2016 Form 477 data, are not served by the incumbent price cap carrier or by an unsubsidized competitor with voice and broadband at speeds of 10/1 Mbps or higher; and based on averaged cost, are identified by the model as high-cost or extremely high-cost.

The CAF Phase II auction is scheduled to launch in 2018. BloostonLaw has assisted clients in the successful participation in previous FCC reverse auctions, including preparation of the participation applications; handling bids; assisting with formulation of bidding strategies, advice regarding the complex bidding rules; and preparation of related agreements and disclosures.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell, and Sal Taillefer.

FCC Issues Handset Requirements for Mobility Fund Phase II Challenge Process; Portal Access

On December 20, the FCC issued a Public Notice providing further requirements for the handsets that mobile wireless providers in the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) challenge process must designate for challengers to use when conducting speed tests in areas deemed presumptively ineligible for MF-II support. In the same Public Notice, the FCC also adopted procedures for challengers to request access to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) challenge process portal.

Regarding handsets, each mobile wireless provider with qualified 4G LTE coverage is required to identify at least three readily available handset models appropriate for testing its coverage as part of the new, one-time data collection, at least one of which must be compatible with industry-standard drive test software. In the Public Notice, the FCC also requires each provider to identify in its filing at least one device that is either: (a) officially supported by the latest versions of industry-standard drive test software, such as JDSU, ZK-SAM, Rohde & Schwartz, or TEMS; or (b) engineering-capable and able to be unlocked and put into diagnostic mode to interface with drive test software. Second, at least one of the three specified devices must run the Android operating system. This device can be the same device as the one that meets the requirements in the proposal adopted above for compatibility with drive-test software, but it need not be.

Regarding access to the challenge portal, the FCC will require eligible challengers to provide, via web-based form, the legal name of the entity, its FCC Registration Number (FRN), and the name(s) and email address(es) of the user(s) (up to a maximum of three users) that should be granted access to the portal. The web page address and date by which to submit this contact information will be announced in a subsequent public notice.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.

Portions of Wireline Broadband Deployment Order Effective January 29

On December 28, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Accordingly, the rules adopted in the Order that do not require approval by the Office of Management and Budget are effective January 29. As a reminder, comments on the issues in the FNPRM are due January 17 and reply comments are due on February 16.

As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the adopted document revises and seeks comment on further changes to the FCC's pole attachment rules, network change disclosure processes, and section 214(a) discontinuance processes to remove barriers to infrastructure investment and promote broadband deployment, and will seek comment on taking targeted actions to facilitate rebuilding and repairing broadband infrastructure after natural disasters. However, amendments to Rules 1.1424 (complaints by incumbent local exchange carriers), 51.325, 51.329, and 51.332 (public notice requirement for notice of network changes), 51.333 (objections to short term notices of network changes and copper retirement notices), 63.60 (definition of ‘grandfather’), and 63.71 (procedures for discontinuance of legacy service by domestic carriers) contain information collection requirements that have not been approved by OMB, and will not go into effect until such approval is obtained.

The FNPRM seeks comment on a number of issues related to pole attachment, network changes, and discontinuance processes. Specifically, proposals in the NPRM include:

  • a uniform reduced public comment period of 10 days and an auto-grant period of 25 days for applications seeking to grandfather data services with download/upload speeds of less than 25 Mbps/3 Mbps.
  • codifying a rule that “overlashing” — i.e., the process of physically tying additional cables to the cables that are already attached to a utility pole — is subject to a notice-and-attach process and that any concerns with overlashing should be satisfied by compliance with generally accepted engineering practices.
  • revising the rule governing short-term network change notices to calculate the effective date of such notices from the date the incumbent LEC files its notice or certification of the change, rather than from the date the Commission releases its public notice.
  • eliminating the requirement that incumbent LECs provide public notice of network changes affecting the interoperability of customer premises equipment.
  • forbearance from applying the section 214(a) discontinuance requirements when carriers seek to discontinue, reduce, or impair services with no existing customers.
  • further streamlining the processing of section 214(a) discontinuance applications for legacy voice services where a carrier certifies: (1) that it provides interconnected VoIP service throughout the affected service area; and (2) that at least one other alternative voice service is available in the affected service area.

Carriers interested in filing comments or reply comments on these proposals should contact the firm for more information.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.

Law & Regulation

REMINDER: CPNI Reports Due March 1, 2018

Back in April 4, President Trump signed into law a bill overturning the FCC’s 2016 Broadband Privacy Order. Accordingly, the FCC’s annual CPNI report is once again due by March 1 of each year.

The bill overturning the Privacy Order states, in whole:

That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

As we reported at the time, one of the FCC’s primary goals in the Order was to harmonize the existing CPNI rules with the new broadband privacy rules so that a common set of rules applies to both. Hence, in many cases, the existing CPNI rules were modified and integrated into a common set of voice and broadband privacy and data security rules. Now that the Order has been overturned, the unmodified rules are back into effect and, unless the FCC says otherwise, this year’s CPNI certification will once again be due on March 1.

Carriers with any questions about what obligations now apply should contact the firm for more information.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy.

FCC Issues $100,000 Fine for Failure to File Form 499-Q

On December 19, the FCC imposed a penalty of $100,000 against UnityComm, Inc. (UnityComm) for failing to timely file two Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheets (499-Q) with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Specifically, UnityComm failed to file its May and August 499-Q forms in 2016, which according to the FCC “precluded federal program administrators from fully invoicing UnityComm for its required payment obligations” and “gave the Company an unfair economic advantage over its competitors who, because of UnityComm’s filing violations, had to pay more than their fair share of the costs of these important federal programs.”

UnityComm is an Indiana limited liability corporation, which provides local reseller, toll reseller, interconnected voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), and interexchange carrier services in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. In September of 2016, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing a forfeiture of $100,000 against UnityComm for its violations. At the end of September, counsel to UnityComm withdrew as UnityComm’s counsel, and UnityComm never responded to the NAL.

The $100,000 penalty is typical of the FCC for this type of violation. Although the base statutory violation is $3,000 per violation, the FCC upwardly adjusted the forfeiture to $50,000 each in light of UnityComm’s “history of substantial and repeated non-compliance,” which included failure to timely file its 2013 or 2014 Annual Worksheets (499-A), any of the four 499-Q’s for 2014, or its 499-Q’s for the first two quarters in 2015.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.

