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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — March 1, 2019 — Issue No. 845

Welcome Back To The Wireless Messaging News

Security flaws in 4G and 5G allow snooping on phone users

You could intercept calls and track a phone's location.

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas 02.25.19 in Security

Angel Garcia/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Security researchers are already poking holes in 5G mere months into its existence. They've discovered three flaws in 4G and 5G that could be used to intercept phone calls and track someone's location. The first and most important, Torpedo, relies on a flaw in the paging protocol that notifies phones of incoming calls and texts. If you start and cancel several calls in a short period, you can send a paging message without alerting the device to a call. That not only lets you track the device's location, but opens the door to two other attacks.

One of these, Piercer, lets you determine the unique IMSI number attached to a user. on a 4G network An IMSI-Cracking attack can guess the IMSI number through brute force on both 4G and 5G. This makes it possible to snoop on calls and location info through devices like Stingrays even if you have a brand new 5G handset. Torpedo can also insert or block messages like Amber alerts.

The vulnerabilities potentially affect most any 4G or 5G network in the world, although the degree varies widely. All four of the largest US carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Engadget parent Verizon) are susceptible to Torpedo, while one unnamed network could also fall prey to Piercer.

These aren't permanent flaws, although the fixes will take some time. Torpedo and IMSI-Cracking would require solutions directly from the industry's cellular standards body, the GSMA (which knows about the issue). Piercer would require the carriers to step in. Thankfully, you probably won't see this in the wild when the researchers are keeping the exact methods a secret. It's still concerning, though, and could prove dangerous if someone independently develops attacks before there are defenses in place.

Verizon owns Engadget's parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

[Source: engadget]

Good Read

The following article “Matt Hancock's plan to purge NHS pagers is pretty dumb. Here's why” was written by Nicole Kobie a freelance journalist in London.

Nicole Kobie

I was hoping that someone would write a good response disclosing some of the ridiculous assertions in the UK Government's attempt to ban pager use by medical professionals.

This report came out yesterday (Thursday 28 February) in WIRED the UK technology online publication. That is just about a week after the story broke. (I sent out a bulletin last Friday evening.)

I am amazed about how well written and researched the article is.

I am just wondering who funded this excellent piece of work. Freelance journalists don't work for free. The potential of putting the remaining UK Paging Operators out of business must have had something to do with it.

Probably someone we know.

But I have been wrong before.

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.

We are having a cold spell in Southern, Illinois

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


Let's get together and share ideas. Our competitors are not other paging companies, they are other technologies.

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 own opinions.

Prism-IPX Systems is growing and they are looking for more good software developers with communications experience. Additional information is available on their web site. Click here.

We need your help. This is probably the only weekly news source about paging and wireless messaging.

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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale

Motorola Service Monitor

IFR Service Monitor

Efratom Rubidium Standard

(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)

Qty Item Notes
2 Late IFR 500As with new batteries
1 Motorola R 2001D  
4 Motorola R 2400 and 2410A  
5 Motorola R 2600 and R 2660 late S/Ns  
4 Motorola R 1200  
2 Motorola R 2200  
2 Stand-alone Efratom Rubidium Frequency Standards 10 MHz output
1 Telawave model 44 wattmeter Recently calibrated
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All sold with 7 day ROR (Right of Refusal), recent calibration, operation manual and accessories  
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(254) 596-1124

E-mail address has been corrected.


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Advertiser Index

Easy Solutions  (Vaughan Bowden)
IWA Technical Services, Inc.  (Ira Wiesenfeld)
Leavitt Communications  (Phil Leavitt)
Prism Paging  (Jim Nelson & John Bishop)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC  (Ron Mercer)
Wex International Limited

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Leavitt Communications

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

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motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS



Contact us for price and availability please

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


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Matt Hancock's plan to purge NHS pagers is pretty dumb. Here's why

The tech-positive health secretary has called for mass purge of NHS pagers. But the facts his plans are based on are shaky at best

Thursday 28 February 2019

Credit: Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to ban pagers from the NHS, calling the devices "archaic". The problem? They save lives. And, in this instance, old technology really does work.

Just ask Simon Scott-Hayward. He's a GP who volunteers with a local ambulance service in Devon to reach patients in the rural area more quickly. In October, he was training on Dartmoor with a search and rescue group, and though he wasn't on call, he still carried his pager as his mobile had no signal.

The pager pinged on the walk back to the carpark: a 54-year-old woman was in cardiac arrest nearby. He got to her within four or five minutes of the 999 call, while the ambulance was still 20 minutes away. "She absolutely survived because of that pager message," he says. "Had that message gone to my mobile phone, we wouldn't have gotten it until we came back into range."

Hancock has demanded that NHS Trusts ditch pagers within the next two years. Using a "purgethepager" hashtag he’s called for the "archaic" and "outdated kit" to be replaced with secure messaging apps on mobile phones. While some staff could benefit from WhatsApp-style messages, that won't work in all cases.

Following the announcement, scores of NHS workers took to Twitter, laying out a host of reasons pagers remain popular: a deputy director of nursing at one trust explained that mobiles are banned in plenty of care situations; a registrar said plenty of staff don't want to use their own personal phone for work; while others pointed out that pagers have longer battery life, meaning they don't need to be recharged mid-shift.

A major plus point for pagers is network reliability, as hospitals are notorious Wi-Fi and mobile not-spots, as one consultant warned, while pagers run on dedicated radio-frequency networks that better penetrate buildings. That's particularly helpful at times of crisis: mobile networks fell over after the 7/7 bombings in London and the Boston Marathon bombing. As one doctor told the Boston Globe, during that incident: "All pagers continued to work."

