|Wireless News Aggregation|
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This Week's Wireless News Headlines
NO POLITICS HERE
This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
I spend the whole week searching the INTERNET for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.
Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do freely express my own opinions.
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There is not a lot of news about Paging these days but when anything significant comes out, you will probably see it here. I also cover text messaging to other devices and various articles about related technology.
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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)
Messenger gets new shortcuts that let you send silent replies
There’s also one that pings everyone, so please use it responsibly
By Jay Peters @jaypeters Mar 29, 2022, 2:47pm EDT
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is introducing Slack-like shortcuts to Messenger that let you do things like send a message silently or quickly call up a GIF while you’re chatting with your friends.
Two of the shortcuts are available today, March 29th, according to Meta: @everyone and /silent. @everyone will let you notify everyone in a chat, which could be useful if you want to make sure to get everyone’s attention. (On behalf of your friends’ notifications, I beg you to please use this one responsibly.) However, if you want to send a message without pinging the whole group, you’ll be able to use the /silent shortcut, Meta says.
In “the coming weeks,” there will be a few more shortcuts. /pay will let you send or request money right from the Messenger chatbox and will be available soon on iOS and Android in the US. Type /gif and a topic of something you want a GIF of to see some potential options to drop in the chat. This feature will be available soon on iOS. And /shrug and /tableflip, which will also be available soon on iOS, will let you drop the classic ̄\_(ツ)_/ ̄ and (╯°□°)╯( ┻━┻ emoticons without having to type them out yourself.
U.S. privately warned about Russia's Kaspersky software
March 31, 2022
The U.S. government began privately warning some American companies that Moscow could manipulate software designed by Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky to cause harm, according to a senior U.S. official and two people familiar with the matter.
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.
The Wireless Messaging News
The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.
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SOLAR HARVESTING IS BETTER WITH BIG CAPACITORS
by: Lewin Day March 30, 2022
The sun is a great source of energy, delivering in the realm of 1000 watts per square meter on a nice clear day. [Jasper Sikken] has developed many projects that take advantage of this power over the years, and has just completed his latest solar harvesting module for powering microcontroller projects.
The concept is simple. A small solar panel is used to charge up a lithium ion capacitor (LIC), which can then be used to power other projects. We first saw this project last year, when it was one of the winners of Hackaday’s 2021 Earth Day contest. Back then, it was only capable of dishing out 80 mA at 2.2V.
However, the latest version ups the ante considerably, delivering up to 400 mA at 3.3V. This opens up new possibilities, allowing the module to power projects using technologies like Bluetooth, WiFi and LTE that require more current to operate. It relies on a giant 250 F capacitor to store energy, and a AEM10941 solar energy harvesting chip to get the most energy possible out of a panel using Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT).
It’s a useful thing to have for projects that you’d like to run off the sun, and you can score one off Tindie if you don’t want to build your own. We’ve seen [Jasper] pull off other neat solar-powered projects before, too. Video after the break.
|PRISM IPX Systems|
|Prism IPX Customers|
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.
Experts in Paging Infrastructure
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.
Click on the image above for more info about advertising here.
INTERNET Protocol Terminal
The IPT accepts INTERNET or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.
An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
Erie amateur radio operator faces more charges of airing bomb, other threats
Tim Hahn Erie Times-News
An Erie man accused of using an emergency radio frequency to broadcast threats against people and property and to air bogus weather and other emergencies in 2021 and earlier this year was given two big breaks during recent court appearances. Richard L. Wagner, 61, had faced 37 criminal charges, including multiple counts of bomb threats, in two criminal cases that Erie County detectives filed against him in October and February. But prosecutors dropped all but two charges — one first-degree misdemeanor count of terroristic threats in each case — at Wagner's preliminary hearing on March 3. Wagner waived those two charges to court.
The second break came on March 22, when Erie County Judge David Ridge agreed to change the $250,000 bond holding Wagner in the Erie County Prison in the second case to a $25,000 unsecured bond. Ridge placed conditions on the bond, however, including a prohibition against the misuse of any communications device and the removal of Wagner's radio equipment from his home.
Wagner could lose both of those deals after county detectives accused him of airing, earlier this week, a series of new threats over emergency airwaves.
Wagner was placed in the Erie County Prison on $175,000 bond Wednesday after Erie 3rd Ward District Judge Tom Carney arraigned him on charges including a felony count of retaliation against a prosecutor or judicial official and 14 counts of bomb threats.
Erie County detectives filed the charges on Tuesday, accusing Wagner of broadcasting a series of new threats against victims and witnesses on Sunday and Monday. Among those threatened was Erie 6th Ward District Judge Timothy Beveridge, who was assigned the two earlier cases against Wagner, according to information in Wagner's criminal complaint.
