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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.
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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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Lights, camera, BlackBerry! A film about the company’s rise and fall has wrapped production
BLACKBERRY AUG 24, 2022, 9:21 PM
The BlackBerry story is one of amazing success as the company's two-way email pager became a must-have for any executive. And it also is the story of incredibly painful failure as the company missed the boat when touchscreen phones started to dominate. In the quarter just before the Apple iPhone was unveiled, the fourth quarter of 2006, BlackBerry was the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world with 8.3% of the global market. It still trailed Nokia, which had a 50.2% slice of the global smartphone pie, but business was good.
The beginning of the end for BlackBerry was the unveiling of the iPhone on January 9th, 2007
BlackBerry Messenger was the platform that everyone used for instant messaging on the go. BlackBerry parent Research In Motion (RIM) was run by two CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, and when the late Steve Jobs held the iPhone in his hand on January 9th, 2007, it was the beginning of the end for BlackBerry. Balsillie, more than Lazaridis, failed to take the threat from Apple seriously.
While BlackBerry did release its first touchscreen model in 2018, the BlackBerry Storm was rushed into production at the request of Verizon which needed a phone to take on the iPhone (at that time, an AT&T exclusive). The screen was designed to make it feel as though a button was pressed every time a key on the virtual QWERTY was tapped. Unfortunately, the first generation model was extremely buggy and while Verizon sold a ton of them, most every unit (including this writer's phone) was sent back for repair.
The second generation Storm was actually a fantastic device that might have been a contender had the Motorola DROID not been released by Verizon kicking off Androidmania. BlackBerry tried to stay in the game, even licensing its software and name to several firms. But any hope that we would see a 5G 'Berry ended when BlackBerry pulled its licensing agreement from a company named Outward Mobility earlier this year ending an era.
You might think that all of this might make a great motion picture, and you just might be right. A newspaper in Canada (where BlackBerry was headquartered all these years) called The Globe and Mail (via The Verge) says that production on a BlackBerry movie wrapped this week, although when the film will reach your local cinema is unknown. The film stars Glenn Howerton of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as co-CEO Jim Balsillie who famously said in January 2009 that all phones will come out of the box with huge amounts of bugs in the future.
The movie will be called BlackBerry and is based on the 2015 book Losing the Signal, which this writer has read several times (well, yours truly is a phone enthusiast after all). Playing Mike Lazaridis, the other co-CEO, will be Canadian actor Jay Baruchel.
If two movies about Steve Jobs flopped, does BlackBerry stand a chance?
In real life, the two executives tried to play down the threat from Apple will Balsillie telling the press in 2007, "As nice as the Apple iPhone is, it poses a real challenge to its users. Try typing a web key on a touchscreen on an Apple iPhone, that's a real challenge. You cannot see what you type." Lazaridis said in 2018, "The most exciting mobile trend is full Qwerty keyboards. I'm sorry, it really is. I'm not making this up."
The other actors in the movie include Michael Ironside, Saul Rubinek, Martin Donovan, Rich Sommer, and Saw star Carey Elwes. The picture was written and directed by Matt Johnson who said, "BlackBerry is the kind of movie I never thought I could make in this country, but it’s a bright new day for Canadian film. Bold (no pun intended we are sure), director-driven cinema is back with the full force of the 1980s. Let’s go."
Since the movie has just wrapped, it is too early to have a release date to pass along. Does the BlackBerry story carry enough intrigue and drama to get the average guy and gal to buy tickets to see the movie? That remains to be seen. After all, two movies about the late Steve Jobs flopped at the box office even with Ashton Kutcher and Michael Fassbender starring as Apple's mythical leader.
Paging Transmitters 150/900 MHz
The RFI High Performance Paging Transmitter is designed for use in campus, city, state and country-wide paging systems. Designed for use where reliable simulcast systems where RF signal overlap coverage is critical.
Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
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Fake Auto Warranty Scam Callers Face Possible $10M Fine, But I’d Prefer The Death Penalty
Only sort of kidding here....
