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This Week's Wireless News Headlines
NO POLITICS HERE
This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
I spend the whole week searching the INTERNET for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.
Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do freely express my own opinions.
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There is not a lot of news about Paging these days but when anything significant comes out, you will probably see it here. I also cover text messaging to other devices and various articles about related technology.
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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Raleigh, NC — (April 29, 2021) Microspace Communications, a leading satellite services provider owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company, has hired a new executive leader.
Jimmy Goodmon, President and COO of Capitol Broadcasting, announced Thursday that Cyrus Wilson has been named Vice President and General Manager. Wilson brings more than 20 years of experience in satellite communications, operations and customer management, and defense business management. In this role with Microspace, he will be responsible for all functions of the business, including sales, marketing, engineering, finance and administration. The appointment is effective May 17.
“I’m excited to have Cyrus join the CBC family and look forward to him leading us into the next chapter of Microspace’s evolution,” Goodmon said. “After several months of searching for the right person to lead the charge, I couldn’t be more confident that Cyrus Wilson is that leader.”
Wilson joins Microspace from Cubic Corporation, where he led a support services division under their satellite communications business unit. Over a 10-year career at Cubic, Cyrus held key positions in program management, sales and marketing, and product sustainment. He was recognized by previous leadership for his operational effectiveness and ability to execute business strategies.
Prior to Cubic, he spent several years with DRS Technical Services Inc., supporting program development, systems integration and technical solutions delivery. Cyrus also held roles at CAS Inc., and Eagan, McAllister Inc. in network engineering, satellite services and systems analysis. Additionally, he served in the U.S. Army, where he specialized in providing secure data links and communication systems around the world.
Cyrus holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Campbell University and a master’s degree in Information Technology Management from Webster University.
“My versatility and passion as a leader began early in my career, ascending the ranks as a technician, network engineer, and eventually into various leadership roles as an impactful business contributor,” Wilson said. “I’m humbled by the opportunity to join such an amazing organization, and I’m looking forward to working with our team to provide world-class support to our customers.”
About Microspace Communications
Founded in 1988, Microspace Communications is a pioneer in innovative broadband solutions for established and emerging enterprise applications, including digital signage, corporate communications, faith-based radio broadcasting, critical messaging and a variety of secure data networks. With one of the world’s largest satellite-based networks, Fortune 500 organizations and small companies alike rely on Microspace to deliver their business critical video, audio and data content.
Microspace now offers wireless, satellite and internet solutions for dozens of unique applications and the list of services and markets served continues to grow. The Microspace Network has also continued to grow with respect to the number of sites served. On any given day, Microspace delivers content to the well over a quarter of a million locations around the globe.
About Capitol Broadcasting Company
Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. is a diversified communications company which owns and/or operates WRAL-TV , WRAL Digital , WRAZ-TV, WRAZ Digital, WRAL-FM , WRAL-HD2, WCMC-FM, WCMCHD1, WDNC-AM, WCMC-HD2, WCMC-HD3, WCLY-AM, WCMC-HD4, Microspace , CBC New Media Group and Wolfpack Sports Properties (a joint venture with Learfield) in Raleigh, NC; WILM-TV, WILT-LD and Sunrise Broadcasting in Wilmington, NC; The Durham Bulls Baseball Club, Bull City Hospitality, and the American Underground startup hub in Durham, NC; Holly Springs Salamanders in Holly Springs, NC; and real estate interests including the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, NC, and Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, NC; and Professional Builders Supply (an equity partnership) in Morrisville, NC.
M1 iMac likely to see Apple become market leader in AIO PCs
Ben Lovejoy - May. 5th 2021 4:33 am PT @benlovejoy
Apple’s launch of the 24-inch M1 iMac is likely to see the company become the market leader in All-In-One (AIO) PCs this year, according to a new market intelligence report. Apple is set to overtake HP partly due to the appeal of the all-new iMac, but also in part due to Apple’s advantage in the chip supply chain.
HP achieved its success in AIO PCs through a combination of a good range of sizes, stylish design, and extremely affordable pricing …
At the lower end, the specs are nothing to write home about. For example, the HP 24-inch AIO offers an AMD Athlon processor, 1920×1080 display, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. However, that’s good enough for everyday computing needs for many, and the stylish design with thin bezels sold at an extremely affordable price has made it a popular choice.
HP also offers higher-end AIOs in the form of 27-inch Pavilion and 34-inch Envy curved screen models.
However, the PC maker has been hit hard by the global shortage, leaving it struggling to meet demand. A quick check on Amazon reveals that many models are currently available.
