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Friday — February 28, 2020 — Issue No. 897

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The Wireless
saging News

Windows 10 is about to get its biggest change yet

By Cat Ellis 3 hours ago

Navigating your files will soon be much, much easier

Windows 10 laptop (Image credit: Future)

Microsoft is giving Windows 10's File Explorer a much-needed overhaul, transforming one of the operating system's key features.

It's always been a struggle to find documents and folders using File Explorer due to its relatively poor search tool. That's all set to change with the release of Windows 10 20H1 though, which will introduce a new FIle Explorer that uses Windows Search (the same tool you can access by typing into the search box in the taskbar.

As WinCentral explains, this change should make your life much easier by displaying a list of auto suggestions as you type, so you don't have to wait for a full search to complete and then hunt through the list of results for the right one.

To access any of these files or folders, simply left-click it once. Right-clicking a result will take you to its location. You can still search in the normal way by typing your query and hitting 'Enter' on your keyboard.


Another major advantage of this update is that search results will include documents stored in OneDrive (a long overdue update, considering how deeply OneDrive is now integrated with Microsoft Office).

Accessing the new File Explorer search on a touchscreen device, such as Microsoft Surface, will present you with a new touch-friendly interface that's much easier to use with your fingertips than the traditional search box.

Windows 10 20H1 (also known as Windows 10 2004) is this year's first major update for the operating system, and is expected to arrive sometime in the first half of the year. We'll keep you updated as we learn more about the new features it'll bring, and when you'll see it arrive on your device.


Wireless Messaging News

  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Two-way Radio
  • Technology
  • Telemetry
  • Science
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
wireless logo medium


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 own opinions.

We need your help. This is the only remaining news source dedicated to information about Paging and Wireless Messaging.

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Advertiser Index

IWA Technical Services, Inc.  (Ira Wiesenfeld)
Leavitt Communications  (Phil Leavitt)
Media 1
Prism-IPX Systems  (Jim Nelson & John Bishop)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC  (Ron Mercer)
Wex International Limited

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
1 IFR 1000S  
All sold with 7 day ROR (Right of Refusal), recent calibration, operation manual and accessories  
Factory carrying cases for each with calibration certificate  
Many parts and accessories  

Frank Moorman animated left arrow

(254) 596-1124

Leavitt Communications


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

bendix king COM

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


Hong Kong


W8001 (4 Line/8 Line IP67 Alphanumeric Pager)

W8008 Thinnest IP67 Rated Alphanumeric Pager 4 Line/8 Line, OLED Display

W2028 (2 Line/4 Line Alphanumeric Pager)

For Trade inquiries contact:
Eric Dilip Kumar

  • Available in VHF, UHF & 900 MHz Full Range Frequency Bands
  • We are OEM for Major Brand names in USA and Europe
  • We also Design and Manufacture POCSAG Decoder Boards
  • We can Design and Manufacture to customer specifications
  • Factory located in Shenzhen, China
  • Pagers have FCC, RoHs, C-Tick, CE-EMC, IC Approvals

Visit our websites for more details

For ESPAÑOL, PORTUGUÊS AND DEUTSCH versions, please go to:

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:

  • LIVE response possible to any program with Media 1 Live app from Android or Apple stores, summed up immediately for producer on web site
  • Propose LIVE broadcast on Internet. with live response to reach youth with low cost quality education, seeking persons interested.
  • Contact:


“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.

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?

A donation of $50.00 would certainly help cover a one-year period. If you are wiling and able, please click on the PayPal Donate button above.


10 Vanadium Place, Addington
Christchurch 8024, New Zealand
Ph: +64 (0)3 379 2298
Web Page:
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Today's Top Insight Feb. 27, 2020

Broadcasting From Marconi's House

Brave New Radio Airs Live From Marconi’s Home

To celebrate World Radio Day, a small team from New Jersey-based William Paterson University radio station, WPSC — Brave New Radio, traveled to Italy to broadcast live from the childhood home of Marconi. Rob Quicke, professor and chair of the school’s communication department, recounts their adventure, which he describes as “creating a moment, albeit small, of radio history.”

Read the rest of the article here.


Prism-IPX Systems

prism-ipx systems

prism-ipx systems

prism-ipx systems

prism-ipx systems

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:

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

ron mercer
Telephone: 631-786-9359 left arrow left arrow

NVMe vs. SATA: Which SSD Technology Is Faster?

IAN PAUL @ianpaul FEBRUARY 27, 2020, 6:40AM EDT

NVM Express, Inc.

NVMe drives are a big deal in computer storage right now, and for good reason. Not only does an NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) leave most older SSDs in the dust, it’s also blazing fast compared to standard 3.5- and 2.5-inch drives.


Take, for example, the 1 TB Samsung 860 Pro, a 2.5-inch SSD with a maximum sequential read speed of 560 megabytes per second (MB/s). Its successor, the NVMe-based 960 Pro, is more than six times faster than that, with a top speed of 3,500 MB/s.

This is because the pre-NVMe drives connect to a PC via SATA III, the third revision of the Serial ATA computer bus interface. NVMe, meanwhile, is the host controller interface for newer, more advanced SSDs.

SATA III and NVMe are the terms most commonly used to differentiate between old-school drives and the new hotness everyone wants. NVMe is not, however, the same type of technology as SATA III.

We’ll get into why we use the terms “SATA III” and “NVMe” to compare the technologies later.

What is SATA III?


In 2000, SATA was introduced to replace the Parallel ATA standard that preceded it. SATA offered higher speed connections, which meant vastly improved performance compared to its predecessor. SATA III rolled out eight years later with a maximum transfer rate of 600 MB/s.

SATA III components use a specific type of connector to slot into a laptop, and a specific type of cable to connect to a desktop PC motherboard.

Once a drive is connected to the computer system via SATA III, the work is only half done. For the drive to actually talk to the system, it needs a host controller interface. That job belongs to AHCI, which is the most common way for SATA III drives to talk to a computer system.

For many years, SATA III and AHCI performed admirably, including during the early days of SSDs. However, AHCI was optimized for high-latency rotating media, not low latency, non-volatile storage like SSDs, a representative from drive manufacturer Kingston explained.