And, there's an argument for having a dedicated device, says Scott-Hayward. His ambulance service messages also go to his smartphone, but it's not always on him — sometimes it's being charged, out of signal, or doesn't fit in his pocket. Plus, he gets other notifications on his mobile, meaning medical messages can get missed. "If the pager goes off, it's only going off for one purpose," he says.

None of these complaints mean newer systems are impossible or impractical, but sometimes pagers may simply be the best tool for the job. "In the NHS, we want to move to a position where we use technology in a better way, but to drive policy by banning things will cause problems for some parts of the health sector," says Scott-Hayward. Pagers are used in two ways inside hospitals. First, for general communications — getting the attention of a consultant, answering a quick question, sharing details of a patient, and so on — but also for so-called cardiac bleeps, urgent alerts that send consultants running. Both can be replaced by existing, newer systems, though the latter is a trickier job.

As an example on the merits of ditching pagers, the government pointed to a trial held at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust in 2017 that used the Medic Bleep system instead of pagers, citing savings of 21 minutes for nurses and 48 minutes for junior doctors per shift. That trial was limited to specific wards, but is now being rolled out across the West Suffolk Hospital site, a spokesperson said, with an aim to replace all pagers by April. All non-emergency pagers, that is — the trust hopes to eventually remove cardiac bleeps, but said it would "require more complex infrastructure to be in place before this is possible."

Even rolling out the non-emergency pagers required infrastructure spending, with a Wi-Fi update moved forward in order to support the Medic Bleep system. According to a case study of the trial, using Medic Bleep required introducing "trusted devices" to staff and ensuring there were enough charging stations, but would result in savings of £4.5 million for West Suffolk alone each year — remarkable given the government's own claim that pagers cost the entire NHS £6.6 million annually, though that saving was partially pinned on freeing up time of 18 full-time nurses and 18 full-time junior doctors per year and reducing litigation by up to 21 per cent.

For such non-emergency communications, a WhatsApp-style messaging system could be better than simpler pager devices, letting NHS staff create groups, send images, and so on — and we know this because plenty of medical staff are already using that Facebook-owned app and others like it. According to a paper in the British Medical Journal, a third of doctors use unofficial app-based messaging to send private medical data to their colleagues, while two-thirds use text messages. Giving those doctors and nurses a secure, specialist messaging app is a good idea, but it does require infrastructure investment and doesn't require ditching pagers. Medical staff need, and already use, both messaging apps and pagers – a fact clear from the West Suffolk trial the government chose to highlight.

Given all this, why would Hancock et al actively want to ditch pagers? Not only is it conflating emergency bleeps and day-to-day comms, but the figures the government cites are simply wrong. In a statement laying out Hancock's "purge the pager" plan, the government says: "The NHS uses around 130,000 pagers at an annual cost of £6.6 million. More than one in 10 of the world’s pagers are used by the NHS."

Those figures do not come from the government's own research, but from a report by CommonTime, a company that offers smartphone-based pager replacing systems. CommonTime's pager statistic, that 130,000 figure, is based on freedom of information requests sent to 141 of 219 NHS trusts that were then extrapolated — there's no reason to think this figure is inaccurate, but it’s hard to say for certain. For the second figure, the £6.6 million in annual spending, it's unclear where CommonTime sourced that number and the company did not respond to a request for more information. However, that figure isn't even all that much, suggesting the NHS pays £46 a year per pager. Scott-Hayward, the doctor in Devon, estimates the cost of a wide-area-network pager to be between £70 to £130 a year, suggesting the NHS may well be getting great value for money — or that the government-cited cost isn't accurate.

And then there's the claim the NHS uses more than 10 per cent of the world's pagers. That's based on a claim from CommonTime that only a million of the devices are used globally. Capita pointed to figures from the Critical Messaging Association suggesting there are tens of millions in use globally; Jack Uniglicht, Manager at PagersDirect, said there are at least two million in the US alone. “Although the NHS could possibly be the single largest user of pagers, they are not using 10 per cent of the world's pagers," he said. Who else uses them? Other hospitals; surveys in the US suggest 90 per cent of American hospitals are also heavily reliant on pagers. They're also used by the Ministry of Defence, emergency services, utilities companies, and, perhaps most charmingly, by birdwatchers — there's two competing systems for bird alerts, BirdNet and SwiftAlert. The RNLI even built its own system for eager twitchers.

The government also states that “most mobile phone companies have phased out support for pagers, leaving only one provider in the UK” and claims a single device can cost up to £400. Capita is indeed the only wide-area, national pager network left covering the entire country, but like the RNLI has done, it's possible to set up your own network. Plus, hospitals using pagers for cardiac bleeps don't need national coverage, and there's plenty of suppliers who will set up a local network, including Multitone, Stanley Blick, Ascom and Swissphone.

Capita's PageOne says it provides fewer than ten per cent of the 130,000 pagers that are claimed to be in use by the NHS — and it doesn't charge £400 for any of its pagers, with most rented. Capita said its prices were commercially sensitive so couldn't share specific details, but said its pagers bought outright would cost less than a quarter of the cited £400.

Then there’s the issue of what pagers can and can’t do. The government claims that "pagers only offer a one-way form of communication" — untrue, as two-way pagers exist – and that "the recipient is unaware who is contacting them, the reasons why, or the level of urgency". That is perhaps true of very old-fashioned pagers, but not on all newer devices. Capita's have two-way paging, GPS location, and use three networks — paging, SMS, mobile data — for three-way resilience. Multitone's GP Pager has an RFID tag, GPS positioning and two-way messaging; other devices include voice messaging, though it also has the basic one-way devices that likely comes to mind when you think of a pager.