By JONATHAN WOLF on August 24, 2022 at 11:16 AM
Regardless of who you are, what you do for a living, or where you grew up, you have faced this problem. Maybe it interrupted you right in the middle of a call with a loved one. Perhaps it struck while you were innocently playing a crossword-style smartphone game during an extended visit to the toilet during a workday. If you’re like me, it’s even been an unwelcome interjection into a courtroom Zoom session.
Yes, I’m talking about those stupid spam telephone calls that inconvenience each one of us multiple times every single day. Usually, I try to ignore calls from numbers I don’t recognize. But even stopping to see if the call is from someone you know three or four times a day is a huge annoyance. Sometimes they even have the audacity to leave robotic voice messages.
It’s a scourge. I’ve often contemplated whether a politician could run on a nonpartisan single-issue platform of simply getting rid of automatically dialed spam calls. I know that would tangibly and noticeably improve my life, and anyone who could do it would probably earn my vote. Plus, we’d save the $40 billion or so that researchers tell us scam calls cost the economy every year in the United States.
Although they haven’t gotten rid of the problem completely yet — I actually received a scam call the very moment I sat down to write this column — apparently the Ohio Attorney General and the Federal Communications Commission have just taken a big step toward reducing robocalls. Just three people may have largely been behind those fake auto warranty scam calls, which, up until these enforcement actions lifted off, were the most common type of scam calls.
Aaron Michael Jones, Roy Melvin Cox, Jr., and Stacey E. Yim (who is the domestic partner of Jones) have all been civilly sued by the Ohio Attorney General for allegedly being the ringleaders of a massive auto-dialing scheme aimed at selling fake auto warranties to rubes by peppering everyone everywhere with millions of daily calls. A number of other entities and individuals have been sued as participants in the fraud, and just one of them, in just one dialing campaign, initiated over 1.7 billion outbound calls to 470 million unique telephone numbers from July 2018 through December 2019, according to the complaint. In case you aren’t up on your national demographics, the current U.S. population is about 330 million.
You know how the scam goes. You accidentally pick up because you’re expecting test results from your dermatologist or whatever, a robotic voice tells you your vehicle warranty has expired (I don’t think so, Skynet, I still have 10,000 miles left on that extended warranty I got for my Chevy Sonic back in 2012), and you hang up and try to move on with your day. And then you probably get a couple more identical calls later on that evening.
Of course, when they’re calling billions of times, even a tiny, miniscule portion of people who are alarmed rather than annoyed make it worthwhile. For those unlucky few who stay on the line, the next step is being pitched a vehicle service contract (which is definitely not a warranty) that they don’t need but are afraid they’ll be in trouble without.
The Ohio Attorney General is asking for about $10 million in fines. I don’t know if that will be enough. Cox was sued by the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 for doing basically the same thing back then, and apparently didn’t learn his lesson. Jones has been sued thrice previously for illegal robocalling, twice by the FTC and once by Texas.
With the filing of this lawsuit, and after the FCC sent out a series of cease-and-desist letters and forced telecom companies to stop carrying the robocalls from several known scammers (including those sued by the Ohio AG), the volume of fake vehicle warranty calls supposedly fell by about 80 percent from June to late July. That’s a good start. But even the enforcement authorities expect this to continue to be a game of Whac-A-Mole.
I have an alternative proposal: what if instead of fining these people for probably less than they made from their scheme so they can just go repeat it again, how about after affording them full due process and proving them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and all, we just execute them? Guillotines, I’m thinking.
I’m only sort of kidding. If you think of the reason that murder is wrong as depriving the victim of experiencing more of their life or of depriving the victim’s loved ones of further time with them, then these robocall scammers have stolen way more lifetimes of experiences and time with loved ones than your average murderer sitting on death row. One study said there were as many as 100 billion scam robocalls that have gone out so far this year as of August. If each one of those 100 billion junk calls took up just one second of someone’s life, that’s 3,171 years of life stolen from people (and that’s to say nothing of the actual money that gets taken).
