|Wireless News Aggregation|
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This Week's Wireless News Headlines
NO POLITICS HERE
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.
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 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.
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There is not a lot of news about Paging these days but when anything significant comes out, you will probably see it here. I also cover text messaging to other devices and various articles about related technology.
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How will the $65 billion broadband service plan impact you?
Tali Arbel, The Associated Press
The Senate’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan includes a $65 billion investment in broadband that the White House said will “deliver reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet to every household.”
It may not actually achieve that, but it’s a major step in that direction. The broadband funding is a “great down payment” on the Biden administration’s far-reaching goals of connecting all Americans and making Internet more affordable, said Matt Wood, a broadband policy expert at the consumer advocacy group Free Press. Critically important is $14 billion aimed at helping low-income Americans pay for service.
The “digital divide” — the persistent U.S. gap between the broadband haves and have-nots — became glaringly obvious during the pandemic as school, work and health care shifted online. Tens of millions either don’t have Internet access or, if they do have access to a phone or cable company, can’t afford to pay for it.
More radical industry changes laid out in the Biden administration’s original $100 billion plan, such as promoting alternatives to the dominant phone and cable industries and hinting at price regulation, didn’t survive bipartisan negotiations over a bill that had to attract Republican support. Among the bill’s big winners are those same Internet service providers.
The Senate passed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill Tuesday, 69-30, with support from both Democrats and Republicans. The House is likely to consider it in September.
The digital divide
The Federal Communications Commission said about 14 million Americans don’t have access to broadband at the speeds necessary to work and study online – 25 megabits per second downloads and 3 Mbps uploads – but acknowledged that its maps are faulty.
Phone and cable companies don’t have incentives to build Internet infrastructure in rural areas, where customers are sparser and they may not make their money back. That’s traditionally where government subsidies to the industry have come into play: about $47 billion to rural Internet from 2009 through 2017 and an additional $20 billion for rural broadband over the next decade and $9 billion for high-speed wireless Internet called 5G in sparsely populated regions.
There are tens of millions of people who have access to the Internet and just don’t sign up, most often because they can’t afford it, in cities and remote areas. The National Urban League estimated that number at 30 million households.
Focusing on affordability
The Senate bill would provide about $14 billion toward a $30 monthly benefit to help low-income people pay for Internet, extending a pandemic-era emergency program.
“What makes this historic is the focus on affordability,” said Jenna Leventoff of Public Knowledge, which advocates for more funding for broadband. The bill, should it become law, is “going to help a lot of people that were otherwise unable to connect.”
A program known as Lifeline aimed to help solve the affordability issue. It provides $9.25 a month, which doesn’t go far for Internet plans. Republicans said the program has fraud and abuse problems.
Industry groups have advocated for a permanent broadband benefit, saying participating broadband companies would gain customers. The benefit would be “a plus for all ISPs,” said Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Jayant.
The legislation would direct the FCC to create rules intended to protect consumers from companies that could push them to sign up for more expensive services in connection with the benefit and against other “unjust and unreasonable” practices.
Money for networks
The bill would provide about $42 billion in grants to states, who would funnel funds to ISPs to expand networks where people don’t have good Internet service. Companies that take this money would have to offer a low-cost service option. Government regulators would approve the price of that service.
The bill would require that Internet projects come with minimum speeds of 100 megabits per second on downloads and 20 for uploads, a big step up from current requirements.
Cable companies are happy that the funding would be primarily dedicated to areas that don’t have broadband service. Some advocates had hoped the government would fund competition to cable, so people had more choices.
The Biden administration’s initial plan promised to promote local government networks, cooperatives and nonprofit groups as alternatives to for-profit phone and cable companies. Under the Senate’s plan, such groups aren’t prioritized, but they could still get money from states for networks. The telecom industry has lobbied against municipal networks; about 20 states restrict them.
Senate negotiators left loopholes in language around an attempt to end “digital redlining” — when telecom companies provide upgraded Internet service in wealthier parts of town but leave others without good service. The bill says the FCC must create rules to stop this practice, “insofar as technically and economically feasible.” The reason telecoms leave some areas with subpar service is because those neighborhoods are not as profitable, Leventoff said.
How strong these requirements are would depend on what the FCC does. The agency is hamstrung. The White House has not nominated a permanent chair, and the FCC is missing a third Democratic commissioner that would allow it to take on controversial items.
Industry groups and proponents of expanding Internet access said the legislation should help get more people online.
