|Wireless News Aggregation|
Welcome Back To
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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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)
How Cork couple Linda and Dan Kiely amassed €100million after remortgaging the house
Glamourous Cork couple Linda and Dan Kiely went from broke sales workers to multi-millionaire CEOs by re-mortgaging their house to buy a tiny company operating from an office over a pub
By Megan Martin 21:20, 5 JUL 2021
Airing on RTE Monday night is Ireland’s Rich List 2021, the first of a two-part episode delving into the finances of Ireland’s elite and examining how the Covid-19 pandemic has seen fortunes surge and squander.
Husband and wife team Dan and Linda Kiely of Voxpro come in at number five in Munster’s rich list.
The pair met when Linda was Dan’s boss at a now defunct local magazine ‘Cork Scene’, when she was a sales manager and he was selling the ads. After the recession hit and the magazine folded, the new couple put their heads together to kickstart their careers.
Back in 1999 Linda re-mortgaged her house to help buy a small paging business called Pageboy, which she and Dan ran over a pub in Marlboro Street in Cork with just six staff. With two children from a previous marriage to feed, Linda also worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs to keep her family afloat.
Dan previously said: "I remember we went to a pub and we'd drink Murphy's because it was cheaper than a vodka and tonic or whatever. And if you can imagine Linda, being the glamorous woman that she is, a pint of Murphy's just didn't work.
“We'd be going into a travel agent and paying off our one week in the sun in cash, any time we had a little extra."
From that, they expanded to acquire a similar but much larger business Eirpage, and in 2002 they rebranded to Voxpro — a high end call centre operation, mainly for technology companies.
The glamourous Cork couple grew the business to a high-end call centre with over 6,000 staff with clients like Airbnb and Google.
Timing seems to be this couple’s strong suit and in December 2019, months before the Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, they sold their company to one of their biggest clients, Airbnb.
“It’s very usual, actually, for a married couple to be that successful in business and still stay married, but Linda and Dan are certainly the exception to the rule,” according to one of the RTE show contributors.
The couple have built phenomenal wealth and allegedly “like to spend it”.
“They are regularly seen holidaying in the Caribbean islands, living in LA, they dress quite flash and Dan is often seen playing tennis with Richard Branson on Necker island.
The sale of Voxpro in 2020 saw Dan and Linda’s already substantial personal fortune of €71 million skyrocket to €103 million, up 45% in the past year.
Instead of putting the feet up, after the lucrative sale of Voxpro Dan and Linda turned their attention to investing in young entrepreneurs in Cork with their new business The Republic of Work.
Speaking on the program from their Cork office, Dan says: “It’s basically a hub for young entrepreneurs with ideas. We want to provide support. We want to provide mentorship. We want to provide community, we want to provide events, and nurture and help young Cork entrepreneurs to make it.”
The small Irish companies the couple have invested in so far include Open for Vintage, pegged as being the “Farfetch of vintage clothing”, and healthy snack company SnackFarm, a business they invested in along with their “good friend” Rob Kearney.
Microsoft’s emergency patch fails to fix critical “PrintNightmare” vulnerability
Game-over code-execution attacks are still possible even after fix is installed.
DAN GOODIN - 7/7/2021, 5:10 PM
An emergency patch Microsoft issued on Tuesday fails to fully fix a critical security vulnerability in all supported versions of Windows that allows attackers to take control of infected systems and run code of their choice, researchers said.
The threat, colloquially known as PrintNightmare, stems from bugs in the Windows print spooler, which provides printing functionality inside local networks. Proof-of-concept exploit code was publicly released and then pulled back, but not before others had copied it. Researchers track the vulnerability as CVE-2021-34527.
A big deal
Attackers can exploit it remotely when print capabilities are exposed to the Internet. Attackers can also use it to escalate system privileges once they’ve used a different vulnerability to gain a toe-hold inside of a vulnerable network. In either case, the adversaries can then gain control of the domain controller, which as the server that authenticates local users, is one of the most security-sensitive assets on any Windows network.
“It's the biggest deal I've dealt with in a very long time,” said Will Dormann, a senior vulnerability analyst at the CERT Coordination Center, a nonprofit United States federally funded project that researches software bugs and works with business and government to improve security. “Any time there's public exploit code for an unpatched vulnerability that can compromise a Windows domain controller, that's bad news.”
After the severity of the bug came to light, Microsoft published an out-of-band fix on Tuesday. Microsoft said the update “fully addresses the public vulnerability.” But on Wednesday—a little more than 12 hours after the release—a researcher showed how exploits could bypass the patch.