Apple, of course, has the advantage of commissioning TSMC to make its own M1 processors, and has the clout and operational expertise to have negotiated exclusive supply of many other chips. Coupled to other suppliers focusing on higher-spec, higher-margin chips, that puts the Cupertino company in a much better position than most.
A paywalled Digitimes report says that should see Apple overtake HP in the AIO market.
Apple will not, however, remain immune to the chip shortage. The company said that it made it safely through the first quarter (Apple’s fiscal Q2), but does see shortages ahead.
An Apple Silicon replacement for the 27-inch iMac is expected later in the year, likely with a larger screen size. The smart money would be on a 32-inch model to match the Pro Display XDR.
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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Frontier exits bankruptcy, claims it will double fiber-to-the-home footprint
Frontier plans 3 million new fiber lines—but 8M others would be stuck on copper.
JON BRODKIN - 5/4/2021, 12:49 PM
Frontier Communications emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday, saying that it plans to double its fiber-to-the-premises footprint by extending fiber to an additional 3 million homes and businesses.
"Frontier is deploying capital and pursuing an extensive fiber build-out plan that will accelerate the company's transformation from a legacy provider of copper-based services to a fiber-based provider... Under the first phase of the plan, Frontier intends to invest heavily and pass more than 3 million homes and business locations, enabling a total of over 6 million homes and businesses with Gig-plus speeds," the company said in a press release.
Expanding to 3 million additional homes will take multiple years, as Frontier said it plans to reach "approximately 495,000 additional locations in 2021." That apparently includes 100,000 new fiber locations already built in the first three months of this year.
Frontier is analyzing whether it can "at least double the build rate next year," Frontier's newly hired CEO Nick Jeffery said, according to FierceTelecom. "We have 3.4 million total fiber passings today and plan to at least double this footprint over the coming years," Jeffery also said.
12 million homes on Frontier copper
Frontier's current network consists of copper lines that pass 11.8 million homes and businesses and fiber lines passing 3.4 million homes and businesses, Frontier said in a presentation for investors. Even if Frontier achieves its goal of doubling its fiber network, over 8 million homes and businesses would remain stuck on Frontier's old copper network, which provides slower DSL service. Although Frontier didn't promise to extend fiber to all or even to a majority of its copper locations, its presentation said the company's network has a "substantial competitive advantage relative to competitors" because it includes "12 million copper passings to potentially convert to fiber."
Frontier said it is planning for $1.5 billion in capital expenditures in 2021, up from $1.2 billion in 2020. The company said its "incremental cash cost" for building fiber is "approximately $550 per location."
Frontier provides Internet service in 25 states. The company had 3.05 million Internet subscribers as of March 31, 2021, a drop from the 3.18 million it had one year previously. (Those numbers exclude four states where Frontier sold its network.)
Of those 3.05 million Internet subscribers, 1.3 million are on fiber. The decline in customers is from the copper service, as Frontier says it has added fiber customers for seven consecutive quarters. Frontier reported Q1 2021 revenue of $1.68 billion, down 6.3 percent year over year. Net income was $60 million, an improvement over Frontier's $186 million loss in Q1 2020. Frontier said it makes $56 per month on average from fiber Internet customers and $40.10 per month from copper Internet customers.
“Significant under-investment in fiber”
Frontier filed for bankruptcy in April 2020 after telling investors that its financial troubles and customer losses were caused by "significant under-investment in fiber deployment and limited enterprise product offerings." Parts of Frontier's fiber network were installed by Verizon before Verizon sold some of its operations to Frontier.
In January 2021, Frontier said it had failed to meet the end-of-2020 deployment deadline in 17 out of 28 states where it accepted broadband funding from the Federal Communications Commission, even though that funding program only required 10Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps upload speeds. Frontier had accepted $283.4 million in annual support over six years to deploy service to 659,587 homes and businesses in 28 states—the company now says it will finish the buildout by the end of 2021, early enough to avoid financial penalties because of a 12-month grace period provided in US law. Frontier is in line to get another $370.9 million over 10 years from the FCC despite its previous failure to finish a government-funded buildout on time.
Meanwhile, a report commissioned by the California state government found that Frontier and AT&T have let their copper phone networks deteriorate through neglect since 2010, resulting in poor service quality and many lengthy outages. To win the state's approval for its post-bankruptcy plan, Frontier committed to deploy fiber to 350,000 California homes and businesses within six years.
Frontier said its Chapter 11 process "reduced its debt by approximately $11 billion and annual interest expense by approximately $1 billion." Frontier also said it has "liquidity of over $1.3 billion at emergence, creating flexibility to reinvest in fiber network expansion." Frontier said in a government filing that its total current liabilities, including long-term debt due within one year, are now $7.2 billion, down from $19.2 billion a year ago.
|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
Here's how to get a $50 discount on your internet bill from the FCC
Starting May 12, eligible Americans can take advantage of a new government subsidy designed to offset the cost of getting connected at home.