Detectives wrote in the complaint that Wagner — who they said uses a computer synthesizer to disguise his voice — has threatened to place bombs in six government buildings and offices, three housing complexes in Erie County and in local schools and "modes of transportation." The threats were transmitted via ham radio by utilizing Radio Association of Erie transmitters, which are used by Erie County Emergency Management and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency in the event of regional, state and national emergencies, according to information in the complaint.
Investigators also wrote that Wagner has issued two false alarms of bomb threats and a false alarm of a working structure through the Med 9 channel of the Erie County 911 system in an attempt to dispatch the Union City Volunteer Fire Department.
Detectives additionally accuse Wagner of issuing false tornado warnings and threatening people with sending bombs to their residences, according to the complaint.
"The defendant stated, 'I will kill you slowly and torture your life and make it a living hell;' 'I'm out, and I'm coming for you and all your friends. You will pay for this;' and, 'Beat your brains out with a metal baseball bat,'" detectives wrote in the complaint.
Detectives said they reviewed audio recordings from Monday in which Wagner stated, "I will kill County Detective 6 and former Millcreek police officer Timothy Beveridge, now a presiding judge, Erie County."
Beveridge was formerly a Millcreek police officer before he was elected as district judge in 2017.
Erie radio operator charged with threats An amateur radio operator in Erie is accused of using a radio frequency designed to notify people of emergencies.
County detectives first charged Wagner with making threats over amateur radio on Oct. 12. Detectives accused him of broadcasting false reports of tornadoes, floods and severe thunderstorms between June 30 and Aug. 14.
Detectives wrote in the complaint that when other radio operators confronted Wagner, he interfered in communications by playing touch tones, threatened to smash the knees of members with a baseball bat, and threatened to place a bomb in the stairwell of Highpoint Towers.
Wagner lives in the Highpoint Towers, 2314 Sassafras St., according to information in his criminal complaints.
Wagner was charged by summons and was awaiting his preliminary hearing in the case when, on Feb. 14, county detectives filed a new set of criminal charges against him.
Detectives accused Wagner in that complaint of transmitting bomb threats over the radio between Dec. 19 and Feb. 13. The targets of those threats included the City of Erie Police Department, the Erie County Courthouse, several residential housing units and a local eatery, according to information in the complaint.
Detectives also wrote that Wagner threatened to send a pipe bomb in the mail to an Erie County resident. That resident notified the U.S. Postal Inspection Services, which county detectives assisted in making contact with Wagner at his residence on Feb. 1, according to information in the complaint. Investigators said Wagner denied making the pipe bomb threat.
Wagner was arraigned on those charges on Feb. 15 and was placed in the Erie County Prison on $250,000 bond.
Wagner had his preliminary hearing on two cases on March 3 before Beveridge. He waived the two misdemeanor counts to court and was returned to prison.
Erie man waives charges in threats cases An amateur radio operator in Erie accused by county authorities of using a radio emergency frequency
Wagner returned to court on March 22 for a hearing after his lawyer, listed in court records as Erie County Assistant Public Defender Eden Hartman, filed a motion to modify Wagner's bond.
Ridge, in an amended order issued on March 22, agreed to change the $250,000 bond to $25,000 unsecured bond. He ordered Wagner released to the supervision of Erie County Adult Probation, which would take him home and immediately place him on electronic monitoring.
In his order, Ridge also wrote that:
It was unknown Thursday if any radio equipment had been removed from Wagner's apartment after the March 22 court hearing. A county detective who is involved in the case said Thursday that a search warrant was served on Wagner's residence after his arrest in February and that items were seized, but he did not specify what was taken from the apartment.
It was also unknown Thursday if prosecutors would seek to reinstate the original list of charges against Wagner in the earlier two cases now that he has been charged in a third case.
Hartman and Erie County Assistant District Attorney Gregory Reichart, who was in court for the March 22 bond hearing, could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.
Wagner on March 23 waived his appearance at his formal arraignment in the two earlier cases, according to online court docket information. He is tentatively scheduled to appear in court on April 14 for his preliminary hearing in the latest case before Erie 3rd Ward District Judge Tom Carney.
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.
Wireless Network Planners
R.H. (Ron) Mercer
Intel’s unlocked Core i9-12900KS processor claims to be the ‘world’s fastest desktop processor’ with 5.5GHz speeds
But with a $739 price tag, that speed won’t come cheap
By Chaim Gartenberg@cgartenberg Mar 28, 2022, 12:52 pm EDT
Intel has officially announced its new Core i9-12900KS processor, an unlocked version of its flagship Core i9-12900K that ups the maximum boosted clock speed even higher to 5.5GHz for what the company claims is “the world’s fastest desktop processor” and “the ultimate gaming experience.”