There is at least one part in the government's statement that's accurate: "NHS trusts will be allowed to keep some pagers for emergency situations, such as when Wi-Fi fails or when other forms of communication are unavailable." In other words, pagers will be kept where they're useful. This will, in reality, mean that NHS trusts continue their existing work rolling out secure messaging apps such as Medic Bleep and various other services, leaving them in exactly the situation as before Hancock made his eye-catching pager-killing pledge. Despite the situation effectively not changing, and with no new funding being promised for any of this work, Hancock won plenty of tech-positive headlines. It was only December last year when he set a similar deadline for ending the use of fax machines. "There's many, many things in the NHS that are very broken and need fixing, and this is probably not the highest [priority]," Scott-Hayward says.


Paging Transmitters 150/900 MHz

The RFI High Performance Paging Transmitter is designed for use in campus, city, state and country-wide paging systems. Designed for use where reliable simulcast systems where RF signal overlap coverage is critical.

  • Commercial Paging systems.
  • Healthcare Paging systems.
  • Public Safety Emergency Services Paging systems.
  • Demand Response Energy Grid Management.

Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.

  • Use as a stand-alone unit or in wide area network.
  • Mix with other transmitter brands in an existing paging network.
  • Adjustable from 20-250 watts.
  • 110/240 VAC or 48VDC.
  • Absolute Delay Correction.
  • Remote Diagnostics.
  • Configurable alarm thresholds.
  • Integrated Isolator.
  • Superb Reliability.
  • Improved amplifier efficiency.
  • Most reliable high-powered paging transmitter available.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 Email:

Back To Paging


Still The Most Reliable Protocol For Wireless Messaging!

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If you are reading this, your potential customers are reading it as well. Please click here to find out about our advertising options.

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Easy Solutions

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Providing Expert Support and Service Contracts for all Glenayre Paging Systems.

The GL3000 is the most prolific paging system in the world and Easy Solutions gladly welcomes you to join us in providing reliable support to the paging industry for many more decades in the future.

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost-effective solutions.
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Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or  e-mail  us for more information.

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Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119
Telephone: 214 785-8255

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“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.


I would like to recommend Easy Solutions for Support of all Glenayre Paging Equipment. This Texas company is owned and operated by Vaughan Bowden. I have known Vaughan for over 35 years. Without going into a long list of his experience and qualifications, let me just say that he was the V.P. of Engineering at PageNet which was—at that time—the largest paging company in the world. So Vaughan knows Paging.

GTES is no longer offering support contracts. GTES was the original group from Vancouver that was setup to offer support to customers that wanted to continue with the legacy Glenayre support. Many U.S. customers chose not to use this service because of the price and the original requirement to upgrade to version 8.0 software (which required expensive hardware upgrades, etc.). Most contracts ended as of February 2018.

If you are at all concerned about future support of Glenayre products, especially the “king of the hill” the GL3000 paging control terminal, I encourage you to talk to Vaughan about a service contract and please tell him about my recommendation.


Board of Advisors

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.


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Newspapers generally cost 75¢ $1.50 a copy and they hardly ever mention paging or wireless messaging, unless in a negative way. If you receive some benefit from this publication maybe you would like to help support it financially?

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Prism-IPX Systems

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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

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Click on the image above for more info about advertising here.

INTERNET Protocol Terminal

The IPT accepts INTERNET or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.

An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.

Input Protocols: Serial and IP
Output Protocols: Serial and IP
FLEX (optional PURC control)   POCSAG (optional PURC control)

Additional/Optional Features

  • Database of up to 5000 subscribers.
  • 4 serial ports on board.
  • Up to 8 phone lines (DID or POTS).
  • Can be configured for auto-fail-over to hot swap standby.
  • 1RU rack mount unit appliance—no moving parts.
  • Easily secure legacy system messages leaving site for HIPAA compliance.
  • Only purchase the protocols/options you need.
  • Add Paging Encryption for HIPAA compliance on site.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:

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Paging Data Receiver PDR-4

The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.

Designed for use with Prism-IPX ECHO software Message Logging Software to receive messages and log the information for proof of transmission over the air, and if the data was error free.

  • Option—decode capcode list or all messages.
  • Large capcode capacity.
  • Serial, USB and Ethernet output.
  • POCSAG or FLEX page decoding, special SA protocols.
  • Receivers for paging bands in VHF, UHF, 900 MHz.
  • Message activated Alarm Output.
  • 8 programmable relay outputs.
  • Send notifications of a system problem.
  • Synthesized Receiver Tuning.
  • Selectivity better than 60 dB.
  • Frequencies 148-174, 450-470, 929-932 MHz.
  • Image Rejection better than 55 dB.
  • Spurious Rejection better than 55 dB.
  • Channel Spacing 12.5 or 25 kHz.
  • Power 5VDC.
  • Receiving Sensitivity 5µV at 1200 bps.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:

Wireless Network Planners

Wireless Network Planners
Wireless Specialists

R.H. (Ron) Mercer
217 First Street
East Northport, NY 11731

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Telephone: 631-786-9359 left arrow left arrow

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Consulting Alliance

Brad Dye, Ron Mercer, Allan Angus, Vic Jackson, and Ira Wiesenfeld are friends and colleagues who work both together and independently, on wireline and wireless communications projects.

Click here left arrow for a summary of their qualifications and experience. Each one has unique abilities. We would be happy to help you with a project, and maybe save you some time and money.

Note: We do not like Patent Trolls, i.e. “a person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question.” We have helped some prominent law firms defend their clients against this annoyance, and would be happy to do some more of this same kind of work.

Some people use the title “consultant” when they don't have a real job. We actually do consulting work, and help others based on our many years of experience.

“If you would know the road ahead, ask someone who has traveled it.”
— Chinese Proverb

Consulting Alliance

Remote AB Switches

ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.


ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.


Common Features:

  • RJ45 for A, B and Common connectors.
  • Manual push button or use Prism IP commands to switch one or more relays.
  • Single or Dual Port Control card for IP or Serial connection.
  • Form C relay—control local connection.
  • Power Loss Indicator.
  • Rear Panel Connector for controlling the switch externally.
  • Power Source: 5VDC for ABX-1; 12VDC for ABX-3.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:

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Leavitt Communications

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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

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Friday, February 22, 2019



Bird Deterrent On Cell Tower “Horns” In On Neighborhood Peace And Quiet

A horn used to deter birds from nesting on a nearby cell tower was causing sleep deprivation and noise pollution for area residents for about six months. The horn blast, which lasted for about five seconds, could be heard around 6:30 a.m. each morning and intermittently throughout the early evening, according to

According to resident Sean Mallon, the sound caused major disruption. "[It's like] a foghorn. You have to literally stop talking when that horn goes off. You can't hear."

The horn — referred to as a "sonic net” — was being used to deter ospreys from building nests on a nearby cell tower, according to Crown Castle, which owns and operates the cell equipment. Under federal law, nests of certain migratory birds like ospreys cannot be removed if they contain eggs or chicks, reported

Although residents complained about the racket, according to a city of Orlando spokesperson, the horn didn’t violate the city’s noise ordinance. “The offending noise would need to be above the city’s noise threshold for over two and a half minutes,” said the city of Orlando public information officer Karyn Barber. She said the siren didn’t sustain the noise for that long.

Since the tower is scheduled to be demolished in March, Crown Castle decided to deactivate the horn, hoping birds will avoid nesting in the tower prior to demolition.

“We don’t have any plans to turn it back on, but we are monitoring it every day,” said Public Affairs Director Andrea Bradford.

According to resident Faye Hobbs, “The horn is out. The neighborhood is quiet. I can sleep.”

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

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BloostonLaw Newsletter

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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. 22, No. 10 February 27, 2019 

FINAL REMINDER: CPNI Reports are Due Friday

Telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers are required to file, by March 1, 2018, their annual certification documenting compliance with the FCC’s CPNI rules.

CPNI includes sensitive personal information that carriers collect about their customers during the course of their business relationship (e.g., telephone numbers of calls made and received; the frequency, duration, and timing of such calls; and any services purchased by the consumer, such as call waiting and voicemail). The FCC’s rules seek to ensure that CPNI is adequately protected from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.

BloostonLaw has developed a compliance manual for CPNI, which is available by contacting the firm. BloostonLaw is also available to assist in filing the associated certification.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.


FCC Announces Revised A-CAM Offers

On February 25, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing 262 revised offers of Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) support and the associated revised deployment obligations. The revised state-level offers of model-based support and revised deployment obligations for each carrier that has already been authorized by the FCC to receive A-CAM, and is therefore eligible to elect a revised offer, can be found here. These carriers have until March 27, 2019, to notify the Bureau, on a state-by-state basis, whether they elect to receive the revised amount of model-based support.

Carriers electing the revised offer of model-based support will not begin receiving such support until the Bureau issues a public notice authorizing the Universal Service Administrative Company to disburse the appropriate amounts.

The revised offers in the report linked above show on the second tab (14.1), for each holding company:

  • The current authorized amount of state-level A-CAM support;
  • The total number of fully funded locations pursuant to the current authorization, on which the interim milestones for the deployment of at least 10/1 Mbps service are based;
  • The number of locations to which the carrier must deploy 25/3 Mbps, 10/1 Mbps, and 4/1 Mbps by the end of the 10-year term of the current authorization, as well as the number of locations to which the carrier must provide 4/1 Mbps service upon reasonable request;
  • The revised amount of state-level A-CAM support pursuant to the revised offer;
  • The total number of funded locations pursuant to the revised offer;
  • The total number of eligible locations to which the carrier must deploy 25/3 Mbps service by the end of the revised 10-year term of the revised offer, and on which the interim milestones for the deployment of 25/3 Mbps service are based;
  • The number of locations to which the carrier must deploy 10/1 Mbps and 4/1 Mbps service by the end of the 10-year term of the revised offer, and the number of locations to which the carrier must deploy 4/1 Mbps service upon reasonable request.

For clarification purposes, the third tab of the report (14.2) the number of locations to which a carrier must provide service in order to meet interim deployment milestones pursuant to the current authorizations and the revised offers. Pursuant to the current authorizations, a carrier must provide at least 10/1 Mbps service or faster to a number of eligible locations equal to 40 percent of fully funded locations by 2020, and an additional 10 percent of fully funded locations each year until 2026. Pursuant to the revised offer, an electing carrier must provide 25/3 Mbps or faster service to 40 percent of its required 25/3 Mbps locations by 2022, and an additional 10 percent each year until 2028. A company electing the revised offer must separately meet each set of milestones, but any location served with at least 25/3 Mbps service would satisfy both milestones.

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

FCC Issues Tentative Agenda for March Open Meeting

On February 25, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the tentative agenda for its next Open Meeting, scheduled for March 15. The FCC publicly releases the draft text of each item expected to be considered at this Open Commission Meeting, and one-page cover sheets are included in the public drafts to help summarize each item. These materials are linked in the summaries below; the final item considered at the meeting may differ.

