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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — October 30, 2020 — Issue No. 932

Welcome Back To

The Wireless
Messaging News

This Week's Wireless News Headlines:

  • Ira Wiesenfeld stopped by for a visit
  • China’s Xiaomi overtakes Apple as world’s third-largest smartphone maker
  • Netmarketshare: Both Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge see significant rise in market share, Edge hits double digits
  • The Verge: The Apple iPhone 12 has a lot of new stuff (video)
  • InsideTowers
    • The Verge The Apple iPhone 12 has a lot of new stuff
  • BloostonLaw Telecom Update
    • FCC Establishes 5G Fund
    • FCC Finds No Basis to Alter Approach in Net Neutrality Remand
    • FCC Partially Eliminates Unbundling Requirements for Certain Network Elements
    • FCC Modifies Part 15 Rules to Make Way for 5G
    • Petition for Declaratory Ruling on Secure Networks Act Reimbursement Filed
    • Radio Duplication Rule Elimination Effective October 22
    • FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine for Operating with Excess Power and Failing to Allow FCC Inspection
    • Minnesota Broadcaster Seeks Waiver of Full Power TV Station Rulemaking Freeze
    • FCC Issues Report on T-Mobile Outage; Identifies Measures to Prevent Similar Outages in the Future
    • Deadlines
    • Calendar At-a-Glance
  • BloostonLaw Private Users Update
    • LMCC and FCC Meet to Address DTV Interference
    • Make Sure You File Your License Renewal Application Before Expiration
    • FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine for Operating with Excess Power and Failing to Allow FCC Inspection
    • Oppositions to E911 Location Accuracy Petitions for Reconsideration due November 3
    • Chairman Pai Proposes Wider Use of 5.9 GHz Band for Enhanced Wi-Fi
    • FCC Proposes $20K Fine Against OSNET Wireless for Operation of Modified Unlicensed Part 15 Devices
    • FCC Adopts New Rules to Expand Use of 4.9 GHz Band
    • FCC Grants Waiver Request of Southern California Regional Rail Authority
    • FCC Denies Several Petitions for Reconsideration of License Terminations for Non-Construction
    • Klein Electronics Enters into $20K Consent Decree For Marketing Illegal Equipment
    • BloostonLaw Contacts
    • “Where Does It Hurt”
    • Bernadette Seacrest


I have spent the last several days tracking down a nasty bug in the software I use to edit the newsletter each week. I think I finally have it fixed. I found a reset command that I didn't know about. You know — one of those convoluted key combinations that you have to hold down with multiple fingers when restarting an app.

So this issue is going out a little late.

By the way, my friend and colleague Ira Wiesenfeld stopped by for a visit. We had lunch together and a good time to chat and get caught up with different industry trends and happenings.

Ira is the best field engineer for the support of paging systems that I know of. He travels all over the country in an SUV packed full of tools and test equipment. Not just any old test equipment but real lab-quality, professional instruments.

I highly recommend him for the maintenance or installation of all types of paging and two-way radio systems.

(Disclaimer: He buys my lunch and helps to support the newsletter.)

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.



These are uncertain times.

How would you like to help support The Wireless Messaging News? Your support is needed. New advertising and donations have fallen off considerably.
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Advertiser Index

Easy Solutions  (Vaughan Bowden)
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

Passive Audio Amps For Smart Phones

Buy An Amp today

Oh come on they are cool.

These are acoustic amplifiers for smartphones. They don't need electric power to operate and there are no moving parts. They work like a megaphone (speaking-trumpet, bullhorn, or loudhailer). Everyone that I have shown one to has said something like “Wow, I want one of those!” So I have built a few of them.

Of course there are more “Hi-Fi” ways to listen to audio on your smartphone but who would want to plug an elegant smartphone into some cheap, plastic gadget? Or even use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which are a pain in the neck to set up, even on a smartphone.

These have been made with hardwood bases and some of them are exotic hardwoods with interesting grain patterns. The horns are polished brass — made from mostly old horns that had rubber bulbs on the ends and were used in “times gone by” by taxis and even clowns in circuses. These horns have been re-purposed, reshaped, soldered, and polished.

They horns are now on display and for sale at:

Owl’s Nest
2006 Kelty Road
Franktown, Colorado 80116

Tel: 303-954-8229
Location: Map
Social Media: Facebook
Twitter: @owlsnestfranktown
E-mail: Virginia Angus
Allan Angus

The two large horns — the trombone and the gramophone — are difficult to pack and ship to they are for local pickup only. The remainder can be sent to you. I have the cowboy horn and the rest are in stock at the Colorado coffee shop.

Please call for pricing and availability or stop in for a demo and a great cup of espresso.

P.S. Allan, Virginia and I worked together at WebLink Wireless in Dallas.

Leavitt Communications


50 years experience providing and supporting radio and paging customers worldwide. Call us anytime we can be useful!






Minitor VI

Leavitt sells and supports most pager brands. We stock Unication G1, G5, Secure and some Elegant pagers. Call or e-mail for price and availability.

Philip C. Leavitt, V.P.
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

China’s Xiaomi overtakes Apple as world’s third-largest smartphone maker

31 Oct, 2020 09:16


With the smartphone market starting to recover from the coronavirus crisis, Chinese producer Xiaomi has made history by beating the iconic Apple iPhone at its own game.