“Dealing with strings & filenames is hard,” Benjamin Delpy, a developer of the hacking and network utility Mimikatz and other software, wrote on Twitter.
Accompanying Delpy’s tweet was a video that showed a hastily written exploit working against a Windows Server 2019 that had installed the out-of-band patch. The demo shows that the update fails to fix vulnerable systems that use certain settings for a feature called point and print, which makes it easier for network users to obtain the printer drivers they need.
Buried near the bottom of Microsoft's advisory from Tuesday is the following: "Point and Print is not directly related to this vulnerability, but the technology weakens the local security posture in such a way that exploitation will be possible."
A tragedy of gaffes
The incomplete patch is the latest gaffe involving the PrintNightmare vulnerability. Last month, Microsoft’s monthly patch batch fixed CVE-2021-1675, a print spooler bug that allowed hackers with limited system rights on a machine to escalate privilege to administrator. Microsoft credited Zhipeng Huo of Tencent Security, Piotr Madej of Afine, and Yunhai Zhang of Nsfocus with discovering and reporting the flaw.
A few weeks later, two different researchers—Zhiniang Peng and Xuefeng Li from Sangfor—published an analysis of CVE-2021-1675 that showed it could be exploited not just for privilege escalation, but also for achieving remote code execution. The researchers named their exploit PrintNightmare.
Eventually, researchers determined that PrintNightmare exploited a vulnerability that was similar (but ultimately different from) CVE-2021-1675. Zhiniang Peng and Xuefeng Li removed their proof-of-concept exploit when they learned of the confusion, but by then, their exploit was already widely circulating. There are currently at least three PoC exploits publicly available, some with capabilities that go well beyond what the initial exploit allowed.
Microsoft’s fix protects Windows servers that are set up as domain controllers or Windows 10 devices that use default settings. Wednesday’s demo from Delpy shows that PrintNightmare works against a much wider range of systems, including those that have enabled a Point and Print and selected the NoWarningNoElevationOnInstall option. The researcher implemented the exploit in Mimikatz.
“Credentials will be required”
Besides trying to close the code-execution vulnerability, Tuesday’s fix for CVE-2021-34527 also installs a new mechanism that allows Windows administrators to implement stronger restrictions when users try to install printer software.
“Prior to installing the July 6, 2021, and newer Windows Updates containing protections for CVE-2021-34527, the printer operators’ security group could install both signed and unsigned printer drivers on a printer server,” a Microsoft advisory stated. “After installing such updates, delegated admin groups like printer operators can only install signed printer drivers. Administrator credentials will be required to install unsigned printer drivers on a printer server going forward.”
Despite Tuesday’s out-of-band patch being incomplete, it still provides meaningful protection against many types of attacks that exploit the print spooler vulnerability. So far, there are no known cases of researchers saying it puts systems at risk. Unless that changes, Windows users should install both the patch from June and Tuesday and await further instructions from Microsoft. Company representatives didn’t immediately have a comment for this post.
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
The Wireless Messaging News
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First X-Class Major Solar Flare of Solar Cycle 25 Blacks Out HF on July 3
The ARRL Letter
For a brief time on July 3, a lot of radio amateurs were wondering, "Where did the bands go?" as the first X-class solar flare in 4 years blacked out HF propagation for a time.
"I was on 20-meter FT8, and my waterfall display went from solid red signals to solid nothing in the blink of an eye," Scott Craig, WA4TTK, told "K7RA Solar Update" Editor Tad Cook, K7RA. "It lasted about 10 minutes." Craig was not alone.
"Many American radio amateurs reported sudden HF propagation blackouts on Saturday morning, July 3, when solar active region 12838 produced an X1.5 major solar flare that reached maximum intensity at 1429 UTC, the first X-class solar flare of Solar Cycle 25 and the first since 2017," said Frank Donovan, W3LPL. "HF propagation blackouts are caused when x-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation from X-class solar flares strongly ionizes the absorbing D-region in the Earth's sun-facing dense lower ionosphere," he explained. Such a radio blackout occurs when a pulse of x-rays ionize the top layer of the atmosphere, the exosphere.
In this instance, it caused what NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) calls an R3-level or "strong" radio blackout (on a scale of R1 - R5). An R3 incident can cause a "wide-area blackout of HF radio communication [and] loss of radio contact for about an hour on [the] sunlit side of Earth. Low-frequency navigation signals degraded for about an hour."
Donovan said that X-class major solar flares are necessary consequences of steadily increasing Solar Cycle 25 activity. "95% of all X-class solar flares occur when the solar flux index is 90 or greater. The remaining 5% can occur any time during the solar cycle," he points out. "X1-class major solar flares typically degrade HF propagation for only an hour or two at mid and high latitudes, only on Earth's sunlit side."