The Core i9-12900KS has a lot in common with its predecessors’ hardware, including the same 16 cores (split up between eight Performance-cores and eight Efficient-cores) and 24 threads and 30MB of L3 cache memory. But Intel has boosted the base power from 125W to 150W and allowed the Core i9-12900KS to run unlocked, allowing it to hit up to 5.5GHz on up to two cores (compared to the maximum 5.2GHz speed on the regular i9-12900K).
For those keeping track at home, AMD also recently claimed the title of the “world’s fasted gaming CPU” earlier in March when it announced the availability for its new Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor. Like Intel, AMD is offering a souped-up version of its older model (in this case, the Ryzen 7 5800), although AMD’s differs by introducing a new, 3D V-Cache technology to deliver speeds that it claimed would be able to top the Core i9-12900K.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is significantly cheaper than the Core i9-12900KS, with a $449 price tag compared to Intel’s $739 sticker price. But Intel does AMD solidly on sheer processing frequency — the Ryzen 7 5800X3D only touts a maximum boosted clock speed of 4.5GHz, compared to the 5.5GHz maximum speed on Intel’s new chip.
How the Ryzen 7 5800X3D stacks up again the newly announced Core i9-12900KS, however, will have to wait until both chips arrive in April and can be put to the test head to head. AMD will also get another shot at the crown later this year, too, when its Ryzen 7000 desktop chips arrive in the second half of 2022.
The Core i9-12900KS will be available starting April 5th for a recommended consumer price of $739. That marks a significant increase over the recommended $589 price tag for the Core i9-12900K, which itself is almost impossible to find at Intel’s recommended price (most retailers charge at least $600, if not more, for the Core i9-12900K today). In other words, you should probably expect to have to shell out some extra cash beyond that $739 number for the Core i9-12900KS when it arrives next month.
Brad Dye, Ron Mercer, Allan Angus, Vic Jackson, and Ira Wiesenfeld are friends and colleagues who work both together and independently, on wireline and wireless communications projects.
Click here for a summary of their qualifications and experience. Each one has unique abilities. We would be happy to help you with a project, and maybe save you some time and money.
Note: We do not like Patent Trolls, i.e. “a person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question.” We have helped some prominent law firms defend their clients against this annoyance, and would be happy to do some more of this same kind of work.
Some people use the title “consultant” when they don't have a real job. We actually do consulting work, and help others based on our many years of experience.
“If you would know the road ahead, ask someone who has traveled it.” — Chinese Proverb
Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
'Cannibal' coronal mass ejection will hit Earth at nearly 2 million mph, scientists say
By Ben Turner published March 29, 2022
The Northern Lights could be visible as far south as Pennsylvania and Oregon.
The dazzling northern lights could light up the skies as far south as the northern United States after the detection of 17 solar eruptions blasting from a single sunspot, two of which are headed straight to Earth.
The two Earth-directed eruptions have merged into a "cannibal coronal mass ejection" and are barreling toward us at 1,881,263 mph (3,027,599 km/h). When it crashes into the Earth's magnetic field, beginning from the night of March 30 through to April 1, the result will be a powerful G3 geomagnetic storm, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). G3 storms are classified as strong geomagnetic storms, meaning that the oncoming sun blast could bring the aurora as south as Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oregon.
The sunspot, called AR2975, has been shooting out flares of electrically charged particles from the sun's plasma soup since Monday (March 28). Sunspots are areas on the sun's surface where powerful magnetic fields, created by the flow of electrical charges, knot into kinks before suddenly snapping. The resulting release of energy launches bursts of radiation called solar flares, or explosive jets of solar material called coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
Cannibal coronal mass ejections happen when fast-moving solar eruptions overtake earlier eruptions in the same region of space, sweeping up charged particles to form a giant, combined wavefront that triggers a powerful geomagnetic storm.
The "frenzy" of solar flares meant that "at least two full-halo [Earth striking] CMEs emerged from the chaos," SpaceWeather.com wrote of the event. The second CME is expected to overtake and "cannibalize" the first before hitting Earth's magnetic field at around 11 p.m. ET time on March 30.
CME's usually take around 15 to 18 hours to reach Earth, according to the SWPC. When they do, the Earth's magnetic field gets compressed slightly by the waves of highly energetic particles, which ripple down magnetic field lines and agitate molecules in the atmosphere, releasing energy in the form of light to create colorful auroras in the night sky.
The energy from the storm is expected to be harmlessly absorbed by our magnetic field, but large solar storms still have the potential to wreak havoc. G3 storms can cause "intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems," according to SWPC. A recent storm in February sent 40 Starlink satellites tumbling back to Earth, Live Science previously reported, and scientists have warned that an even larger one could have the potential to cripple the Internet across the globe.