If a stranger showed up and knocked at your door every night trying to sell you a fake auto warranty by lying to you, you’d probably be filing for a harassment restraining order by about the third time. By about the tenth time, that person would be arrested. And these robocall people aren’t knocking on your door from outside, they’re buzzing you inside your own pants. And it’s not just you, they’re targeting everyone, everywhere, all the time, sucking away a bristlecone pine’s lifetime-worth of human joy every few months.
So yeah. Even though I’m generally against the death penalty, for auto-dialing scammers, I think we really need to consider it.
Jonathan Wolf is a civil litigator and author of Your Debt-Free JD (affiliate link). He has taught legal writing, written for a wide variety of publications, and made it both his business and his pleasure to be financially and scientifically literate. Any views he expresses are probably pure gold, but are nonetheless solely his own and should not be attributed to any organization with which he is affiliated. He wouldn’t want to share the credit anyway. He can be reached at email@example.com.
|Source:||Above The Law|
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.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Paging Data Receiver PDR-4
The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.
Designed for use with Prism-IPX ECHO software Message Logging Software to receive messages and log the information for proof of transmission over the air, and if the data was error free.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Wireless Network Planners
R.H. (Ron) Mercer
Walmart lists a 30TB portable SSD for $39. It is, naturally, a scam
But the "30TB" disk does at least try to fool users in clever ways.
ANDREW CUNNINGHAM - 8/26/2022, 12:16 PM
It feels like high-capacity SSDs are getting cheaper all the time, but in the words of a security researcher known as Ray Redacted on Twitter, there are still some deals that are too good to be true. In the spirit of discovery, he bought a "30TB" external SSD from AliExpress for $31.40, which also happens to be listed on Walmart's website for $39 (I am linking it for educational and entertainment value, please do not buy it).
On the inside, this "SSD" looks like two small-capacity microSD cards hot glued to a USB 2.0-capable board. This board's firmware has been modified so that each of these cards reports its capacity as "15.0TB" to the operating system, for a total of 30TB, even though the actual capacity of the cards is much lower. This is another giveaway; Windows reports drive capacities in gibibytes (1,024 mebibytes) or tebibytes (1,024 gibibytes), while drive manufacturers use gigabytes (1,000 megabytes) and terabytes (1,000 gigabytes). This is why a 1TB drive normally only has a reported capacity of 930-ish GB, rather than a nice round number.
The drive is even more clever when it comes to tricking people into thinking it's working. It preserves the directory structure of whatever you're copying, but when it's "copying" your data, it just keeps writing and rewriting over the tiny microSD cards. Everything will look fine until you go to access a file, only to find that the data isn't there.
Replies to Ray Redacted's thread are full of alternate versions of this scam, including multiple iterations of the hot-glued microSD version and at least one that hid a USB thumb drive inside a larger enclosure.
Fake USB storage devices are neither new nor rare, though this one makes spectacularly egregious claims about its price-per-gigabyte. When it comes to buying storage online, common-sense advice is best: stick to name brands, buy from trustworthy sellers (not just retail sites you trust—the Walmart listing is sold by "JD E Commerce America Limited," whatever that is), and know that if a deal seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
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
Could a solar storm ever destroy Earth?
By Brandon Specktor published August 225, 2022
Our planet has one huge advantage in the fight against space weather.
All life on Earth owes its existence to the sun's radiant heat. But what happens when that radiation surges out of control, and billions of tons of charged solar material suddenly barrel our way at thousands of miles a second? What happens when Earth takes a direct hit from a solar flare — and could a strong enough one ever destroy life on our planet as we know it?
The answers are complicated, but most scientists agree on one thing: Earth's magnetic field and insulating atmosphere keep us extremely well protected from even the most powerful solar outbursts. While solar storms can tamper with radar and radio systems or knock satellites offline, the most harmful radiation is sopped up in the sky long before it touches human skin.
"We live on a planet with a very thick atmosphere… that stops all of the harmful radiation that is produced in a solar flare," said Alex Young, Associate Director for Science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Even in the largest events that we've seen in the past 10,000 years, we see that the effect is not enough to damage the atmosphere such that we are no longer protected," Young said in a 2011 video addressing fears that a solar flare would end the world in 2012.