X-class major flares are measured on an open-ended scale. The strongest one ever recorded was an X28 flare in 2003, hundreds of times more powerful than the July 3 X1.5 solar flare. X10-class and stronger solar flares typically have effects that last for most of a day and affect the entire sunlit side of the Earth. Fortunately, X10-class solar flares occur only about once every 20 years or more.
"Much more severe and long-lasting HF propagation degradations are often caused by the coronal mass ejections (CMEs) often associated with — but not caused by — major solar flares," Donovan explained. "HF propagation degradation caused by CMEs typically begins about 2 days after the effects of the associated solar flare, the duration of the delay depending on interactions between the CME and the solar wind."
The CME associated with the July 3 X1.5 solar flare is likely to have little to no effect on HF propagation going forward, because the active region was very close to the western edge of the visible solar disk when the CME erupted. Region 12838 rotated off the visible disk on Sunday, July 4.
Solar flares have no significant effect on VHF ionospheric propagation, but can degrade satellite communications passing through the ionosphere. More frequent, less powerful M-class medium solar flares produce short-duration degradation at high latitudes. Very frequent, much weaker A-, B-, and C-class solar flares do not degrade HF propagation. — Thanks to Frank Donovan, W3LPL
|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
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
Spatial Audio vs Dolby Atmos: What's the Difference?
Apple Music now supports Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos. But what does each immersive audio technology do? And how do they work together?
BY TUCKER BOWE JUL 7, 2021
Apple Music is officially a lossless music streaming service. As of early June 2021, subscribers now have access to a huge catalog of lossless tracks that are CD quality (16bit / 44.1kHz) and better (up to 24-bit / 192 kHz), which is a massive upgrade over the MP3-quality tracks that they were previously had access to. But it's not just higher-bitrate tracks that Apple has brought to Apple Music subscribers — it's given them access to more immersive tracks, as well.
Apple Music has started adding tracks that support Dolby Atmos and take advantage of Spatial Audio, both of which are immersive sound technologies. The combination of the two, according to Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, is the "biggest advancement ever in sound quality." But what exactly do each do? And how do they work together? Consider this your beginner guide.
What's Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is one of the most sought-after features for any new soundbar or home theater system. It's an immersive audio technology that creates virtual height and side channels, which trick your ears into thinking that sound is coming from all around you — left, right and above — instead of just right in front of you. Essentially, Atmos makes it sound like you're in a movie or at a concert — and it's incredible.
What devices support Dolby Atmos? A lot. There are hundreds of millions of devices that support Dolby Atmos. And it's not just home theater systems and soundbars. It's built into PCs and tablets, game consoles and streaming sticks, smartphones, smart speakers, headphones and TVs. Dolby licenses Atmos as a software package to various manufacturers (like Apple, Samsung and Sonos), which figures out what kind of system you have, whether that's a 2.0, 5.1.2 or a 7.1.2, and then renders the audio so that it sounds best.
What's Spatial Audio?
Spatial Audio is Apple's own immersive sound technology that uses the various sensors (specifically the accelerometers and gyroscopes) in Apple's AirPods Pro or AirPods Max to track the listener's head movements. It then creates a virtual space based on the listener's head and the device they are listening from (like an iPhone) so that it always sounds like the audio is coming out of that device. For example, if you're watching a movie on your iPhone and AirPods Pro and you turn your head to the right, the sound will become more prominent in your left ear because it's closer to the action (the iPhone screen).
What devices support Spatial Audio? You need to wearing Apple's AirPods Pro or AirPods Max and listening from an Apple device that supports Spatial Audio. If you've bought an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV in the past few years, it likely supports Spatial Audio; you just need to have it updated with the latest software.
[Video (Introducing Spatial Audio) not included due to profanity content.]
What's Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos
Spatial Audio can work without Dolby Atmos, but more times than not you're going to be listening to content that supports both simultaneous. In fact, Apple designed Spatial Audio so that it works best with Dolby Atmos. The combined effect lets you take better advantage of the virtual audio space that Dolby Atmos creates by allowing you to move around in it.
In a nutshell, Dolby Atmos creates the effect of watching a movie at a cinema or listening to music at a live concert — the sound comes from all around you (center, left, right, above and behind) — and Spatial Audio adds another layer that makes you feel like you're in movie or moving around at the concert.
When listening to music, you can turn your head to left or right and the vocals and instruments will become more or less prominent depending on where you're facing. If you're watching a movie on your iPhone or Apple TV, and a character is yelling on the right side of the screen, you can turn your head to the right and it'll sound like they are yelling right at you.