Solid-state drives became so fast, they eventually saturated the SATA III connection. SATA III and AHCI simply couldn’t provide enough bandwidth for increasingly capable SSDS.

With drive speeds and capabilities expanding, the search was on for a better alternative. And, luckily, it was already in use on PCs.

What Is PCIe?

PCIe is another hardware interface. It’s best known as the way a graphics card slots into a desktop PC, but it’s also used for sound cards, Thunderbolt expansion cards, and M.2 drives (more on those later).


If you look on a motherboard showing PCIe slots Gigabyte If you look on a motherboard (see above), you can easily see where the PCIe slots are. They mostly come in x16, x8, x4, and x1 variants. These numbers indicate how many lanes of data transmission a slot has. The higher the number of lanes, the more data you can move at any one time, which is why graphics cards use x16 slots.

There’s also an M.2 slot in the image above, right under the top x16 slot. M.2 slots can use up to four lanes, thus, they’re x4.

The key PCIe slots in any computer have lanes connected to the CPU for the best performance possible. The rest of the PCIe slots connect to the chipset. This also supports a fairly speedy connection to the CPU, but not as fast as the direct connections.

Currently, there are two generations of PCIe in use: 3.0 (the most common) and 4.0. As of mid-2019, PCIe 4.0 was brand-spanking-new and only supported on AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processors and X570 motherboards. Version 4, as you would expect, is faster.

However, most components are not yet saturating the maximum bandwidth of PCIe 3.0. So, while PCIe 4.0 is impressive, it’s not yet a necessity for modern computers.

NVMe Over PCIe

PCIe, then, is like SATA III; they’re both used to connect individual components to a computer system. Just like SATA III needs AHCI before a hard drive or SSD can communicate with a computer system, PCIe-based drives rely on a host controller, called non-volatile memory express (NVMe).

But why don’t we talk about SATA III versus PCIe drives, or AHCI versus NVMe?

The reason is pretty straightforward. We’ve always referred to drives as being SATA-based, like SATA, SATA II, and SATA III—no surprise there.

When drive manufacturers started making PCIe drives, there was a short period during which we talked about PCIe SSDs.

However, the industry didn’t have any standards to rally around as it did with SATA drives. Instead, as Western Digital explained, companies used AHCI and built their own drivers and firmware to run those drives.

That was a mess, and AHCI still wasn’t good enough. As Kingston explained to us, it was also more difficult for people to adopt drives that were faster than SATA because, rather than a plug-and-play experience, they also had to install special drivers.

Eventually, the industry rallied around the standard that became NVMe and replaced AHCI. The new standard was so much better, it made sense to start talking about NVMe. And the rest, as they say, is history.

NVMe was built with modern, PCIe-based SSDs in mind. NVMe drives are able to accept vastly more commands at once than SATA III mechanical hard drives or SSDs. That, combined with lower latency, makes NVMe drives faster and more responsive.

What Do NVMe Drives Look Like?


If you go shopping for an NVMe-based drive today, what you want is an M.2 gumstick. M.2 describes the drive’s form factor—or, for our purposes, how it looks. M.2 drives usually have up to about 1 TB of storage, but they’re small enough to hold between your thumb and index finger.

M.2 drives connect to special M.2 PCIe slots that support up to four lanes of data transfer. These drives are usually NVMe based, but you can also find M.2 drives that use SATA III—just read the packaging carefully.

SATA III-based M.2s aren’t all that common these days, but they do exist. Some popular examples are the WD Blue 3D NAND and the Samsung 860 Evo.

Should You Dump SATA III Drives?

While NVMe is fantastic, there’s no reason to give up on SATA III drives just yet. Despite SATA III’s limitations, it’s still a good choice for secondary storage.

Anyone who’s building a new PC, for example, would do well to use an M.2 NVMe drive for his boot drive and primary storage. He could then add a cheaper hard drive or 2.5-inch SSD with greater capacity as secondary storage.

It might be a nice idea to have all your storage running over PCIe. However, right now, NVMe drives are limited to about 2 TB. Higher capacities are also prohibitively expensive. A budget 1 TB, M.2 NVMe drive commonly costs about $100 (which is about what a 2 TB high-performance SATA III hard drives costs).

Pricing, of course, might change as we get even higher capacity M.2 drives. Kingston said we can expect to see M.2 drives with 4 and 8 TB capacities around early 2021.

Until then, the combination of M.2 with secondary SSDs and hard drives is the best option.

The same idea applies to laptops. If you’re buying a new rig, look for one with NVMe flash storage, and a spare 2.5-inch bay for a SATA III hard drive or SSD.

Not all NVMe drives are created equal, however. It definitely pays to read reviews on your target drive before you purchase one.

If you have a newish desktop PC or laptop, chances are it has M.2 slots that support NVMe. Upgrading your PC is well worth it!

Source: How-To Geek  

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:

5 ways we can prepare for coronavirus

02/27/20 10:30 AM EST

This week, the CDC warned Americans that the coronavirus illness-, COVID 19, may soon spread in communities across America.

More than 40 new infectious diseases have emerged since the 1960s, but it seems that we have amnesia about the international impact of these outbreaks. This underscores why public health preparedness plans are needed to fight infectious diseases that threaten health, economies and global security.

As of Feb. 26, over 81,172 people globally have been infected with COVID-19 with more than 2,768 deaths. As compared to SARS with a 10 percent mortality rate, and seasonal flu with a 0.1 percent rate, an estimated 2 percent of infected people with this coronavirus have died. In America, 57 cases have been reported thus far.

South Korea has experienced a 20 fold surge in infections over the past week; Italy is now managing over 300 cases and infections in the Middle East are escalating. This surge in COVID-19 worldwide forebodes that this disease could soon become a pandemic.