Ry Crist headshot Ry Crist May 4, 2021 6:14 a.m. PT
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The ongoing pandemic has made the importance of a dependable broadband connection at home painfully clear, but connections like that aren't always easy for Americans to afford. Now, the Federal Communications Commission wants to help with a new subsidy program called the Emergency Broadband Benefit -- and those who qualify can sign up starting on May 12 to receive $50 off their monthly internet bill, among other benefits.
Sound good to you? Here's everything you should know, and how you can enroll.
Step 1: Determine your eligibility
The Emergency Broadband Benefit isn't open to everyone. Eligibility is limited, so you'll need someone in your household who qualifies in order to opt in.
There are several ways for someone to qualify. The first is income-based. Any household with an income less than or equal to 135% of federal poverty guidelines qualifies. That figure is weighted by the number of people who live in your home, and also by where you live, as the poverty line is set higher in Alaska and Hawaii than it is in the 48 contiguous states. Here's how those numbers look in chart form:
If you make more than that, you may still be eligible. Anyone who experienced a "substantial loss of income" after Feb. 29, 2020 qualifies, so long as their 2020 income was at or below $99,000 for a single filer or $198,000 for joint filers. Additionally, your home qualifies if anyone in your household:
Eligibility also extends to any household participating in one of a number of tribal-specific assistance programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start and Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. If your home is on qualifying tribal lands, the benefit goes up to $75 per month instead of $50.
Step 2: Obtain proof of eligibility
You'll need to demonstrate your eligibility for the program when you apply, so be prepared to gather a document or two. Specifically, you'll need to show proof of your stated income, such as a pay stub or a tax return. If you need to show a loss of income, you'll also need to offer a termination letter, an application for unemployment benefits, a furlough notice or something similar.
Eligible by way of another program, like a Pell Grant or reduced-price school lunches? Be prepared to show a card, letter or other official document as proof of participation when you apply.
For more guidance on what sort of documents will work best for proving eligibility, click here.
Step 3: Choose how to apply
You've got a number of ways to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit — and in some case you might not need to apply at all. For example, current enrollees of the Lifeline program don't need to reapply, and can skip ahead to step 4. The same goes for some people who are already enrolled in an existing low-income or COVID-19 assistance program with their internet provider, so long as the provider obtained approval for its application process from the FCC.
Those who do need to submit an application will be able to do so online starting on May 12. You can also print out an application, fill it out and send it along with proof of eligibility to the following address:
Emergency Broadband Support Center
On top of that, participating internet providers should be able to answer your eligibility questions and guide you through the application process. And, speaking of which...
Step 4: Talk to your internet provider
Once you submit your application, you should expect a timely reply. In fact, the FCC says that those who apply online may receive immediate approval. If the FCC's system can't immediately determine proof of eligibility, it'll request additional documentation and provide instructions as to how to submit those documents for review.
Either way, once you're approved, you'll want to give your internet provider a call, inform them of your enrollment, and ask them what plans are available at a discount. In the coming days, the FCC will launch a tool to help you find qualifying providers near you — once it's live, you'll be able to access that by clicking here.
What else should I know?
For starters, it's important to remember that this is a temporary program, so the $50 discount on your internet bill won't last forever. The program will end once it runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever comes first. At that point, you'll need to agree to pay the regular rate for your internet plan if you want to keep using it.
The program's other key benefit is a one-time, $100 discount on a laptop, tablet or desktop PC. There aren't a lot of details posted yet about how that discount will work or which devices are eligible, but you'll need to pay a co-pay of between $10 and $50 in order to receive the discount, depending on the device. I've reached out to the FCC for more information on that benefit, and I'll update this post when I hear back.
If you have additional questions about the Emergency Broadband Benefit, you can e-mail them to EBBHelp@usac.org, or call 833-511-0311 any day of the week between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET).
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
Zoom CEO: My advice for remote workers who are on video meetings all day
Opinion by Eric S. Yuan for CNN Business Perspectives
Updated 2:07 PM ET, Tue May 4, 2021
Editor's Note: Eric S. Yuan is the founder and CEO of Zoom. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.
At the outset of the pandemic, Zoom became an instrumental part of many people's lives and livelihoods almost overnight. Within weeks, usage of our platform increased exponentially, with hundreds of millions of meeting participants relying on Zoom to stay connected to their customers, colleagues, family and friends. We felt — and continue to feel — unbelievably privileged to help so many people keep their lives moving forward. Even as our worker population starts to get vaccinated, elevated usage rates have persisted. And many workers are feeling fatigue from joining a steady stream of video meetings each day.