What content supports Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos? You need to be wearing AirPods Pro or AirPods Max and listening from an updated Apple device that's from 2018 or later. From there, any content that Atmos (or 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound) will be able to take advantage of the Spatial Audio feature. Most video streaming apps, such as Apple TV+, Hulu, HBO Go and Amazon Prime Video support some sort of surround sound technologies on Apple device. (Netflix only supports stereo sound on iOS devices.) Apple Music is the only music streaming service that supports Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos.
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.
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
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
Windows 10 fans get the best news yet about upgrading to Windows 11
THERE'S some good news for anyone thinking about upgrading to Windows 11 when it launches later this year.
By DAVID SNELLING PUBLISHED: 07:49, Fri, Jul 9, 2021 | UPDATED: 08:20, Fri, Jul 9, 2021
Windows 11 will launch later this year with Microsoft packing a swathe of new features into this blockbuster upgrade. Those making the switch will be treated to a swathe of features and upgrades including a new Start Menu, easy access to info-packed widgets and improved integration with Microsoft Teams.
Windows 11 users will also find it easier to keep their PCs updated thanks to downloads that are 40 percent smaller and Microsoft is boasting that laptops could see improved battery life thanks to better efficiency.
If all that sounds exciting then expect more news on when you can upgrade later in the year. However, if you are nervous about making the jump to Windows 11 then there's good news as it appears there will be an easy way to ditch it if you hate it.
As spotted by the team at Windowslatest, it seems Microsoft and some PC manufacturers may offer the option to switch back to Windows 10 if you can't bear the new design and features packed inside Windows 11.
|Inside Towers Newsletter|
Where’s the Edge?
By John Celentano, Inside Towers Business Editor
Edge computing brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed to improve response times and save bandwidth, according to Vapor IO. In wireless, we say multi-access edge computing or simply, mobile edge computing (MEC).
The question is: Where is that edge?
Our inclination is to think of the edge in physical terms — wireless network edge at a cell tower, wireline network edge at optical network terminals on customer premises, or cloud edge in a data center.
A better notion is to consider the edge, not in physical dimensions, but in terms of latency, in milliseconds, as the time to access computing resources that various applications require. Specifying edge computing in time allows for rational planning and deployment of required infrastructure — servers, power, HVAC, security, and fiber to connect the edge computing resources.
The speed of light is a measure of responsiveness. In space, light travels at 186,000 miles per second or about 300,000 kilometers per second. This translates to 186 miles (300 km) per millisecond (ms).
Light in the form of optical signals speeding through an earthbound fiber optic network with its transmission and switching equipment losses, may only hit 200 km/ms. For discussion purposes, let’s take it down to 100 km/ms.
This means that for applications requiring latency of 5 ms or less, the edge could be located as far as 500 km or 300 miles away. Here the location of the edge is determined by the requisite response time of the application, not distance.
Such approaches are already being developed.
Austin, TX-based Vapor IO, of which Crown Castle (NYSE: CCI) is a major investor, designs software and hardware for micro data centers and edge computing.
The company’s flagship product is its Kinetic Edge platform which Vapor IO says is the first nationwide hardware and software platform for edge co-location and networking services. The company has an agreement with Zayo, a DigitalBridge Group (NYSE: DBRG) portfolio company, to provide dedicated fiber optic network facilities to connect Kinetic Edge sites around the U.S.
Vapor IO’s goal is to deploy Kinetic Edge in 36 U.S. metropolitan markets, including Austin, by the end of 2021. At that point, the company expects to be the largest provider of edge co-location, edge networking and edge exchange services in close proximity to the last mile networks.
In Vapor IO’s case, being “close to” the action is sufficient. Its network of 36 micro data centers is connected by Zayo’s dedicated fiber facilities and will support thousands of wireline and wireless carrier, enterprise and government critical computing applications.
Similarly, Bluebird Network, headquartered in Columbia, MO, operates over 10,000 fiber route-miles with 151 points of presence in the midwestern states of Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa with extensions into Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. The company claims its network passes more than 74,000 on-net and near-net buildings and towers.
While Bluebird provides connectivity to 16 data centers in the region owned by other operators, the company has two data centers of its own, one in Bettendorf, IA and another underground data center in Springfield, MO.
Bluebird emphasizes that its two data centers are both within 20 ms of any customer connection point in its multistate network.
Why is it important to locate MEC facilities based on time instead of distance? It comes down to performance and capital expenditure. MEC is not needed at every cell site.
For most Internet access, we rely on a broadband connection to the cloud, and tolerate delays while screens load. For mission critical applications, such delays are intolerable and, in some cases, could be life threatening.