A comprehensive public health preparedness plan is needed now for this outbreak and for future ones that will invariably occur with the following components:

  1. Establish permanent pandemic preparedness infrastructure
    The appointment of an experienced manager as a "pandemic preparedness coordinator (czar)" in a permanent position at the White House would be an important step. This expert would work across government agencies, with other nations, and the private sector to ensure that our country’s pandemic response infrastructure remains resilient to infectious disease threats. A trusted figure, such as a high-ranking government physician, must provide frequent updates to the public and media. A strong and resilient health system made all the difference in containing the SARS and Ebola outbreaks in America. Instead of the “boom and bust” funding provided each time, there’s an outbreak, countries must proactively commit the funds to build and support permanent emergency preparedness infrastructure.
  2. Prevention and early detection
    Problems with the CDC’s coronavirus test kit have impeded the expansion of screening to state and local public health laboratories so that infected people can be identified quickly. A rapid swab test, similar to what is used for identifying flu would be very helpful for speedy diagnosis in clinical settings.
  3. Invest in Research
    Fast track vaccines and anti-viral development: As a result of scientific advances, the COVID-19 genome was rapidly sequenced facilitating efforts to develop a vaccine and anti-viral medications. Pursuing an accelerated timeline, several vaccine candidates at the NIH and in the private sector are under development, but clinical trials with subsequent production and distribution of this immunization could still take one to two years.

    A Cambridge, Mass., biotech company shipped to the NIH the first potential coronavirus vaccine created in record speed for safety and effectiveness testing in humans. With three serious global coronavirus outbreaks occurring over the past two decades, exploring the feasibility of a universal coronavirus vaccine and establishing a national vaccine production center would be worthwhile investments. Incentives should be provided to support public-private partnerships that help to mitigate the financial risks of developing vaccines.
  4. Harness social media and the Internet
    Public health officials must work closely with the media to ensure accurate reporting of outbreaks and counter disinformation that can occur in social media. Mobile devices present important platforms for instantaneously sharing information, tracking disease spread in real-time, facilitating professional training and research collaboration across communities and countries.
  5. Legal, ethical and cultural considerations
    Global travel restrictions and quarantine are being used to slow the transmission of the virus while more information on its transmissibility, severity, and lethality is collected. In America, thousands of people have volunteered to self-quarantine for 14 days following their return home from China before the travel ban was implemented.

    Over 150 million people in China (about 10 percent of the population) are living under government restrictions on how often they can leave their residences. This public health lockdown is among the largest in history, generating panic and despair among the country’s citizens. While appearing to slow viral spread in China, these measures may result in unintended consequences including cross-infection, deaths from lack of access to medications for other diseases, and mental health effects.

    As transportation to the isolated region is limited, medical supplies are scarce and food shortages are occurring affecting China as well as other countries. For example, more than 150 prescription medications used by Americans are produced in China. Disruptions in the supply chain could result in limited access to these drugs with health-damaging effects for people in the U.S. Past quarantines have resulted in public mistrust, violence, and xenophobia. As the trajectory of this novel coronavirus is better understood, policies related to quarantine, trade and travel to and from endemic regions will need to be reassessed.

    Let’s remember that throughout history, infectious diseases have killed more people than wars and therefore are decisive shapers of history.

    Making significant investments now to increase the scientific knowledge base, developing new technologies that can be deployed in combination with proven public health practices, as well as strengthening health systems, businesses and schools with coordinated, permanent public health preparedness plans, will boost our ability to better contain spread of this coronavirus outbreak as well as fight other emerging disease threats more swiftly and effectively in the years ahead.

    Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal Markey, M.D. is a senior fellow in Health Policy at New America, former U.S. assistant surgeon general, senior medical advisor at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and a Clinical Professor at Tufts and Georgetown University Schools of Medicine. Matina Kakalis is a research associate in Health Policy at New America.




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

Friday, February 28, 2020 Volume 8 | Issue 40

FCC Levies $200 Million in Fines to Carriers Over Location Data

The FCC voted this afternoon to issue fines totaling $200 million against T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon for selling customers’ location data to companies that allowed it to be misused. Various law enforcement service providers were sold access to the data violating its confidentiality.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency would seek more than $91 million from T-Mobile, $57 million from AT&T, $48 million from Verizon and $12 million from Sprint. The agency found the carriers had violated a section of the Telecommunications Act requiring them to protect the confidentiality of their customers’ call information.

The fines are among the largest proposed in years by the FCC, according to the New York Times. The complaints from customers began about two years ago while the carriers issued statements saying they were limiting access to the source data.

A T-Mobile spokeswoman told the New York Times the company intended “to dispute the conclusions” of the investigation and the fine.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), issued a statement critical of the FCC’s late action on the vote saying the inquiry into abuse of the data “only [began] after public pressure mounted,” and that the FCC was issuing, “a set of comically inadequate fines that won’t stop phone companies from abusing Americans’ privacy the next time they can make a quick buck.”

Thursday, February 27, 2020 Volume 8 | Issue 39


Four Sites Around Memphis Have Been Set Ablaze

Source: Memphis Fire Department

Authorities are searching for a person responsible for intentionally setting fires to four cell towers and causing more than $500,000 in damage, reported WREG-TV. The active arson investigation has been underway since early December 2019, with the latest fire occurring on February 17.

According to the Memphis Fire Department, the date, locations, and damage costs include:

  • December 5, 2019 – 118 Neil Street – $5,000 damage
  • December 5, 2019 – 2754 Faxon Avenue – $10,000 damage
  • January 28, 2020 – 20 Flicker Street – $500,000 damage
  • February 17, 2020 – 4087 Summer Avenue – $75,000 damage

Anyone with information about these arsons is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 528-CASH (2274) or the State Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Volume 8 | Issue 38

Broadcaster Contemplates Putting 250 Tower Portfolio on the Market

Cumulus Media is the latest radio group to consider selling its towers to reduce debt. Company CEO Mary Berner said last week the broadcaster is pondering “strategic alternatives” for its 250 tower sites across 32 states, reports Inside Radio.

Typically, radio companies lease back the site after a sale because they still need the tower to transmit their signal.

Cumulus considered selling its towers in 2017, before filing Chapter 11, but “stick” prices have since gone up.

During an earnings call, CFO John Abbot said, “We’re at a very early stage in our exploration, and we expect to be working through the possibilities over the next couple of quarters.” He didn’t offer a timeline for a potential deal.