“This bill will not increase choice and lower prices for everyone. But that’s not the right measure,” Wood said. “It will make real, high-speed Internet far more affordable for millions of people who today cannot afford it, and it will make faster networks available to millions more. That’s a big deal.”
Facebook Messenger is adding end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls
It’s also testing end-to-end encryption in Instagram DMs
By Adi Robertson@thedextriarchy Aug 13, 2021, 1:24pm EDT
Facebook is adding end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls in Messenger. The company announced in a blog post that it’s rolling out the change today alongside new controls for its disappearing messages. Some users may also see new test features related to encryption.
Facebook Messenger got end-to-end encryption for text messages in 2016, when Facebook added a “secret conversation” option to its app. Now, that mode also supports calling. Facebook says it’s adding the feature as interest in voice and video calls grows, saying Messenger now sees more than 150 million video calls a day.
Facebook chat app WhatsApp already offered calling with end-to-end encryption or E2EE, which prevents anyone but a sender and receiver from seeing the encrypted data. So do some other video calling apps like Zoom, Signal, and Apple’s FaceTime. Facebook characterizes E2EE as “becoming the industry standard” across messaging services. Earlier rumors have suggested that Facebook might roll out a unified, end-to-end encrypted messaging system across WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram — but so far, that hasn’t happened.
Text conversations are getting a smaller update. If you’re setting a message to disappear, you’ll see more options for picking when it expired, from between five seconds and 24 hours. (It originally offered one-minute, 15-minute, one-hour, four-hour, and 24-hour increments.)
While everyone will see the updates above, Facebook is running a limited beta test of other features. Some users will see an option for end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls between “friends and family that already have an existing chat thread or are already connected.” Others will get support for Facebook’s existing non-E2EE controls over who can reach them on Messenger. And finally, if you use Instagram, a “limited test” will offer opt-in E2EE for that app’s direct messages as well.
Paging Transmitters 150/900 MHz
The RFI High Performance Paging Transmitter is designed for use in campus, city, state and country-wide paging systems. Designed for use where reliable simulcast systems where RF signal overlap coverage is critical.
Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
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Researchers discover new AdLoad malware campaigns targeting Macs and Apple products
A new study from SentinelLabs found 150 new samples of the adware that they claim "remain undetected by Apple's on-device malware scanner."
By Jonathan Greig | August 13, 2021 — 12:00 GMT (05:00 PDT)
SentinelLabs has released a new report about the discovery of a new adware campaign targeting Apple.
After identifying AdLoad as an adware and bundleware loader currently afflicting macOS in 2019, the cybersecurity company said it has seen 150 new samples of the adware that they claim "remain undetected by Apple's on-device malware scanner." Some of the samples were even notarized by Apple, according to the report.
Apple uses the XProtect security system to detect malware on all Macs and originally created a protection scheme against AdLoad, which has floated around the Internet since at least 2017, according to the report.
XProtect now has about 11 different signatures for AdLoad, some of which cover the 2019 version of the adware SentinelLabs found that year. But the latest campaign discovered is not protected by anything in XProtect, according to the company.
"In 2019, that pattern included some combination of the words 'Search,' 'Result' and 'Daemon,' as in the example shown above: 'ElementarySignalSearchDaemon.' Many other examples can be found here. The 2021 variant uses a different pattern that primarily relies on a file extension that is either .system or .service," the researchers explained.
"Which file extension is used depends on the location of the dropped persistence file and executable as described below, but typically both .system and .service files will be found on the same infected device if the user gave privileges to the installer."
About 50 different label patterns have been discovered by the researchers and they found that the droppers used share the same pattern as Bundlore/Shlayer droppers.
"They use a fake Player.app mounted in a DMG. Many are signed with a valid signature; in some cases, they have even been known to be notarized," the report said.
"Typically, we observe that developer certificates used to sign the droppers are revoked by Apple within a matter of days (sometimes hours) of samples being observed on VirusTotal, offering some belated and temporary protection against further infections by those particular signed samples by means of Gatekeeper and OCSP signature checks. Also typically, we see new samples signed with fresh certificates appearing within a matter of hours and days. Truly, it is a game of whack-a-mole."
SentinelLabs cites research from analysts at Confiant confirming that samples in the wild have been notarized by Apple.
The samples began to crop up in November 2020 and became more prominent in 2021. There was an even sharper uptick in July and August as more attackers try to take advantage of XProtect's gaps before they're closed.