As someone who has spent many days and nights on Zoom over the last 12 months talking to people all around the world, I can relate. It is incredibly hard to abruptly pivot from a social, in-person work environment to a world where we only see images of faces on a screen. My personal record is 19 Zoom meetings in a day. It's a record that some may be able to beat, but I'll admit it was a struggle to make it through.
As with everything in life, moderation is critical, and when Zoom was founded 10 years ago, the intent was never to replace in-person interactions altogether. After all, the pandemic has shown how fatigue, especially video meeting fatigue, can impact productivity, job satisfaction and work-life balance. That's why leaders must find ways to make meetings more manageable as employees continue to work remotely.
Here are some of my own practices to limit strain from a high volume of video conference meetings:
Of course, everyone's preferences and circumstances are different, so there is never going to be a "one size fits all" solution when it comes to remote work. Since the pandemic began, we have learned that people experience meetings in different ways. A recent study, for instance, found that women experience meeting fatigue more than men. One reason for this is women are less likely to take breaks between meetings. New findings like this emphasize how important it is for meetings to be customizable and flexible, taking into account the preferences and experiences of all demographics.
My colleagues, CFO Kelly Steckelberg and COO Aparna Bawa, encounter and combat fatigue in different ways from me, and from each other. Kelly likes to go for walks during some of her meetings. Aparna believes in putting wellness at the center of her life and workstyle and schedules screen breaks and power naps when possible. In acknowledging that we all have different experiences, we can grow, together, and create a new future of work that is comfortable and satisfying for everyone.
I expect that, once we can safely return to a physical corporate work environment, people will be able to better calibrate the balance of in-person vs. remote work to suit their preferences. The pandemic has proven that working remotely can provide many benefits, too — a hypothesis that many were beginning to test even prior to the events of the past year — and I believe that our experiences with the pandemic will accelerate our shift building forward that falls somewhere in between fully in-person and fully remote work. Zoom recently commissioned an economic analysis and survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group where businesses surveyed expect over a third of employees to work remotely past the pandemic. And a Boston Consulting Group Covid-19 employee sentiment survey from 2020 showed that more than 70% of managers surveyed are more open to flexible working models than they were before the pandemic.
My hope is that Zoom can help provide the technological foundation for this new future. We are partnering with some of the world's largest companies to help them reimagine their processes and provide them with the tools they need to adapt to a "work from anywhere" model. We're working on features like virtual receptionists for offices, which would reduce direct contact as workers return to physical locations, and AI-enhanced smart gallery views, which creates a gallery view of in-room participants so people joining remotely feel equally part of the meeting as in-person participants, making for a more seamless hybrid experience. And we are also excited about what Zoom can provide in terms of supporting new remote jobs and use-cases across the workforce — creating new opportunities for everyone.
We all deserve to have the flexibility to work in the manner that is most productive for our preferences and beliefs. I am committed to making that happen for Zoom employees and our customers, and I encourage every business leader to do the same.
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.
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Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Petition for Reconsideration of 3.45 GHz Band License Areas - FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION — BloostonLaw
May 5, 2121 at 4:41 PM
As many of our law firm’s clients are aware, the FCC recently allocated 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band for commercial fixed/mobile 5G services. The technical rules for the 3.45 GHz Service are consistent with those adopted for the 3.7 GHz C-band, and permit operations using significantly higher power than the shared use CBRS band. This should help small and rural service providers to cover rural areas using fewer base stations. However, the FCC has rejected calls to license decided to license the 3.45 GHz band on the basis of counties and it plans to offer only PEA-sized licenses.
PEA licensing allowed Verizon and AT&T to dominate the C-band Auction (Auction 107) and prevented rural carriers from having a fair shot at obtaining full-power mid-band spectrum. A total of 280 megahertz was available for bid in that auction, but in many rural areas, ten PEA license blocks (200 megahertz) went to Verizon, while the remaining four PEA blocks (80 megahertz) went to AT&T.
We have prepared a Petition for Reconsideration of the Commission’s 3.7 GHz Second Report and Order that seeks to rectify this imbalance and to give rural service providers a fighting chance to obtain county-based 3.45 GHz licenses. A draft of the petition is attached for your review. Consistent with recent comments/replies on Auction 110 procedures, we also urge the Commission to delay the short-form application deadline for the 3.45 GHz auction until the end of Q1 2022.
The Petition is due to be filed this Friday (May 7). Please let us know by return e-mail if your company wishes to participate in this effort (flat fee of $250 per participant). Also please let us know if you have any input on the substance of the petition.