The broadcaster has been selling assets since emerging from bankruptcy last June and has reduced its debt by $275 million, notes Inside Radio.

Michael Kupinski, Director of Research at Noble Capital Markets, pegged the Cumulus tower value in the $125 million to $150 million range in a report titled: “A Towering Opportunity.” A potential tower sale would produce more cash to help Cumulus pay down more debt. It wants to reduce that debt to about four-times debt to cash flow by year-end 2020, according to the account.

Source: Inside Towers newsletter Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.

BloostonLaw Newsletter

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

 BloostonLaw Telecom Update Vol. 23, No. 9 February 26, 2020 

FCC Initiates Huawei/ZTE Information Collection; Data Due April 22

On February 26, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the initiation of its process to collect information from telecommunications carriers on the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment and services in their networks. All USF recipients that were eligible telecommunications carriers as of December 31, 2019 must file by April 22 using the FCC’s portal, even if they have no potentially prohibited equipment.

See the article below for more information.

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


FCC Initiates Huawei/ZTE Equipment Data Collection, Responses due April 22

On February 26, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the initiation of its process to collect information from telecommunications carriers on the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment and services in their networks. All USF recipients that were eligible telecommunications carriers as of December 31, 2019 must file by April 22 using the FCC’s portal, even if they don’t have such equipment.

In particular, carriers without potentially prohibited equipment must indicate the lack of any such equipment, software, or services, then certify and submit the response.

Entities with potentially prohibited equipment must:

  • affirm that their network contains and/or relies on potentially prohibited equipment;
  • provide the costs of purchasing and installing potentially prohibited equipment or services, separately for both equipment and services currently in use and equipment and services no longer in use;
  • provide the estimated costs of removing and replacing potentially prohibited equipment or services following the instructions; and
  • certify and submit the response.

“Huawei and ZTE have been initially designated as threats to national security. Given that those designations may become final this spring, we are moving forward quickly to identify where equipment and services from these suppliers are embedded in our communications networks and, where they do have a foothold, to be in a position to help remove them,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Today we’ve begun to collect the data we will need to protect our networks and protect the American people.”

Carriers with questions on how and what to file are encouraged to contact the firm for more information.

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

Comments on Net Neutrality Record Refresh Due March 30

On February 19, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking to refresh the record in its Restoring Internet Freedom and Lifeline Reform proceedings, WC Docket Nos. 17-108, 17-287, and 11-42. Comments are due March 30, and reply comments are due April 29.

The record-refresh comes in the wake of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, in which the court remanded three discrete issues for further consideration by the FCC:

Public Safety. The FCC seeks to refresh the record on how the changes adopted in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order might affect public safety. This includes questions on whether network improvements made possible by prioritization arrangements benefit public safety applications, and whether public safety communications would be harmed by prioritizing packets for latency-sensitive applications if they decline to pay for prioritization.

Pole Attachments. The FCC seeks to refresh the record on how the changes adopted in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order might affect the regulation of pole attachments in states subject to federal regulation. Specifically, the FCC asks what impact would the inapplicability of section 224 to broadband-only providers have on their access to poles, and whether pole owners increased pole attachment rates or inhibited broadband providers from attaching equipment since the Order was adopted.

Lifeline Program. The FCC also seeks to refresh the record on how the changes adopted in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order might affect the Lifeline program. In particular, the FCC seeks comment on its authority to direct Lifeline support to eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) providing broadband service to qualifying low-income consumers. The FCC also seeks comment on whether there are other sources of authority that allow the FCC to provide Lifeline support for broadband services, and if there any other impacts on the Lifeline program from the changes adopted in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

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

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

FCC to Vote on 3.5 GHz Auction Details Friday; Draft Order Signals Likely Schedule

As for the 3.5 GHz Priority Access License (PAL) auction to be sold in Auction 105, the FCC has not yet issued its final auction procedures or set final deadlines; however, the Auction 105 Notice and Filing Requirements Public Notice is due for a vote at the FCC’s Friday’s open meeting. A pre-vote draft of the item (as it is being circulated on the Eighth Floor) is now available to the public. The proposed dates/deadlines (summarized below) are likely to be adopted:

Auction Application Tutorial Available (via Internet) ........ No later than March 9, 2020
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175) Filing Window Opens ........ March 26, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175) Filing Window Deadline ........ April 9, 2020, 6:00 p.m. ET
Upfront Payments (via wire transfer) ........ May 21, 2020, 6:00 p.m. ET
Bidding Tutorial Available (via Internet) ........ No later than June 11, 2020
Mock Auction ........ June 22, 2020
Bidding Begins in Auction 105 ........ June 25, 2020

As proposed, the auction will use “ascending clock” bidding procedures for the county-based PALs. And it looks like the FCC is leaning toward NOT adopting the proposal for CMA-level bidding. Our firm submitted comments objecting to the proposal, arguing that CMA-level bidding would be unduly harmful for small service providers and entrepreneurs, as well as other entities that wish to bid for PALs in rural counties that are part of multi-county CMAs classified as MSAs.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.

Law and Regulation

DC Circuit Denies NTCH Challenges to H Block Auction Procedures

The DC Circuit Court on Friday rejected a wireless entrepreneur’s challenges to the FCC’s authority to modify DISH Network’s AWS-4 licenses to allow the company to develop a stand-alone terrestrial broadband network. The appeal also challenged the FCC’s waiver of technical restrictions on these modified licenses, conditioned upon DISH’s commitment to bid at least the reserve price for adjacent H Block spectrum; and procedures the FCC adopted for Auction 96, an auction in which the FCC offered one paired channel (5 megahertz x 5 megahertz) H Block license in each of 176 Economic Areas (EAs).

The AWS-4 Band was established using spectrum that had previously been set aside for commercial deployment of “Mobile Satellite Service” (or “MSS”) in the late 1990s. The FCC had previously granted licenses to eight operators, but when the service did not develop as expected, the FCC allowed MSS operators to augment their satellite services with “ancillary” terrestrial services as a way to put their satellite spectrum to better use. A condition on this new operational flexibility called for MSS operators to provide “substantial satellite service” before they could offer terrestrial services. However, even this lifeline was not enough to make MSS commercially viable, and six of eight licensees surrendered their licenses. When the last two licensees filed for bankruptcy in 2011, DISH swooped in and acquired their licenses.