Scientists think that the largest ever solar storm witnessed during contemporary history was the 1859 Carrington Event, which carried roughly the same energy as 10 billion 1-megaton atomic bombs. After slamming into the Earth, the powerful stream of solar particles fried telegram systems all over the world and caused auroras brighter than the light of the full moon to appear as far south as the Caribbean. If a similar event happened today, it would cause trillions of dollars in damage and widespread blackouts, much like the solar storm which caused the 1989 Quebec blackout, according to scientists.
Originally published on Live Science.
Why People Are Acting So Weird
Crime, “unruly passenger” incidents, and other types of strange behavior have all soared recently. Why?
By Olga Khazan
This article was featured in One Story to Read Today, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a single must-read from The Atlantic, Monday through Friday.
[Read the article by clicking on the source below.]
|Inside Towers Newsletter|
Huawei Sales Nosedive for Surprising Reasons
Editor Disclosure: I visited Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, China in 2000 on a consulting assignment. I was well-received and was impressed with the company’s state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing facilities. I have no opinion on recent developments regarding Huawei equipment being banned from use in wireless networks in a number of countries around the world.
Huawei, the Shenzhen, China-based telecom equipment manufacturer, experienced a sharp decline in its total global sales between 2020 and 2021. Where that decline came from may surprise you.
Huawei bills itself as a leading global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices. The company produces the entire telecom equipment ecosystem from consumer devices to network equipment and in fact, leads all other suppliers worldwide.
Huawei reported 2021 consolidated sales of nearly US$100 billion including Carrier, Enterprise, and Consumer business segments. Its global Carrier business alone was $44 billion. By comparison, Ericsson and Nokia, the other two leading global telecom equipment manufacturers, reported 2021 total sales of nearly $26 billion and $25 billion, respectively.
Huawei’s outsized sales figure is misleading, though. It reflects a dramatic 29 percent decline from the company’s consolidated 2020 sales of almost $140 billion. Even with the plummeting sales, Huawei paints a positive picture indicating that sales have grown at a 1 percent CAGR since 2017 when in fact sales grew at a 14 percent CAGR between 2017 and 2020.
By region, Huawei derives the majority of its 2021 sales, roughly 65 percent of the total, from its home market, China. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) account for around 20 percent, while Asia-Pacific (India and Southeast Asia) make up another 8 percent. It is interesting that the Americas region including Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Latin America, accounts for only 5 percent of the company’s 2021 total sales. Other countries make up the remaining 2 percent.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Between 2020 and 2021, the company saw its biggest sales decline, 31 percent, in China, its biggest market. All other regions showed declines as well but not quite to that extent. EMEA and the Americas declined 27 percent and 26 percent, respectively, while Asia-Pacific dropped 17 percent.
One could argue that government bans, or pending bans, on mobile network operator use of Huawei equipment in wireless networks in Western Europe and North America is taking effect and is reflected in the numbers. But that doesn’t explain the sharp drop-off in Huawei’s sales in China.
In looking at consolidated global sales by customer category, Huawei’s sales to Carriers declined 7 percent to $44 billion in 2021. Enterprise sales grew 2 percent YoY to $16 billion. But the biggest hit occurred in Consumer sales which dropped 50 percent from $75 billion to $38 billion in one year.
Huawei offered a short explanation of its results in the Chinese market in its 2021 annual report. It said that the Carrier business maintained steady operations with continued 5G rollouts. The company has been the prime supplier to the big Chinese MNOs – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom with all three undertaking very aggressive 5G deployments over the past several years. Those rollouts likely are slowing as network build outs reach some level of completion. Its Enterprise business showed healthy growth as many industries were modernizing their operations to digital at a faster rate.
The company said its Consumer business in China adhered “to its premium quality strategy, stepped up efforts in scenario-based solutions and ecosystem development, and provided superior experiences to consumers.” It’s possible that Huawei flooded the mass market for new 5G phones in 2020, and is now focused on lower volume, higher-value consumer groups, resulting in the significant drop in sales volumes.
By John Celentano, Inside Towers Business Editor
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter||Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers, Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
REMINDER: First Quarter 2022 Speed Testing Must Uploaded by April 7
Universal Service recipients must conduct performance measures testing at a random sample of locations selected by USAC and submit the results to USAC within one week of the end of the quarter. All data must be collected by March 31, and uploaded to USAC by April 7.