Xiaomi has claimed the third spot among world’s largest smartphone producers for the first time, according to the results of the latest quarter, revealed by three research firms - International Data Corporation (IDC), Counterpoint and Canalys.

In the three months to the end of September, the company’s shipments hit a record high, with different data pointing at more than 40-percent growth and the number of shipped units ranging between 46.2 million and 47.1 million.

Meanwhile, its closest rival, Apple, has slipped to fourth place in the ratings. According to IDC, the US corporation shipped 41.6 million iPhones in the third quarter, down over 10 percent year-on-year. Data from Counterpoint differed slightly, but Canalys put the number of shipments at 43.2 million. However, data from all three firms showed that Apple is behind Xiaomi.

Xiaomi’s success was partly driven by the troubles of its domestic competitor, Huawei. That company lost its crown as the biggest smartphone maker globally to Samsung, amid the increasing pressure of US sanctions. Samsung shipped around 80 million smartphones, data shows, while Huawei shipped around 30 million fewer devices in the third quarter.

Some analysts believe that Xiaomi might have taken some customers away from Huawei.

“Xiaomi executed with aggression to seize shipments from Huawei,” said Mo Jia, analyst at Canalys. “There was symmetry in Q3, as Xiaomi added 14.5 million units and Huawei lost 15.1 million. In Europe, a key battleground, Huawei’s shipments fell 25 percent, while Xiaomi’s grew 88 percent.”

The Trump administration placed Huawei on its infamous ‘Entity List’ last year, effectively banning American firms from doing business with the Chinese tech giant. Thus, Huawei lost access to updates of Google Android software on its smartphones, which could easily spook potential clients, especially those outside of China.

Earlier this year, Washington increased pressure on Huawei, targeting vital chip suppliers to the firm, as it required foreign manufacturers that use American software and technology to obtain a special license before shipping products to Huawei.



Hong Kong




W8008 Thinnest IP67 Rated Alphanumeric Pager 4 Line/8 Line, OLED Display, Now with Magnetic Charger

W8001 (4 Line/8 Line IP67 Alphanumeric Pager)

W2028 (2 Line/4 Line Alphanumeric Pager)
  • 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:

For Trade inquiries contact:
Eric Dilip Kumar

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:


“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.


Can You Help The Newsletter?

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You can help support The Wireless Messaging News by clicking on the PayPal Donate button above. It is not necessary to be a member of PayPal to use this service.

Reader Support

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.


  • 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:



10 Vanadium Place, Addington
Christchurch 8024, New Zealand
Ph: +64 (0)3 379 2298
Web Page:
Free: 0508 Salcom (NZ Only)



Easy Solutions

easy solutions

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.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full-time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

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.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

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


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

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

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

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

INTERNET Protocol Terminal

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

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

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:

Netmarketshare: Both Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge see significant rise in market share, Edge hits double digits

by Surur
Nov 1, 2020 at 16:42 GMT

Netmarketshare has released its market share report for October 2020. The report shows a significant increase in market share of Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge along with a slight drop in Chrome’s market share.

On the Operating System side, Windows 10 went up to 64.4% from 61.26% last month. Windows 7 also saw a corresponding big drop from 22.77% to 20.41%. macOS X 10.15 share also dropped from 5.11%, % to 4.88% while Linux went from 1.14% to 1.65%.

On the browser side, Chrome dropped from 69.94% to 69.25% while Edge went from 8.84% to 10.22%%. The rise may be the result of Microsoft pushing out the new Edge as part of Windows 10 20H2. Meanwhile, Firefox has gone from 7.19% to 7.22%.

This will be the last report from Netmarketshare’s numbers, as the company says they have been struggling with battling bots, which distort the stats, and that changes to browser user agent strings will make it impossible to get accurate data in the future.

Source: MS Power User  

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

The Verge

The Apple iPhone 12 has a lot of new stuff: a new OLED screen, 5G, MagSafe for charging and accessories, and a whole new design with a ceramic shield screen. Does all that add up to a must-upgrade? Only if you really need one, even though it's great.

Source: YouTube  

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

WHAT IS 5G? 5G is the next generation of wireless networks and promises a mobile experience that's 10x to 100x faster than today's 4G networks. We say the word promise because we're in the early days of 5G. When more smartphones and networks support 5G tech, it will have far-reaching consequences for consumers, from the cars we drive (or that drive us) to the food we eat to the safety of our roads to the ways we shop to the entertainment we share with family and friends. And that doesn't include things we haven't yet imagined because we've never had the capability to unlock those new scenarios. Today, 5G may seem confusing even as it's widely hyped. We're here to help you sort fact from fiction, weed through the acronyms and jargon, and figure out when and how 5G can change the way you live. And we'll keep you from getting caught up in hyperbole — and empty promises. [ source ]

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:

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

Inside Towers Newsletter

Friday, October 26 - 30 2020

Wildfires Aren’t Just a Danger to West Coast Towers

The danger of wildfires in California is well-known, but a recent study found that cell towers in other locations across the United States are also at high risk for fire damage. The University of Wisconsin-Madison published its findings and identified conditions where towers may be in peril. The study was conducted with the support of The National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security and determined that one in four Americans could be affected by a cell tower outage caused by a spreading fire.

“The areas that need the most attention are those that are where urban growth has gotten very close to forests and other sources of fuel for wildfires,” said Paul Barford. Barford is one of the co-authors for the study and directs UW–Madison’s Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. “The service providers are very interested in having their infrastructure available in those areas, because that’s what their customers are asking for. But those are also places where there’s the greatest risk of damage because of fires.”