In early 2012, DISH scored a huge windfall when the FCC proposed to eliminate the satellite service requirement for the MSS band, thereby allowing the spectrum to be used purely for terrestrial operations (i.e., creating the AWS-4 band). A March 2012 NPRM proposed to assign all AWS-4 licenses in the 2 GHz band to the incumbent MSS licensee (i.e., DISH) by modifying DISH’s MSS licenses to add terrestrial authority and obligations that would apply to all AWS-4 service areas. In 2013, the FCC announced plans to hold Auction 96 to allocate 176 licenses in the H Block, spectrum that was immediately adjacent to the AWS-4 band.

At the same time as the FCC was finalizing procedures for Auction 96, the FCC granted DISH flexibility to use 20 megahertz of its AWS-4 spectrum (at 2000-2020 MHz) for uplink or downlink operations as well as a waiver of its final AWS-4 buildout requirements, extending the deadline from seven to eight years. Grant of the waivers was conditioned on DISH meeting two requirements. First, DISH was required to participate in the H Block auction and to bid a minimum of $1.564 billion (the net clearing price); and second, DISH had to file an uplink or downlink election, applicable to all AWS-4 licenses, within two and a half years of the waiver grant. NTCH, Inc., a California-based entrepreneur and hopeful H Block bidder, challenged what it saw as a “backroom deal” between DISH and the FCC, amounting to a “cash-for-waiver quid pro quo.”

DISH participated in Auction 96 and to nobody’s surprise, won all 176 H Block licenses nationwide for the $1.564 billion nationwide aggregate reserve price.

In December 2013 and January 2014, NTCH timely filed two applications for review of the Wireless Bureau’s orders—one challenging Auction 96’s procedures, the other challenging the Bureau’s grant of Dish’s waivers for its AWS-4 licenses. The FCC sat on these applications until 2018, then rejected both. Regarding NTCH’s objections to the auction procedures, the FCC found that NTCH had failed to “specify with particularity” the Bureau’s errors.

NTCH then appealed to the DC Circuit, arguing that the AWS-4 Order should be vacated because the FCC failed to consider reasonable alternatives, and because its decision lacked support in the record. Friday’s court decision denied NTCH’s petitions for review, but because the FCC wrongly dismissed NTCH’s challenges to the waiver orders for lack of administrative standing, it remanded this portion of NTCH’s case to the FCC to consider those claims on the merits.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell and John Prendergast.

House Introduces Emergency Response Reporting Bill

On February 21, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) and Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Mike Thompson (CA-05), and Jared Huffman (CA-02) introduced the Emergency Reporting Act (H.R. 5918), a bill aimed at improving the resiliency of communications networks during emergencies by requiring the FCC to hold field hearings, issue reports, and provide policy recommendations.

Most importantly for carriers, the bill would require the FCC to initiate a rule making to determine the circumstances under which to require providers of commercial mobile service to provide alerts to public safety answering points regarding communications service disruptions of cellphones within the assigned territories of such answering points that prevent the origination of 911 calls and/or the delivery of Automatic Location Information. It is also possible the FCC will implement other reporting requirements in order to help it collect the data it needs to prepare the reports mandated by the bill.

“During an emergency, the ability to call 911 is a matter of life and death,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “By ensuring the FCC is supporting state and local governments prepare for, respond to, and learn from major disasters we can help ensure our communications networks are equipped to handle major disasters like wildfires moving forward. The Emergency Reporting Act also takes crucial steps to improve the flow of information to 911 centers about communications outages. This will provide 911 centers and first responders with the information they need to protect communities and save lives.”

“The integrity of our telecommunications networks must withstand natural disasters to ensure that those in danger have a lifeline to emergency services,” said Rep. Eshoo. “I’m proud to sponsor the Emergency Reporting Act to require comprehensive reporting on network outages after disasters and improve information sharing between wireless companies and 9-1-1 dispatchers. The new reporting requirements will ensure that the weak spots in our communications networks are addressed before future emergencies, and information sharing will alert 9-1-1 operators when calls are no longer reaching their stations, which will save lives.”

"When people call 911 during a disaster like our recent wildfires, they want to know they can get help quickly and efficiently,” said Rep. Thompson. “That's why I am proud to join Rep. Doris Matsui as an original cosponsor of the Emergency Reporting Act. This bill will help local and state governments better respond and prepare for emergencies and I will do everything I can to move it forward and get signed into law so our community is better able to respond in case of a disaster."

“When disasters strike, first responders and the public depend on their mobile networks and communication systems,” said Rep. Huffman. “During the wildfires last fall, PG&E’s blackouts cut cell service for thousands of Californians, knocking out 57% of the towers in Marin during critical times. People shouldn’t have to worry about being able to reach out for help or contact loved ones during an emergency. The Federal Communications Commission needs to ensure that it is systematically addressing the danger of communications outages during a disaster, and this new legislation will give them the direction they need to respond to future outages and make our communities more resilient.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.

Texas Court Rejects Huawei Complaint

On February 19, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas dismissing a suit by Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Huawei”) against the United States of America seeking to invalidate Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act as unconstitutional. Dismissal is appropriate where the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted.

Section 889, as applied to Huawei, presented three problems for the company: first, it prohibits federal agencies from procuring, extending, or renewing a contract to procure “any equipment, system, or service” if Huawei products constitute “a substantial or essential component,” or “critical technology,” of any system. Second, it prohibits federal agencies from entering into, extending, or renewing a contract with an entity that uses any such “equipment, system, or service” comprised of Huawei products. Third, it prohibits heads of executive agencies from obligating or expending loan or grant funds to procure, obtain, or renew a contract from any “equipment, system, or service” if Huawei products constitute “a substantial or essential component,” or “critical technology,” of any system.