Please let us know if you experience any problems opening the attached file. To insure continued receipt of information from our firm via e-mail, please have your IT Team "White List" our e-mail address email@example.com
Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP
To: The Commission
PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION
The law firm of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP, on behalf of its rural and independent telephone carrier and wireless service provider clients that have interests in developing and deploying rural 4G and 5G networks and providing IoT and other advanced spectrum-based services (the “Blooston Rural Carriers”), hereby seek reconsideration of the Commission’s decision, as part of its 3.45 GHz Second Report and Order,1 to license the entirety of the 3.45 GHz band on the basis of Partial Economic Areas (or “PEAs”). As discussed below, this decision, along with the lack of spectrum aggregation limits or other restrictions on nationwide carriers, will effectively preclude small and rural wireless service providers from having a meaningful opportunity to compete for available licenses in the 3.45 GHz band auction (Auction 110). The Commission can restore balance and provide economic opportunity for a wide variety of applicants, including small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women, if it licenses six of the ten 3.45 GHz channel blocks on the basis of counties. The Commission should also consider adopting a spectrum reserve for non-nationwide carriers in the 3.45 GHz band, as it did for the 600 MHz incentive auction, to promote competition and to avoid excessive concentration of full-power mid-band spectrum licenses in the hands of nationwide carriers. The Commission should be mindful of its obligations under the Small Business Act and Section 309(j)(3)(E) of the Communications Act and it must give rural telephone companies and small businesses sufficient time to respond to proposed changes in the Commission’s rules and auction procedures. Accordingly, the Blooston Rural Carriers recommend that the Commission delay the deadline for filing of Auction 110 short-form applications until the end of Q1 of 2022.
Statement of Interest
The Commission can take official notice that the law firm of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP represents a large number of rural telephone companies, rural telephone cooperatives, and entrepreneurs that are engaged in the provision of wireless services in less populated areas of the country. Each has a significant interest in the outcome of this proceeding, because each has an interest in seeing that the FCC adopts policies and rules that ensure meaningful rural telephone company and small business participation in spectrum auctions, as well as that encourage the rapid deployment of advanced telecommunications services in rural America.
In its 3.45 GHz Second Report and Order, the FCC concluded it should license the 3.45 GHz service on an exclusive, geographic areas basis, using PEAs as the license area for the entirety of the band. The Commission agreed with commenters that, given its decision to adopt higher-powered operation in the 3.45 GHz band, PEAs would better assist carriers in making the most of capabilities of 5G networks and encourage investment in furtherance of goals found in section 303(y) of the Communications Act.2 The Commission also concluded that the availability of spectrum aggregation across other bands with similar technical rules would make PEAs a better choice for the 3.45 GHz Service. The Commission specifically referenced the 3.7 GHz band in this context, and it found that the goal of facilitating 5G service in the 3.45 GHz band was best served by aligning the band’s rules with other bands licensed on a PEA basis.3 It then recognized that aligning the 3.45 GHz band’s rules further with other 5G bands “will allow for easier aggregation of these bands by wireless carriers.”
However, in light of the shockingly lopsided results of the 3.7 GHz auction (Auction 107), which results were announced by the FCC in late February (weeks before the 3.45 GHz Second Report and Order was adopted by the Commission), the Commission should have immediately understood that a decision to license the entirety of the 3.45 GHz band by PEAs would effectively preclude many small and rural carriers and entrepreneurs from a meaningful opportunity to compete when bidding for 3.45 GHz band licenses in Auction 110. If the Commission had properly considered the Auction 107 results, it would have seen how two nationwide carriers were able to dominate the bidding for the 280 megahertz of C-band spectrum, to the detriment of small and rural bidders. In this regard, Verizon Wireless, bidding as Cellco Partnership, was high bidder for between seven to ten 20 megahertz blocks in all PEAs nationwide. AT&T, bidding as AT&T Spectrum Frontiers LLC, was high bidder for four 20 megahertz blocks in all but a handful of PEAs nationwide where it otherwise won three 20 megahertz blocks or five 20 megahertz blocks.4 These carriers together won licenses for 100 percent of the C-band spectrum in the accelerated phase and over 80 percent of the total C-band spectrum.5
The Blooston Rural Carriers respectfully submit that the Commission would create far more meaningful opportunities for small businesses, rural carriers, and entrepreneurs to acquire full-power mid-band licenses if it licensed six of the ten 3.45 GHz channel blocks on the basis of counties, while licensing the remaining four channel blocks by PEA. Using county-sized license areas for a majority of the 3.45 band is clearly in the public interest because it would promote an equitable distribution of mid-band high-power licenses among geographic areas, it would promote economic opportunity for a wide variety of businesses and entrepreneurs, and it would promote the rapid deployment of 5G products and services to rural areas on the same initial-license-term time frame as urban markets. It would thereby allow the Commission to fulfill numerous statutory obligations imposed by Congress in Section 309(j) of the Communications Act.