FCC TTY to Real-Time Text Transition Rules Receive OMB Approval

The following item should be of interest only to those CMRS carriers that have implemented Wi-Fi calling and/or operate VoLTE-only wireless networks, for which TTY connectivity cannot be reliably achieved, and who have received waivers of the FCC’s TTY rules or who opted in to a joint TTY waiver request filed by the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) in the summer of 2016.

The FCC has received Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for reporting requirements that will apply to carriers that have received waivers to offer real-time text (RTT) as an accessibility solution in lieu of TTY. Waiver recipients must participate in customer education efforts pertaining to their transition to RTT service and explaining that TTY technology that may no longer be available on their networks; must notify consumers that TTY technology will not be supported for calls to 911 services over IP-based wireless services; and must file reports with the Commission every six months regarding their progress toward implementing new IP-based accessibility solutions. The specific requirements are as follows:

  1. RTT outreach guidelines. Each wireless provider and manufacturer that voluntarily transitions from TTY technology to RTT over wireless IP-based networks and services is encouraged to develop consumer and education efforts that include
    1. the development and dissemination of educational materials that contain information pertinent to the nature, purpose, and timelines of the RTT transition;
    2. internet postings, in an accessible format, of information about the TTY to RTT transition on the websites of covered entities;
    3. the creation of a telephone hotline and an online interactive and accessible service that can answer consumer questions about RTT; and
    4. appropriate training of staff to effectively respond to consumer questions. All consumer outreach and education should be provided in accessible formats including, but not limited to, large print, Braille, videos in American Sign Language that are captioned and video described, emails to consumers who have opted to receive notices in this manner, and printed materials. Service providers and manufacturers are also encouraged to coordinate with consumer, public safety, and industry stakeholders to develop and distribute education and outreach materials. The information will inform consumers of alternative accessible technology available to replace TTY technology that may no longer be available to consumers through their provider or on their devices.
  2. TTY waiver notice conditions. Each wireless provider that receives a waiver of the requirement to support TTY technology over wireless IP-based networks and services must apprise its customers, through effective and accessible channels of communication, that
    1. until TTY is sunset, TTY technology will not be supported for calls to 911 services over IP-based wireless services, and
    2. there are alternative PSTN-based and IP-based accessibility solutions for people with disabilities to reach 911 services. These notices must be developed in coordination with PSAPs and national consumer organizations, and include a listing of text-based alternatives to 911, including, but not limited to, TTY capability over the PSTN, various forms of PSTN-based and IP-based TRS, and text-to-911 (where available). The notices will inform consumers of the loss of the use of TTY for completing 911 calls over the provider's network and alternative services that may be used.
  3. Six-month reports. Once every six months, each wireless provider that requests and receives a waiver of the requirement to support TTY technology must file a report with the Commission and inform its customers regarding its progress toward and the status of the availability of new IP-based accessibility solutions. Such reports must include
    1. information on the interoperability of the provider's selected accessibility solution with the technologies deployed or to be deployed by other carriers and service providers,
    2. the backward compatibility of such solution with TTYs,
    3. a showing of the provider's efforts to ensure delivery of 911 calls to the appropriate PSAP,
    4. a description of any obstacles incurred towards achieving interoperability and steps taken to overcome such obstacles, and
    5. an estimated timetable for the deployment of accessibility solutions. The information will inform consumers of the progress towards the availability of alternative accessible means to replace TTY. The Commission will evaluate the reports to determine whether any changes to the waivers are warranted and whether there are any impediments to progress that the Commission may be in a position to resolve.

We are not aware of any clients that have sought waivers of the TTY rules through our law firm but it is possible that some clients may have separately opted-in to a joint waiver request filed by CCA. Such clients should contact Cary Mitchell via email to identify themselves and to review their proposed outreach and notice materials as well as set up a schedule for their upcoming six-month reports.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell


ENERGOUS Receives FCC Certification for Over-the-Air Wireless Charging

In a step that is intended to advance smart homes and the use of mobile devices, Energous Corporation has received FCC certification of its first-generation WattUp Mid Field transmitter (“Mid Field WattUp Transmitter”), which is designed to send a focused RF based power to devices located up to 2 - 3 feet from the away from the transmitter. Energous stated that “this development represents a new era of wireless charging, and opens up a tremendous opportunity for the wireless industry.”

The Mid Field WattUp Transmitter was subjected to extensive testing in order to ensure that it met all FCC and consumer protection regulatory requirements. Devices that will be able to take advantage of this power-at-a-distance wireless charging transmitter include most small electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets, fitness trackers, smart watches, wireless keyboards and mice as well as speakers. Currently, most devices must either be plugged into an electrical charging device or laid atop a charging pad — which limits the devices utility while being recharged. In this regard, Stephen R. Rizzone, Energous’s President and CEO stated “Older wireless charging technologies have received limited adoption over the past 15 years, and are confined to contact-based charging only. The FCC certification of Energous' power-at-a-distance wireless charging transmitter is a major market milestone. It opens up options, outside of just contact-based charging, to Wireless Charging 2.0: an ecosystem where devices can be charged both, via pad and at a distance.” Mr. Rizzone continued that “[u]ntethered, wire-free charging — such as charging a fitness band even while wearing it — is exactly what consumers have been waiting for [and that Energous is] now in a position to move our consumer electronics, IoT and smart home customers forward at an accelerated pace.”

This sort of technology could be used in an automobile or the home or office. With a charging distance of 2 – 3 feet, Energous states that all wireless devices on a desk, table or the front seat of a car could be charged without having to be plugged in — especially since the Mid Field WattUp transmitter technology can be designed into a sound bar, part of the bezel of a computer monitor or into other small devices. Additionally, through software control, the user could control the priority for recharging various devices.

If this technology is accepted by the public, we anticipate that wireless devices will once again go through a reformation which could make cars and homes more connected. It is important to note that with respect to the auto industry, certain manufacturers already have built in 4G LTE hotspots as well as contact based charging pads that are compatible with some smart phones, but not others. Likewise, this technology could also find usage in public venues where providers provide charging stations for wireless devices. Time will tell whether this technology is accepted by the public and whether it becomes an industry standard.


