|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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These are uncertain times.
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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(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)
Quantum Receiver Can Detect Huge Swath of the RF Spectrum
US Army researchers have built a so-called “quantum sensor,” which can analyze the full RF spectrum and real-world signals, a report on Physics.org says. The quantum sensor — technically a Rydberg sensor — can sample the RF spectrum from 0 to 20 GHz and is able to detect AM and FM radio signals, as well as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other RF communication protocols. The peer-reviewed Physical Review Applied published the researchers’ findings, “Waveguide-coupled Rydberg spectrum analyzer from 0 to 20 Gigaherz,” coauthored by Army researchers David Meyer, Paul Kunz, and Kevin Cox.
“The Rydberg sensor uses laser beams to create highly excited Rydberg atoms directly above a microwave circuit, to boost and hone in on the portion of the spectrum being measured,” the article explains. “The Rydberg atoms are sensitive to the circuit’s voltage, enabling the device to be used as a sensitive probe for the wide range of signals in the RF spectrum.”
Cox, a researcher at the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory, called the development “a really important step toward proving that quantum sensors can provide a new and dominant set of capabilities for our soldiers, who are operating in an increasingly complex electromagnetic battlespace.”
Cox said earlier demonstrations of Rydberg atomic sensors were only able to sense small and specific regions of the RF spectrum, but “our sensor now operates continuously over a wide frequency range for the first time.” The technology uses rubidium atoms, which are excited to high-energy Rydberg states. These interact strongly with the circuit’s electric fields, allowing detection and demodulation of any signal received into the circuit.
The report says the Rydberg spectrum analyzer has the potential “to surpass fundamental limitations of traditional electronics in sensitivity, bandwidth, and frequency range.
According to Meyer, “Devices that are based on quantum constituents are one of the Army's top priorities to enable technical surprise in the competitive future battlespace. Quantum sensors in general, including the one demonstrated here, offer unparalleled sensitivity and accuracy to detect a wide range of mission-critical signals.”
The researchers plan additional development to improve the signal sensitivity of the Rydberg spectrum analyzer, aiming to outperform existing state-of-the-art technology. “Significant physics and engineering effort is still necessary before the Rydberg analyzer can integrate into a field-testable device,” Cox said.
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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Cleaning up the destroyed Arecibo Observatory is going to cost so much money
By Mike Wehner @MikeWehner
It’s been a few months since we heard any significant news about the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The location was of huge scientific importance thanks to the massive radio telescope that had been in use for over half a century. That was before structural damage forced its operators into a tough decision to either save the telescope or just decommission it and clean up the site where the telescope once sat.
Ultimately, due to a combination of bad luck and budgetary concerns, the National Science Foundation — the group that ran the observatory — decided it would be best to just destroy the colossal dish and accompanying equipment. Now, for the first time, we’re getting a look at how much the cleanup bill is going to be, and let’s just say the telescope’s observations aren’t the only thing that’s astronomical.
As Gizmodo reports, engineers are still investigating exactly what chain of events led to the initial damage and subsequent structural failings. While they do their work, the cost of cleaning up the debris and breaking down what’s left of the dish is being calculated. At present, the best guess estimates range from $30 million to a whopping $50 million. That’s a whole lot of cash just to be left with an empty spot when they’re finally done, but it’s what will need to happen if the site is ever to be used again, for scientific purposes or otherwise.
The story of the Arecibo Observatory’s demise is a sad one. The telescope endured a structural collapse that, at least initially, appeared to be repairable. The NSF was working on a plan to get the dish back up and running after a survey of the rest of the telescope suggested it was structurally sound. However, as work crews were waiting on delivery of new materials to begin the repairs, one of the telescope’s massive cables failed, despite the fact that it was rated to hold much more than it was holding at the time.
The cable caused significant additional damage, but even more importantly it revealed that, after 57 years in operation, the structural integrity of the dish just wasn’t what engineers thought it was. Ultimately the NSF was forced to declare the dish a lost cause and decommission it completely. As one final act, the telescope endured yet another structural failure in the weeks that followed, proving that the group had made the right call.