The researchers studied the history and path of wildfires and mapped the results. The resulting charts show that 430,000 cell network transceivers are in areas that the U.S. Forest Service considers at moderate or high wildfire risk. Six states have over 5,000 transceivers in high risk areas. The states are California, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina.

“We think of the wildfire threat as being concentrated only in the western part of the United States,” said graduate student Scott Anderson. “But we did see that there are areas that are at risk outside of the West, including the southeastern United States, especially in Florida, and even up around Philadelphia.”

“Cell towers in high-risk areas all need to have backup power, battery backup or generator backup, that can enable them to continue to operate even if fire cuts off their primary power,” said Barford. While the direct impact of a wildfire is crippling, the subsequent power outages are a matter of deep concern.

“One of the ways of communicating that risk to people in these fire-prone areas — to send emergency notifications that say a fire is on the way, everyone in this area must evacuate — is through the cellular infrastructure,” Anderson said. “If those messages can’t go through because of disruptions in the cellular network, that can have life or death consequences.”

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

BloostonLaw Newsletter

  BloostonLaw Telecom Update Vol. 23, No. 45 October 28, 2020  

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's partners. The firm's contact information is included at the end of this section of the newsletter.

FCC Establishes 5G Fund

On October 27, the FCC adopted rules creating the 5G Fund for Rural America, which will distribute up to $9 billion over the next decade to bring 5G wireless broadband connectivity to rural America. Phase I of the 5G Fund will target up to $8 billion of support nationwide to areas lacking unsubsidized 4G LTE or 5G mobile broadband, with $680 million specifically set aside for bidders offering to serve Tribal lands. Phase II will provide at least an additional $1 billion, along with any unawarded funds from Phase I, to specifically target the deployment of technologically innovative 5G networks that facilitate precision agriculture.

5G Fund winning bidders will be required to deploy networks providing 5G mobile broadband at speeds of at least 35/3 Mbps and meet interim deployment milestones beginning at the three-year mark and a final deployment milestone at the end of the sixth year. Carriers receiving legacy mobile high cost support must begin spending an increasing portion of their $382 million in support to bring 5G to rural, high cost areas.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.


FCC Finds No Basis to Alter Approach in Net Neutrality Remand

On October 27, the FCC adopted an Order on Remand in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s remand of three discrete issues for further consideration by the FCC regarding its 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the court remanded parts of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order back to the FCC to evaluate any impacts that its reclassification of broadband as an information service and elimination of conduct rules might have on public safety, pole attachment regulations, and the inclusion of broadband in the universal service Lifeline program. After reviewing the record compiled in response to its request for additional comment on these issues, the FCC found no basis to alter the FCC’s conclusions in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The Order on Remand finds that the Restoring Internet Freedom Order promotes public safety, facilitates broadband infrastructure deployment by Internet service providers, and allows the FCC to continue to provide Lifeline support for broadband Internet access service.

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

FCC Partially Eliminates Unbundling Requirements for Certain Network Elements

On October 27, the FCC adopted an Order eliminating rules requiring unbundling of the following network elements, subject to certain conditions and multi-year transition periods. Specifically:

  • DS1 and DS3 Loops—used primarily by business customers and are being replaced by higher-speed, packet-based services sold by incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs), competitive LECs, cable providers, and other inter-modal competitors. The Order ends these unbundling requirements in areas with sufficient evidence of competition but keeps them in place in areas that lack sufficient competition.
  • DS0 Loops—used to provide both voice and broadband service using various Digital Subscriber Line technologies. The Order eliminates unbundling requirements for these loops in densely populated areas, which tend to have more competitive options, but preserves unbundling requirements for DS0 loops in less densely populated areas.
  • Legacy Narrowband Voice-Grade Loops—used to provide legacy voice service and have no broadband service capability. Given the shift away from legacy voice services to IP-and wireless-based voice services offered by multiple providers, the Order removes unbundling obligations for narrowband voice-grade loops nationwide.
  • Dark Fiber Transport—used to provide a connection between phone companies’ local wire centers. The Order eliminates unbundling requirements for dark fiber transport originating or terminating from a wire center within a half-mile of competitive fiber networks.

The Order also discontinues, subject to a three-year transition period, a requirement that incumbent LECs make available for resale their retail legacy telecommunications services at cost-based rates.

According to the Order, these services are predominantly used by competitive LECs to provide legacy voice services to business and government customers.

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

FCC Modifies Part 15 Rules to Make Way for 5G

On October 27, the FCC adopted a Report and Order amending its rules governing unlicensed wireless services provided over spectrum in the television broadcasting bands – a.k.a. the TV white spaces. Specifically, the FCC is increasing the maximum permissible power and antenna height for fixed white space devices operating in “less congested” areas (generally rural and unserved areas) in the TV bands. The amended rules also increase the minimum required separation distances between protected services and entities operating in the band and white space devices operating at the new higher power levels and higher heights above average terrain in order to ensure that broadcast television stations are protected from harmful interference. In addition, the FCC is permitting higher power mobile operations using white space devices in “less congested” areas within defined geo-fenced areas, such as school bus routes or farm boundaries. The rule changes also provide flexibility for new and innovative narrowband white space devices so that users can more fully benefit from Internet of Things applications.

Finally, the FCC also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to explore whether to modify its rules to permit the use of terrain-based models to determine available TV channels for white space devices.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.