This year, CAF Phase II, Rural Broadband Experiments, Alaska Plan, A-CAM I, and Revised A-CAM I carriers are required conduct testing. Carriers will face penalties for failing to meet speed and latency requirements during testing. A-CAM II, CAF-BLS, and CAF II Auction carriers are required to conduct pre-testing. Pre-testing carriers will not face penalties for failing to meet speed and latency requirements during pre-testing, but may face penalties for failing to participate.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
COVID-19 Lifeline Waivers Extended through June 2022
On March 25, the FCC released an Order extending previous Lifeline waivers set to expire on March 31, 2022, through June 30, 2022. Specifically, waivers governing recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, and income documentation are extended through June 30, for all applicable Lifeline participants. Additionally, the waiver regarding documentation requirements for subscribers residing in rural areas on Tribal lands is also extended through June 30.
Per USAC, from now through June 30:
As a reminder, the FCC allowed its waiver of the Lifeline usage requirement to expire on May 1, 2021. As of that date, ETCs were once again required to send notice to Lifeline subscribers who have not used their service in the previous 30 days and advise those subscribers that they have 15 days to cure their non-usage.
BloostonLaw Contact: Sal Taillefer.
Third Application Window for Emergency Connectivity Fund Announced
On March 23, the FCC announced that it is opening a third application filing window to award at least $1 billion in Emergency Connectivity Fund support. The third application filing window will open on April 28, 2022 and close on May 13, 2022. During this third application filing window, eligible schools and libraries can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023. The FCC indicates that, given past demand, the third application filing window will likely be the last opportunity for schools and libraries to request funding before the remaining Emergency Connectivity Funds are exhausted.
According to the FCC, total commitments to date have funded over 10 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections. Since its June 2021 launch, the program has connected over 12.5 million students with broadband connections and equipment. The most recent funding round committed nearly $68 million to support over 140 schools and 25 libraries across the country, including for students in Alaska, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, and Puerto Rico.
BloostonLaw Contact: Sal Taillefer.
List of Communications Equipment Posing a Threat to National Security Expanded
On March 25, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the addition of AO Kaspersky Lab, China Telecom (Americas) Corp, and China Mobile International USA Inc. to the list of communications equipment and services (Covered List) that have been determined to pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States. The inclusion of these services on the Covered List extends both to subsidiaries and affiliates of the named entities.
The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act requires the FCC to publish and maintain a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of U.S. persons. The FCC published the initial list, commonly referred to as the covered list, in March 2021, and will continue to update the list as other communications equipment and services meet the criteria under the law.
The full Covered List is available here: https://www.fcc.gov/supplychain/coveredlist
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and John Prendergast.
Comment Sought on AT&T Petition for Waiver of Affordable Connectivity Program Rules
On March 28, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the petition filed by AT&T Services, Inc. seeking a temporary waiver of the FCC’s rules that would provide an additional 120 days from April 15 to apply the Affordable Connectivity Program benefit to postpaid mobile broadband plans of AT&T Mobility LLC and New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC. Comments are due April 5.
According to the petition, granting the waiver will provide AT&T Mobility the necessary time to modify its systems to comply with all the ACP requirements for its postpaid mobile broadband plans and allow its eligible prepaid mobile broadband customers to continue to receive the ACP benefit. Specifically, AT&T argues that ACP benefit, and previously the EBB Program benefit, have not been available on AT&T Mobility plans that include postpaid mobile broadband service, because “AT&T Mobility ... did not participate in the EBB Program for its postpaid mobile broadband plans and is encountering difficult challenges in implementing the various ACP requirements for these plans.”
AT&T argues that AT&T Mobility has been working to develop capabilities in its two billing systems to apply the ACP benefit, but that “extensive end-to-end testing is required that includes other systems that interact with the billing system” and “development work needs to be completed to comply with the various other ACP requirements, including the ability to retain documentation to demonstrate compliance.” According to AT&T, the requested 120-day waiver is “necessary and appropriate due to the significant number of applications impacted by the ACP requirements.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and John Prendergast.
Law and Regulation
Chairwoman Rosenworcel Announces Additions to Robocall Investigation Partnerships
On March 28, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced seven more state and district Attorneys General are partnering with the FCC in robocall investigations. The Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between these state robocall investigators and the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau establish information sharing and cooperation structures to investigate spoofing and robocalls scam campaigns. Specifically, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Wyoming signed MOUs, and will work with the FCC to seek records, talk to witnesses, interview targets, examine consumer complaints, and take other steps to build a record against possible bad actors.
According to the Press Release, the FCC offers partner states not only the expertise of its enforcement staff but also important resources to support state investigations. For example, the FCC notes that MOUs may “facilitate relationships with other actors in this space including other federal agencies and robocall blocking companies, and support for and expertise with critical investigative tools including subpoenas and confidential response letters from suspected robocallers.”
BloostonLaw Contact: Sal Taillefer.