JANUARY 16: HAC REPORTING DEADLINE. The next Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) reporting deadline for digital commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers (including carriers that provide service using AWS-1 spectrum and resellers of cellular, broadband PCS and/or AWS services) is January 16, 2018. Non-Tier I service providers must offer to consumers at least 50 percent of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the M3 rating, and at least one-third of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the T3 rating. Month-to-month handset offering information provided in annual reports must be current through the end of 2017. With many of our clients adjusting their handset offerings and making new devices available to customers throughout the year, it is very easy for even the most diligent carriers to stumble unknowingly into a non-compliance situation, resulting in fines starting at $15,000 for each HAC-enabled handset they are deficient. Following the T-Mobile USA Notice of Apparent Liability (FCC 12-39), the FCC’s enforcement policy calls for multiplying the $15,000 per-handset fine by the number of months of the deficiency, creating the potential for very steep fines. It is therefore crucial that our clients pay close attention to their HAC regulatory compliance, and monthly checks are strongly recommended. In this regard, we have prepared a HAC reporting template to assist our clients in keeping track of their HAC handset offerings, and other regulatory compliance efforts. ALL SERVICE PROVIDERS SUBJECT TO THE FCC’S HAC RULES — INCLUDING COMPANIES THAT QUALIFY FOR THE DE MINIMIS EXCEPTION — MUST PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL HAC REPORTING. To the extent that your company is a provider of broadband PCS, cellular and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using newly licensed (or partitioned) AWS or 700 MHz spectrum, you and your company will need to be familiar with the FCC’s revised rules.

BloostonLaw contacts: John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell, and Sal Taillefer.

FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.

FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT. Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by February 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers are required to include their FCC Registration Number (FRN). Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30

BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.

MARCH 1: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FORM FOR CABLE COMPANIES. This form, plus royalty payment for the second half of calendar year 2011, is due March 1. The form covers the period July 1 to December 31, 2012, and is due to be mailed directly to cable TV operators by the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office. If you do not receive the form, please contact Gerry Duffy.

MARCH 1: CPNI ANNUAL CERTIFICATION. Carriers should modify (as necessary) and complete their “Annual Certification of CPNI Compliance” for 2017. The certification must be filed with the FCC by March 1. Note that the annual certification should include the following three required Exhibits: (a) a detailed Statement Explaining How The Company’s Operating Procedures Ensure Compliance With The FCC’S CPNI Rules to reflect the Company’s policies and information; (b) a Statement of Actions Taken Against Data Brokers; and (c) a Summary of Customer Complaints Regarding Unauthorized Release of CPNI. A company officer with personal knowledge that the company has established operating procedures adequate to ensure compliance with the rules must execute the Certification, place a copy of the Certification and accompanying Exhibits in the Company’s CPNI Compliance Records, and file the certification with the FCC in the correct fashion. Our clients can forward the original to BloostonLaw in time for the firm to make the filing with the FCC by March 1, if desired. BloostonLaw is prepared to help our clients meet this requirement, which we expect will be strictly enforced, by assisting with preparation of their certification filing; reviewing the filing to make sure that the required showings are made; filing the certification with the FCC, and obtaining a proof-of-filing copy for your records. Clients interested in obtaining BloostonLaw's CPNI compliance manual should contact Gerry Duffy (202-828-5528) or Mary Sisak (202-828-5554). Note: If you file the CPNI certification, you must also file the FCC Form 499-A Telecom Reporting Worksheet by April 1.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Mary Sisak.

MARCH 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION & BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. This annual form is due March 1 and September 1 annually. The FCC requires facilities-based wired, terrestrial fixed wireless, and satellite broadband service providers to report on FCC Form 477 the number of broadband subscribers they have in each census tract they serve. The Census Bureau changed the boundaries of some census tracts as part of the 2010 Census.

Specifically, three types of entities must file this form:

  1. Facilities-based Providers of Broadband Connections to End User Locations: Entities that are facilities-based providers of broadband connections — which are wired “lines” or wireless “channels” that enable the end user to receive information from and/or send information to the Internet at information transfer rates exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction — must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which the entity provides one or more such connections to end user locations. For the purposes of Form 477, an entity is a “facilities-based” provider of broadband connections to end user locations if it owns the portion of the physical facility that terminates at the end user location, if it obtains unbundled network elements (UNEs), special access lines, or other leased facilities that terminate at the end user location and provisions/equips them as broadband, or if it provisions/equips a broadband wireless channel to the end user location over licensed or unlicensed spectrum. Such entities include incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers (LECs), cable system operators, fixed wireless service providers (including “wireless ISPs”), terrestrial and satellite mobile wireless service providers, BRS providers, electric utilities, municipalities, and other entities. (Such entities do not include equipment suppliers unless the equipment supplier uses the equipment to provision a broadband connection that it offers to the public for sale. Such entities also do not include providers of fixed wireless services (e.g., “Wi-Fi” and other wireless ethernet, or wireless local area network, applications) that only enable local distribution and sharing of a premises broadband facility.)
  2. Providers of Wired or Fixed Wireless Local Telephone Services: Incumbent and competitive LECs must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide local exchange service to one or more end user customers (which may include “dial-up” ISPs).
  3. Providers of Mobile Telephony Services: Facilities-based providers of mobile telephony services must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which they serve one or more mobile telephony subscribers. A mobile telephony service is a real-time, two-way switched voice service that is interconnected with the public switched network using an in-network switching facility that enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless handoff of subscriber calls. A mobile telephony service provider is considered “facilities-based” if it serves a subscriber using spectrum for which the entity holds a license that it manages, or for which it has obtained the right to use via lease or other arrangement with a Band Manager.

BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.

MARCH 31: STREAMLINED INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT CAPACITY REPORT. No later than March 31, 2018, all U.S. international carriers that owned or leased bare capacity on a submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point on December 31, 2017 and any person or entity that held a submarine cable landing license on December 31, 2017 must file a Circuit Capacity Report to provide information about the submarine cable capacity it holds. Additionally, cable landing licensees must file information on the Circuit Capacity Report about the amount of available and planned capacity on the submarine cable for which they have a license. Last year, the FCC eliminated the requirement for U.S. International Carriers that owned or leased bare capacity on a terrestrial or satellite facility to show its active common carrier circuits for the provision of service to an end-user or resale carrier, including active circuits used by itself or its affiliates.

Calendar At-A-Glance

January Jan. 4 – Deadline to submit 4G Data Collection data.
Jan. 16 – Reply comments are due on Ancillary or Supplementary Services and Broadcast Public Notices.
Jan. 16 – Annual Hearing Aid Compatibility Report is due.
Jan. 17 – Comments are due on Wireline Infrastructure NPRM.
Jan. 23 – Comments are due on Robocall Blocking FNPRM.
Jan. 25 – Comments are due on Spectrum Frontiers / Above 24 GHz Report and Order.
Jan. 26 – Reply comments are due on Nationwide Number Portability NPRM.
Jan. 31 – FCC Form 555 (Annual Lifeline ETC Certification Form) is due.