In its design of systems for competitive bidding, the Commission is under a statutory obligation to “prescribe area designations and bandwidth assignments that promote (i) an equitable distribution of licenses and services among geographic areas, (ii) economic opportunity for a wide variety of applicants, including small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women, and (iii) investment in and rapid deployment of new technologies and services.”6 Licensing a majority of the 3.45 GHz Band spectrum by county-based service areas will help to alleviate the lack of meaningful opportunities for small and rural carriers to participate in mid-band spectrum licensing opportunities, and will bring diversity and robust competition to the mid-band marketplace. Using county-based licensing for a significant portion of the 3.45 GHz band will also help to ensure that mid-band 5G services are deployed in all parts of the country, including rural areas, during the initial license term.
The approach advocated by the Blooston Rural Carriers would still set aside four spectrum blocks for PEA licensing, to the benefit of larger bidders. And such larger bidders will not face obstacles in bidding for the county-sized licenses, if they choose to do so. However, the opposite is not true – small and rural carriers often cannot afford to successfully bid on an entire PEA, as shown by Auction 107; and PEAs usually contain areas that extend well beyond the service areas of rural carriers, which would force these entities to take on a buildout obligation for areas in which they have no customers and interests.
The Blooston Rural Carriers believe that offering county-based licenses is imperative to providing meaningful opportunities for small and rural carriers and entrepreneurs to participate in Auction 110. The Commission is required to consider the impact of its actions on small businesses, pursuant to the Small Business Act,7 as well as to provide designated entities with adequate time to “develop business plans, assess market conditions, and evaluate the availability of equipment for the relevant services” when implementing changes to auction procedures.8 The Commission can best meet the requirements of Section 309(j) and fulfill its other statutory obligations if it adopts county sized licensing for six of the ten spectrum blocks, and postpones the deadline for filing of Auction 110 short-form applications until the end of Q1 of 2022.
The Commission has an obligation under Section 309(j) of the Act to ensure that its design and use of competitive bidding promote economic opportunity and competition by disseminating licenses among a wide variety of applicants, including small businesses and rural telephone companies. It should therefore license a significant portion of the 3.45 GHz band (six of the ten 10 megahertz blocks) based on counties, and it should reserve a portion of the band for bidding by non-nationwide providers.
AT&T Auction 107 Winning Bids
AT&T won four 20 megahertz blocks of 3.7 GHz band spectrum in all but a few markets nationwide. The company won 5 blocks in PEA008 (Dallas, TX). It won 3 blocks in PEA005 (Baltimore-Washington, DC); PEA253 (Baraboo, WI); PEA406 (Anamosa, IA) and PEA317 (Beatrice, NE).
Verizon Auction 107 Winning Bids
Verizon won between seven and ten 20 megahertz blocks of 3.7 GHz band spectrum nationwide. Markets in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Maine and mid-Atlantic states where it won the least spectrum were in most cases markets where it faced bidding competition from United States Cellular Corporation.
Auction 107 Winning Bidders – Small and Rural Carriers
Only a few small and rural (i.e., Tier III) carriers were able to win licenses in Auction 107. Of the fourteen blocks available in each PEA, the following bidders were only able to secure one or two blocks.
|Source:||Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP|
|Inside Towers Newsletter|
GE Puts 5G and Verizon to the Test
Reporting from GE's Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY, the company announced that it has created, in partnership with Verizon, a testbed to study 5G applications across a number of industries. According to the Times-Union, research will concentrate on aviation, healthcare, and energy.
“Together with Verizon, we are leading the way in innovating on 5G,” stated GE’s Chief Technology Officer, Vic Abate. “It marks a pivotal moment for the industrial world, as we finally have a wireless network platform that delivers the speed, scale, reliability and flexibility to connect industrial devices in a truly transformative way.”
Ben Verschueren, who runs the Forge Lab at GE Research, explained the testbed is exploring ways to cross-reference data to make maximum use of the available technology. “Today we are dependent on custom wireless protocols to achieve levels of reliability and security that we require for continuous monitoring and patient privacy,” Verschueren said of healthcare applications.
“With 5G, those capabilities are all built in.” He pointed out that the same ability to compile data could also benefit energy industries like wind farms. “If I actually start enabling things like industrialized controls over a wireless communication protocol like 5G I can now open up the possibilities of doing full wind farm control,” he said. “I can put more sensors on the blades of those turbines, I can get that data faster, more reliably, more quantity, which enables better analytics, better outcomes.”