Huawei challenged Section 889 as unconstitutional on three grounds. Specifically, Huawei argued that Section 889: (1) violates the Bill of Attainder Clause, which prohibits legislation that punishes an individual without a judicial trial; (2) violates the Due Process Clause, which prohibits the deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law ; and (3) violates the Vesting Clauses, which prohibit the exercise of the powers vested in one branch of government by another.

The court found that Huawei’s complaint ultimately failed to state a claim on which any relief could be granted, and dismissed.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and John Prendergast.


FCC Releases Updated Data for Communications Marketplace Report

On February 20, the FCC’s Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA) released certain updated data, including data on fixed and mobile broadband deployment and speeds as of December 31, 2018. These data can be accessed from the FCC’s website at, as well as at These data update certain of the figures that are included in the first Communications Marketplace Report, released December 26, 2018, which presented, for the most part, year-end 2017 information. A short description of each updated figure is also available at the webpage above, including any restatement of earlier information as necessary.

The Communications Marketplace Report can be downloaded from the website above and is also found at:

Chairman Pai Announces 5G Virtualized Radio Access Forum

On February 20, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the agency will hold a Forum on 5G Virtualized Radio Access Networks on Thursday, March 26, 2020. At the forum, experts who are at the forefront of the development and deployment of interoperable, standards-based, virtualized radio access networks (RAN) will join Chairman Pai and other Commission staff to discuss this approach to 5G network deployment. The Forum on 5G Virtualized Radio Access Networks is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. EST, and will be webcast at that time at

A virtual RAN consists of a centralized pool of baseband units (BBUs), virtualized RAN control functions and service delivery optimization. With a virtual RAN, baseband modules are moved away from the base station and to a data center. As a result, functions of the BBUs can be implemented with virtual machines in a centralized data center.

“The FCC has taken aggressive action to promote American leadership in 5G—a major priority for the agency and the Administration generally. One way to advance this priority is through the development and deployment of more secure, cost-effective 5G network components. Virtualized radio access networks could help us do that, as I’ve heard here in the United States and discussed with stakeholders abroad,” said Chairman Pai. “We want the United States to lead the way with this innovative approach to mobile network deployment, and I look forward to hosting experts in the field for a productive discussion about the current state of vRAN-related technologies and the path ahead.”


MARCH 2: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FORM FOR CABLE COMPANIES. This form, plus royalty payment for the second half of calendar year 2019, is due March 1. The form covers the period July 1 to December 31, 2019, and is due to be mailed directly to cable TV operators by the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office. Because March 1 is a Sunday this year, this filing is due March 2. If you do not receive the form, please contact the firm.

BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.

MARCH 2: CPNI ANNUAL CERTIFICATION. Carriers should modify (as necessary) and complete their “Annual Certification of CPNI Compliance” for 2020. The certification must be filed with the FCC by March 2, because March 1 is a Sunday this year. 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 Contact: Gerry Duffy

MARCH 2: 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. Because March 1 is a Sunday this year, this filing is due March 2.

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 FCC. 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: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.

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 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 Sal Taillefer.

JUNE 1: 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. However, because the 31st is a Sunday this year, the filing will be due on June 1. 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 June 1. 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.

Law Offices Of
Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens,
Duffy & Prendergast, LLP

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.

Calendar At-a-Glance

Feb. 28 – Reply comments are due on Robocall Blocking Report.

Mar. 2 – Copyright Statement of Account Form for cable companies is due.
Mar. 2 – Annual CPNI Certification is due.
Mar. 2 – FCC Form 477 (Local Competition & Broadband Reporting) is due.
Mar. 2 – Annual 700 MHz Guard Band / 220 MHz Band Manager Report is due.
Mar. 3 – Reply comments on Supply Chain Prohibitions FNPRM are due.
Mar. 9 – Comments are due on All-Digital AM Broadcasting NPRM.
Mar. 9 – Comments are due on 5.9 GHz Band Proceeding NPRM.
Mar. 9 – Reply comments are due on Reassigned Numbers Database Technical Requirements.
Mar. 13 – Reply comments are due on Truth-in-Billing for VoIP proceeding.
Mar. 20 – Reply comments are due on Vertical Location Accuracy.
Mar. 23 – Reply comments are due on Removing Radiolocation/Amateur Allocations in 3.3-3.5 GHz Band.
Mar. 30 – Comments on Restoring Internet Freedom/Lifeline Reform record are 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.

Apr. 1 – FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Apr. 1 – Annual Accessibility Certification is due.
Apr. 6 – Reply comments are due on All-Digital AM Broadcasting NPRM.
Apr. 6 – Reply comments are due on 5.9 GHz Band Proceeding NPRM.
Apr. 22 – Huawei/ZTE Data Collection Responses are due.
Apr. 29 – Reply comments on Restoring Internet Freedom/Lifeline Reform record are due.

May 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.

Jun. 1 – FCC Form 395 (Annual Employment Report) is due.

 BloostonLaw Private Users Update Vol. 20, No. 2 February 2020 

FCC Denies Late-Filed License Renewal Application

The FCC has denied the request for waiver filed by License Acquisitions, LLC to accept and grant its late filed license renewal applications for 800 MHz SMR Stations WPLM227, WPLM228, WPLM229, WPLM230. These licenses were auction licenses for geographic areas in Western Oklahoma, OK (BEA126); Abilene, TX (BEA128); San Angelo, TX (BEA129); and Amarillo, TX-NM (BEA138).

The licenses for stations WPLM227, WPLM228, WPLM229, WPLM230 expired on March 10, 2018. License Acquisitions filed its applications for license reinstatement more than 90 days after expiration, together with a request for waiver of the FCC’s Rules. The FCC noted that nearly three months prior to the license expiration date, it had issued a courtesy letter reminding License Acquisitions that license renewal applications had to be filed prior to the license expiration date. Despite that reminder, License Acquisitions failed to timely file the required license renewal applications.

While the FCC has an informal grace period policy concerning license reinstatements, there is no guarantee that the FCC will act favorably on the request. A late filed license renewal application could also subject the licensee to a fine for operating without authority. The FCC has acknowledged that under some circumstances, a waiver of the filing deadline is appropriate – such as if the license reinstatement application is filed less than 30 days following the license expiration date, or the applicant is able to demonstrate unique circumstances which caused it to miss the filing deadline.