February Feb. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Feb. 1 – FCC Form 502 (Number Utilization and Forecast Report) is due.
Feb. 16 – Reply comments are due on Wireline Infrastructure NPRM.
Feb. 22 – Reply comments are due on Robocall Blocking FNPRM.
Feb. 22 – Reply comments are due on Spectrum Frontiers / Above 24 GHz Report and Order.

March Mar. 1 – Copyright Statement of Account Form for cable companies is due.
Mar. 1 – Annual CPNI Certification is due.
Mar. 1 – FCC Form 477 (Local Competition & Broadband Reporting) is due.
Mar. 31 – FCC Form 525 (Delayed Phasedown CETC Line Counts) is due.
Mar. 31 – FCC Form 508 (ICLS Projected Annual Common Line Requirement) is due.
Mar. 31 – Streamlined International Circuit Capacity Report is due.

 BloostonLaw Private Users Update Vol. 18, No. 12 December 2017 

Reminder: Antenna Tower Marking and Lighting Compliance is Critical

The FCC has recently issued a series of enforcement actions in connection with tower lighting issues. As a result, we want to remind our clients of the need to ensure that antenna towers are properly obstruction marked and lighted and that the lighting is checked at least once each 24 hours to ensure that all bulbs/beacons are functioning properly. To that end, it is critically important to inspect your towers and alarm systems for the following:

  • If painted, that the aviation orange and white paint is in good condition and not faded, bleached, or peeling.
  • Make sure that the required nighttime obstruction lighting is functioning properly at least once each 24 hours. The results of this visual inspection, which can be done by looking at the tower itself or by observing an “automatic properly maintained indicator designed to register the failure of any such lights” or through an automatic alarm system, must be documented in a tower log-book.
  • In the event that there is a light outage, the outage must be reported immediately by telephone or telegraph to the nearest Flight Service Station or office of the Federal Aviation Administration if the light outage cannot be corrected within 30 minutes of discovery. This report will permit the FAA to issue a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) that the tower is not properly lighted or is otherwise dark.

Following a 1989 accident in which two people were killed when their medivac helicopter crashed into a Centel Cellular Telephone Co. (Centel) tower in North Carolina, the FCC has taken the enforcement of antenna violations very seriously. In that case, Centel agreed to pay $1 million ($1.873 million in today’s dollars) to the federal government and to take other corrective actions. In addition to action that might be taken by the FCC, tower owners are also subject to significant civil liability exposure which could be in the tens of millions of dollars if an improperly marked and lighted tower is struck by aircraft.

Our office has published a Tower Compliance Manual. If you have not already purchased this manual, please contact our office.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Announces Procedures for Registration of Fixed Satellite Service Earth Stations Entitled to Protection from 3.5 GHz Citizens Band Radio Service

The FCC has released a Public Notice which provides information on new registration procedures for Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) earth stations entitled to protection from Citizens Broadband Radio Service users in the 3.5 GHz band. The FCC’s Public Notice identifies: (1) the eligibility requirements for in-band and adjacent band FSS earth stations that are entitled to protection; (2) an overview of the FSS earth station registration process; (3) the information that must be provided during the registration process; and (4) a web link to detailed information on the application program interface (API) that SAS Administrators will use to access the registration database. This will be an annual registration requirement as reflected in Rule Section 96.17(d) (1).

The registration requirement is designed to (1) protect incumbent earth stations operating in the 3600-3650 MHz band from harmful interference; (2) protect existing earth stations operating in the adjacent 3700-4200 MHz band (C-band) from harmful interference; and (3) address the ongoing protection of previously grandfathered earth stations in the 3650-3700 MHz band. The Commission concluded that a Spectrum Access System (SAS)-based system of frequency coordination and Citizens Broadband Radio Service Devices (CBSD) authorization could be effective in protecting both in-band and adjacent band earth stations from CBSD interference. Accordingly, the Commission adopted measures to protect earth stations in the 3.5 GHz Band and the neighboring C-band. Earth station protection will be limited to those earth stations that submit annual registration information submitted by eligible earth station licensees.

Which Earth Stations are Eligible?

3600-3650 MHz Band – Co-Primary earth stations that (a) were authorized prior to or granted as a result of an application filed before July 23, 2015 and (b) constructed within 12-months of the initial license grant.

3650-3700 MHz Band – There will be a transition period for grandfathered earth stations in the 3650-3700 MHz band. The existing protection criteria under Part 90 of the Commission’s rules will remain in place “until the last Grandfathered Wireless Broadband Licensee’s license expires within the protection area defined for a particular grandfathered earth station.” Grandfathered earth stations operating in the 3650-3700 MHz band will be permitted to register annually and will then have those protections once the Part 90 protections are no longer in effect.

3700-4200 MHz Band – While interference protection to earth stations operating in the 3700-4200 MHz band will be provided through the imposition of strict out-of-band emission limits, the FCC will permit earth stations to register. Those that are identified as having telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) responsibilities will be protected from interference by CBSDs in accordance with the FCC’s Rules.

When is Registration Due?

The FCC is currently developing a web-based form for this purpose and will issue another public notice at some time in the future in order to announce (a) when the registration system is operational and (b) a filing window for the initial registrations.

The FCC has stated that registration renewals will be due annually on December 1 in order for the registration to be valid as of January 1 the following year. Late filed registrations and renewals will be accepted, but interference protection will not be effective immediately since the SAS will need time to process the request.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Seeks Comment on Waiver Request to allow use of 76-77 GHz Band Radar in Mines and Tunnels

The FCC is seeking comment on a request for waiver filed by IDS GeoRadar (IDS) to allow the certification and use of its 76-77 GHz band Hyper Definition Radar (HYDRA) system in mines and tunnels to detect potential collapses, landslides, and rock falls. Comments are due January 17, 2018 and Reply Comments are Due February 1, 2018.

HYDRA is a remote sensing mechanism that uses radiolocation to monitor rock and soil surface deformations. The lower power version (28 dBm effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP)) is used for monitoring at close ranges (up to 200 meters) in underground mines and tunnels; while the higher power version (45 dBm EIRP) is used for monitoring open pit mines, with a range up to 800 meters. IDS states that the HYDRA achieves higher accuracy and spatial resolution than current technologies (better than 0.1 mm of accuracy as compared to 1.0 mm) and spatial resolution of 15 cm as compared to 75 cm. Further, IDS asserts that the use of the 76-77 GHz band results in a smaller antenna that can be moved more easily to where it is needed as mining or construction progresses.