XProtect's last update was on June 18th, according to SentinelLabs. Apple did not respond to requests for comment.
Despite the lack of protection from XProtect, other vendors do have systems to detect the malware.
"As Apple itself has noted and we described elsewhere, malware on macOS is a problem that the device manufacturer is struggling to cope with," the report said.
"The fact that hundreds of unique samples of a well-known adware variant have been circulating for at least 10 months and yet still remain undetected by Apple's built-in malware scanner demonstrates the necessity of adding further endpoint security controls to Mac devices."
|PRISM IPX Systems|
|Prism IPX Products|
Providing Expert Support and Service Contracts for all Glenayre Paging Systems.
The GL3000 is the most prolific paging system in the world and Easy Solutions gladly welcomes you to join us in providing reliable support to the paging industry for many more decades in the future.
Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.
Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or
Friday August 13, 2021 10:03 am PDT by Sami Fathi
The Connectivity Standards Alliance, which includes Apple, Google, and Amazon, has announced it will delay the launch of its "Matter" standard, which aims to unify the smart home ecosystem of the largest tech giants, according to a blog post by the Alliance posted today (via Stacey on IoT).
"Matter," announced last year and formerly known as "Project CHIP," is a unified IP-based connectivity that aims to make a standard universal protocol for developers to build Internet of Things devices. The Alliance had previously sought to roll out the standard in the latter portion of this year, but it's now been delayed until 2022.
The group says that "Matter" is complete in regards to its feature set. However, according to the blog post, it still needs to continue working on the program in which developers can apply for certification and finish the SDK for developers to use.
Several smart home accessory makers have signed onto using Matter as a standard protocol, including Amazon, ASSA ABLOY, Comcast, Espressif Systems, Eve Systems, Google, Grundfos Holding A/S, Huawei, Infineon Technologies, LEEDARSON, Legrand, Nanoleaf, and others.
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.
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INTERNET Protocol Terminal
The IPT accepts INTERNET or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.
An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Paging Data Receiver PDR-4
The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.
Designed for use with Prism-IPX ECHO software Message Logging Software to receive messages and log the information for proof of transmission over the air, and if the data was error free.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Wireless Network Planners
Time is ticking on broadband infrastructure
BY MARK BUELL, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 08/13/21 04:30 PM EDT
This past week the U.S. Senate took a huge leap forward by passing a bipartisan transformational investment in our country’s essential roads, bridges, and broadband.
But, with as little as seven legislative weeks left in 2021 and low expectations of bipartisan legislative achievements in 2022 due to the realities of an election year, the time is now for the House to take up the package that supports a major expansion of broadband nationwide. After all, the need for a strong Internet for all Americans is one of the few issues with bipartisan, bicameral agreement.
The pandemic taught us that fast, reliable, affordable access to the Internet is not a luxury, but a staple in our everyday lives. As the public health crisis continues, we continue to use it to stay connected to family and friends, attend classes from kindergarten to graduate school, as well as engage in business and work remotely, enabling the economy to keep moving and many people to keep their jobs. We are also seeing more permanent changes to health care via telehealth that now allows more patients to not only see a doctor, but perhaps a specialist who practices in another state, as an example.
With all these gains and new versions of ‘normal’, the reality is that the Internet — much less a strong Internet — is not available to everyone. Reliance on the Internet has put the digital divide front and center. For reference, nearly 49 percent of the world’s population, almost 50 of Americans, and close to 70 of indigenous communities in the U.S. lack reliable access to the Internet.
As discussions continue around broadband within the larger infrastructure packages, we must remember that there is a great need for connectivity for those who don’t live in metropolitan areas. The reality is that members of tribal communities, and more rural areas don’t have access to reliable Internet. This means they are not able to participate in virtual learning, telehealth appointments or remote work. And for many, this is a serious impediment to their lives.
In addition to the current infrastructure talks about nationwide broadband, Congress should consider other policies to increase connectivity. First, Congress can encourage policies at the federal, regional, and local levels that support the development of community networks. Community networks happen when people come together to build and maintain the necessary infrastructure for Internet connection, most often in areas where traditional Internet Service Providers lack the business incentive to build and operate networks. By amending prohibitive legislation, to prevent municipal networks from paying higher taxes for instance and developing policies that support a wide range of connectivity models, such as mesh networks, the development of community networks can thrive.
Second, Congress should consider criteria for new and existing funding mechanisms, such as government grants and loans, universal service funds, and private foundation grants available for providers, such as community networks, that operate non-traditional revenue models, which may provide complementary, discounted, or donation-based service.