Still, not all solar flares are harmless. While Earth’s magnetic field prevents widespread death from solar radiation, the sheer electromagnetic power of a flare could disrupt power grids, Internet connections and other communication devices on Earth, resulting in chaos and potentially even death. Space weather experts at NASA and other agencies take this threat seriously, and closely monitor the sun for potentially hazardous activity.
What are solar flares?
Solar flares occur when the sun's magnetic field lines become taut and twisted, causing enormous, planet-sized storms of electromagnetic energy to form on the sun's surface. We can see these storms as cold, dark splotches known as sunspots. Around sunspots, huge tendrils of magnetic field lines twist, spool and sometimes snap, creating powerful flashes of energy, or solar flares.
Most energy from a solar flare is radiated away as ultraviolet and X-ray light, Live Science previously reported. However, the intense energy of a flare can also heat up nearby gas in the sun's atmosphere, launching enormous blobs of charged particles known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) out into space. If a flaring sunspot happens to be facing Earth, then any resulting CMEs blast right toward us, typically reaching our planet in anywhere from 15 hours to several days.
Whether or not you've heard of CMEs, you've likely lived through hundreds of them; the sun emits anywhere from one CME each week to several a day, depending on where we are in the sun's 11-year cycle of activity, according to NASA. Most CMEs pass over our planet completely undetected by the general public, thanks to Earth's powerful magnetic field, or magnetosphere.
However, the biggest, most energetic CMEs can actually compress our planet's magnetic field as they pass, resulting in what's known as a geomagnetic storm.
As electromagnetic energy from the sun pours into our magnetosphere, atoms and molecules in Earth's atmosphere become electrically charged, creating effects that can be seen around the world. During such storms, the aurora borealis, typically only seen near the North Pole, can shift down so far that it becomes visible near the equator.
Radio and radar systems around the world can black out, and electrical grids may become overloaded and lose power. Some experts fear that a sufficiently large CME could create an "Internet apocalypse" by overloading undersea Internet cables and leaving parts of the world without web access for weeks or months, though this has not happened yet. Satellites and space stations, which orbit beyond the protection of Earth's atmosphere, can also be debilitated by the renegade radiation of CMEs.
Still, even the most powerful geomagnetic storm in recorded history — the 1859 Carrington Event — had no noticeable impact on the health of humans or other life on Earth. If even stronger solar storms battered our planet before this, there is no evidence that they impacted human health either.
"No matter what, flares do not have a significant effect on us here on Earth," Doug Biesecker, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center, told the Stanford Solar Center. "What sort of fluxes would have to strike the Earth to wipe us out? I don't know the answer to that, but obviously, we've never even observed a solar event big enough to have any measurable effects on human health."
Our nearest star may not pose an extinction threat — but scientists suspect that other nearby stars could. When certain stars run out of fuel and die, they explode in a tremendous supernova that blasts powerful radiation into space for millions of light-years around. These blasts are many, many times more powerful that solar flares; should such an explosion occur sufficiently close to Earth, the dying star could bathe our planet in so much ultraviolet radiation that it strips our protective ozone layer away, making Earth vulnerable to a barrage of charged interstellar particles.
The authors of a recent study (published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in Aug. 2020) suspect that the death of a star within 65 light-years of Earth may have done just that about 359 million years ago, at the end of the Devonian Period (416 million to 358 million years ago). A mass extinction at the end of this period resulted in the death of 70% of Earth’s invertebrates, though scientists are not certain what triggered it. However, an examination of fossil spores from the time of the extinction revealed signs of ultraviolet light damage — suggesting that perhaps an exploding star triggered the extinction.
Fortunately, there are no supernova candidates close enough to Earth to pose such a threat anytime soon, the study authors reassured. We have only our warm little sun to worry about — and our atmosphere makes sure that we stay on that star’s friendly side.
Originally published on Live Science.
'Ridiculously Detailed' New Image of The Moon Is a Masterpiece of Space Photography
SPACE 24 August 2022 By CLARE WATSON
Time to upgrade your wallpapers, people.