The 76-77 GHz band is allocated for radiolocation use, but is not available to the part 90 Radiolocation Service. Instead, the FCC allocated the band for licensed-by-rule operation under Part 95 for vehicular radar, and fixed and mobile radar at airports. It did not permit other types of fixed radar in the band in order to avoid interference to vehicular radar.

IDS requests waiver of section 90.103(b) of the Commission’s rules to permit equipment approval and site-by-site licensing of its HYDRA radar system for use in underground mine monitoring, tunnel construction, and open pit mining operations. It states that the emitted signal will be confined within the mines and tunnels, and therefore will not cause interference to vehicular radar or other services operating in the 76-77 GHz band. IDS argues that grant of a waiver is in the public interest because use of the HYDRA will improve safety in mines and tunnels.

Please contact our office if you are interested in submitting comments in this proceeding. Comments due January 17, 2017; Reply Comments Due February 1, 2018

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Sprint Cited for Improper Operation of its Transmitters

As a result of an interference complaint from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the FCC has issued a Notice of Violation against Sprint Corporation for the improper operation of various cellular transmitters. In particular, the FAA was receiving interference to its Airport Surveillance Radar Weather Systems Processor on the frequency 2710 MHz. In tracking this interference, the FCC discovered that several Sprint cellular sites, which were authorized to transmit from 2619.80 MHz to 2677.40 MHz, had spurious transmissions on the frequency 2710 MHz and were therefore causing harmful interference to the FAA’s radio facilities.

It is important that your radio equipment be checked on a regular basis in order to ensure that it is operating as authorized by the FCC. Aside from causing harmful interference to other licensed radio services, which could have safety of life implications, the FCC could issue significant fines for improper operation if it were to discover that one of your transmitters was operating off frequency or otherwise inconsistent with the parameters specified on your license. Should you have to make a change to your system, please contact our office so that we can prepare any necessary application to the FCC.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Lumenier Settles Investigation into Improper Marketing of RF Devices for $180K

Lumenier Holdco LLC (Lumenier) has agreed to enter into a consent decree with the FCC to end the FCC’s investigation into whether Lumenier advertised and sold non-compliant audio/visual transmitters intended for use with remotely piloted aircraft (drones) in violation of the FCC’s equipment marketing and amateur radio operator rules.

Lumenier marketed and sold, through various web sites, fully assembled drones as well as various parts and accessories to the hobbyist community. As a result of an inquiry from the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, an investigation revealed that the marketed drones and accessories (and in particular, the audio/visual transmitters (AV transmitters)) were capable of being operated outside of the authorized amateur radio service bands, including on frequencies reserved in whole or in part for Federal agencies, but were not certified or otherwise compliant with the Rules. Some of the AV transmitters also operated at power levels that exceed the power limits established by the FCC’s Rules for the operation of model aircraft. The FCC noted that after Lumenier received the inquiry from the FCC, it stopped marketing the noncompliant AV transmitters. It is important to note that the FCC’s definition of the term “marketing” is very broad and includes: the “sale or lease, or offering for sale or lease, including advertising for sale or lease, or importation, shipment, or distribution for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease.”

In order to settle this matter, Lumenier admitted that it marketed noncompliant equipment, will appoint a compliance officer, establish a detailed compliance plan and pay a civil penalty in the amount of $180,000 (in three installments). Further, Lumenier will be required to immediately report any future non-compliance with the FCC’s Equipment Authorization and Marketing Rules along with corrective steps and provide compliance reports to the Commission on a periodic basis for a period of three years.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Streamlines Rules for Classification of Private Mobile and Commercial Mobile Radio Services

After several years of discussion, the FCC has adopted rules which update and streamline its rules regarding the classification of private and commercial mobile radio services (PMRS and CMRS, respectively). As a result, the FCC has eliminated Rule Sections 20.7 and 20.9, which rule required waivers in order for certain auction spectrum to be used to meet private internal communications needs.

In proposing this rule change, the FCC had concluded that doing so would streamline application processing and promote comparable treatment of wireless applicants and licensees operating in different spectrum bands. The FCC stated that this revision of its rules would shorten the processing time for a number of applications and eliminate the obligation of licensees and applicants in the specified Section 20.9 bands to make a showing – even if brief – regarding their intent to operate what had traditionally been CMRS spectrum on a PMRS-basis. By making these changes, the FCC believes that this would lead to more efficient and timely use of spectrum, without imposing more regulatory burdens than necessary for the FCC to oversee spectrum usage.

CMRS is defined as providing commercial service on a for profit basis that is interconnected to the public switched telephone network. Examples include SMR and paging services under Part 90 of the FCC’s Rules. With this rule change, clients who are no longer using their CMRS licenses to provide interconnected service should contact our office to modify their licenses since the regulatory classification on the license is used by the FCC to determine regulatory requirements – including the requirement to pay annual regulatory fees.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Enters Into Memorandum of Understanding with FTC Over Consumer Protection

On December 11, the FCC issued a Press Release announcing the intent of the FCC and the FTC to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which the two agencies “would coordinate online consumer protection efforts following the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order." The draft MOU outlines the ways in which the FCC and FTC intend to work together to protect consumers, including:

  • The FCC will review informal complaints concerning the compliance of Internet service providers (ISPs) with the disclosure obligations set forth in the new transparency rule. Those obligations include publicly providing information concerning an ISP’s practices with respect to blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and congestion management. Should an ISP fail to make the required disclosures—either in whole or in part— the FCC will take enforcement action.
  • The FTC will investigate and take enforcement action as appropriate against ISPs concerning the accuracy of those disclosures, as well as other deceptive or unfair acts or practices involving their broadband services
  • The FCC and the FTC will broadly share legal and technical expertise, including the secure sharing of informal complaints regarding the subject matter of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The two agencies also will collaborate on consumer and industry outreach and education.

Please contact our office if you would like a copy of the MOU.

The 9th Circuit is currently considering an appeal regarding whether or not the FTC has jurisdiction over common carriers, even when they are providing an unregulated service. It is likely that this decision will have a tangible impact on the MOU and the agencies’ future regulatory behavior.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Ben Dickens, and Sal Taillefer

FCC Grants Tennessee Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security Waiver

The FCC has granted the State of Tennessee, Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s request for waiver to accept its late filed renewal application for its 700 MHz state license. Tennessee’s license was issued in 2002 and expired 15 years later on May 14, 2017. The FCC established a five-year interim and 10 year final construction bench marks for state licensees such as Tennessee to demonstrate that it was providing the required levels of service which fell on June 13, 2004 and June 13, 2019, respectively.