Highly responsive computing that utilizes augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence enables operating efficiencies and cost-control. This is especially important in factories and industrial operations like mines and oil and gas fields, in warehouses and distribution centers, at ports and railway terminals, and in big box retail stores. Edge computing enables localized transactions and workflows in real time, while stored data uploads to the cloud can be scheduled at off peak times.
Demand for high-bandwidth, low latency performance is growing among smart cities for efficient traffic management and autonomous vehicle operation, IoT sensors running in real time or near real time, and cloud gaming.
Certainly, 5G’s high-capacity, ultra-low latency performance, especially at millimeter wave frequencies, spawn possibilities for new high-speed services in a host of vertical markets. All mobile network operators want MEC for delivering high-value services to their biggest customers to drive new revenue streams that augment slow-growth postpaid and prepaid subscription services.
Tower companies see MEC as an opportunity to provide new services to their MNO tenants and in turn add incremental revenue streams to their master lease agreements. American Tower (NYSE: AMT) is installing containerized edge data centers at a select number of tower sites. (See, American Tower Takes It To The Edge)
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter||Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers, Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
New Application Fee Rates for Experimental Radio Services, Media Services Effective July 15
On July 6, the FCC announced that the new application fee rates in sections 1.1103 and 1.1104 of FCC’s rules will become effective on July 15, 2021. This includes the schedule of charges for experimental radio services and schedule of charges for applications and other filings for media services.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC adopted a new application fee schedule in December of 2020 that would be implemented on a rolling basis, as “information technology systems and internal procedures have been updated” to reflect the new schedules. Applicants must continue to pay the current fees for their applications under the existing procedures until the new procedures and fees are in effect for their applications.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Sal Taillefer, Richard Rubino.
FCC Announces Qualified Bidders for FM Radio Auction 109
On July 1, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that it has identified 114 applicants that are qualified to bid in Auction 109. As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, Auction 109 will offer four AM construction permits and 135 FM construction permits. Bidding in Auction 109 is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
A list of the qualified bidders can be found here.
The construction permits specified on each qualified bidder’s short-form application (FCC Form 175), as well as the bidding credit claimed by each applicant (if any), can be found here. Non-qualified bidders can be found here.
The Public Notice also amends the list of available permits by removing one FM construction permit, MMFM1229- A, Channel 296A, Livingston Manor, NY. This permit has been removed from the Auction 109 inventory because the allotment for MM-FM1229-A was not properly added to the Table of FM Allotments and was therefore erroneously included in the Auction 109 inventory.
According to the Public Notice, all qualified bidders have been automatically registered for the auction. Registration materials will be sent by overnight delivery to the contact person at the contact person’s address identified in the qualified bidder’s FCC Form 175. The contact person for each qualified bidder must distribute each SecurID token to the specific authorized bidder as identified on each envelope contained in the registration materials package. Upon receipt, each qualified bidder should be in possession of the following:
A qualified bidder must have the above-referenced registration materials to participate in the mock auction and to bid in Auction 109. Any qualified bidder listed in Attachment B of this Public Notice that has not received the registration mailing by 12:00 noon Eastern Time (ET) on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, must contact the Auctions Hotline at (717) 338-2868.
Beginning on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, and continuing until further notice, the FCC will conduct Auction 109 with four rounds of bidding each business day as follows:
The FCC also reminded applicants that the rules prohibiting certain communications apply to each applicant that filed a short-form application in Auction 109. Subject to specified exceptions, after the deadline for filing a short-form application, all applicants are prohibited from cooperating or collaborating with respect to, or disclosing to each other in any manner, the substance of their own, or each other’s, or any other applicant’s bids or bidding strategies (including post-auction market structure), or discussing or negotiating settlement agreements, until after the post- bidding down payment deadline. An “applicant” includes all controlling interests of the entity submitting a short-form application to participate in the auction, including all officers and directors of that entity and all holders of interests amounting to 10% or more of the entity submitting a short-form application. A party that submits an auction application becomes an “applicant” under the rule at the application filing deadline and that status does not change based on subsequent developments.
This prohibition took effect as of the short-form application filing deadline, which for Auction 109 was May 11, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. ET, and ends at the post-auction down payment deadline, which will be announced in a future public notice. This prohibition applies to all applicants regardless of whether such applicants become qualified bidders or actually bid.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
FTC Charges Broadcom with Illegal Monopolization of Semiconductor Components
On July 2, the FTC announced that it has issued a complaint charging Broadcom with illegally monopolizing markets for semiconductor components used to deliver television and broadband Internet services through exclusive dealing and related conduct. The FTC has also issued a proposed consent order that would settle the FTC’s charges. Under the consent order, Broadcom must stop requiring its customers to source components from Broadcom on an exclusive or near exclusive basis.