Now, months later, the costs of decommissioning and removing the dish are becoming clearer. A $50 million clean-up bill would be painful for any scientific organization, but the National Science Foundation can at least take solace in the fact that the dish did some absolutely incredible work in the many decades it was with it. It’s unclear what the future holds for the site, and whether the group will want to build another radio telescope, or what the timeline for that project might be.
|PRISM IPX Systems|
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
NEWS The first USB4 products are here: What to know, what to buy
Because Thunderbolt 4 is a superset of USB4, the easiest way to ensure USB4 compatibility may be to buy an 11th-gen Intel Core PC.
By Mark Hachman Senior Editor, PCWorld
The first USB4 products have begun to ship, almost a year after the specification was released. The initial products will include external storage devices, USB docks, and more, executives at the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) told PCWorld.
Although the USB-IF has taken some steps to reduce the confusion around USB4, it’s still going to be a little tricky to distinguish it from Thunderbolt 4—though it may not matter. Here’s what you need to know.
USB4: What you need to know
USB4 represents the closest merge to date of two I/O technologies, USB and Thunderbolt. USB has been around since 1995, providing a port for peripherals as small as a thumb drive or a mouse, or as big as a consumer printer. With USB4, however, the venerable rectangular USB-A port is finally giving way entirely to the ovular USB-C port.
Thunderbolt is a technology designed by Intel with help from Apple, with the intent of supporting a new generation of faster external storage, more sophisticated monitor technology, and more. It’s younger than USB—Intel celebrated Thunderbolt’s 10th anniversary on February 24—and is still found mostly on Macs, plus some higher-end displays, storage, and Windows PCs. The Thunderbolt 4 standard was ratified at the end of August, 2019, and has slowly worked its way from a paper specification to finished products.
Both Thunderbolt and USB4 share the same USB-C physical connector. They also overlap in terms of throughput: USB4 can operate at peak speeds of 40 gigabits per second (Gbps), the same as Thunderbolt 3 and the new Thunderbolt 4. The USB4 specification is backward-compatible, so you can connect an older USB-C device to a USB4 port. Any older device will run at its native USB speed—it can’t upgrade itself on the fly to USB4 speeds.
Here’s where it gets a little confusing. The USB4 spec doesn’t require Thunderbolt support, so you may find laptops and other devices with a simple USB4 port. The Thunderbolt 4 spec mandates the use of USB4, however, including its optional features. Laptops that include Thunderbolt 4 capability will therefore support USB4 by default. “We know that Thunderbolt 4.0 is basically USB4,” according to Jeff Ravencraft, the president and chief operating officer of the USB-IF, in an interview.
Put simply, you may see "USB4" peripherals referred to as "Thunderbolt 4" devices, instead!
Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 are also built specifically into the latest Intel-based laptops, as well as Macs. Look for Windows models built around Intel’s 11th-gen “Tiger Lake” Core processors, as well as the new Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13, a USB-IF representative noted.
With USB4, the USB-IF is making great strides in cleaning up the I/O chaos of yesteryear, as expected when the USB4 specification was announced. Gone is the horrible USB 3 naming scheme. USB4 isn’t defined by the specification, but by how fast data moves. The USB4 spec provides for two different flavors of USB4, both 20Gbps and 40Gps, each of which should be properly labeled on the product packaging.
What USB4 devices can you buy?
Ravencraft said it’s typical that a USB specification requires 12 to 18 months to implement, from a document to shipping product. The first cables began shipping at the end of 2020, he said, and the first USB4 docking stations have hit the market as well. “We anticipate seeing the ramp begin to happen this year,” he said, even with the pandemic.
Here’s a short, non-comprehensive list of the first products to ship, as suggested by a USB-IF representative. As you shop, pay close attention to the product names, which more often than not will include “Thunderbolt 4” or “USB4” as handy cues. However, it will never hurt to skim the specs to confirm their compatibility. For example, we received an early sample of the OWC Thunderbolt 4 dock. The USB4 brand label appears nowhere on the packaging. Instead, OWC includes this note in the specifications: “Compatible with USB3, USB4, and Thunderbolt 3 and later devices.”