Dash Cam Company Fined $75,000 For Violating Equipment Marketing Rules
On March 29, the FCC entered into a Consent Decree with Rexing, Inc. (Rexing) to resolve its investigation into whether Rexing violated the FCC’s equipment marketing rules by marketing unauthorized vehicle dash cameras. To settle the matter, Rexing admitted its violation and agreed to pay a $75,000 civil penalty.
According to the Consent Decree, Rexing is a Connecticut-based retailer of aftermarket vehicle dash cameras, similar items, and accessories. Some Rexing models that incorporate a Wi-Fi transmitter are intentional radiators and must be authorized by certification, while others lack transmitters and, as unintentional radiators, may be authorized by either certification or Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) procedures.
In response to a complaint alleging that aftermarket installation of certain Rexing dash cameras resulted in interference to some consumers’ car satellite radio reception, the FCC initiated an investigation and ultimately determined that Rexing marketed several unauthorized dash camera models. Specifically, the FCC found that Rexing did not begin to seek the required FCC equipment authorizations until approximately four years after it commenced marketing. Rexing subsequently obtained three equipment certifications that purported to authorize most of its dash camera inventory, as well as SDoC authorizations for several models.
However, Rexing failed to provide corresponding test measurement data for the associated trade models at the FCC’s request, and failed to provide test data for any model that was subject to authorization by SDoC procedures. Thus, the FCC found Rexing had violated the rules requiring it to retain relevant testing records for the dash camera models subject to certification and SDoC procedures. Other Rexing dash cameras were eligible for authorization under the FCC’s SDoC procedures, however, Rexing began marketing those models before it obtained SDoC authorizations.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
FCC Grants Slamming Complaint
On March 24, the FCC issued an Order granting a complaint alleging that Clear Rate Communications (Clear Rate) changed the complainant’s telecommunications service provider without obtaining authorization and verification. As a result, Clear Rate was required to remove all charges incurred for service provided to complainant for the first thirty days after the alleged unauthorized change, and neither the complainant’s authorized carrier nor Clear Rate may pursue any collection for those charges.
This practice, known as “slamming,” is prohibited by the Communications Act. In order to change telecommunications service providers, a carrier must: (1) obtain the subscriber’s written or electronically signed authorization in a format that satisfies the FCC’s rules; (2) obtain confirmation from the subscriber via a toll-free number provided exclusively for the purpose of confirming orders electronically; or (3) utilize an appropriately qualified independent third party to verify the order. The FCC’s rules also prohibit misrepresentations on sales calls, and upon a finding of material misrepresentation during the sales call, the consumer’s authorization to change carriers will be deemed invalid even if the carrier has some evidence of consumer authorization of a carrier switch, e.g., a third-party verification (TPV) recording.
According to the FCC’s Order, the complaint alleged that Clear Rate’s sales representative misled him into believing they were with Verizon. Complainant confirmed that he asked the caller several times if they were with Verizon and was told Verizon was calling to review his rates. The Order further noted that in its response, Clear Rate did not address the allegation of misrepresentation, stating only that it has a “three part sales process” that includes the initial sales call, a third-party verification call, and a quality assurance call that “ensures our customers are not ‘slammed’ ” and are “aware and informed of the transfer of services.” Clear Rate provided the TPV recording, but did not provide the sales call recording or any other evidence related to the sales call to rebut Complainant’s claim of misrepresentation.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
NEW EMAIL THREAT: Scammers Sending Virus Messages Using Legit Email Strings
In what some believe may be a sign of a Russian cyberattack, scammers are now sending emails that appear to be from persons you know and have dealt with in the past. While SPAM/Phishing emails using a victim’s Contacts list are not unusual, what is new is that these emails are using actual legitimate email threads from prior communications between you and the sender – so they look absolutely authentic. This means we all must be careful to verify the legitimacy of an email before opening any link or attachment, especially where we were not expecting the e-mail, or it is worded somewhat oddly, or it gets caught in your SPAM filter even though it seems to be from someone you know who is on your email “approved” list. It is also important to check the actual email address of the sender: It may appear to be from someone you know (“Fred Smith”) but when you review the actual email address, it is from e.g. “email@example.com”.
FCC Announces $313 Million in RDOF Funding Ready for Authorization; Denies Petition for Waiver
On March 25, the FCC issued a Press Release announcing that it is ready to authorize more than $313 million through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to fund new broadband deployments in 19 states bringing service to over 130,000 locations. To be authorized to receive the total 10-year support amounts ready to be authorized, these long-form applicants are required to submit acceptable irrevocable stand-by letter(s) of credit and Bankruptcy Code opinion letter(s) from their legal counsel for each state where they have winning bids that are ready to be authorized in accordance with the instructions provided below by the applicable deadline – prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on April 8, 2022.