Petition for Declaratory Ruling on Secure Networks Act Reimbursement Filed

On October 23, the Rural Wireless Association filed a petition for declaratory ruling that “eligible providers” under the Secure Networks Act’s reimbursement program will be reimbursed for the costs of purchasing replacement equipment and services that have been incurred prior to the adoption of final rules by the FCC. The petition has not yet been put out on Public Notice.

In its Supply Chain Second FNPRM, WC Docket No. 18-89, the FCC is considering the administration of a reimbursement program to fund Eligible Providers’ costs for the replacement, removal, and disposal of their Huawei and ZTE equipment and services that have been deemed a threat to national security. To be an eligible provider, an entity must provide advanced communications service (i.e., “high-speed, switched, broadband telecommunications capability that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology”), serve 2 million or fewer customers, and make all the required certifications in its reimbursement application. According to the Petition, “[u]ntil the Commission officially adopts its reimbursement program and corresponding rules and Congress allocates funding, eligible providers will continue to be deterred from making investments in replacement equipment and services by uncertainty as to whether or not they will be reimbursed (under the rules ultimately adopted by the Commission) for costs incurred prior to adoption of those rules.”

Carriers interested in commenting on the petition may contact the firm for more information.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Sal Taillefer.

Law and Regulation

Radio Duplication Rule Elimination Effective October 22

On October 22, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Report and Order in MB Docket Nos. 19-310 and 17-105, FCC 20-109, in which the FCC eliminated the radio duplication rule. The Report and Order was adopted August 6, 2020 and released August 7, 2020, and is effective as of October 22.

The radio duplication rule restricts the duplication of programming on commonly owned stations operating in the same geographic area, for both AM and FM stations. According to the FCC, the current version of the rule no longer reflects the technological and marketplace changes that have been adopted since its inception in 1992. since the current version of the rule was adopted in 1992. It was originally developed as part of a process to end programming duplication entirely once the number of applicants seeking licenses exceeded the number of vacant FM channels available in large cities.

According to the FCC, significant growth in the number of radio broadcasting outlets, the advent of digital HD Radio, and the evolution of new and varied formats in which to disseminate programming (i.e., digital satellite radio, streaming via station websites, and mobile applications) have led to greater competition and programming diversity in radio broadcasting, and obviated the need for the duplication rule.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.

FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine for Operating with Excess Power and Failing to Allow FCC Inspection

On October 26, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing a $25,000 forfeiture on Jupiter Community Radio, Inc. (Jupiter), licensee of Low Power FM (LPFM) station WJUP-LP, Jupiter, Florida (Station), for apparently failing to operate the Station in accordance with the terms of its authorization and the applicable LPFM technical rules and to make the Station available for inspection. Jupiter also apparently violated FCC rules by failing to maintain required Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment, which is necessary to convey critical emergency information to Jupiter’s audience.

Specifically, Jupiter:

  • operated the Station with a transmitter power output that was 222% of the authorized level, at an effective radiated power of 177 Watts (instead of the authorized 20 Watts), with a two-bay antenna instead of the single-bay antenna specified on the Station’s license, at a location that is 0.33 miles distant from the Authorized Site;
  • failed to make the Station available to the FCC’s agents during normal business hours on February 26, 2020, and did not provide access to the Station until March 6, 2020; and
  • failed to demonstrate that it installed EAS equipment for the Station.

The base forfeiture for operating contrary to an instrument of authorization is $10,000; the base forfeiture for failing to permit an inspection is $7,000; and the base forfeiture for failing to install required EAS equipment is $8,000. The FCC concluded that neither an upward nor a downward adjustment was appropriate.

A Notice of Apparently Liability is not a final finding of violation or assessment of a penalty. Jupiter will have the opportunity to respond before formal action is taken.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Richard Rubino.

Minnesota Broadcaster Seeks Waiver of Full Power TV Station Rulemaking Freeze

On October 28, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that it has before it a petition for rulemaking filed by Multimedia Holdings Corporation (Multimedia), licensee of KARE, channel 11, Minneapolis, Minnesota, requesting the substitution of channel 31 for channel 11 at Minneapolis in the DTV Table of Allotments. Comments are due on November 12, 2020 and reply comments are due November 23, 2020.

The FCC instituted a freeze on the acceptance of rulemaking petitions by full power television stations requesting channel substitutions in May 2011, and Multimedia asks that the FCC waive the freeze to permit KARE to change from a VHF to a UHF channel to better serve its over-the-air viewers. Multimedia states that the FCC has recognized that VHF channels have certain propagation characteristics which may cause reception issues for some viewers. While Multimedia acknowledges that VHF reception issues are not universal, it states that since the 2009 digital transition, when it began operating exclusively on digital channel 11, KARE has received a steady stream of complaints from viewers unable to receive the station's over-the-air signal, despite being able to receive signals from other local stations. Multimedia believes that waiver of the channel substitution freeze would serve the public interest.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy.


FCC Issues Report on T-Mobile Outage; Identifies Measures to Prevent Similar Outages in the Future

On October 22, the FCC released a staff report detailing the causes and impact of a nationwide T-Mobile outage that occurred in June, along with actions that can help prevent similar outages in the future. A copy of the full report can be found here.