Notebook PCs may feature USB4 branding...or not
We don’t know yet whether you’ll see any overt USB4 labeling on laptop or desktop PCs ADVERTISEMENT that support it. Notebook manufacturers have a limited amount of space to include any logo. Ravencraft argued that it made more sense to include a USB4 logo instead of the more generic Thunderbolt logo, because 20 billion USB products have been sold to date, compared to far fewer Thunderbolt devices. “Consumers have no clue what Thunderbolt is,” Ravencraft asserted.
Still, Rahman Ismail, the chief technology officer of the USB-IF, also noted that that laptops like the Apple MacBook don’t put any logos on their laptops at all, reserving the details for their specifications. Ravencraft agreed: “A lot of these companies do not put any markings on their ports.”
If that’s the case, your next laptop may not carry a USB4 logo—but it could support USB4 anyway, as will any Intel-based laptops with Thunderbolt 4. It’s unclear whether laptops based on AMD Ryzen CPUs will do the same. Reading the PC’s specifications carefully should help you find out for sure.
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
WHAT IS 5G? 5G is the ext generation of wireless networks and promises a mobile experience that's 10x to 100x faster than today's 4G networks. We say the word promise because we're in the early days of 5G. When more smartphones and networks support 5G tech, it will have far-reaching consequences for consumers, from the cars we drive (or that drive us) to the food we eat to the safety of our roads to the ways we shop to the entertainment we share with family and friends. And that doesn't include things we haven't yet imagined because we've never had the capability to unlock those new scenarios. Today, 5G may seem confusing even as it's widely hyped. We're here to help you sort fact from fiction, weed through the acronyms and jargon, and figure out when and how 5G can change the way you live. And we'll keep you from getting caught up in hyperbole — and empty promises. [ source ]
Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
|Inside Towers Newsletter|
Congressional Dems Unveil $94 Billion Bill to Speed Broadband Access
A total of 30 House and Senate Democrats unveiled a $94 billion proposal Thursday to make broadband more accessible and affordable nationwide, aiming to remedy some of the digital inequalities that have kept millions of Americans offline during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new effort, chiefly written by House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), marks one of the most expensive and ambitious broadband packages proposed in recent years, according to The Washington Post. It aims to commit record-breaking sums to bring Internet service to unserved areas, improve speeds and help low-income families.
Closing the persistent digital divide has long been counted among Democrats’ top policy priorities. But the issue has taken on new political urgency since the coronavirus left much of the country no choice but to rely on the Internet to participate in daily life.
In the months ahead, Democrats believe they have a viable plan to advance their legislation, known as the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act. It would be part of the debate over infrastructure reform.
Congress is expected to turn to the matter after lawmakers Wednesday completed legislative work on a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. That included $7-plus billion in broadband accessibility funds, Inside Towers reported. The bill, signed by President Biden on Thursday, also set aside an additional $10 billion in infrastructure spending that states can potentially put toward improving broadband within their borders.
“We’re not going to grow the economy in our communities all across the country without broadband,” Clyburn told the Post. “The investments we’re making in this, and the build-out over three to four years, makes this one of the best infrastructure efforts we can undertake today.”
At least 18 million Americans lacked reliable connectivity, federal regulators found in a report last year, cautioning at the time that the number might actually be higher. The problem is especially persistent in rural communities, where options for speedy Internet service are limited, as well as urban areas and tribal lands, where low-income families, cannot afford web access.
The new bill gives preference to projects that help rural and tribal areas or those that provide better, cheaper Internet to lower-income communities. The measure also sets aside an additional $6 billion to extend an affordability program authorized by Congress as part of a stimulus bill in December. That program is set to start paying up to $50 in monthly subsidies to families in financial need. Democrats’ new proposal essentially doubles the program’s pool of funds, according to the account.
Other elements of the bill seek to improve digital literacy, help students obtain wireless hotspots and bring more transparency to Internet pricing, requiring the FCC to collect and make available more data on how much people are paying nationwide for Internet access. Its regulatory reforms aim to make it easier for broadband providers to navigate the permitting process to lay fiber.
Democratic lawmakers sponsoring the new bill are bullish about their prospects. “We have the gavel,” Klobuchar said. “We will find a way to get this done.”