The FCC also denied a petition by RHMD, LLC for waiver of the deadline to obtain eligible telecommunications carrier status because the company failed to diligently pursue efforts to obtain the designation. This was part of the FCC’s increased efforts to monitor and ensure compliance with the program rules through the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan, which includes denying waivers that “have not made appropriate efforts to secure state approvals or prosecute their applications.”
This is the eighth round of funding in the program, which to date has provided over $5 billion in funding for new deployments in 47 states to bring broadband to over 2.8 million locations. A list of the eligible census blocks covered by the winning bids announced today is available under the “Results” tab on this page: https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904/round-results. For a list of RDOF providers and funding amounts by state, see https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904.
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, and Gerry Duffy.
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 recordkeeping 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 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.
New FCC Application Fee Schedule will be Effective April 19, 2022
As we previously reported in our Private User Updates, the FCC adopted a new wireless application fee schedule that was designed to more closely reflect the FCC’s actual costs in processing applications, as required by RAY BAUM’S Act. The FCC has now released its Public Notice announcing that the fee schedule will be effective on April 19, 2022 (a year to the day from the original effective date).
As a result, certain applications and notifications that previously did not require an FCC filing fee will now be subject to filing fees, while existing filing fees will be adjusted upward or downward – depending upon the fee category. As an example, for the typical application for a new station or modified land mobile license, there will be a $15.00 increase over the prior application fee. For license renewals, the fee will be reduced from $70.00 to $35.00.
Below is the new schedule of application filing fees (which do not include the associated FCC regulatory fee that is due at the time of application for many new license or license renewal filings). Most of our typical Part 90 land mobile and Part 101 private microwave clients will only be impacted by the fees for Site-Based wireless applications, while some of our other clients may also be impacted in other categories because they hold experimental licenses, equipment authorizations or satellite earth stations. Likewise, those of our clients with geographic area licenses, such as those in the auctioned SMR services, will be impacted by the “Geographic-Based” application fees.
Site-Based Applications (Wireless)
Geographic-Based Applications (mostly Wireless Auction licenses)
Experimental Licenses (Office of Engineering and Technology)
Equipment Approval Applications (Office of Engineering and Technology)
Satellite Earth Station Applications (International Bureau)
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Reminds 6 GHz Microwave Licensees to Verify Accuracy of Universal Licensing System Database
The FCC has issued a Public Notice reminding 6 GHz incumbent fixed microwave licensees of the need to maintain accurate information in its Universal Licensing System (“ULS”) database. The particular need for this reminder is the FCC’s 6 GHz Report and Order which authorized, among other things, standard-power for unlicensed operations in portions of the 6 GHz band (5.925–7.125 GHz) through the use of an automated frequency coordination (“AFC”) system that is designed to protect incumbent fixed microwave operations from harmful interference. Because the AFC systems will rely upon data supplied by the FCC’s ULS license database in order to ensure interference free operations, it is critical that this information be accurate and up-to-date.
The FCC notes that the ULS license database contains extensive technical data for site-based licenses, including: transmitter and receiver locations, frequencies, bandwidths, antenna polarization, transmitter EIRP, antenna height, and the make and model of the antenna and equipment used. The FCC’s 6 GHz Report and Order requires unlicensed 6 GHz standard power access points operating in the 6 GHz U-NII-5 and U-NII-7 bands to contact an AFC System – which, based upon information contained in the ULS database, will identify particular channels that can be used without causing harmful interference to nearby microwave links.
In order to ensure that the most current data is used to coordinate these links, the AFC systems will be required to download information from the ULS database on a daily basis. However, because a number of license records contain missing, clearly erroneous or conflicting information, there is no certainty that the AFCs can properly prevent instances of harmful interference if the information that they are relying on is not accurate. As a result, the FCC is directing licensees to confirm that their 6 GHz microwave license records reflect actual operations in order to ensure that incumbent fixed microwave licensees are protected from harmful interference caused by both newly unlicensed 6 GHz standard power access points and new fixed microwave links that may access the band. If it is found that your actual operations differ from the parameters set forth on your license or in the FCC’s ULS database, an application for modification of license should be filed with the FCC in order to ensure that operations are properly authorized and protected from harmful interference from other 6 GHz spectrum users. In this regard, please note that should the corrections to your license involve a major modification to the license, it will be necessary to include evidence of a successful frequency coordination in the application.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
Senate Committee Advances Sohn Nomination
On March 3, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced ten Biden Administration nominations, including the nomination of Ms. Gigi Sohn for the vacant seat on the FCC. All nominations are still subject to approval by the full Senate, which could take months.