According to the FTC’s press release, the complaint alleges that Broadcom is a monopolist in the sale of three types of semiconductor components, or chips, used in devices that deliver television and broadband Internet services. The complaint alleges that Broadcom illegally maintained its power in the three monopolized markets by entering long-term agreements with both OEMs and service providers that prevented these customers from purchasing chips from Broadcom’s competitors. These agreements required customers to purchase, use or bid Broadcom’s chips on an exclusive or near-exclusive basis. Broadcom entered these exclusivity and loyalty agreements with at least ten OEMs, including those with the most extensive engineering and design capabilities and the strongest ties to service providers. And Broadcom entered similar agreements with major U.S. and other service providers. By entering exclusivity and loyalty agreements with key customers at two levels of the supply chain, Broadcom created insurmountable barriers for companies trying to compete with Broadcom. The complaint also alleges that Broadcom leveraged its power in the three monopolized chip markets to extract from customers exclusivity and loyalty commitments for the supply of chips in the five related markets, which prevented Broadcom’s competitors from competing on the merits for customers’ business.
Under the proposed consent order, Broadcom will be prohibited from entering into certain types of exclusivity or loyalty agreements with its customers for the supply of key chips for traditional broadcast set top boxes and DSL and fiber broadband Internet devices. Broadcom also must stop conditioning access to or requiring favorable supply terms for these chips on customers committing to exclusivity or loyalty for the supply of related chips. And the proposed order prohibits Broadcom from retaliating against customers for doing business with Broadcom’s competitors.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
Comment Sought on Extension of CAF Phase II Letter of Credit Waiver
On July 6, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on whether to extend the waiver on its letter of credit rules for Connect America Fund Phase II auction (Auction 903) and Rural Broadband Experiments support recipients. Comments are due August 6, and reply comments are due August 23.
These providers were instead directed to comply with the less financially burdensome letter of credit rules for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund; however, the Bureau limited the waiver until the end of 2021, explaining that it would “reevaluate the scope and impact of this waiver prior to that time to determine whether this relief should be extended.” With this Public Notice, the Bureau seeks comment on the merits of extending the waiver of the letter of credit rules for Auction 903 and Rural Broadband Experiments support recipients beyond December 31, 2021.
Comment is specifically sought on:
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
Law and Regulation
Analog Termination Deadlines for LPTV/Translator Stations Approach
On July 6, the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding all low power television and television translator stations (LPTV/translator stations) that the July 13, 2021, digital transition date - when stations must terminate all analog television operations – is just one week away. Further, permittees and licensees with a July 13, 2021 digital construction permit expiration date must complete construction of their facilities by that date in order to avoid automatic cancellation of their license and/or digital construction permit.
Specifically, by 11:59 p.m. local time on July 13, 2021, all LPTV/translator stations must terminate all analog television operations regardless of whether their digital facilities are operational (analog termination deadline). After 11:59 p.m. local time on July 13, 2021, LPTV/translator stations may no longer operate any facility in analog mode and all analog licenses shall automatically cancel at that time, without any affirmative action by the FCC. Analog LPTV/translator stations with a digital construction permit that has an expiration date of July 13, 2021, must complete construction by 11:59 p.m. local time, and file a license to cover within 10 days. Failure to do so will result in automatic forfeiture of the station’s construction permit, automatic cancellation of the station’s license, and deletion of its call sign.
Permittees for new digital LPTV/translator stations with July 13, 2021 construction permit expiration dates have until later than 11:59 p.m. local time on July 13, 2021 to complete construction of their facilities, begin operating, and within 10 days file a license to cover application. Failure to do so will result in the construction permit being automatically forfeited without any further [sic]
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Cary Mitchell.
House Appropriations Approves FY 2022 Rural Development Funding Bill
On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill by voice vote. Minor amendments were made to the bill, including one prohibiting companies owned by the People’s Republic of China from purchasing agricultural land or participating in USDA programs.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the bill provides discretionary funding of $26.55 billion — an increase of $2.851 billion, more than 10 percent — above 2021. The bill provides a total of more than $4.695 billion for rural development programs, including over $907 million in the expansion of broadband service to provide economic development opportunities and improved education and healthcare services. This includes $800 million for the ReConnect program. Overall, the $907 million is an increase of $165 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
The bill report can be found here.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
Ohio Legislature Drops Municipal Broadband Ban from State Budget Plan
Last week, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio’s lawmakers finally settled on a state budget plan which, among other things, eliminated a proposal to limit local governments from offering broadband services. The final budget also ultimately included a grant program to help cover the costs of laying Internet cables (a $250 million appropriation).