Tennessee attributed the license expiration to staff change and committed to checking the FCC’s license database at least once each 45 days.

In determining whether to grant a late-filed renewal application, the FCC considers all of the facts and circumstances, including the length of the delay in filing, the reasons for the failure to timely file, the potential consequences to the public if the license should terminate, and the compliance and performance record of the licensee.

Based upon this review, which had to meet a much higher bar because the Tennessee license had expired some four months prior, the FCC concluded that dismissal of its application would be unduly burdensome and contrary to the public interest. The FCC stated that two of the factors set forth by its policy for the treatment of late-filed renewal applications—i.e., the potential consequences to the public if the license should be terminated, and the performance record of the licensee—support Tennessee’s request. First, the FCC was concerned that a dismissal of Tennessee’s application would potentially disrupt public safety communications. Because Tennessee does not have a master system station identification capability, changes to its station identification must be made on a per site basis. Given that Tennessee has over 50 sites across the state, the FCC concluded that termination of Tennessee’s license would not be in the public interest. Second, the FCC recognized that Tennessee had satisfied its initial substantial service requirement and that it has implemented steps to better manage its licenses and timely respond to FCC correspondence. For those reasons, the FCC determined that a grant Tennessee’s late-filed renewal application for call sign WPTZ797 would be in the public interest.

It is important to note that this decision should be considered the exception rather than the rule. Additionally, when making this decision, the FCC has cautioned that public safety licensees will not be afforded special consideration when license renewal applications are not filed in a timely manner merely because the licensee engages in public safety activities. And, in this regard, the FCC reiterated its position that turnover in recordkeeping personnel, failure to check computer records, or simple forgetfulness are not valid excuses for failure to file a timely renewal application.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Amendments to Caller ID Rules Effective January 2

Of interest to our local government clients . . . On December 1, the FCC published in the Federal Register its item amending the Caller Identification (Caller ID) privacy rules to allow law enforcement and security personnel, as directed by law enforcement, to obtain quick access to blocked Caller ID information needed to identify and thwart threatening callers. These rules are effective January 2, 2018, except for 64.160(d)(4)(ii) and (f), which still require approval by the Office of Management and Budget.

Normally, FCC rules require that any service based on Signaling System 7 functionality recognize certain inputs as an indication that the caller wishes his or her calling party number (CPN) not to be passed along, and that no common carrier may override this privacy request. Effective January 2, for law enforcement or security personnel of the called party investigating a threat:

  1. the CPN on incoming restricted calls may not be passed on to the line called;
  2. any system used to record CPN must be operated in a secure way, limiting access to designated telecommunications and security personnel, as directed by law enforcement;
  3. telecommunications and security personnel, as directed by law enforcement, may access restricted CPN data only when investigating phone calls of a threatening and serious nature, and shall document that access as part of the investigative report;
  4. carriers transmitting restricted CPN information must take reasonable measures to ensure security of such communications;
  5. CPN information must be destroyed in a secure manner after a reasonable retention period; and
  6. any violation of these conditions must be reported promptly to the Commission.

Upon OMB approval of the remaining sections, the entirety of the privacy section for CPN will not apply to CPN delivery to law enforcement made in connection with a threatening call. Upon report of such a threatening call by law enforcement on behalf of the threatened party, the carrier will provide any CPN of the calling party to law enforcement and, as directed by law enforcement, to security personnel for the called party for the purpose of identifying the party responsible for the threatening call.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Ben Dickens and Mary Sisak

FCC Updates Emergency Alert System to Include Blue Alerts

The FCC has expanded the Emergency Alert System (EAS) with a new “Blue Alert” alert option. Like Amber Alerts for children and Silver Alerts for senior citizens in distress, Blue Alerts can be used by state and local authorities to notify the public of threats to law enforcement and to help apprehend dangerous suspects.

Blue Alerts will warn the public when there is actionable information related to a law enforcement officer who is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, or when there is an imminent credible threat to an officer. A Blue Alert could quickly warn you if a violent suspect may be in your community, along with providing instructions on what to do if you spot the suspect and how to stay safe.

The FCC’s Order has created a dedicated Blue Alert event code in the EAS so that state and local agencies have the option to send these warnings to the public through broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline video providers. Officials will also send Blue Alerts through the Wireless Emergency Alert system to consumers’ wireless phones.

The FCC action supports the development of compatible and integrated Blue Alert plans throughout the United States, a goal consistent with the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015, which was implemented by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), in cooperation with the FCC. There will be a 12-month implementation period for Blue Alerts to be delivered over the EAS and 18 months for delivery over the Wireless Emergency Alert system.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Grants Clark County, Washington 800 MHz Expansion Waiver

The FCC has granted a waiver filed by Clark County, Washington for early access to two Expansion Band channels that would allow it to expand its composite contour by a de minimis amount in a sparsely populated area.

Clark County operates a six-site trunked simulcast radio system on twelve channels in the 800 MHz band. Clark County is currently in the process of a multi-year $20 million project to upgrade its trunked radio system in order to improve coverage deficiencies. As part of this upgrade, Clark County seeks to add two sites in Orchard and Yacolt, Washington to its trunked simulcast radio system. The Orchard, Washington facility would not expand the composite contour of Clark County’s system. However, with addition of the Yacolt, Washington facility, the composite contour footprint would expand slightly in the northeast portion of the county.

Consistent with FCC policy, Clark County has elected to remain in the Expansion Band. However, absent a waiver, it could only expand its coverage contour on the Expansion Band channels after the FCC established a filing date for applicants seeking to license channels in the Expansion Band in a particular NPSPAC region. In support of its request, Clark County notes that the proposed Yacolt site is being added to “improve coverage” and that, without this site, its system would “not adequately cover the northeast sector” of the county. And, since Clark County operates a simulcast system, all frequencies must be operational at all transmitter sites on the system. Finally, Clark County noted that the addition of the Yacolt site would have minimal impact on other licensees since the closest co-channel licensee on either Expansion Band channel is 145 km and that the area where the coverage contour would expand is sparsely populated.