Third, lawmakers should streamline affordable licensing frameworks for community benefit and local/regional Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
And finally, Congress should consider Dig Once — a policy that would mandate fiber to be deployed as part of construction projects like road building — and infrastructure sharing — where two or more telecommunications providers share physical infrastructure to reduce costs — to facilitate the efficient deployment of middle-mile fiber, thus connecting more communities nationwide.
There are many ways to close the digital divide and connect more people in more communities. We commend Congress for their work thus far and urge them to continue to do more to ensure a strong Internet is available to everyone.
Mark Buell is the Regional Vice President, North America, for the Internet Society, overseeing engagement activities in Canada and the United States.
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 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.
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Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
|Inside Towers Newsletter|
Fiber Shortage Bites Into AT&T’s FTTH Buildout
By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor
Just as 5G is gaining steam and the government appears poised to fund the broadband buildout, AT&T has announced it is being hamstrung by a shortage in fiber optics. The carrier will pass only 2.5 million homes in 2021, which is half a million less than its guidance for the year, Pascal Desroches, AT&T chief financial officer said, during the Oppenheimer 24th Annual Technology, Internet and Communications Conference on Wednesday.
“We have a preferred place in the supply chain, and we also have committed pricing. So up through the second quarter, we hadn't really experienced any impact from the supply chain disruptions that are happening across the industry,” Desroches said. “But since the start of the third quarter, we are seeing dislocation, across the board, including in fiber supply.”
AT&T’s issue with fiber shortages really shouldn’t be a surprise. Back in February, Composites World reported that the fiber supply chain would struggle due to the pandemic and economic recovery.
“As the coronavirus pandemic enters its second year that the global economy slowly re-opens, the worldwide glass fiber supply chain is facing shortage of some products, caused by shipping delays and a fast-evolving demand environment,” Composites World wrote. “As a result, some glass fiber formats are in short supply, affecting the fabrication of composite parts and structures for the marine, recreational vehicles and some consumer markets.”
Jeff Heynen, analyst with the Dell’Oro Group, predicted the shortage of fiber, among other critical components, in April of this year.
“Meanwhile, demand for fiber cables, conduit, and other ODN [optical distribution network] infrastructure has pushed lead times for these components to anywhere from 12-18 months,” Heynen wrote. “Lead times for OLTs [optical line terminals] and other active equipment used in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments have remained fairly stable despite the disruptions, but have been sneaking up recently as demand has increased, particularly from larger operators who have major strategic initiatives in place to accelerate their home passings.”
Desroches said the supply chain problems had arisen with its U.S. source, which has locations domestically and internationally. He said the fiber shortage will not be a long term impediment for the carrier, which has a preferred position in the supply chain, but he openly worried about the impact on the rest of the industry.
With Congress seriously considering funneling billions of dollars into broadband infrastructure and wireless carriers building out 5G, in May, Broadband Communities Magazine wondered where the fiber will come from. “The fiber broadband industry is buzzing with talk about material and labor shortages just as the U.S. market is set for another spike in buildouts. With billions in federal broadband subsidies starting to become available, ISPs are gearing up to expand existing networks or build new ones in underserved communities. It’s impossible, however, to build networks without material and hardware, a concern in the U.S. and Europe,” Broadband Communities Magazine wrote.
Clearly, AT&T has a long way to go in terms of its fiber buildout. Ars Technica reported that tens of millions of homes in AT&T’s 21-state wireline service area are without fiber. “There were 52.97 million households in AT&T’s home-Internet service area and 14.93 million of them had fiber-to-the-home access,” according to the Communications Workers of America.
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter||Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers, Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
Senate Approves Infrastructure Bill
On August 10, the Senate voted 69-30 to approve the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which bill includes approximately $65 billion for broadband investments. According to NPR, “Democrats are expected to fine-tune their plans for reconciliation over the next few months in hopes of passing a final bill by the end of this year.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
FCC Releases Mobile Broadband Map
On August 6, the FCC issued a Press Release announcing that it has published a brand-new map showing mobile coverage and availability data in the U.S. from the country’s largest wireless providers. To view the FCC’s new 4G LTE mobile broadband map, visit:
This map provides a preview of how the mobile data the FCC will collect under the standards set by the Broadband DATA Act will look when mapped. The map shows 4G LTE broadband data and voice mobile coverage as of May 15, 2021, for each of the nation’s four largest mobile carriers. This data was voluntarily submitted by these carriers outside of the FCC’s normal schedule for intake of data through the FCC Form 477.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC is seeking comment on the technical details surrounding the challenge and verification processes for its mobile maps. The Broadband Data Task Force will hold a webinar on these proposals on August 12. Once the final challenge processes are established, state, local, and Tribal authorities, as well as consumers, will be able to provide input informed by real-world experience to help improve the accuracy of the agency’s maps.