In the case of License Acquisitions, the FCC noted that despite the claims of License Acquisitions, there were no unique circumstances to justify the late filed renewal. In particular, the FCC stated that inadvertent failure to renew a license in a timely manner is not so unusual as to warrant a waiver of the Commission’s rules, since claims such as “turnover in record-keeping personnel, failure to check computer records, simple forgetfulness” or “administrative oversight” are not unusual. Further, the FCC noted that License Acquisitions provided no information to support a good-faith attempt to renew its licenses during the 90 days prior to the license renewal deadline.

Further, the FCC has emphasized that licensees are “fully responsible” for knowing the terms of its license(s) and for filing a timely renewal application(s) irrespective of whether or not the FCC’s courtesy renewal reminder letter is received. To that, we also point out that licensees have an obligation to ensure that their contact information in the FCC’s license databases is kept up to date, since the FCC will rely on that information for any contact with an applicant or licensee.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FAA's Proposed Remote Identification Rules Would Affect Drones, Hobby Planes

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing to require remote identification of so-called "unmanned aircraft systems" (UAS), which include drones and hobby aircraft. Comments on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in Docket FAA-2019-11, are due by March 2.

In proposing the new requirements, the FAA stated that "the remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems in the airspace of the United States would address safety, national security, and law enforcement concerns regarding the further integration of these aircraft into the airspace of the United States while also enabling greater operational capabilities."

The FAA defines remote identification, or Remote ID, as the ability of an in-flight unmanned aircraft "to provide certain identification and location information that people on the ground and other airspace users can receive." The FAA called the move "an important building block in the unmanned traffic management ecosystem."

"For example, the ability to identify and locate UAS operating in the airspace of the United States provides additional situational awareness to manned and unmanned aircraft," the FAA said. "This will become even more important as the number of UAS operations in all classes of airspace increases. In addition, the ability to identify and locate UAS provides critical information to law enforcement and other officials charged with ensuring public safety."

The FAA said it envisions that the remote identification network "will form the foundation for the development of other technologies that can enable expanded operations."

With few exceptions, all UAS operating in US airspace would be subject to the rule's requirements and would have to comply, "regardless of whether they conduct recreational or commercial operations, except those flying UAS that are not otherwise required to be registered under the FAA's existing rules."

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

KARI’S LAW 911 Direct Calling Requirements Effective February 17, 2020

As of February 17, 2020, all multi-line telephones must be capable of directly routing 911 calls, without the need to dial a prefix code (e.g., “9”, “8” or some other code) in order to reach an outside line. This law is the result of efforts by the family of Kari Hunt, who was killed by her estranged husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas in 2013. Her then-nine-year-old daughter tried to call 911 four times from the motel room phone, but the calls never went through because she did not know that the motel’s phone system required dialing “9” for an outbound line before dialing 911.

Chairman Pai, who worked with Kari’s father said “Starting [February 17th], it will be easier for Americans in hotels, office buildings, and campuses to dial 911 and get help from first responders during emergencies—and it will save lives. It has been an honor to work alongside Hank throughout the years and an inspiration to see how one brave, determined person can make such a positive difference. As the compliance date approaches, this is a reminder to building managers and others responsible for multi-line telephone systems that they must adhere to the new requirements going forward.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Seeks Comment on Revisions to Historic Preservation Forms 620 & 621 – Comments Due March 13; Reply Comments Due March 28

The FCC has issued a Public Notice seeking comment on proposed revisions to FCC Forms 620 and 621 (which are used for proposed new towers and for collocations on existing structures, respectively), that are used to notify State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs), Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs), other officials of Tribal Nations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) (collectively, Reviewers) of certain proposed wireless infrastructure projects. The information provided with these forms enables Reviewers and the Commission to assess the potential effects of those projects on historic properties and tribal cultural interests, as required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Comments will be due March 13, 2020; Reply Comments will be due March 28, 2020.

At the outset, it is important to note that compliance with environmental, state historic preservation, tribal historic preservation and native Hawaiian preservation requirements is essential for all antenna structure proposals — regardless of whether the proposed structure will house commercial radios such as cellular type services or facilities used for private internal communications.

With the proposed updates, the FCC is interested in making the forms easier to complete and to review without impeding the underlying their purpose – which is to provide information required by the long-standing Wireless Facilities National Programmatic Agreement and historic preservation rules.

The FCC is seeking comment on whether to modify any of the forms’ organization, format (including format for downloading or printing out forms), or instructions (including specifications of required attachments). In particular, the FCC is seeking comment on whether the review process could be improved by modifying the format or instructions associated with the following sections of the forms:

  • Identification of Applicant and Consultant. For both Forms 620 and 621, the applicant must identify contact information for a responsible individual within the company and the principal investigator within the consulting firm conducting the historic-preservation review. The applicant also must submit detailed information about the professional qualifications of each staff member who participated in the analysis. What level of detail is sufficient to validate qualifications? Is a full resume necessary or is abbreviated information within the form itself sufficient?
  • Site Location. An applicant must identify the location of the proposed deployment with specificity (including the street address, crossroads, and latitude/longitude coordinates), submit maps in various formats, provide additional site information (including additional structures, access roads, utility lines, fences, easements, or other construction planned for the site in conjunction with the proposed deployment), and submit photographs of views in all directions as well as aerial photographs of the Area of Potential Effects (APE). The FCC is requesting comment on the quantity and quality of information necessary to identify proposed sites, as well as the format in which materials are provided.
  • Information About the Proposed Deployment: Applicants must submit information about the height of the relevant tower or other structure, a description of the type and other features of the tower (for Form 620) or antennas or other equipment to be collocated (for Form 621), the date of construction of the structure on which collocated equipment is to be mounted (for Form 621), and the status of the project (for both forms). Do the forms and instructions currently require (or encourage) the submittal of sufficiently detailed project information? Does the narrative documentation sufficiently explain relevant technology and define acronyms?
  • Information About Historic Properties. Both forms generally require applicants to identify and describe all historic properties (i.e., those listed or eligible to be listed in the National Register) within the proposed deployment’s relevant APEs, including archeological materials that would be directly affected by the proposed deployment and sites of cultural or religious significance to Tribal Nations or NHOs. In certain circumstances, applicants also must submit a Cultural Resources Report and/or an archeological field survey. Applicants also must provide photographs of each historic property and of views from each such property toward the site of the proposed deployment, and they must describe the techniques and methodologies they used to identify historic properties within the APE for direct effects and the information they gathered through the comments of Tribes, NHOs, local governments, or members of the public regarding historic properties in the APE for visual effects. How could information about historic properties be best presented? How should historic districts be identified? Is identification of each contributing resource needed, or are outer boundaries sufficient for review? Should the forms include blanks for applicants to identify and briefly describe the techniques and methodologies (potentially including field surveys) used to identify and assess effects on any historic properties within the APE, or should applicants continue to submit such information in reports attached to the forms?