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter|| Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
REMINDER: Form 499-A, Accessibility Certifications Due April 1
The Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet, known as FCC Form 499-A, is due on April 1. The filing, which applies to every wireline and wireless telecommunications carrier that provides interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications, and certain other entities that provide interstate telecommunications for a fee, requires the reporting of revenue information from January 1 through December 31 of the prior year, along with certain other information.
Also due April 1 is the Annual Access to Advanced Services Certification. This filing, which applies to all providers of telecommunications services and telecommunications carriers subject to Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act, requires the filer to certify that it has procedures in place to meet the relevant record-keeping requirements and actually keeps the required records.
BloostonLaw has an extensive experience with both filings and has a compliance manual available for the Accessibility filing.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
Upcoming Mid-Band Fixed/Mobile Wireless Licensing Opportunities for 5G
With the auction of 3.7 GHz flexible use licenses (Auction 107) concluded and more than $81 billion raised for the US Treasury, nationwide service providers are making substantial investments to add mid-band spectrum to their portfolios. Verizon spent more than $45 billion to win 3,511 licenses in all of the 406 Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) that make up the US; AT&T spent more than $23 billion for 1,621 licenses in all 406 PEAs, and T-Mobile (which already has significant mid-band holdings by way of 2.5 GHz BRS/EBS spectrum licenses and leases it acquired via its merger with Sprint) spent over $9 billion for 142 licenses in 72 PEAs. The quiet period for Auction 107 ends at the close of business today, so we should see more industry reporting in the coming days and weeks.
The combination of large license areas and willingness of nationwide carriers to pay top dollar unfortunately meant that rural carriers and smaller providers were largely shut out of the C-band. However, as discussed below, there are a couple of 5G spectrum opportunities coming up later this year that could be more suitable for regional and rural service providers. And, with well supported comments, we believe the FCC under interim Chair Rosenworcel could be persuaded to adopt policies and rules that facilitate diverse spectrum ownership and increased opportunities for smaller operators.
Auction 108 (2.5 GHz Service) — auction date not yet scheduled. Commission seeking comment on auction procedures; comments due 60 days after FR publication of Public Notice FCC 21-14.
This is the EBS white space auction, and the FCC proposes to offer county-sized geographic overlay licenses for unassigned spectrum in the 2.5 GHz (2496–2690 MHz) band. The band will be licensed with up to three blocks of spectrum. The first license block (New Channel 1) will include channels A1–A3, B1–B3, C1–C3 (49.5 megahertz); the second license block (New Channel 2) will include channels D1–D3, the J channels, and channels A4–G4 (50.5 megahertz); and the third license block (New Channel 3) will include channels G1–G3 and the relevant K channels (16.5 megahertz of contiguous spectrum and 1 megahertz of the K channels associated with the G channel group). Licenses will be issued for 10-year, renewable license terms, and licensees in this band may provide any services permitted under terrestrial fixed or mobile allocations. The 2.5 GHz band plan and new channel scheme is shown below (the BRS spectrum is shown in yellow and has already been licensed to commercial operators):
Currently, incumbent EBS licenses cover only about one half of the geographic area and 85% of the population of the United States on any given channel. The rest of the area – including a large portion of rural America – remains unassigned “white spaces” that will be available for commercial use, just like 2.5 GHz Broadband Radio Service (“BRS”). Within a county, each block has a different amount of bandwidth—though not all frequency blocks are available in all counties—and where a given frequency block is available in a county, certain areas may not be available throughout the county due to existing incumbent licensee operations. This will make each license block unique, so due diligence will be very important to properly assess spectrum value. This EBS spectrum will allow fixed and/or mobile operations at a higher level of power than CBRS, and it appears that equipment is currently available, so this auction could be a good opportunity for clients that want to have a wireless service capability.
The FCC eliminated eligibility restrictions and educational use requirements for EBS licensees and made the band available for more widespread commercial use back in 2019. The FCC gave tribal applicants first crack at the available EBS white spaces over their rural tribal lands via a “rural tribal priority” window that closed September 2, 2020, and the WTB is still processing the last rural tribal applications at this time. The first step that interested clients should do if they have interest in 2.5 GHz is to evaluate the extent of incumbent licensing and determine what spectrum is available for bid in their county(ies) of interest. Our law firm is able to help in this regard. Much of the EBS band has been leased to commercial operators, and T-Mobile (following its merger with Sprint) is by far the largest incumbent in the 2.5 GHz band through its ownership of BRS licenses and EBS lease rights in many areas.