“A good map is one that changes over time. Today’s new map represents progress in our efforts to implement the Broadband DATA Act and build next-generation broadband maps that can help to connect 100 percent of Americans,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Using improved systems and data, we can provide better information about where broadband service is and is not across the country. While much work remains, I congratulate the Broadband Data Task Force for moving full speed ahead on this essential mission.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Proposes Updated Rules for VoIP Providers to Combat Robocalls
On August 5, the FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on how to update its rules governing interconnected VoIP providers’ direct access to phone numbers to address problems that have arisen from the growth of widely available VoIP software that can allow bad actors to make spoofed robocalls with minimal technical experience and cost. Specifically, the proposed rules would require VoIP providers applying for direct access to numbers to comply with anti-robocalling obligations.
First, the FCC proposes to require additional certifications as part of the direct access application process and clarify existing requirements. Second, the FCC proposes clarifying that applicants must disclose foreign ownership information. Third, the FCC proposes clarifying that holders of an FCC direct access authorization must update the FCC and applicable states within 30 days of any change to the ownership information submitted to the FCC. Fourth, the FCC seeks comment whether any changes to our rules are necessary to clarify that holders of a FCC direct access authorization must comply with state numbering requirements. Fifth, the FCC proposes to clarify that the Wireline Competition Bureau retains the authority to determine when to release an Accepted-for-Filing Public Notice, and to delegate authority to the Bureau to reject an application for direct access authorization if an applicant has engaged in behavior contrary to the public interest or has been found to have originated or transmitted illegal robocalls. Finally, the FCC seeks comment whether it should expand the direct access to numbers authorization process to one-way VoIP providers or other entities that use numbers.
Comment and reply comment deadlines have not yet been established.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Proposes Updates to Broadcast, Cable Political Programming and Record-keeping Rules
On August 5, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which it proposes to update its programming and record-keeping rules for broadcast licensees, cable television system operators, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) service providers, and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) licensees. Comment and reply comment deadlines have not yet been established.
Specifically, the FCC proposes two revisions to its political programming and record-keeping rules. First, the FCC proposes to revise the definition of “legally qualified candidate for public office” to add the use of social media and creation of a campaign website to the existing list of activities that may be considered in determining whether an individual running as a write-in candidate has made a “substantial showing” of his or her bona fide candidacy. Second, the FCC proposes to revise its political file rules to conform with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), which included within the political file requirements any request for the purchase of advertising time that “communicates a message relating to any political matter of national importance” (i.e., issue ads) and specify the records that must be maintained.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
Law and Regulation
TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund Filings Due October 8
On August 9, the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau issued a Public Notice reminding all full power and Class A TV stations assigned transition completion dates in phases 1-5 of the Transition Scheduling Plan, and repacked stations that were granted permission to transition prior to the phase 1 testing period, that they must submit all remaining invoices for reimbursement from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund (Reimbursement Fund or Fund) using the Reimbursement Form no later than October 8, 2021.
All repacked stations assigned to phases 6 through 10 must submit all remaining invoices and supporting documentation using the Reimbursement Form, and initiate interim close-out procedures, no later than March 22, 2022. All 444 repacked stations in this group had transitioned by the July 13, 2020 post-incentive auction transition deadline. Currently, all but 12 such stations are operating on their final facilities.
All MVPDs, FM stations, and LPTV/translator stations who intend to seek reimbursement must submit all remaining invoices and supporting documentation using the Reimbursement Form, and initiate interim close-out procedures, no later than September 5, 2022.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell and John Prendergast.