According to Ars Technica, which also reported the story, the removal of the ban was apparently the result of public pressure. “People and businesses from Fairlawn, OH where the city-run FairlawnGig network offers fiber Internet, played a significant role in the protests. FairlawnGig itself asked users to put pressure on lawmakers, and the subscribers did so in great numbers.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
Comments on Space Launch Spectrum NPRM Extended to August 11
On July 7, the FCC issued an Order granting a 30-day extension of time for filing comments on the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on, among other things, new allocations and service rules for non-Federal space launch operations, expanded Federal use of non-Federal fixed and mobile satellite service bands, and use of the 399.9-400.05 MHz mobile satellite service band by Federal space stations. With this extension, comments are due on August 11, 2021, and reply comments are due on September 10, 2021.
The extension comes as a result of a petition by Blue Origin, Relativity Space Inc., Sierra Space Corp., Virgin Galactic, and Virgin Orbit to extend the comment and reply comment deadlines by 30 days each. According to the Order, the petitioners asserted that, among other things, “this proceeding involves complex technical questions, the answers to which are closely tied to cutting-edge spectrum use and rapidly evolving commercial space launch technology[,]” and that “[t]he policy issues involved are equally complex and far-reaching, with the potential to impact the entire commercial space launch industry.”
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC seeks comment on the definition of space launch operations, the potential allocation of spectrum for the commercial space launch industry, including the 420-430 MHz, 2025-2110 MHz, and 5650-5925 MHz bands. In addition, the FCC seeks comment on establishing service rules, including licensing and technical rules and coordination procedures, for the use of spectrum for commercial space launch operations. Finally, the FCC seeks to refresh the record on potential ways to facilitate Federal use of commercial satellite services in what are currently non-Federal satellite bands and enable more robust federal use of the 399.9-400.05 MHz band.
BloostonLaw Contact: John Prendergast.
FCC Announces Initial Implementation of STIR/SHAKEN
On June 30, FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel issued a Press Release announcing that the largest voice service providers are now using STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication standards in their IP networks. The FCC set a deadline for large voice service providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN by June 30, 2021 in the IP portions of their networks, having granted small voice service providers with 100,000 or fewer subscriber lines an extension until June 30, 2023. The FCC is formally considering shortening that extension for a subset of these providers in light of new evidence indicating that they are originating a high and increasing quantity of illegal robocalls, however. If adopted, these small service providers would be required to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the IP portions of their networks no later than June 30, 2022.
According to the Press Release, over 200 voice service providers have certified to full STIR/SHAKEN implementation and hundreds more have certified to partial implementation—generally certifying to full implementation on the IP portions of their networks.
“At last, STIR/SHAKEN standards are a widely used reality in American phone networks,” said Rosenworcel. “While there is no silver bullet in the endless fight against scammers, STIR/SHAKEN will turbo-charge many of the tools we use in our fight against robocalls: from consumer apps and network-level blocking, to enforcement investigations and shutting down the gateways used by international robocall campaigns. This is a good day for American consumers who – like all of us – are sick and tired of illegal spoofed robocalls.”
FCC Announces Intent to Re-Charter Precision Agriculture Task Force
On July 1, the FCC announced its intent to re-charter the Task Force for Reviewing Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States, a federal advisory committee, aimed at delivering connectivity on unserved agriculture land.
The Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States (Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force or Task Force) provides advice and recommendations for the FCC on how to assess and advance deployment of broadband Internet access service on unserved agriculture land to promote precision agriculture. Congress directed the FCC, in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, to establish the Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. All information related to the Task Force will be available on this webpage: https://www.fcc.gov/task-force-reviewingconnectivity-and-technology-needs-precision-agriculture-united-states.