What’s next at the FCC:
FCC issued a PN seeking comment on auction procedures in mid-January (FCC 21-14), but a deadline for comments has not been set because the item hasn’t appeared on Federal Register. Comments will be due 60 days after FR publication; replies are due 75 days after FR publication.
Issues for comment:
Most significantly, the FCC is seeking comment on whether to use a single round pay-as-bid auction design or a traditional simultaneous multiple-round procedure. The PN also seeks comment on other competitive bidding procedures, including certification requirements, information procedures during the auction process, and upfront payment and minimum opening bid amounts. As to auction design, because of the relatively low cost of the white space spectrum, a single bidding round (which the Commission estimates could be concluded over a week’s time) would entail less transactional costs than a more-traditional SMR auction (which could last 2 months or more). Participants could submit a bid for what they believe the spectrum is worth (or even a lowball bid) without the inconvenience of a long-prohibited communications period or expense of an SMR auction. A single round bid could also allow clients to avoid the complexity of managing participation simultaneous/overlapping auctions. If single round bid procedures are adopted, the Commission may be in a position to get Auction 108 wrapped up before the proposed October 2021 start date for the 3.45 GHz auction (Auction 110). On the other hand, single-round bidding procedures could create uncertainty, and may allow larger bidders to dominate the auction (because they are better positioned to “overshoot” on the value of their single bid). Also, more traditional SMR procedures are already familiar to many of our clients and would facilitate competitive market-based pricing. We strongly urge clients who may be interested in the upcoming 2.5 GHz licensing opportunity to let us know their thoughts on single round versus traditional SMR auction procedures.
Auction 110 (3.45 GHz Service) — auction expected to commence in early October 2021. Commission seeking comment on auction procedures due April 14; reply comments due April 29.
The 3.45 – 3.55 GHz Band is a band that the FCC last fall proposed to make available for fixed and/or mobile 5G deployment across the contiguous US. The band is immediately adjacent to (below) the CBRS band, but the unique issues that led to lower power levels in the CBRS band are not present here, allowing commercial operations to be conducted at power levels comparable to C-band (which is adjacent to and immediately above the CBRS band). The 3.45 GHz band currently is used by the DoD for high- and low-powered radar systems on a variety of platforms in the 3 GHz band, including fixed, mobile, shipborne, and airborne operations, but NTIA and DoD have determined that cooperative band sharing is feasible. The Commission is subject to a legislative mandate to commence an auction of the 3.45 GHz band by December 31, 2021, hence the hurry to issue proposed auction procedures.
Under the current circulation draft of the Auction 110 procedures, the auction would offer up to 100 megahertz of spectrum on an unpaired basis and divided into five 20-megahertz blocks licensed by Partial Economic Area (PEA) service area. An illustration of the current band plan is shown below. However, in the interest of trying to shape things before the proposed procedures are voted on next week, CCA this month filed an ex parte letter asking the Commission to modify its draft proposal and to split the five 20-megahertz PEA blocks into ten 10 megahertz blocks to create more licenses, and to license the band by counties rather than PEAs. County-based licenses make sense because this spectrum is adjacent to the CBRS band (which is licensed by counties) and county-sized licenses would increase the ability of diverse carriers to acquire spectrum that meets the needs of their communities. CCA also urged support for an interoperability requirement that would ensure that all equipment will be operable across the entire band.
Other items in the circulation draft of the Auction 110 Procedures PN:
What’s next at the FCC:
A draft Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration and Order of Proposed Modification that would establish rules for the 3.45 GHz service is on circulation at the Commission (COPY HERE) and is scheduled for vote during the upcoming Open Meeting on March 17. During the same meeting, the FCC will take up the application and bidding procedures for Auction 110 (discussed above).