Specifically, the report covers the June 15, 2020 outage T-Mobile experienced on its wireless networks that lasted over twelve hours, disrupting calling and texting services nationwide, including 911 service, as well as access to data service in some areas. According to the report, at least 41% of all calls on T-Mobile’s network failed during the outage, including at least 23,621 failed calls to 911.

The report finds that that T-Mobile’s outage was caused by an equipment failure and exacerbated by a network routing misconfiguration, and that the outage was also magnified by a software flaw in T-Mobile’s network that had been latent for months and interfered with customers’ ability to initiate or receive voice calls during the outage. The report also identifies network reliability best practices that could have prevented the outage or mitigated its effects, including providers periodically auditing the diversity of their networks. These recommendations include:

  • periodically audit the physical and logical diversity called for by the design of their network segment(s) and take appropriate measures as needed.
  • validating upgrades, new procedures and commands in a lab or other test environment that simulates the target network and load prior to the first application in the field.
  • use virtual interfaces for routing protocols and network management to maintain connectivity to network elements in the presence of physical interface outages.
  • actively monitor and manage 911 network components using network management controls, where available, to quickly restore 911 service and provide priority repair during network failure events.

The FCC indicated it will be releasing a Public Notice in the future based on its analysis of this and other recent outages, reminding companies of industry-accepted best practices, including those recommended by the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, and their importance. In addition, the FCC will contact major transport providers to discuss their network practices and offer assistance to smaller carriers.


NOVEMBER 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 and John Prendergast.

Calendar At-a-Glance

Oct. 29 – Comments on Rural Call Completion Report and Request for Comment are due.
Oct. 29 – Bidding in RDOF Auction begins

Nov. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Nov. 2 – Replies to Oppositions to Petitions to Deny 2.5 GHz Tribal Spectrum License Applications are due.
Nov. 2 – Auction 107 Upfront Payment is due.
Nov. 3 – Oppositions on E911 Petitions for Reconsideration are due.
Nov. 12 – Comments on Waiver of Full Power TV Station Rulemaking Freeze are due.
Nov. 13 – Replies to oppositions on E911 Petitions for Reconsideration are due.
Nov. 16 – Comments are due on New Application Fee Schedule.
Nov. 17 – Reply comments are due on Priority Services NPRM.
Nov. 20 – Comments are due on 3.45-3.55 GHz Licensing and Operating Framework are due.
Nov. 23 – Comments on Waiver of Full Power TV Station Rulemaking Freeze are due.
Nov. 30 – Reply comments are due on New Application Fee Schedule.
Nov. 30 –Lifeline Income Documentation, De-Enrollment/Reverification Requirement waivers expire.

Dec. 7 – Reply comments are due on 3.45-3.55 GHz Licensing and Operating Framework are due.

  BloostonLaw Private Users Update Vol. 20, No. 10 October 2020  

LMCC and FCC Meet to Address DTV Interference

In a follow up to its August 28, 2020 filing with the FCC, members of the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) and staff of the FCC’s various bureaus met to begin the process of addressing (and hopefully resolving) numerous cases of harmful interference from digital television (DTV) stations to land mobile operations in urban areas though out the United States – including Dallas, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Chicago. An example of this interference involves the City of Chicago in which its fire department has received harmful interference to its communications system from Channel 15 TV channels in nearby Springfield and Champaign, Illinois. In particular, the Chicago reported that it has encountered interference at least once per week that can last for up to several hours across the full TV Channel 15 T-Band spectrum.

As a result of this meeting, the LMCC agreed to immediately form a Working Group to collaborate with the FCC in identifying potential solutions. According to LMCC President Klaus Bender, “Some instances of interference may be resolved by simply enforcing existing rules, other cases will be more challenging given the lack of spectrum alternatives for both land mobile and DTV licensees. But this is a good start.”

We are hopeful that the LMCC – in which Blooston participates on behalf of one of its clients – and the FCC can reach a resolution that ensures reliable land mobile operations so that costly incumbent relocation is not required due to the interference issues.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell and Richard Rubino

Make Sure You File Your License Renewal Application Before Expiration

The FCC has denied the City of Lorain, Ohio’s request for waiver of the FCC’s Rules to accept its late-filed application for renewal of its license for station WQKY922 that had expired on October 30, 2019. On December 17, 2019, the City filed its renewal application, together with a request for waiver of the filing deadline, more than 30 days after the October 30, 2019 license expiration date. In attempting to justify its waiver request, the City stated that “In spite of all best intentions to be aware of the FCC regulations and rule changes, we have inadvertently failed to file a timely renewal.” Unfortunately, the FCC found this justification lacking and denied the City’s waiver request. In taking this action, the FCC found that the City “presented no justification for its ‘inadvertent’ late filing that would warrant special consideration.” In particular, the FCC has previously stated that personnel turnover, failure to check computer records or simple forgetfulness are not valid excuses.

The FCC has a two-tier policy regarding late-filed license renewal applications. Generally, license renewal applications filed within 30 days of the license expiration will be granted if the application is otherwise sufficient, but the applicant could be subject to enforcement action for the late-filed license renewal application. Applications filed more than 30 days after license expiration will not be routinely granted, and associated rule waiver requests will be subject to stricter review and more severe enforcement action. In determining whether to grant a late-filed license renewal application, the FCC will take into consideration all of the facts and circumstances, including the length of the delay, the reason for the failure to timely file the license renewal application, the potential consequences to the public if the license is not renewed and the performance/compliance record of the licensee.