Comments on Broadcast Station Technical Rules NPRM Due September 7
On August 9, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that comment and reply comment deadlines have been established for its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update the technical rules applicable to broadcast radio stations. Comments are due September 7, and reply comments are due September 20.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC proposes the following rule changes:
Carriers interested in commenting on the FCC’s proposed revisions may contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
FCC Modifies Part 90 Filing Freeze in the 5.9 GHz Band
On August 6, the FCC adopted a Public Notice modifying the filing freeze previously imposed on the acceptance and processing of new and expanded use applications, and on the processing of renewal applications, related to part 90 services operating in certain portions of the 5850-5925 MHz spectrum band (5.9 GHz band). Specifically, the FCC is resuming the acceptance and processing of ITS applications requesting channels in the 5895-5925 MHz portion of the band, and implementing the Commission’s decision to bar the acceptance and processing of ITS applications in the 5850-5895 MHz portion of the band.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the purpose of the freeze was to stabilize the 5.9 GHz spectrum landscape by suspending the acceptance and processing of applications in these portions of the band while the FCC considered future use of the band. On November 20, 2020, the FCC released the 5.9 GHz First Report and Order adopting new rules for the 5.9 GHz band to make spectrum available for unlicensed uses, while retaining a portion of the band for automotive safety. The new band plan designates the lower 45 megahertz (5850-5895 MHz) for unlicensed uses and the upper 30 megahertz (5895-5925 MHz) for ITS services that the FCC ordered to transition from dedicated short-range communications (DSRC)-based technology to cellular vehicle to everything (C-V2X) based technology. The FCC is modifying the freeze consistent with this approach, in order to allow licensees to register new roadside units to operate within the modified ITS band of 5.895-5.925 GHz.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
FCC Settles Investigations into Violations of Auction Prohibited Communications Rules for $80,000
On August 11, the FCC announced that it entered into separate settlement agreements with Nikola Engineering, Inc d/b/a Nikola Broadband (Nikola) and Router12 Networks LLC (Router12) over whether the companies violated the FCC’s rules by engaging in prohibited communications of its bidding and bidding strategies to other Auction 105 participants. Nikola will pay a $30,000 civil penalty, and Router12 will pay a $50,000 civil penalty.
With regard to Nikola, the company’s president sent an email with the subject line “CBRS fiasco” to the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) members email group stating, “[w]e are backing out of the auction.” This Prohibited Communication was seen and timely reported by at least one other Auction 105 participant. Nikola also timely reported this Prohibited Communication.
With regard to Router12, the company’s CEO posted a statement on the Wisp Talk Facebook Group page indicating that Router12 did not intend to place any bids in the auction. Specifically, his initial post asked: Ryan Malek “Anyone else giving up on the CBRS PAL auction and focusing on RDOF instead?” Another member of the group replied to the post, stating, “At this point, you either filed the short-form for CBRS PAL auction and can’t talk about it, or you missed the deadline.” The CEO responded “Right…and I’m walking away from the short form filing, the point of the post.” This Prohibited Communication was seen and timely reported by at least one other Auction 105 participant. Router12, however, failed to report this Prohibited Communication to the FCC.
As we have reported in previous editions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC’s rules provide that an applicant for an FCC auction may not convey certain information to other auction applicants during the “quiet period” which commences on the deadline for filing a short-form application and terminates on the deadline for winning bidders to submit their down payments. This “Prohibited Communications Rule” applies to any communications by an applicant that conveys, in any manner, the substance of its own, or one another’s, or any applicant’s bids or bidding strategies. This restriction continues to apply even if the applicant decides to stop bidding, or to not bid at all. Further, the rules require that any applicant that makes or receives a communication that appears to violate section 1.2105(c) must report such communication in writing to the FCC immediately, and in no case later than five business days after the communication occurs (i.e., the “squeal rule”).
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
Department of Justice Has “Grave Concerns” Over T-Mobile’s Sunset of Sprint’s 3G Network
Multiple news sources, such as Bloomberg, are reporting that the U.S. Justice Department said it has “grave concerns” about plans by T-Mobile US Inc. to shut down the 3G CDMA network it acquired from Sprint and which is still used by millions of Boost Mobile customers. As part of that merger, Dish bought Boost Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid service.
The DOJ letter, which was included in a recent 10-Q filing by Dish Network, stated that “DISH requested assistance from the Antitrust Division regarding T-Mobile’s plan to cease providing CDMA network services nationwide on January 1, 2022.” The DOJ indicates it invited T-Mobile and Dish to present their arguments, and found:
T-Mobile’s CEO, Mike Sievert, lambasted Dish on the company’s blog: “This is a manufactured crisis, orchestrated by Dish, and it is about money, not customers. If Dish was really concerned for customers, they would simply take real action and get their customers new phones on time, before the network upgrade happens, just as T-Mobile is doing for affected Sprint customers.”