  • Spectrum Horizons: a First Report and Order that would adopt rules to make available 21.2 GHz of spectrum above 95 GHz for unlicensed operations and create a new class of experimental licenses for the 95 GHz to 3 THz spectrum range. (ET Docket No. 18-21; RM-11795)
  • Expanding Broadband to the 900 MHz Band: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would propose to reconfigure the 900 MHz band to create a broadband segment to facilitate technologies and services for a wide variety of businesses, including critical infrastructure, as well as seek comment on various transition mechanisms to achieve this goal. (WT Docket No. 17-200)
  • Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements: a Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes a vertical, or z-axis, location accuracy metric in connection with wireless E911 calls. (PS Docket No. 07-114)
  • LPTV, TV Translator, and FM Broadcast Station Reimbursement: a Report and Order that implements Congress’s directive in the Reimbursement Expansion Act that the Commission reimburse certain low power television, television translator, and FM broadcast stations for costs incurred as a result of the Commission’s broadcast television spectrum incentive auction. (MB Docket No. 19-214, GN Docket No. 12-268)
  • Reauthorizing Television Satellite Stations: a Report and Order that streamlines the reauthorization process for television satellite stations when they are assigned or transferred. (MB Docket Nos. 18-63, 17-105)
  • Partitioning, Disaggregation, and Leasing of Spectrum: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would explore how potential changes to our partitioning, disaggregation, and leasing rules might better close the digital divide and increase spectrum access by small and rural carriers, fulfilling the Commission’s requirement under the MOBILE NOW Act. (WT Docket No. 19-38)
  • Rural Call Completion: a Fourth Report and Order to implement the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017 by establishing service quality standards for intermediate providers. (WC Docket No. 13-39)

Open Meetings are streamed live at and can be followed on social media with #OpenMtgFCC.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.

FCC Announces 38 Qualified Bidders for Auction 102

On February 27, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing 38 applicants found to be qualified to bid in Auction 102. Auction 102 will offer 2,909 Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) licenses in the 24.25–24.45 and 24.75–25.25 GHz (24 GHz) band.

Each qualified bidder will be able to access its assigned mock auction data through the clock phase mock auction starting at noon Eastern Time (ET) on March 8, 2019. The mock auction bidding schedule for Monday, March 11, 2019 will be as follows:

Mock Bidding Round 1 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET
Mock Bidding Round 2 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET
Mock Bidding Round 3 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET
Mock Bidding Round 4 4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET

Bidding in the clock phase of Auction 102 will begin Thursday, March 14, 2019, with the following schedule:

Bidding Round 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
Bidding Round 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

The bidding schedule starting on Friday, March 15, 2019, and continuing each business day until further notice, will be:

Bidding Round 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET
Bidding Round 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET
Bidding Round 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Sal Taillefer.

Law & Regulation

FCC Temporarily Freezes Non-Federal 3100-3550 MHz Band Applications

On February 22, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing a temporary freeze on the acceptance and processing of applications for new or expanded Part 90 Radiolocation Service operations in the 3100-3550 MHz frequency band. According to the FCC, the purpose of this freeze is to “preserve the current landscape of authorized operations in the 3100-3550 MHz band in light of Congress’ mandate that the Secretary of Commerce, working through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the Commission consider alternate uses of the band.” The freeze is effective February 22, 2019.

Specifically, until further notice, the FCC will not accept or process: (1) applications for new licenses; (2) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by adding or changing frequencies or locations; (3) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by changing technical parameters in a manner that expands the station’s spectral or geographic footprint, such as, but not limited to, increases in bandwidth, power level, antenna height, or area of operation; and (4) any other application that could increase the degree to which the 3100-3550 MHz band currently is licensed. Affected applications that are now pending will not be processed further until the Commission decides how to proceed in this band.

This action does not apply to applications that would not materially increase spectral congestion in the band, including: (1) applications to renew existing licenses without modification; (2) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by deleting frequencies or locations; (3) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by changing technical parameters in a manner that does not expand the station’s spectral or geographic coverage, such as decreases in bandwidth, power level, or antenna height; (4) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by changing the number of associated mobile units or temporary fixed stations; (5) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by adding or moving control points; (6) applications to assign, transfer, or lease existing licenses; (7) notices of construction or consummation; (8) requests for extensions of time to construct or consummate previously granted applications; (9) applications to cancel licenses; and (10) applications for special temporary authority for short-term operations.

The FCC also noted that in the future, it may begin placing a special condition on new, renewed, and modified licenses for stations subject to this action to remind licensees that the stations may be subject to future relocation or other Commission action taken pursuant to or in connection with the MOBILE NOW Act.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Richard Rubino and John Prendergast.

Comments on Additional ESIM/GSO Communication Bands Due April 8

On February 22, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on additional frequency bands for ESIM communication with GSO satellites. Comments are due April 8, and reply comments are due May 8.

Specifically, the FCC is seeking comment on proposals to allow ESIM operations in the FSS downlink frequency bands 10.7-10.95 GHz, 11.2-11.45 GHz, and 17.8-18.3 GHz. The FCC also seeks comment on allowing ESIMs to operate in all of the frequency bands in which earth stations at fixed locations operating in GSO FSS satellite networks can be blanket-licensed because in this situation operation of earth stations in motion should not introduce a material change to the interference environment created or to the protection required.

The Commission is also seeking comment on expanding the Ku-band space-to-Earth frequency ranges in which ESIMs can be authorized to receive transmissions from GSO FSS space stations to also include the ranges 10.7-10.95 GHz and 11.2-11.45 GHz, and on whether these operations would be on an unprotected basis with respect to other services. In the Ka-band, the Commission is seeking comment on allowing ESIMs to receive signals from GSO FSS satellite space stations on a secondary basis in the 17.8-18.3 GHz band and, on a primary basis, in the 19.3-19.4 and 19.6-19.7 GHz band.

Carriers interested in filing comments should contact the firm for more information.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Richard Rubino and John Prendergast.