Therefore, the timely filing of license renewal applications is critically important. By filing your license renewal application on or before the license expiration date, you have continuing authority to operate your radio facility while the application is pending FCC action – whether that be for one day, one month, one year or a longer period of time. If for some reason it becomes necessary to file a late-filed license renewal application, the filing of that application will not convey the same authority to continue station operations during the pendency of the application and it will become necessary to request special temporary authority to continue station operations.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine for Operating with Excess Power and Failing to Allow FCC Inspection

On October 26, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing a $25,000 forfeiture on Jupiter Community Radio, Inc. (Jupiter), licensee of Low Power FM (LPFM) station WJUP-LP, Jupiter, Florida (Station), for apparently failing to operate the Station in accordance with the terms of its authorization and the applicable LPFM technical rules and to make the Station available for inspection. Jupiter also apparently violated FCC rules by failing to maintain required Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment, which is necessary to convey critical emergency information to Jupiter’s audience.

Specifically, Jupiter:

  • operated the Station with a transmitter power output that was 222% of the authorized level, at an effective radiated power of 177 Watts (instead of the authorized 20 Watts), with a two-bay antenna instead of the single-bay antenna specified on the Station’s license, at a location that is 0.33 miles distant from the Authorized Site;
  • failed to make the Station available to the FCC’s agents during normal business hours on February 26, 2020, and did not provide access to the Station until March 6, 2020; and
  • failed to demonstrate that it installed EAS equipment for the Station.

The base forfeiture for operating contrary to an instrument of authorization is $10,000; the base forfeiture for failing to permit an inspection is $7,000; and the base forfeiture for failing to install required EAS equipment is $8,000. The FCC concluded that neither an upward nor a downward adjustment was appropriate.

A Notice of Apparently Liability is not a final finding of violation or assessment of a penalty. Jupiter will have the opportunity to respond before formal action is taken.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Richard Rubino.

Oppositions to E911 Location Accuracy Petitions for Reconsideration due November 3

On October 19, the FCC published in the Federal Register the petitions for reconsideration filed by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. (APCO) and by CTIA, both seeking reconsideration of the Sixth Report and Order in the Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements proceeding (PS Docket No. 07-114). Accordingly, oppositions are due November 3, and replies to oppositions are due November 13, 2020.

APCO seeks reconsideration of the way in which the dispatchable location requirements were revised to take into account termination of the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD). Specifically, APCO is concerned that the use of “any database” for dispatchable location reference points instead of the now-defunct NEAD does not go far enough because it “permits carriers to demonstrate compliance with a raw number of reference points leveraged by a solution regardless of whether the solution can accurately estimate a dispatchable location or, more importantly, whether a carrier delivers dispatchable location information with 9-1-1 calls.”

CTIA asks the FCC to reconsider its rules and timelines implementing the Z-axis accuracy metric of ± 3 meters, for various reasons. First, CTIA argues that “changed circumstances related to COVID-19 that have prevented wireless providers from validating whether any technology will meet the vertical location accuracy requirements before April 2021, as required by the Commission’s rules.” Second, CTIA argues that the barometric-sensor based solutions required to meet the FCC’s rules will not be available on the market in time. Finally, CTIA asks the FCC to take this opportunity to reconsider its rejection of mobile operating system (OS)-based 9-1-1 vertical location solutions, which it argues “can deliver ± 3 meter vertical location information nationwide years earlier than the Sixth R&O’s framework and to tens of millions of more 9-1-1 calls than any other technology solution.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.

Chairman Pai Proposes Wider Use of 5.9 GHz Band for Enhanced Wi-Fi

Chairman Pai has proposed draft rules that would modernize the FCC’s regulation of the 5.9 GHz band (5.850-5.925 GHz) which would make new spectrum available for unlicensed uses such as Wi-Fi and provide improvements to automobile safety. Under Chairman Pai’s proposal, the lower 45 megahertz of the 5.9 GHz band (5.850-5.895 GHz) would be available for unlicensed uses like Wi-Fi, while the upper 30 megahertz would be reallocated from the Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) service to the Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology. This reallocation from the DSRC to C-V2X recognizes that the DSRC allocation has been in place for over 20 years with little or no deployment to improve automotive safety. In proposing this reallocation, the FCC noted that automakers world-wide are moving away from DSRC to C-V2X technologies – which uses cellular protocols to provide direct communications between vehicles and most other items – including: other vehicles on the road, infrastructure such as light poles and cellular towers as well as cyclists, pedestrians and road workers.

In making this proposal, Chairman Pai stated that “5.9 GHz spectrum has lain fallow for far too long. For the last two decades, the American people have waited for this prime mid-band spectrum to be put to use, and the time for waiting is over.” Chairman Pai continued that “[w]e should move on from DSRC and unlock forward-looking automotive safety technology. . .. At the same time, we would make available the spectrum needed for a 160 megahertz-wide channel for Wi-Fi, which would enable a new level of gigabit connectivity for schools, hospitals, small businesses, and other consumers. I hope my colleagues will—once again—join me in offering the American people a new chance for automotive safety communications in the 5.9 GHz band that will actually be deployed while meeting the ever-growing demand for Wi-Fi capacity.”