The FCC is also seeking comment on possible changes to these and other sections of the forms or instructions that might be beneficial to Reviewers and applicants and has invited commenters to address and, if possible, to quantify the benefits and detriments of any potential changes to Forms 620, 621, or their instructions, including potential changes to the methods by which forms are accessed, downloaded, and printed out. How could potential changes improve or diminish the quality of the information that SHPOs or THPOs review and analyze to make decisions about proposed undertakings? How could changes to the forms, or the formatting of supplemental information, facilitate the review process? To what extent would any proposed changes increase or reduce the time and effort that applicants and their consultants must devote to gathering, organizing, and presenting the relevant information? To what extent would they affect Reviewers’ time and effort? Should differing specifications apply depending on the size, scale, location, or other features of proposed facilities or historic sites?

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Establishes Process for Second Funding Stage for Puerto Rico/USVI

On February 12, the FCC issued an Order establishing procedures for the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund and the Connect USVI Fund Stage 2 Competition. This stage allocates more than $500 million over ten years in fixed broadband support through the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund. It also allocates more than $180 million over ten years for fixed broadband support through the Connect USVI Fund.

This funding stage will use a competitive process to award support for fixed voice and broadband services based on the weighting of price and network performance, including speed, latency, and usage allowance. The FCC will release an application form, instructions, and announce the application deadline soon, following approval by the Office of Management and Budget. The FCC also has allocated up to $258.8 million in support for mobile service, including 5G, in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands over a three-year period.

“Every step closer to providing this funding is a step in the right direction,” said Kris Monteith, Chief of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau. “Laying out this clear, manageable, and predictable process will ensure we get the best impact possible from this investment of funds. Bridging the digital divide is the agency’s top priority under Chairman Ajit Pai and we’ve put a special emphasis on helping connect Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Today is a big day in that effort.”

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

FCC Concludes Sharing of Consumers’ Real-Time Location Data Violates Federal Law

After an extended investigation, the FCC Enforcement Bureau has concluded that at least one wireless carrier apparently violated U.S. law by improperly disclosing consumers’ location data. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the agency’s conclusion in a January 31 letter to Congress. While the letter did not identify any carriers by name, it confirmed that one or more Notice(s) of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture would be issued in the coming days in connection with the apparent violation(s).

Chairman Pai stated that “I am committed to ensuring that all entities subject to our jurisdiction comply with the Communications Act and the FCC’s rules, including those that protect consumers’ sensitive information, such as real-time location data.”

The security of consumers’ real-time location data is an issue that gained widespread attention in 2018 after press reports revealed that carriers including T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T were selling phone geolocation services to outside companies. While it is common knowledge that law enforcement agencies can track phones with a warrant to service providers or through the use of IMSI catchers (also known as “Stingrays”), what journalists found was that data made available to asset tracking and other legitimate enterprise location service providers was being resold to a host of different private industries, ranging from car salesmen and property managers to bail bondsmen and bounty hunters, with little or no oversight. Compounding this already highly unscrupulous business practice, this data was then being leaked and/or resold to black market data brokers.

An investigation by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) into the commercial relationships between Verizon and a pair of obscure data vendors found that one of Verizon’s indirect corporate customers, a prison phone company called Securus, had used Verizon's customer location data in a system that effectively let correctional officers spy on millions of Americans. Shortly after the reports surfaced, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint announced that they would no longer share customers’ location data with third-party companies who failed to adequately protect the data. The FCC took up the matter in early 2019 after FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel sent letters to major phone companies to confirm whether they lived up to their commitments to end these location aggregation services.

Commissioner Rosenworcel criticized the agency for its delay in taking enforcement action in a written statement.

“For more than a year, the FCC was silent after news reports alerted us that for just a few hundred dollars, shady middlemen could sell your location within a few hundred meters based on your wireless phone data. It’s chilling to consider what a black market could do with this data. It puts the safety and privacy of every American with a wireless phone at risk.

Today this agency finally announced that this was a violation of the law. Millions and millions of Americans use a wireless device every day and didn’t sign up for or consent to this surveillance. It’s a shame that it took so long for the FCC to reach a conclusion that was so obvious.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Mary Sisak and Sal Taillefer.

FCC Extends Comment Deadline for Vertical Location Accuracy Proceeding to February 21

The FCC recently issued an Order granting a Joint Petition for Extension of Comment and Reply Comment Deadlines (Joint Petition) submitted by the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT), the National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA); NENA: The 9-1-1 Association (NENA); the Texas 9-1-1 Alliance; and the Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications (collectively, Petitioners), seeking to extend the comment and reply comment deadline for the FCC’s Fifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in PS Docket No. 07-114. Reply Comments are now due March 20.

The FCC previously adopted a 3-meter z-axis 911 location accuracy metric to be implemented by the April 2021 and 2023 vertical accuracy deadlines. Given the likelihood that vertical location technology will continue to improve, the FCC has also sought comment on whether to establish a long-term timeline for migrating to a more stringent z-axis metric than 3 meters, and ultimately whether to require CMRS providers carriers to deliver floor level information in conjunction with wireless indoor 911 calls. The FCC also proposed to amend the rules to expand on the current options for demonstrating deployment of z-axis or dispatchable location capability.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell and Richard Rubino.

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