Clients who would like assistance in evaluating available spectrum and/or creating a bidding entity or consortium should let us know as soon as possible.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Cary Mitchell, John Prendergast
FCC Announces Initial Emergency Broadband Benefit Dates for Non-ETCs, Alternative Verification
On March 4, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing upcoming milestone dates for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program). Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) and their affiliates in the states or territories where the ETC is designated can elect to participate in the EBB Program by filing the appropriate information with USAC and do not need to seek approval from the Bureau in those states. However, all other broadband providers need to seek approval from the Bureau to participate in the EBB Program. Additionally, any provider seeking to use an alternative verification process to make household eligibility determinations in the EBB Program must seek approval from the Bureau.
Specifically, the following milestone dates for the provider application and election processes were announced:
Providers seeking to participate in the EBB Program or receive approval of an alternative eligibility verification process may contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
Law and Regulation
REMINDER: All Analog LPTV/Translator Transmission Must Cease on July 13
On March 4, the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding all low power television and television translator stations (LPTV/translator stations) that they must terminate all analog television operations by 11:59 P.M. ET July 13, 2021. All analog transmission must cease regardless of whether digital facilities are operational.
In addition to ceasing analog operations by the digital transition date, transitioning LPTV/translator stations that experience delays in completing their digital facilities may seek one last extension of time of their digital construction permits, of not more than 180 days, to be filed no later than March 15, 2021, which is four months prior to the July 13, 2021, transition date.
The grant of an extension of time to complete digital construction will not extend the July 13, 2021, deadline by which a station must terminate analog television operations.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Richard Rubino and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Denies Slamming Complaint Against Carrier
On March 4, the FCC issued an Order denying a complaint alleging that Clear Rate Communications, Inc. (Clear Rate) changed Complainant’s telecommunications service provider without obtaining authorization and verification from Complainant as required by the Commission’s rules. According to the Order, Clear Rate responded to the complaint, stating that authorization was received and confirmed through a third-party verification (TPV) recording, and that it provided Complainant with information on how to return to her preferred provider; that Complainant would not be charged any early termination fees; and that Complainant’s account had a zero balance.
Upon review of TPV recording Clear Rate submitted with its response, the FCC found that the TPV complied with the verification requirements in the slamming rules. Therefore, the FCC concluded that Clear Rate’s actions did not result in an “unauthorized change” in Complainant’s telecommunications service provider, as defined in the rules.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
Senators Call for 100/100 Mbps Broadband Speed Targets
On March 4, U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sent a letter to the Biden Administration’s federal broadband policy officials — Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Acting Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Jessica Rosenworcel, and Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese — urging them to “update federal broadband program speed requirements to reflect current and anticipated 21stcentury uses and align the definition of what constitutes high-speed broadband service across federal agencies.”
Specifically, the Senators call for “new deployment [at] symmetrical speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps), allowing for limited variation when dictated by geography, topography, or unreasonable cost.” The Senators continued, “[t]here is no reason federal funding to rural areas should not support the type of speeds used by households in typical well-served urban and suburban areas (e.g., according to speedtest.net’s January 2021 analysis, average service is currently 180 Mbps download / 65 Mbps upload with 24 milli-sec latency).”
The full text of the letter may be found here.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
FCC Approves Key Bridge as Sixth SAS Administrator
The FCC on Tuesday certified Key Bridge Wireless LLC as a Spectrum Access System (SAS) Administrator in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band. DoD and NTIA each reviewed Key Bridge’s initial commercial deployment (ICD) report and affirmed that the Company’s service meets Parr 96 requirements. Key Bridge joins Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google and Sony Corporation as the sixth entity approved for a five-year term to serve as an SAS Administrator.
Key Bridge is a Virginia-based provider of automated frequency coordination and spectrum administration solutions that has been in business since 2008. The Company expects to launch a commercial SAS service as early as next week.