We anticipate that the FCC will release its Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking following its November 18, 2020 Open Meeting.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Proposes $20K Fine Against OSNET Wireless for Operation of Modified Unlicensed Part 15 Devices

Part 15 of the FCC’s Rules allows users to operate certain equipment in unlicensed portions of spectrum bands that are regulated by the FCC. Operation on unlicensed frequencies is conditioned upon the user’s acceptance of any harmful interference from other users and not causing harmful interference to licensees operating in licensed radio bands. Additionally, Part 15 prohibits the modification of devices that are authorized under Part 15 of the FCC’s Rules. Here, OSNET Wireless appears to have modified its Part 15 devices by setting the country code for a country other than the United States – which had the effect of allowing the devices to transmit on spectrum licensed to other carriers rather than the unlicensed spectrum authorized under Part 15 of the FCC’s Rules. For this reason, the FCC has proposed to fine OSNET Wireless $20,000.

In December 2019, the FCC received an interference complaint from a Wireless Communications Service (WCS) carrier which asserted that a rooftop device was causing harmful interference to the carrier’s operations in the 2300 MHz WCS band. Based upon this complaint, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau confirmed that the rooftop Ubiquiti Device was operating on 2307-2327 MHz and belonged to OSNET Wireless. Investigation revealed that one Ubiquiti Device was installed at a distant site to be operated as an access point, while the other Ubiquiti Device, located at the Transmitter Site, was configured to operate as a station (or client) of the distant Ubiquiti Device access point in order to provide fixed wireless broadband Internet service to its customer located at the Transmitter Site.

Upon being informed that these devices were improperly configured, OSNET corrected the configuration so that their country codes were properly set to the United States – which precluded the operation of the devices in the restricted band. Because OSNET did not hold a license to operate in the 2307-2327 MHz band, its operation was unauthorized. As a result, the FCC concluded that OSNET apparently violated the Rule Section 15.1(b) condition for unlicensed operation – namely that devices must be operate din accordance with Part 15 of the FCC’s Rules – as well as Section 301 of the Communications Act because it was operating on licensed spectrum without a license.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Adopts New Rules to Expand Use of 4.9 GHz Band

In its Sixth Report and Order, the FCC has adopted rules permitting expanded use of 50 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 4.9 GHz (4940-4990 MHz) band that is currently underused. Under the new rules, states that do not divert 911 fees for non-911 purposes are allowed to lease this spectrum to third parties to boost wireless broadband, improve critical infrastructure monitoring, and facilitate public safety use cases. This will allow individual states to use the spectrum to best meet their unique needs. The states that will not be eligible to participate in the spectrum leasing program due to diversion of 911 fees include Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

In the 18 years since the FCC designated the 4.9 GHz band for public safety use, only about 3.5% of all potential licensees have taken advantage of this spectrum opportunity. As a result, much of this spectrum remains unused outside major metropolitan areas. Up and until now, access to the 4.9 GHz band was restricted to certain entities and use of the spectrum was limited to public safety purposes.

Under the FCC’s new rules, statewide incumbent licensees will be able to make decisions that will allow the 4.9 GHz spectrum to be put to its highest and best use. The FCC has indicated that states will be permitted, to the extent that the spectrum is not being used for their own public safety operations, to lease spectrum to commercial entities as well as critical infrastructure industry, including electric utilities, and other stakeholders. The FCC has made clear that it is not placing any restrictions on the type of entity to which a state can lease or the types of services that lessees may provide.

In the accompanying Seventh Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC has proposed a new state-based licensing regime for public safety operations in the 4.9 GHz band. The FCC is seeking comment on a centralized structure of state oversight and coordination of public safety operations in the band that would work with the spectrum leasing regime that the FCC has just adopted. Additionally, the FCC is seeking comment on ways to maximize opportunities for spectrum leasing and otherwise encourage a more “robust” use of a spectrum band that has essentially lay fallow over the past 20 years. The Further Notice would also propose to make the current freeze on new applications permanent and grandfather all current public safety licensees. It also proposes to allow states without a statewide license to obtain a license and seeks comment on the creation of a voluntary state band manager to coordinate operations in the band. Finally, the Further Notice seeks comment on additional ways to implement and facilitate robust use of the band, including steps to address expanded access in states that divert 911 fees, the use of dynamic spectrum sharing, and ways to encourage collaboration across jurisdictions.

Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and Reply Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Grants Waiver Request of Southern California Regional Rail Authority

The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) requested a waiver of Rule Section 80.215(i) to that it and its tenant railroad partners (pursuant to spectrum leasing arrangements) may operate locomotive radios at up to 50 watts transmitter power output (TPO) with an effective radiated power (ERP) up to 39 watts so that it could deploy its Congressionally mandated positive train control (PTC) system. The system was designed to include 17 wireless radio base stations as well as 546 PTC wireless radio wayside stations and related mobile (locomotive) stations under Automated Maritime Telecommunications System Service station WQYR421.

SCRRA operates the Metrolink commuter railroad in the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura. Additionally, the FCC noted that its action would also benefit three other rail road lines that utilize SCRRA tracks – Amtrak, the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad. PTC was mandated by Congress as part of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (Rail Safety Act) following a catastrophic rail accident in Chatsworth, California where a Metrolink commuter train collided head-on with a Union Pacific fright train, killing 25 passengers and injuring another 100 passengers. In that accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the a Metrolink engineer failed to appropriately respond to a red signal, and that a PTC system would have stopped the Metrolink train short of the red signal preventing the fatal collision. The Rail Safety Act was amended in 2015 to require most U.S. freight, passenger, and commuter railroads to install and operate interoperable PTC systems by December 31, 2018 although extensions were available through December 31, 2020.