Court of Appeals Upholds AT&T-Time Warner Merger

On February 26, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit upheld AT&T’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner. At oral argument in December, the Department of Justice argued that US District Court Judge Richard Leon, who had ruled that the merger could proceed with no conditions, had committed “fundamental errors of economic logic and reasoning" in his decision and "discarded the economics of bargaining."

In the unanimous decision, the court essentially concluded that the government failed to take into account an arbitration agreement that Turner had offered in the event of a pricing or contract dispute, and the rapidly changing industry – particularly the rise of Hulu and Netflix. "In this evidentiary context, the government's objections that the district court misunderstood and misapplied economic principles and clearly erred in rejecting the quantitative model are unpersuasive. Accordingly, we affirm," the judges wrote.

According to Reuters, Makan Delrahim, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, called and congratulated AT&T General Counsel David McAtee and Time Warner’s former general counsel, Paul Cappuccio. In a separate statement, Justice Department spokesman Jeremy Edwards said, “We are grateful that the Court of Appeals considered our objections to the District Court opinion. The department has no plans to seek further review.”


MARCH 1: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FORM FOR CABLE COMPANIES. This form, plus royalty payment for the second half of calendar year 2018, is due March 1. The form covers the period July 1 to December 31, 2018, 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 the firm.

BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.

MARCH 1: CPNI ANNUAL CERTIFICATION. Carriers should modify (as necessary) and complete their “Annual Certification of CPNI Compliance” for 2019. 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 the firm.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy

MARCH 8: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION & BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. This annual form is due March 1 and September 1 annually, but the deadline for March this year was extended to March 8. 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 and Gerry Duffy.

APRIL 1: FCC FORM 499-A, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. This form must be filed by all contributors to the Universal Service Fund (USF) sup-port mechanisms, the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the cost recovery mechanism for the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP). Contributors include every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications, and certain other entities that provide interstate telecommunications for a fee. Even common carriers that qualify for the de minimis exemption must file Form 499-A. Entities whose universal service contributions will be less than $10,000 qualify for the de minimis exemption. De minimis entities do not have to file the quarterly report (FCC Form 499-Q), which was due February 1, and will again be due May 1. Form 499-Q relates to universal and LNP mechanisms. Form 499-A relates to all of these mechanisms and, hence, applies to all providers of interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications services. Form 499-A contains revenue information for January 1 through December 31 of the prior calendar year. And Form 499-Q contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. (Note: the revised 499-A and 499-Q forms are now available.) Block 2-B of the Form 499-A requires each carrier to designate an agent in the District of Columbia upon whom all notices, process, orders, and decisions by the FCC may be served on behalf of that carrier in proceedings before the Commission. Carriers receiving this newsletter may specify our law firm as their D.C. agent for service of process using the information in our masthead. There is no charge for this service.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Hal Mordkofsky, Ben Dickens, and Gerry Duffy.

APRIL 1: ANNUAL ACCESS TO ADVANCED SERVICES CERTIFICATION. All providers of telecommunications services and telecommunications carriers subject to Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act are required to file with the FCC an annual certification that (1) states the company has procedures in place to meet the record-keeping requirements of Part 14 of the Rules; (2) states that the company has in fact kept records for the previous calendar year; (3) contains contact information for the individual or individuals handling customer complaints under Part 14; (4) contains contact information for the company’s designated agent; and (5) is supported by an affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury signed by an officer of the company.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, Sal Taillefer.

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

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.

MAY 31: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on May 31. The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report.

BloostonLaw Contact: Richard Rubino.

Calendar At-a-Glance

Mar. 1 – Copyright Statement of Account Form for cable companies is due.
Mar. 1 – Annual CPNI Certification is due.
Mar. 1 – Final payments for Auction 101 are due (6 p.m. ET).
Mar. 1 – Inmate Calling Services Mandatory Data Collection due.
Mar. 8 – Comments are due on USF Overlap Auction NPRM.
Mar. 8 – FCC Form 477 (Local Competition & Broadband Reporting) is due.
Mar. 11 – Reply comments are due on Cable Rate Regulation Revision FNPRM.
Mar. 18 – Comments are due on Satellite Services Rules NPRM.
Mar. 18 – Comments are due on elimination of E-Rate amortization requirement for category one.
Mar. 25 – Comments are due on DBS Satellite System Licensing NPRM.
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.

Apr. 1 – FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Apr. 1 – Annual Accessibility Certification is due.
Apr. 8 – Reply comments are due on USF Overlap Auction NPRM.
Apr. 16 – Reply comments are due on Satellite Services Rules NPRM.
Apr. 22 – Reply comments are due on DBS Satellite System Licensing NPRM.

May 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
May 31 – FCC Form 395 (Annual Employment Report) is due.


2120 L St. NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20037
(202) 659-0830
(202) 828-5568 (fax)


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,

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

 BloostonLaw Private Users Update Vol. 19, No. 2 February 2019 

FCC Fines Coal Company for Unauthorized Assignment of License

On February 7, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing a penalty of $25,000 against Lexington Coal Company, LLC (Lexington), licensee of 23 Private Land Mobile Radio Service stations (PLMRS), for engaging in a sale of its FCC-licensed radio stations from Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (Alpha) on October 23, 2017, without prior FCC consent.

On February 1, 2018, nearly four months after the transfer of the station licenses, the parties brought this matter to the attention of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Wireless Bureau) by filing a remedial assignment of authorization application for consent to the transfer of control of the private land mobile licenses to Lexington. The application additionally sought a waiver for failure to obtain prior FCC approval for the transaction; the parties also requested the application be granted nunc pro tunc (i.e., retroactive to the closing date). Alpha offered no explanation for its failure to request FCC consent prior to the transaction. The Wireless Bureau granted consent to the transfer of control on February 12, 2018, subject to the special condition that the grant does not preclude or prejudice any enforcement action related to the unauthorized assignment of authorization.