AUGUST 29: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS. The Copyright Statement of Accounts form plus royalty payment for the first half of year is due to be filed August 29 at the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office by cable TV service providers.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
SEPTEMBER 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION AND BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. Three types of entities must file this form.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
SEPTEMBER 30: FCC FORM 396-C, MVPD EEO PROGRAM REPORTING FORM. Each year on September 30, multi-channel video program distributors (“MVPDs”) must file with the FCC an FCC Form 396-C, Multi-Channel Video Programming Distributor EEO Program Annual Report, for employment units with six or more full-time employees. Users must access the FCC’s electronic filing system via the Internet in order to submit the form; it will not be accepted if filed on paper unless accompanied by an appropriate request for waiver of the electronic filing requirement. Certain MVPDs also will be required to complete portions of the Supplemental Investigation Sheet (“SIS”) located at the end of the Form. These MVPDs are specifically identified in a Public Notice each year by the FCC.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
OCTOBER 15: 911 RELIABILITY CERTIFICATION. Covered 911 Service Providers, which are defined as entities that “[p]rovide 911, E911, or NG911 capabilities such as call routing, automatic location information (ALI), automatic number identification (ANI), or the functional equivalent of those capabilities, directly to a public safety answering point (PSAP), statewide default answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority,” or that “[o]perate one or more central offices that directly serve a PSAP,” are required certify that they have taken reasonable measures to provide reliable 911 service with respect to three substantive requirements:
Certifications must be made through the FCC’s portal.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Mary Sisak and Sal Taillefer.
I had dinner with my good friend Ira Wiesenfeld last week. In the midst of our most enjoyable conversation, Ira told me one of his success stories; about how he solved a serious coverage issue on a public-safety two-way radio system. It was so interesting that I asked him if I could have a copy of the tutorial article he wrote (some years ago). I thought here in the Technician's Corner would be the perfect place for it.
So with Ira's permission, I have edited and updated his paper. It is a little too long to put it entirely in one issue, so I will include it here — as a series — in sections.
By Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E. with additions and updates by Brad Dye
The one thing about radio waves is that they always obey the laws of physics. This fact allows engineers to be able to very accurately predict how the radio waves will perform. The performance can then be measured, which is called EMPIRICAL measurements, and the results are always the same. In fact, if the field measurements do not match the predicted values, you normally send out a technician or engineer to find out why the measured values do not equal the predicted values. Once the problem is found, the predicted values will match the measured values.
In the first system that I was looking at, the predicted value for the field strength at 1 mile was supposed to be -46.5 dBm, and the measured value was -47.0 dBm. This difference is within the specification of the accuracy of the spectrum analyzer that was being used. In the shadow areas, we measured -66 dBm at 1 mile when the antenna was on the north side of the tower. When we went back to the exact same spot after we moved the antenna to the southwest side of the tower, the signal rose 21 dB to a -45 dBm. This is 120 times (12,000%) increase in signal strength power. Again, we were within the measurement accuracy of the spectrum analyzer between the predicted value and the measured signal strength at that site. Once the shadow was controlled, there was an immediate improvement of coverage for the cities involved.
In the second system, the predicted signal strength was –42.0 dBm, and the measured signal was also –42.0 dBm at the points where there were no obstructions of the clear Line-Of-Site path to the 1-mile mark from the tower. In the tower shadow obstructed areas, the signal was down at least 20 dB, which translates to 1/100 of the power getting out in the direction of the shadow area.
Some of the laws of physics that we will discuss here that are pertinent to predicting the signal strength of the radio waves include:
The Inverse Square law says that the field strength will drop by the square of the distance. In simple terms, if you measured a value at a given point, and you double the distance, you will drop the field intensity by 1/4. If you tripled the distance, you would drop the field intensity by 1/9.
Radio engineers have a formula that allows them to calculate the field intensity of a signal using the formula for Free Space Attenuation. This formula is:
ATTN (dB) = 36.6 + 20 X LOG (Frequency in MHz) + 20 X LOG (Distance in Miles)
This formula holds true if you have Line-of-Sight propagation.
Radio signals can bounce off objects and if they arrive in phase from the source to the receiver, the signals will add and give gain. If the signal arrives out of phase, it can cause the field intensity to drop significantly, depending upon the amplitude of the out of phase signal and the phase relationship to the direct signal.