Ms. Sohn’s nomination was approved by a tie vote, which means that it will need to go through an additional step involving a debate by the Senate on whether to discharge the committee from further consideration of the nomination. If a majority of the Senate agrees to discharge, then the nomination would be placed on the executive calendar and be eligible to be taken up the next calendar day.
As we reported in a previous edition of the Private User Update, Ms. Sohn’s path to confirmation has been winding. Back in January, Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) called for a new hearing on Sohn’s nomination after obtaining the terms of a confidential settlement agreement that top national broadcasters entered into with a streaming service called Locast in 2021. Sohn was a member of the board of Locast’s non-profit parent.
Most recently, her nomination was slated to be considered again on February 2, but was pulled from the agenda at the last moment.
BloostonLaw Contact: Ben Dickens.
FCC Updates List of TV Stations to be Protected in the UHF T- Band
The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau have issued a Public Notice which updates the TV protection list for the 470-512 MHz Band (T-Band). This update removes stations that no longer require protection from private land mobile radio (PLMR) operations in the T-Band based on mileage separation.
In 1970, the Commission allocated spectrum in the T-Band in eleven cities for sharing between broadcast television and private land mobile “public safety, industrial, and land transportation” services. The FCC’s Rules permit PLMR use of the T-Band in those cities where T-Band channels are not assigned to a TV station, though land mobile stations operating in this band must maintain fixed mileage separation from the transmitter sites of affected television stations operating in neighboring markets. Rule Section 90.307(e) refers to a publication listing TV stations in the T-Band which must be protected by PLMR operators. The TV protection list, which was originally published in 1970, was last updated by the Bureaus in 2021. Because of the COVID pandemic, the list is now available on the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/general/oet-technical-documents.
Based on a review of its records since the TV protection list was originally published, the FCC has determined that a number of TV stations included on the list have either changed channels or discontinued operation altogether. The FCC recognizes that it is important that the TV protection list remain accurate so that applicants for PLMR facilities in the T-Band know which TV stations require protection. As a result, the FCC has removed those stations from the TV protection list, as well as two stations associated with TV Channel 20 in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania market which no longer require inter-modulation (IM) interference protection because IM protection is no longer needed after these stations converted from analog to digital technology.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Sets Comment Deadlines for its Proposed RF Standards
The FCC has published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which has proposed “targeted” updates to its radio-frequency device rules. As we previously reported in our Private User Update, the proposal would incorporate four new and updated standards that are related to the testing of equipment and accreditation of laboratories that test Radio Frequency (“RF”) devices. Comments will now be due April 18, 2022 with Reply Comments due on May 16, 2022.
The FCC has limited its proposals to the incorporation by reference of technical standards that are associated with equipment authorization and the recognition of Telecommunication Certification Bodies (TCBs). The four standards subject to these proposals are, as follows:
The FCC is also seeking comment on whether it should consider any additional conforming or administrative updates to its rules, as well as whether other rule modifications (including updating other standards currently referenced in the rules or incorporating by reference additional standards not currently referenced in the rules) would be necessary to give full effect to these proposals. This rulemaking is part of the FCC’s ongoing effort to update its RF rules. Previously, the FCC eliminated many of the categorical exemptions that benefited private radio users and wireless carriers, and replaced those categorical exemptions with more complex testing, measurement and/or calculation requirements in order to ensure that proposed wireless radio facilities do not cause harmful radiation, either alone or in combination with other operations at a particular antenna site. Unlike prior FCC actions, these proposed rules will focus more on the equipment compliance.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Richard Rubino and Cary Mitchel
FCC Seeks Comment on its Requirement for Posting of Certain Aviation-Related Licenses
As part of the requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act to reduce paperwork and information collection burdens on the public, the FCC is seeking comment regarding its license posting requirements for stations in the Aviation Services. Comments are due May 9, 2022.
Rule Section 87.103 requires licensees to either post the station license or maintain the license (or a copy) in the station’s permanent records – except that aircraft radio station licenses must either be posted on each aircraft or be kept with each aircraft registration certificate. The FCC has asserted that this record keeping requirement is necessary to “demonstrate that all transmitters in the Aviation Service are properly licensed” in accordance with the requirements of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, No. 2020 of the International Radio Regulation and Article 30 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. An interesting question is whether or not this record keeping requirement is truly necessary, given the fact that digital copies of the license record are readily available on the FCC’s website. In this regard, this rule was adopted in 1988 and last amended in 1989.
Any client wishing to file comments should contact our office.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
|Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP is a telecommunications law firm representing rural telecommunications companies, wireless carriers, private radio licensees, cable TV companies, equipment manufacturers and industry associations before the FCC and the courts, as well as state and local government agencies. Our clients range from Fortune 500 companies to small and medium-sized enterprises whose vitality and efficiency depend on the effective deployment of communications.|
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