In the past, the FCC generally would forego assessment of a fine for an unauthorized transfer of control or assignment of licenses, especially if there was any sort of plausible explanation for the oversight. But the fine against Lexington Coal continues a trend of issuing fines for such transactions. Therefore, licensees engaging in a merger, acquisition or asset transfer, or even a corporate reorganization, must be careful to first obtain the required FCC approval.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Imposes Temporary Freeze on Application in the 3100-3550 MHz Band

The FCC has imposed a “temporary freeze” on the acceptance and processing of applications for new or expanded Part 90 Radiolocation Service operations in the 3100-3550 MHz band in order to preserve the current spectrum use in this band, in light of a Congressional mandate to the Secretary of Commerce to consider other uses for this spectrum.

The MOBILE NOW Act requires the Secretary of Commerce, working with the FCC and NTIA, to submit a report to the FCC and the appropriate Congressional committees by March 23, 2020 which evaluates the feasibility of allowing licensed and/or unlicensed commercial wireless services to share the 3100-3550 MHz band with current users. By December 31, 2022, this act also requires the Secretary of Commerce to identify a total of 255 MHz of Federal and non-Federal spectrum for mobile broadband and fixed wireless broadband use. Because of these statutory mandates, the FCC has determined that a temporary freeze is necessary so that it can maintain a stable spectral environment while the band is under active consideration for alternative uses. As a result and until further notice, the FCC will no longer accept new applications or process pending applications for:

  • New licenses
  • Modification of licenses to add or change frequency or location, technical parameters that would result in an increase of geographic or spectral foot print (e.g., increase in bandwidth, power, antenna height or area of operation)
  • Any purpose that could increase the degree to which the 3100-3550 MHz band is used

The FCC’s temporary freeze will not affect the following types of applications that would not “materially” increase spectral congestion:

  • License renewals without license modification
  • Modifications of license to delete frequencies or locations
  • Modifications of license to change station parameters in a way that does not expand the station’s spectral or geographic coverage, such as reduction in bandwidth, power or antenna height
  • Modifications of license that change the number of mobile units or temporary fixed stations
  • Modifications of license that add or move control points
  • Notices of construction
  • Extensions of time to construct
  • Applications for Special Temporary Authority

The FCC has also noted that it may add a special condition to licenses that the stations may be subject to relocation or other Commission action pursuant to the MOBLIE NOW Act.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Ensure that Your Towers Comply with the FCC’s Obstruction Marking and Lighting Rules

The FCC recently issued a Notice of Violation for an antenna tower in Bradley, Illinois. A nighttime inspection of the tower revealed that the top mounted light was not functioning and that the FAA had not been notified of the light outage. Further investigation also revealed that the tower owner had not updated its ownership information or contact information (mailing address and phone number).

Compliance with the FCC’s tower lighting rules is critically important not only to avoid FCC fines and enforcement action, but to avoid potential liability from an aviation accident. Over the years, there have been several accidents involving aircraft and unlighted antenna towers, which have resulted in loss of life for those on the aircraft and significant civil liability for the tower owner. In some cases, there have also been large fines issued by the FCC. As has been stated, the FCC takes safety of life and property (and air navigation in particular) very seriously. It is not unusual for the FCC to send personnel out into the field to check towers during the daytime in order to ensure that the tower paint or daytime lighting is clearly visible or at night in order to ensure that there are no light outages. Additionally, if the FCC discovers an issue with the obstruction marking and lighting on the tower, it will also check to see whether a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) has been filed with the FAA.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Issues Enforcement Advisories — Equipment Manufacturers and Retailers Take Note

The FCC has issued two Enforcement Advisories that will be of interest to our equipment manufacturer and vendor clients.

Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity

The FCC has announced that the “Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity” (SDoC) Procedures are now in effect. This new procedure requires the party that is responsible for compliance with the FCC’s equipment rules to ensure that the equipment complies with the appropriate technical standards. While no equipment authorization application is required (and therefore the equipment will not be listed in any FCC database), the responsible party must be able to provide a test report and any other information demonstrating compliance with the FCC’s rules upon request by the FCC. Failure to comply may subject a violator to substantial monetary forfeitures that could total more than $150,000 per violation. The FCC has stated that a device is subject to SDoC if it does not purposely transmit an RF signal for communications purposes (i.e., it does not send voice and/or data to a wireless receiver). These types of devices include consumer and commercial devices such as computer peripherals, light-emitting diode (LED) signs, ultrasonic humidifiers and microwave ovens. While additional listings can be found in Rule Sections 15.101(a) and 18.203 of the FCC’s Rules, it is important to note that these listings are not exhaustive. The FCC has therefore cautioned that marketers should conduct due diligence research in order to verify that any RF devices marketed in the US are in compliance with the FCC’s Rules.

The FCC has indicated that before any device is marketed in the US, it must be properly authorized under the SDoC or under the FCC’s full Certification procedures. We fully expect that the FCC will actively pursue violations of its equipment rules – especially with the release of this enforcement advisory. As we have seen with other equipment violations, fines can be extremely steep since the maximum fine is $20,134 per day for marketing violations and up to $151,005 for a continuing violation.

LED Sign Marketers Must Comply

Over the past year, the FCC has taken significant enforcement actions against marketers of LED signs that do not comply with the FCC’s Rules. The FCC has made clear that in order to market LED signs, the signs must be properly authorized, labeled and furnished with proper user information. Additionally, the term “marketing” is defined very broadly in the FCC’s rules and includes importation, advertising, selling or leasing. As with the SDoC, fines could top $150,000 for continuing violations.