APRIL 1: FCC FORM 499-A, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. This form must be filed by all contributors to the Universal Service Fund (USF) sup-port mechanisms, the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the cost recovery mechanism for the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP). Contributors include every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications, and certain other entities that provide interstate telecommunications for a fee. Even common carriers that qualify for the de minimis exemption must file Form 499-A. Entities whose universal service contributions will be less than $10,000 qualify for the de minimis exemption. De minimis entities do not have to file the quarterly report (FCC Form 499-Q), which was due February 1, and will again be due May 1. Form 499-Q relates to universal and LNP mechanisms. Form 499-A relates to all of these mechanisms and, hence, applies to all providers of interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications services. Form 499-A contains revenue information for January 1 through December 31 of the prior calendar year. And Form 499-Q contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. (Note: the revised 499-A and 499-Q forms are now available.) Block 2-B of the Form 499-A requires each carrier to designate an agent in the District of Columbia upon whom all notices, process, orders, and decisions by the FCC may be served on behalf of that carrier in proceedings before the FCC. Carriers receiving this newsletter may specify our law firm as their D.C. agent for service of process using the information in our masthead. There is no charge for this service.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
APRIL 1: ANNUAL ACCESS TO ADVANCED SERVICES CERTIFICATION. All providers of telecommunications services and telecommunications carriers subject to Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act are required to file with the FCC an annual certification that (1) states the company has procedures in place to meet the record-keeping requirements of Part 14 of the Rules; (2) states that the company has in fact kept records for the previous calendar year; (3) contains contact information for the individual or individuals handling customer complaints under Part 14; (4) contains contact information for the company’s designated agent; and (5) is supported by an affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury signed by an officer of the company.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, Sal Taillefer.
MAY 26: STUDY AREA BOUNDARY RECERTIFICATION. In addition to the obligation to submit updated information when study area boundaries change, all ILECs are required to re-certify their study area boundary data every two years. The recertification is due this year by May 26. Where the state commission filed the study area boundary data for an ILEC, the state commission should submit the recertification. However, where the state commission did not submit data for the ILEC and the ILEC submitted the study area boundary data, then the ILEC should submit the recertification by May 26. BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer. MAY 31: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on June 1. The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report. Clients who would like assistance in filing Form 395 should contact Richard Rubino.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
|THIS WEEK'S MUSIC VIDEO|
Sissel Kyrkjebø — “Shenandoah”
Sissel, the international singing sensation and national treasure of Norway, is established as one of the world’s leading crossover sopranos. Her angelic and powerful voice has made Sissel a national institution and she has sung all over the world, selling over ten million solo albums. She has contributed haunting vocal tracks for the soundtrack to Titanic and The Lord of the Rings, and has been performing duets with singers like Charles Aznavour, Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Mario Frangoulis, Josh Groban, Brian May, Neil Sedaka, Bryn Terfel and Russell Watson. In 2005, she was knighted by the King of Norway, as the youngest ever to receive this honour. And in 2006, her album 'The Spirit of the Season' with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir went to number-one on the Billboard Classical Charts, and received a Grammy nomination. A very remarkable voice that only comes once in our lifetime.
"Shenandoah" (also called "Oh Shenandoah", or "Across the Wide Missouri") is an American folk song, dating to the early 19th century. The lyrics may tell the story of a roving trader in love with the daughter of an Indian chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. Other interpretations tell of a pioneer's nostalgia for the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia, and a young woman who is its daughter; or of a Union soldier in the American Civil War, dreaming of his country home to the west of the Missouri river, in Shenandoah, Iowa (though the town lies some 50 miles east of the river). The provenance of the song is unclear. Click on CC for subtitles.
The song is also associated with escaped slaves. They were said to sing the song in gratitude because the river allowed their scent to be lost. The Shenandoah area made many parts like wheels and seats for wagons going west. These parts were assembled in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and settlers set out in Conestoga wagons down the Ohio River, on the Mississippi and west up the Missouri River. Lyrics were undoubtedly added by rivermen, settlers, and the millions who went west. With possible origins in Virginia, noting that its title is also the name of a Virginia river, the song has been considered for Virginia's official state song.
Sissel, the international singing sensation from Norway, is widely regarded as one of the finest and most talented sopranos in the world. Her crystal-clear voice has made Sissel a national institution in Norway. Sissel has sung all over the world, selling over ten million solo albums. She contributed the haunting vocal tracks for the soundtrack to Titanic. She has been doing great duets with singers like Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, Bryn Terfel, Jose Carreras, Russell Watson, Mario Frangoulis, Charles Aznavour, Neil Sedaka and Josh Groban. A very remarkable voice you will only hear once in your lifetime.
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