PTC systems are designed to reduce the risk of human-error rail accidents, by “prevent[ing] train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and the movement of a train through a switch left in the wrong position.” The U.S. rail industry chose to implement PTC through wireless networks that use radio spectrum. These networks have the capacity to enable real-time information sharing between trains, rail wayside devices, and “back office” applications, regarding train movement authorities, speed restrictions, train position and speed, and the state of signal and switch devices.

SCRRA acquired its AMTS spectrum through the partition of an AMTS license. In granting the license assignment, the FCC also granted a waiver of several technical rules to facilitate the use of this spectrum for PTC use.

Waiver Request – While AMTS geographic licensees are generally authorized to deploy base stations anywhere within their licensed geographic area, Rule Section 80.215(h) requires individual licensing of base stations that would be located less than 105 miles form a Channel 13 TV station or less than 80 miles from a Channel 10 TV station. Here, SCRRA is seeking modification of its geographic area license to individually authorize operation of 17 base stations and 546 wayside stations with a single application since they meet the individual station licensing criteria of Rule Section 80.215(h)(2). SCRRA demonstrated through an Engineering Report the potential number of households that could be impacted by operation of the PTC equipped base, wayside and mobile (locomotive) stations. In particular, in order for SCRRA to deploy an integrated PTC system in Southern California.

The Rail Safety Act requires U.S. railroads to deploy interoperable PTC systems so that when a railroad enters another’s territory as a tenant, it can safely use the host rail’s PTC system where required. To comply with this statutory interoperability requirement, SCRRA and its tenant railroad partners have deployed an integrated PTC system in Southern California, which uses a combination of their base and wayside radio stations operating on 220-222 MHz band spectrum leased from PTC-220. Due to a shortage of available 220-222 MHz band spectrum for PTC deployment in Southern California, however, SCRRA and its tenant railroad partners intend to create a common pool of PTC spectrum channels drawn from 220-222 MHz Band spectrum leased from PTC-220 and from adjacent band AMTS spectrum licensed to SCRRA. This would require a limited waiver of the Rule Section 80.215 power limits.

In evaluating the SCRRA waiver request, the FCC determined that SCRRA had no reasonable alternative to the FCC’s requirement in view of the unique and unusual circumstances facing SCRRA in its attempt to comply with the Congressional mandate that PTC rail safety systems be interoperable with other railroads. In that regard, the FCC noted that a denial of the waiver request would be contrary to the public interest in the safety of life and property and in efficient spectrum use.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Denies Several Petitions for Reconsideration of License Terminations for Non-Construction

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has denied several Petitions for Reconsideration of proposed license terminations due to the apparent failure to meet construction deadlines. In particular, the FCC issued public notices and mailed letters to the licensees which notified each licensee of its proposal to terminate a license for non-construction and instructed the licensee to file a Petition for Reconsideration within 30 days of the Public Notice if the station or radio facility in question had in fact been constructed.

The FCC has made clear that its goal is not to terminate authorizations, but instead is to ensure that radio facilities are timely constructed. Here, the petitions for reconsideration were denied because they were filed outside the 30-day period allowed for these petitions. Because the deadline for the filing of a petition for reconsideration is established by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, the FCC does not have the flexibility to waive the deadline no matter how compelling the petitioner’s case might be. If you receive correspondence from the FCC regarding your license, please contact our office promptly so that we can assist you before a filing deadline might adversely affect your rights.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Klein Electronics Enters into $20K Consent Decree For Marketing Illegal Equipment

Klein Electronics is a manufacturer of mobile and hand-held two-way radios, blue-tooth enabled devices and other RF equipment and accessories. The FCC received a complaint that Klein Electronics was selling RF equipment that did not appear to have the required FCC equipment authorization since the RF devices were neither labeled with an FCC Identifier (FCC ID) nor marketed with a compliance information statement, as would be required for devices marketed subject to authorization by the Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity.

In response to inquiries from the FCC (which ultimately covered its entire inventory of RF devices), Klein Electronics stated that although its devices had been properly tested and authorized under the FCC’s rules, some models did not include the required FCC ID label or user information statement on the device, packaging and/or user manual. As a result, Klein Electronics stated that it ceased marketing all RF equipment until those models and user manuals were brought into full compliance with the FCC’s Rules. To settle the matter with the FCC, Klein Electronics agreed to the payment of a $20,000 civil penalty, designate a compliance officer and to develop and implement a compliance plan with reporting requirements to the FCC’s Enforcement Division.

Office clients engaged in the manufacture or marketing of RF devices should ensure that the devices fully comply with the FCC’s marketing rules prior to undertaking any distribution activities.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

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Gerard J. Duffy, 202-828-5528,
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Richard D. Rubino, 202-828-5519,
Mary J. Sisak, 202-828-5554,
D. Cary Mitchell, 202-828-5538,
Salvatore Taillefer, Jr., 202-828-5562,

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Skype: braddye
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Telephone: +1-618-599-7869
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K9IQY: Ham Radio Page

Amateur Radio

  • ex KN9IQY, KN4BK, KM5NK, WB4JCF, ZP5TQ, WA4VXU, WA9RVL, /TI2, /9Y4, /6Y5, /KP4, HH2FJ
  • Licensed FCC Amateur Radio operator since 1957
  • Licensed FCC First-Class-Commercial Operator/Engineer since 1964

United States Navy

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