In evaluating Clark County’s proposal, the FCC noted that the purpose of its policy for accepting Expansion Band applications is to maintain a stable spectrum environment prior to establishing a filing window. However, here, the FCC found that granting the Clark County request would not have a material impact on the spectrum environment in this NPSPAC region. In particular, the FCC noted that the addition of the Yacolt site would result in less than a 2% expansion of Clark County’s service contour on the two Expansion Band channels. Additionally, the closest co-channel incumbent licensee on either channel was more than 140 km away. Finally, the FCC found that Clark County was not expanding its mobile area of operation and that the addition of the Yacolt site was “an unavoidable side effect of improvements that Clark County needs to enhance coverage within its operating area.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Denies Washington State DOT 800 MHz Rule Waiver

The FCC has denied a waiver request filed by the Washington State Department of Transportation to operate an 800 MHz channel at a location that would be less than the minimum required separation distance from co-channel sites that are licensed to Sprint Corporation.

Washington DOT operates a statewide 800 MHz public safety system throughout the State of Washington. It requested to a waiver to establish a new base station at Eatonville, Washington, which is less than 88 km from several co-channel facilities that are licensed to Sprint and significantly less than the required 113 km (70 mile) separation required between co-channel base stations. The only exception would be if Washington DOT’s proposal satisfied certain power and antenna height limits, in which case, the minimum distance would be reduced to 88 km.

In response to an inquiry from the FCC, Washington DOT stated that it did not need the consent of Sprint or a waiver of Rule Section 90.621 since it had been “assigned the frequency in question during the [800 MHz] rebanding process” and was operating three other base stations on this frequency – all of which were closer than 88 km to a Sprint base station. The FCC then returned the application after concluding that the fact that the FCC had assigned a particular “replacement” frequency during the 800 MHz rebanding process that was closer than 88 km to a Sprint site did not entitle Washington DOT to use that same frequency at a new site in order to expand its coverage when doing so would violate the FCC’s shortspacing rules. In response, Washington DOT filed its waiver request in which it asserted that while the Sprint sites would be blanketed by interference from the proposed Washington DOT facility at Evanston, there was not need to provide interference protection since Sprint had no intention of maintaining its operations on those sites and that Sprint would be cancelling the licenses for those sites at some future date.

In looking at the totality of the circumstances, the FCC concluded that Washington DOT was essentially attempting an end-run around the FCC’s process for releasing vacated Sprint spectrum for relicensing following completion of the rebanding process. Here, the FCC noted that there is a specific regime that makes spectrum reserved for public safety licensees for a period of three years once they become available for licensing and then critical infrastructure licensees for a two year period after that. In this case, Sprint has not yet cancelled its licenses and the FCC has not released a public notice in which it would announce the date upon which it will begin accepting applications for the spectrum that is vacated by Sprint. As a result, the FCC concluded that Washington DOT’s application and waiver request was nothing more than a request for “early-access to a Sprint-vacated channel” that was prematurely filed that if granted, would allow Washington DOT to circumvent the FCC procedure for making Sprint-vacated channels available for relicensing on an equitable basis.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Seeks Comment on Echodyne Request to Use Ground Based 24.45-24.65 GHz Radar

The FCC is seeking comment on a request for waiver filed by Echodyne Corporation (Echodyne) to permit ground-based radiolocation use of its Metamaterial Electronically Scanning Array (MESA), a low-power, low-cost, small radar that operates in the 24.45-24.65 GHz band. Comments are due January 10, 2018; Reply Comments are due January 25, 2018.

In its waiver request, Echodyne states that it originally developed the MESA for airborne use in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to detect and avoid (DAA) obstacles, but that users have expressed interest in using it as a ground-based security and surveillance radar (SSR). As a result, Echodyne developed a model that is optimized for ground-based use, called the MESA-SSR, which can be used for UAS Traffic Management; UAS detection at airports, prisons, and other sensitive sites; and ground perimeter surveillance.

The FCC allocated the 24.45-24.65 GHz band for radio-navigation and inter-satellite services on a primary basis for Federal and non-Federal use. Additionally, Part 87 of the FCC’s rules authorizes airborne and ground-based use of the band for aeronautical radionavigation, including obstruction warning. Use of the band for ground-based SSR (including UAS detection), however, would be a radiolocation service as opposed to a radionavigation service, and is therefore not authorized by the FCC’s rules. Echodyne therefore requests a waiver of section 2.106 and Part 87 to permit ground-based use of the MESA-SSR for radiolocation applications.

In order to reduce any concerns that long-term operation under a waiver would have, Echodyne has proposed that licenses granted pursuant to the waiver be authorized on a secondary basis, non-interference basis. While it would prefer that licenses be granted a full 10-year license term, Echodyne has proposed an initial five-year term that could be renewed if there are no unresolved instances of harmful interference caused by the MESASSR. Echodyne also proposed a limitation of 20,000 units during the first five years of the waiver.

In seeking comment on the Echodyne waiver, the FCC is asking commenters to address the potential effect on aeronautical radionavigation, and whether there is any equipment with comparable benefits that operates on spectrum where radiolocation is already authorized.

Comments are due January 10, 2018; Reply Comments are due January 25, 2018.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Grants Long Beach, California Extension to Complete Construction of 700 MHz System

The FCC has granted in part the City of Long Beach, California’s request to extend the construction deadline for its 700 MHz trunked public safety system. In particular, Long Beach requested a four-year extension until June 2020 to complete construction of its station.

Long Beach received license to construct and operate additional frequencies on its 700 MHz trunked system at four locations on February 4, 2011. In its application, Long Beach had requested a slow growth construction period for a period of four years through 2016 to add the additional 700 MHz channels. Long Beach received a further extension, until June 17, 2017 to complete its system expansion since additional infrastructure was required. Four days prior to the expiration of the extended implementation period, Long Beach requested an additional three years, until June 2020, to complete construction. As part of its request, Long Beach stated that it needed additional time to secure funding to purchase and construct the additional repeaters and provided a revised extended implementation schedule along with copies of its purchase order and migration upgrade plan.

In partially granting Long Beach’s request, the FCC noted that local governments may be authorized a period of up to five years to construct and place a system into operation if it meets established criteria for extended implementation. In this regard, the applicant must demonstrate that the extended implementation period is warranted under the circumstances by, among other things, describing the proposed system and stating the amount of time necessary to construct and place the system in operation. The applicant must also show that the proposed system will require longer than twelve months to construct and place in operation because of its purpose, size or complexity; or that the proposed system is to be part of a coordinated or integrated wide-area system which will require more than twelve months to, among other things, plan and place in operation; or the applicant is required by law to follow a multi-year cycle for planning.