JULY 31: FCC FORM 507, LINE COUNT DATA (A-CAM AND ALASKA PLAN RECPIENTS). Sections 54.313(f)(5) and 54.903(a)(1) of the FCC’s rules requires all rate-of-return telecommunications carriers to provide line count information on FCC Form 507 to USAC, the universal service Administrator. Carriers receiving Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS) must submit this information annually on March 31st of each year, and may update the data on a quarterly basis. Carriers that receive Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM) I, A-CAM II, or Alaska Plan support are required to file by July 1st of each year. For 2020, the FCC has extended the A-CAM filing deadline until July 31.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
JULY 31: CARRIER IDENTIFICATION CODE (CIC) REPORTS. Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Reports must be filed by the last business day of July (this year, July 31). These reports are required of all carriers who have been assigned a CIC code by NANPA. Failure to file could result in an effort by NANPA to reclaim it, although according to the Guidelines this process is initiated with a letter from NANPA regarding the apparent non-use of the CIC code. The assignee can then respond with an explanation. (Guidelines Section 6.2). The CIC Reporting Requirement is included in the CIC Assignment Guidelines, produced by ATIS. According to section 1.4 of that document: At the direction of the NANPA, the access providers and the entities who are assigned CICs will be requested to provide access and usage information to the NANPA, on a semi-annual basis to ensure effective management of the CIC resource. (Holders of codes may respond to the request at their own election). Access provider and entity reports shall be submitted to NANPA no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31, and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. It is also referenced in the NANPA Technical Requirements Document, which states at 7.18.6: CIC holders shall provide a usage report to the NANPA per the industry CIC guidelines … The NAS shall be capable of accepting CIC usage reports per guideline requirements on January 31 for the period ending December 31 and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. These reports may also be mailed and accepted by the NANPA in paper form. Finally, according to the NANPA website, if no local exchange carrier reports access or usage for a given CIC, NANPA is obliged to reclaim it. The semi-annual utilization and access reporting mechanism is described at length in the guidelines.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its recent decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual form (Form 499-A) that was due April 1.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT: Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by August 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
AUGUST 1: LIVE 911 CALL DATA REPORTS — Non-Nationwide Providers that do not provide coverage in any of the Test Cities must collect and report aggregate data based on the largest county within its footprint to APCO, NENA, and NASNA on the location technologies used for live 911 calls in those areas. Clients should obtain spreadsheets with their company’s compliance data from their E911 service provider (e.g., Intrado / West). BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell. 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. (1) Facilities-based Providers of Broadband Connections to End User Locations: Entities that are facilities-based providers of broadband connections – which are wired “lines” or wireless “channels” that enable the end user to receive information from and/or send information to the Internet at information transfer rates exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction – must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which the entity provides one or more such connections to end user locations. For the purposes of Form 477, an entity is a “facilities-based” provider of broadband connections to end user locations if it owns the portion of the physical facility that terminates at the end user location, if it obtains unbundled network elements (UNEs), special access lines, or other leased facilities that terminate at the end user location and provisions/equips them as broadband, or if it provisions/equips a broadband wireless channel to the end user location over licensed or unlicensed spectrum. Such entities include incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers (LECs), cable system operators, fixed wireless service providers (including “wireless ISPs”), terrestrial and satellite mobile wireless service providers, MMDS providers, electric utilities, municipalities, and other entities. (Such entities do not include equipment suppliers unless the equipment supplier uses the equipment to provision a broadband connection that it offers to the public for sale. Such entities also do not include providers of fixed wireless services (e.g., “Wi-Fi” and other wireless ethernet, or wireless local area network, applications) that only enable local distribution and sharing of a premises broadband facility.) (2) Providers of Wired or Fixed Wireless Local Telephone Services: Incumbent and competitive LECs must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide local exchange service to one or more end user customers (which may include “dial-up” ISPs). (3) Providers of Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Service: Interconnected VoIP service is a service that enables real-time, two-way voice communications; requires a broadband connection from the user’s location; requires Internet-protocol compatible customer premises equipment; and permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the public switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public switched telephone network. Interconnected VoIP providers must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide interconnected VoIP service to one or more subscribers, with the state determined for reporting purposes by the location of the subscriber’s broadband connection or the subscriber’s “Registered Location” as of the data-collection date. “Registered Location” is the most recent information obtained by an interconnected VoIP service provider that identifies the physical location of an end user. (4) Providers of Mobile Telephony Services: Facilities-based providers of mobile telephony services must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which they serve one or more mobile telephony subscribers. A mobile telephony service is a real-time, two-way switched voice service that is interconnected with the public switched network using an in-network switching facility that enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless handoff of subscriber calls. A mobile telephony service provider is considered “facilities-based” if it serves a subscriber using spectrum for which the entity holds a license that it manages, or for which it has obtained the right to use via lease or other arrangement with a Band Manager.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
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.
“How to tune a duplexer with a NanoVNA V2plus4”
Is it possible?
This video shows how to tune a 1.2GHz repeater duplexer using a NanoVNA V2plus4. A TX/RX Systems Vari-Notch duplexer is used in this video. One interesting question — does the NanoVNA V2plus4 have enough dynamic range to accurately tune the filters — particularly the notch / band-reject filter sections? I check the results using a more professional VNA — the Tektronix TTR506A. A brief description of the function of the duplexer is given, followed by the setup and calibration of the VNA, and then the tuning process.
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