The partnership between GE and Verizon will allow the two businesses the mutual opportunity to add to its own database from the independent research each entity has conducted. “This testbed gives us a network with unprecedented speed and bandwidth and positions us well to carry out research programs that combine digital technologies like augmented reality, sensors, and robotics,” said GE’s senior director of technical products, Eric Tucker. “It increases the scale at which we can develop and test these technologies to improve industrial assets and systems like wind turbines or whole wind farms, or in healthcare, to improve patient care within the halls of the hospital… and beyond.”
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter||Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
REMINDER: Lifeline Non-Usage Waiver Expired May 1
On May 1, the FCC’s waiver of the Lifeline non-usage rule expired. As a result, Lifeline subscribers who have not used their service in the previous 30 days (counting back from May 1) are in the 15-day cure period, which will end on May 15. Service providers must send notice to provide subscribers the opportunity to cure their non-usage, and subscribers who do not cure must be de-enrolled on May 16. No de-enrollments for non-usage may occur prior to May 16.
Carriers with questions about this process may contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for May Open Meeting
On April 29, the FCC announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the March Open Meeting scheduled for May 20, 2021:
Each summary above contains a link to the draft text of each item expected to be considered at this Open Meeting. However, it is possible that changes will be made before the Meeting. One-page cover sheets prepared by the FCC are included in the public drafts to help provide an additional summary.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
Carrier Groups, DISH Network Raise Concerns Over T-Mobile’s 3G Sunset
In two recent letters to the FCC– one from the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (“PISC”), and one from DISH Network — concerns have been raised with regard to T-Mobile’s proposed sunset of its 3G CDMA service. The PISC letter can be found here, and the DISH letter can be found here.
Both letters cite to competitive and public interest concerns regarding T-Mobile’s shutdown of its entire CDMA network (including the Sprint CDMA network it inherited via merger) by January 1, 2022. According to DISH, the shutdown will affect 9 million Boost subscribers, whose devices rely on the CDMA network. DISH further notes that T-Mobile had alluded to a 3-year shutdown runway, which it asserts is significantly longer than the 260 or so days remaining until January 1, 2022.
The PISC, for its part, raised a specific set of concerns that it urged the FCC to consider:
The PISC is composed of: Public Knowledge, Open Technology Institute at New America, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, Center for Rural Strategies, X-Labs, Greenlining Institute, TURN – The Utility Reform Network, and the Rural Wireless Association.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
FCC Unveils Proposed Rules for Emergency Connectivity Fund
On April 30, FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated and released to the public a draft Report and Order that, if adopted, would establish the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, pursuant to section 7402 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. As drafted, the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program would reimburse schools and libraries for the purchase, during the COVID-19 pandemic, of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots and other eligible equipment as well as broadband connections for students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and broadband service during the pandemic. A factsheet and copy of the draft Report and Order can be found here.
“During the pandemic, our classrooms went virtual and what was already an unconscionable homework gap has become a learning chasm with even more devastating consequences,” said Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Even as the pandemic ebbs in some areas and surges in others, millions of students are still engaged in remote learning, and there is no time to lose. Congress has entrusted the Commission with the vital task of providing relief to our students, teachers, school staff, and library patrons – and has mandated that we do so quickly.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
FCC Issues Compliance Guide for Robocalling Fourth Report and Order
On May 3, the FCC released a Small Entity Compliance Guide covering its Fourth Report and Order of December 30, 2020. It is important to note that the Compliance Guide just a guide and that any decision by the FCC regarding a particular small entity will be based on the statute and any relevant rules. Accordingly, carriers with questions about complying with the FCC’s robocalling requirements are encouraged to contact the firm for more information.
In the Fourth Report and Order, the FCC required voice service providers to take “affirmative steps” to stop illegal calls when notified of those calls by the FCC, and to aid FCC and law enforcement efforts to identify providers that originate illegal calls. The Order also expanded safe harbors for providers to include network-based blocking of calls that are highly likely to be illegal and that have been identified using reasonable analytics, including caller ID authentication. Last, the FCC required phone companies to immediately notify callers when calls are blocked, provide a list of calls blocked to subscribers on request, and provide a status update on call blocking disputes within 24 hours.
Carriers with questions about what requirements may apply to their operations and how best to comply may contact the firm for information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Enrollment Opens May 12
On April 29, the FCC issued a Press Release announcing that, as of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the Program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.