In some systems, the antenna can be so high in elevation that the main signal can literally pass over the intended coverage area. You will see this in parts of the country where a mountain top site can be thousands of feet above the area you are trying to cover. When this is the case, you can use beam tilt to bring the signal down to have better coverage in the desired coverage area. If your antenna height is less than one thousand feet above the desired coverage area, you do not want to use beam tilt.
When an engineer designs a system, all the factors go into the selection of the antenna site, antenna mounting, antenna type, coax feedline attenuation, plus the transmitter power and other pertinent factors to meet the coverage requirements of the system being designed.
Most of the major antenna manufacturers have diagrams that show how the side mounting of an antenna to a tower distorts the omni-directional pattern of the antenna. These are usually drawn as polar graph diagrams based upon an omni-directional antenna. If you have an antenna that has an offset pattern, then you must combine the antenna offset pattern with the distortion pattern to see the actual pattern that would be present for that antenna with a side mounting.
Some manufacturers do not acknowledge shadowing, but it does exist and does need to be part of the system design.
The effects of a tower on an omni-directional antenna will be influenced by the size of the tower legs, the size of the tower face, how far the antenna is from the tower, where the antenna is in relation to the legs vs. the face of the tower, what frequency the antenna is operating on, how much coaxial transmission line is on the tower at that level, and what is the free space radiation pattern of that same antenna.
The formula to do this computing is quite complex, has some constants that were determined by empirical measurements, and will take quite some time to set up on a computer.
One of the top engineers in the world on antenna patterns has developed a computer software program that allows the engineer to input into the data input fields the pertinent antenna and tower parameters, and the output will be a graph showing the detail pattern and numeric attenuation for a given antenna on a given tower. In fact, most of the antenna manufacturing companies have used his software to show the offset patterns caused by towers.
The name of the engineer is Arthur K. Peters, and he sells this program called Obspath for under $1,000.00. If you tried to duplicate his work, you will spend many weeks of programming time to match his program. I have not collaborated with Mr. Peters, so he does not endorse this mention of his name or is in any way connected to him. I have known of Mr. Peters since my early days in radio, but our paths have never crossed.
Radio system performance can be measured with the test equipment available, and the measured performance should match the predicted performance if everything is working properly. This section will detail some of the tests and some of the anomalies that will be seen during normal radio system observation.
Before making any field measurements, you should verify the transmitter power output, frequency, modulation levels, and do a Frequency Domain Reflectometery sweep of the antenna and coaxial system. (See MRT Magazine, April 2003 for an explanation of this technology if you are not familiar with it.) (https://urgentcomm.com/2003/04/01/antenna-system-troubleshooting-simplified/)
You can then make a starting point for checking a system’s range by drawing on a map the radials from the tower or building every 30 degrees or every 45 degrees, and you have these radials exactly 1 mile in length. You will find that on many systems, the signal strength will not match the predicted value, but you can move your test set antenna by just a few inches from the set point on the map and the signal strength will move by as much a 15 dB. There are two different phenomenons occurring to cause this variation in signal strength.
The first item that can cause a variation in signal strength is called RAYLEIGH FADING. This is where the signal strength will follow a pattern of peaks and valleys as you follow a radial path to or from the tower. The peaks will occur every 1/2 wavelength, and the valleys will occur 1/4 wavelength in distance past each peak. All radio systems have this characteristic. Therefore you can move a few inches with your Walkie-talkie or mobile unit and go from a weak signal to a strong signal. There is nothing wrong with your system, as this is a normal part of every radio system.
The second item that causes radio signals to have peaks and valleys is found on antennas that are not top mounted by themselves on a tower. When an antenna is side mounted on a tower or has other metallic objects where the signal can bounce off the object, there will be reflections. These reflections can arrive in-phase at the reception point, and the signal strength will be stronger than normal. When the signal arrives out of phase, the signal strength will be lower than normal. This will occur on every radio system where the antenna has metal objects near where the signal can bounce off the object. The overall effect is called SPOKING.
If you think that you are being affected by tower shadowing, then draw your radials every 2 degrees in the area that you believe is being shadowed. You will immediately see if shadowing is a problem with the results of this empirical study.
Radio signals do not propagate outward from the antenna in straight lines as this drawing might suggest. These equal-length radial lines indicate distant points for measuring the field strength of the signal which will then illustrate the amount of tower shadowing.
Added by Brad Dye (August 2021)
To be continued next week.
If you can't wait for the next issue, the whole paper is here.
|Source:||Ira Wiesenfeld and Brad Dye|
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