The FCC notes that Long Beach twice met the criteria that warranted a five-year extended implementation period even though Long Beach had requested a total of four years in its prior requests. Because Long Beach could have previously obtained a five-year extended implementation period, the Commission granted Long Beach’s request only to the extent that the total extended implementation period would not exceed five years. In so doing, the FCC reasoned that its extended implementation rules would not be diluted by a one-year extension and that the underlying purpose of the rule would be served – “which is to provide an adequate amount of time (up to five years) within which to construct a large, complex communications system.” The FCC noted further that Long Beach has invested substantial funds and resources into the initial construction and that it plans to have four of the repeaters activated by the end of 2017.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Rules that Transmission of GPS Coordinates is not Radiolocation Communications

Air-Tel, LLC and IOU Acquisitions filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling and Rule Waiver in order to determine whether a service offering would be considered radiolocation under Part 90 of the FCC’s Rules and would therefore be a permissible service under their Radiolocation Radio Service licenses. Air-Tel and IOU also requested that the FCC waive the equipment authorization rules to permit them to provide that service in the 3500-3550 MHz band by using equipment that has not been approved to for radiolocation service on those frequencies.

Air-Tel and IOU are the licensees of, respectively, part 90 Radiolocation Stations WQLX454 and WQLW310, which authorize operation at various locations on spectrum in the 3300-3650 MHz bands. These licenses authorize base and mobile radiolocation operations for the purpose of determining distance, direction, speed, or position, and use of a digital emission. Air-Tel and IOU, however, use the licensed facilities to provide fleet management services in which the base stations send a signal to the mobile units, which respond by transmitting their geographic coordinates (determined by means of an embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) unit) back to the base station.

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau recently questioned whether this sort of operation met the FCC’s definition of radiolocation, and thus was a permitted use under Air- Tel’s and IOU’s respective licenses. Radiodetermination is defined in the FCC’s Rules as “[t]he determination of position, or the obtaining of information relating to position, by means of the propagation of radio waves.” Radiolocation is radiodetermination for purposes other than radionavigation. Air-Tel and IOU argued that “the definition of radiolocation includes any technology that uses the propagation of radio waves to either determine the position of an object or to ‘obtain . . . information relating to position,’” including the transmission of GPS coordinates.

The FCC noted that under Air-Tel’s and IOU’s reading of the rules, any transmission (whether it be voice, data or image that provides information regarding an objects position) would considered radiolocation. The FCC stated that this interpretation conflicts with the allocation for the Radiolocation Radio Service and the plan language and FCC intent in the rules which govern the Radiolocation Radio Service. This is demonstrated by the FCC’s action earlier this year when it previously distinguished the transmission of GPS coordinates from radiolocation when it added a maritime mobile allocation to the existing radiolocation allocation in the 1900-2000 kHz band in order to permit radio buoys that use GPS technology. The FCC stated that radio buoys using GPS technology do not fall under the definition of radiolocation since their position is not determined by the propagation properties of radio waves. Based upon this action, the FCC concluded that the transmission of GPS coordinates cannot constitute radio location under the FCC’s Rules.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm.


Harold Mordkofsky, 202-828-5520,
Benjamin H. Dickens, Jr., 202-828-5510,
Gerard J. Duffy, 202-828-5528,
John A. Prendergast, 202-828-5540,
Richard D. Rubino, 202-828-5519,
Mary J. Sisak, 202-828-5554,
D. Cary Mitchell, 202-828-5538,
Salvatore Taillefer, Jr., 202-828-5562,

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Spok Holdings: The Story Is Playing Out, Even If It Doesn't Look Like It

Jan. 2.18 | About: Spok Holdings, (SPOK)

By Vince Martin


  • Spok's consolidated numbers YTD look relatively weak, with revenue and margins both down year over year.
  • But the wireless business remains in predictable, and manageable, decline, while investments behind the software business are showing some early results.
  • This is a multi-year story which requires both patience and trust in Spok management.
  • 2017 has been good enough to keep both, and a recent pullback offers another attractive entry point.

Purely from the numbers, 2017 results from Spok Holdings (NASDAQ:SPOK) don't look particularly attractive - or particularly surprising. Anyone would know instantly, and correctly, that the core pager business is in secular decline and a complementary software segment still generates less than 40% of revenue. That business, too, has declined YTD, despite modest growth in Q3. With overall EBITDA down over 40%, from a distance the first three quarters of 2017 look like a disaster for Spok, and a 25% decline in SPOK shares during 2017 seems logical.

The news actually is a lot better than it might appear, however. The decline in wireless revenue isn't a surprise, but the rate of decline continues to be manageable. The software business is showing strength in the key healthcare market, with investments in R&D and G&A behind that business showing solid, if admittedly early, returns. In its Q3 release, Spok pointed to the midpoint of revenue guidance for the year, if not modestly higher — and toward the low end of expense guidance, thanks to cost controls in the wireless business.

The story, then, actually remains much the same as it was when I highlighted it back in March — only with some progress made. Meanwhile, a year-end pullback puts the valuation back toward a multi-year low. I stepped into a similar pullback in September, and may take the opportunity here to add to my position. From here, 2017 looks like a good year for Spok, even if that's not at all reflected in SPOK shares.

Q3 Results

Again, the numbers don't look particularly impressive. In Q3, revenue fell almost 4% Y/Y, with 1.1% growth in software more than offset by a 7% decline in wireless. YTD revenue still has declined almost 6%, with wireless down 7.8% and even software off 2.9%. Overall opex has risen, leading YTD GAAP operating margins to compress substantially, to 5.6% from 12.9% a year ago.

Source: Seeking Alpha  

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Djigui • Salif Diarra Band • Playing For Change • Live Outside

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year from your worldwide PFC Family!

Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. . .” and with this inspiration, we invite you to take a musical trip with us to the land of Burkina Faso in West Africa. This country's name translates to “Land of honest men” and I have never been more inspired by any place in my life. Some of the world's poorest people are also among the happiest and we can all learn from this reality. This year let's all take better care of each other as a human race and let the music open our minds and our hearts. Check out this song titled, “Djigui” meaning “hope,” written and performed by Salif Diarra along with Massa Dembelé, Noumassan Dembelé, and Soumana Coulibaly.

Turn it up and together we can change the world one heart and one song at a time.

One Love,
Mark Johnson and Playing For Change

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