Between now and the start date, the FCC encourages partners and participating providers to conduct outreach efforts so that every eligible household knows about the program and how to sign up. The FCC will be providing a variety of materials for partners to use in their efforts to increase awareness about the program. During this time, the FCC and its program administrator, USAC, will continue to ensure that appropriate privacy and security safeguards are in place. The FCC also urges providers to continue to test their own systems for the program launch.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also will provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
Law and Regulation
5.850-5.925 GHz Band Repurposing Rules Effective July 2
On May 3, the FCC published in the Federal Register its First Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification revising its rules to repurpose the lower 45 megahertz of the 5.850–5.925 GHz band (5.9 GHz band) for the expansion of unlicensed midband spectrum operations, while retaining the upper 30 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for intelligent transportation system (ITS) operations. Accordingly, those rules – with the exception of Section 90.372 – go into effect on July 2.
Specifically, as of the effective date, unlicensed indoor operations are permitted in the 5.850–5.895 GHz portion of the 5.9 GHz band, under specified power and other technical limitations designed to protect incumbent ITS service and federal radar operations from harmful interference. ITS licensees have a period of one year to transition all operations into the 5.895–5.925 GHz portion of the band. Further, the FCC designated C–V2X technology as the ITS delivery system once the it adopts a deadline and the transition to the revised ITS band is complete. Pending resolution of the transition of ITS operations to C–V2X, ITS licensees will be able to continue their DSRC-based operations or, alternatively, to seek to deploy C–V2X based operations.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
USAC Updates HUBB Data Deployment Template; Old Templates No Longer Accepted
On May 3, USAC issued a notice announcing that it has updated the broadband deployment data upload template for the High-Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal to include new fields for carriers to report the type of technology used to serve each individual location deployed and indicate whether the location has a high latency or low latency network connection. Both new fields are mandatory for CAF Phase II Auction participants, which must report technology type used (DSL, cable, fiber, wireless, low earth orbit satellite, geostationary satellite or other) and latency when filing deployment data in then HUBB. The latency field is mandatory for Alaska Plan carriers when reporting deployment data in the HUBB. The new fields are optional for all other carriers, although USAC encourages all carriers to provide this information when filing in the HUBB.
The new templates for uploading new or modified deployment data into the HUBB are available on the HUBB resource page. The HUBB will no longer accept data uploaded using the old templates.
BloostonLaw Contact: Salvatore Taillefer.
FCC’s Delays Implementation of New Application Fee Schedule
Last month, we reported that the FCC had adopted a new application fee schedule that was designed to more closely reflect the FCC’s actual costs in processing applications, as required by the RAY BAUM’S Act. The FCC has announced that while order adopting schedule was effective April 19, 2021, the modifications to the application fee schedule will not become effective until “until the requisite notice has been provided to Congress, the FCC’s information technology systems and internal procedures have been updated, and the FCC publishes notices in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of such rules. Informal indications from the FCC’s staff suggest that we could expect to see the fee changes take effect either later this Summer or Fall.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Broadband Associations Sue NY State Over Low-Income Broadband Requirement
On April 30, a group of broadband provider trade groups consisting of the New York State Telecommunications Association, CTIA, ACA Connects, USTelecom, NTCA, and SBCA brought suit for declaratory judgement and injunctive relief from a provision of the recently-enacted New York State Fiscal Year 2022 Budget. This provision requires wireline, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers to begin offering to qualifying low-income consumers high-speed broadband service at a cost to consumers of $15 per month by June 15, 2021.
The Associations argue that the provision is preempted by Federal law, including the FCC’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order and the provisions of the Communications Act itself. They further argue that the regulation in question violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
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 recertify 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.
JUNE 1: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. However, because the 31st is a Holiday this year, the filing will be due on June 1. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on June 1. The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report.
BloostonLaw Contact: Richard Rubino.
JULY 1: FCC FORM 481 (CARRIER ANNUAL REPORTING DATA COLLECTION FORM). All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) must report the information required by Section 54.313, which includes information on the ETC’s holding company, operating companies, ETC affiliates and any branding in response to section 54.313(a)(8); its CAF-ICC certification, if applicable; its financial information, if a privately held rate-of-return carrier; and its satellite backhaul certification, if applicable.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
JULY 1: MOBILITY FUND PHASE I ANNUAL REPORT. Winning bidders in Auction 901 that are authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support are required to submit to the FCC an annual report each year on July 1 for the five years following authorization. Each annual report must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of the FCC, clearly referencing WT Docket No. 10-208; the Universal Service Administrator; and the relevant state commissions, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described in Section 54.1009 of the FCC’s rules.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Sal Taillefer.
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.
|THIS WEEK'S MUSIC VIDEO|
Iko Iko feat. Dr. John, members of Grateful Dead + more | Playing For Change | Song Around The World
Playing For Change
In loving memory of Dr. John (1941-2019)
Written by: James Crawford, Barbara Hawkins, Rosa Hawkins and Joan Johnson
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