In order to be in compliance with the FCC’s Rules, marketers are required to: (a) test each panel to determine compliance with the FCC’s technical rules, (b) ensure that each LED light panel is properly labeled and that all other administrative requirements are met, (c) retain all required records that demonstrate compliance with the FCC’s rules, including test reports and a copy of the compliance statement, and (d) ensure that the party responsible for compliance is located in the United States.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Updates Procedure for Reporting Ownership Changes to Antenna Towers

Due to fraudulent ownership change applications over the past few years, the FCC has changed its processes in order to ensure better accuracy in its Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) database. The FCC will no longer allow a new tower owner to file an application on its own to change ownership of the antenna tower from the prior owner by itself. Rather, like transactions involving FCC licenses, the procedure will require both parties to the transaction to participate in the filing process so that the FCC has the confidence that the ownership change is legitimate and not fraudulent.

As the FCC previously discovered, the filing of fraudulent ownership change applications can lead to substantial delays in addressing light outages and other issues – especially where the filer of the fraudulent application continues the ruse upon FCC inquiry. Maintaining accuracy in the FCC’s ASR database is critical since the FCC relies on this information to communicate with owners in case there is an issue (or violation) with the tower. Following the filing of an application, the FCC will send a letter to the assignor after the ownership change application is granted. If you receive a letter and did not authorize an ownership change to one of your towers, please contact our office right away so that we can help you resolve this issue with the FCC’s staff.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Enters into $25,000 Consent Decree Over Unlicensed Radio Operations

As part of its continued push against unlicensed and improper operation, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has entered into a consent decree with Winston Tulloch in order to resolve its investigation into whether Mr. Tulloch operated an unauthorized radio transmitter on the frequency 90.1 MHz in Paterson, New Jersey. The FCC noted that “unlicensed radio stations undermine the Commission’s efforts to manage radio spectrum and can interfere with licensed communications, including authorized broadcasts and public safety transmissions.” Additionally, the FCC stated that unlicensed radio stations pose a hazard to public safety, since these stations do not broadcast Emergency Alert messages.

The FCC has previously stated that unlicensed operation of radio transmitters and improper operation of licensed transmitters can cause harmful interference to licensed radio services, including two-way commercial services and public safety/critical infrastructure communications. As a result, the FCC takes strict enforcement action against offenders. It is critically important that you ensure that your licensed transmitters are operating in accordance with the terms of the underlying license authorization, that your license is renewed as necessary, and that you contact our office if any license modifications are required.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Failure to Register 3650-3700 MHz Station Leads to $20,000 Fine

The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NALF) against NE Colorado Cellular, Inc. d/b/a Viaero Wireless (Viaero) for operating a transmitter in the 3650-3700 MHz band without first registering it with the FCC. In the 3650-3700 MHz Service, the FCC issues nationwide licenses for the 3650-3700 MHz band. However, unlike most other licensed radio services, the underlying nationwide license provides no authority for the licensee to operate any facilities in the 3650-3700 MHz band. Rather, the FCC’s rules require the licensee to register each and every facility in order to ensure that there will be no harmful interference to other users in the band, including: DoD radar systems, fixed satellite service earth stations, certain wireless broadband services and the future Citizens Band Radio Service.

The FCC discovered the unregistered transmitter as a result of an interference complaint near Kersey, Colorado to licensed and registered base stations operating in the 3650-3700 MHz band. The FCC’s investigation confirmed that Viaero’s 3650-3700 MHz transmitter at Kersey was the source of the interference and that it had not been registered. In response to a Notice of Violation (NOV), Viaero stated that it had mistakenly believed that it had registered the Kersey facility and that it was doing periodic testing of the transmitter over the course of two days — which made the violation repeated. Having been advised that the transmitter had not been registered, Viaero took the necessary steps to register the 3650-3700 MHz facility.

In calculating the proposed $20,000 fine, the FCC determined that the base forfeiture was $10,000 for each day that the transmitter was illegally operated. As a result, because Viaero had operated over the course of two days, the FCC set the proposed fine at $20,000.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Wireless Applications Delayed by Partial Government Shutdown

During the 35-day partial government shutdown and immediately afterward, the FCC received thousands of wireless applications in its Universal Licensing System (ULS). The applications were directly filed by applicants and batch filed by frequency coordinators through the FCC’s Electronic Batch Filing (EBF) system. Due to the influx of applications, the FCC stated that it is taking a substantial period of time for the FCC to process applications into its licensing systems. Applications filed between January 3 and January 29, 2019 are being treated as filed on January 29, 2019, even though the applications were not immediately entered into ULS. Unfortunately, this has led to a delay in the processing of applications even further than the delay resulting from the partial government shutdown itself.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Creates Fraud Division Within Enforcement Bureau

On February 4, the FCC released an Order creating a Fraud Division within its Enforcement Bureau. According to the Press Release, the new Fraud Division will be dedicated to investigating and prosecuting fraud in the Universal Service Fund (USF). This team will work closely with the FCC’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Justice, and other law enforcement agencies to prosecute unlawful conduct. The Fraud Division will be established following review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as publication of the Order in the Federal Register.

“Protecting taxpayer dollars as we use Universal Service Fund programs to bridge the digital divide lies at the heart of our work at the FCC,” said Rosemary Harold, chief of the Enforcement Bureau. “To ensure we are effective in that work, it is vital that we maintain a steady eye on these programs to address the unfortunate reality that, over the years, too much money that should have gone to connect American consumers and businesses has been lost, stolen, or misused. Establishing a Fraud Division within the Bureau will help us combat waste, fraud, and abuse in these important connectivity programs.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Ben Dickens and Richard Rubino

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