Two astrophotographers have just dropped what they call "the most ridiculously detailed picture" of the Moon — the result of a painstaking, neck-craning effort roughly two years and over 200,000 frames in the making.
For millennia, humans have looked up and seen the same silver orb traversing the night sky — but never quite like this. As space photography enthusiast Andrew McCarthy says of his collaboration with planetary scientist Connor Matherne, "behold" this stunning image:
While you feast on this 174-megapixel beauty, you can see the Moon tinged red and gunmetal blue, illuminated on the right-hand side as it faces Earth. The red patches are iron and feldspar oxidized by errant oxygen atoms from Earth, McCarthy explained to inquisitive viewers on Twitter.
Though the colors may look false, they are technically the Moon's true hues, only that our eyes are not sensitive enough to see them, and so McCarthy gave the image a saturation boost to bring out the colors in all their glory.
McCarthy's specialty is actually detailed photographs, taking tens of thousands of photos to capture every nook, cranny and crater on the lunar surface. Matherne, a planetary scientist and deep space photographer shooting from Louisiana, is the color buff we also have to thank.
As for how it was made, the masterpiece consists of more than 200,000 images, all taken over the course of a single evening and stacked together.
"The whole thing is assembled like a mosaic, and each tile is made up of thousands of photos," McCarthy told NPR, simplifying what must have been a lengthy editing process.
The pair have certainly outdone themselves and given NASA's James Webb Space Telescope a run for its money.
But it is another NASA mission – one gearing up to return humans to the Moon for the first time since 1972 – that inspired their artistic effort.
"This image is a love letter to the upcoming Artemis 1 mission, the first human-rated lunar launch vehicle in 50 years," McCarthy tweeted.
The first major milestone in that mission, due to launch on August 29, is an uncrewed test flight of the Space Launch System, a super heavy-lift rocket capable of (hopefully) slingshotting astronauts around the far side of the Moon.
Later, Artemis missions plan on landing astronauts near the Moon's permanently shadowed patches.
This is not the first time McCarthy and Matherne, who first connected over Reddit, have gifted us jaw-dropping photos of the Moon and other celestial bodies in delectable candy colors.
Two years ago, the pair shared their first composite picture of the Moon, which in retrospect looks quite muted compared with their newest revelation, but stunned viewers at the time.
And in 2019, McCarthy posted this grayscale photograph of our Moon shrouded in light and floating serenely in space, somewhat reminiscent of the iconic Earthrise image snapped by astronaut Bill Anders aboard Apollo 8.
While that kind of photo is out of the reach of us Earth-grounded folk, the awe-inspiring photographs that McCarthy and Matherne produce using basic equipment — a camera, tripod and star tracker — are not.
However, as McCarthy told NPR, it takes a lot of patience to come up with the goods, and most nights, he walks away empty-handed.
"Anybody can do it, but it takes a special temperament," he said.
|Inside Towers Newsletter|
Brookfield to Invest up to $30B in Intel U.S. Chip Factories
Intel Corp (NASDAQ: INTC) and Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE: BAM) on Tuesday agreed to jointly fund up to $30 billion for the U.S. company’s chip factories in Arizona. The move fuels Intel’s ambition to bring more chip production onshore without weighing on its balance sheet, reports Reuters.
Brookfield’s infrastructure affiliate will invest up to $15 billion for a 49 percent stake in the expansion project. Intel will retain majority ownership and operating control of the two chip factories meant to make advanced chips in Chandler, AZ.
The investment is an expansion of an agreement signed by Intel and Brookfield in February to explore finance options to help fund new Intel manufacturing sites.
The two companies didn’t disclose specific terms, though parties expect the deal to close by the end of this year. David Zinsner, Intel’s finance chief, told analysts the interest rate was between 4.4 percent and 8.5 percent, which is more expensive than debt financing but cheaper than equity financing, according to Reuters.
Zinsner expects this could be the first of many similar financing structures the semiconductor industry explores. For private capital providers like Brookfield, foundries represent a cash-flow generating investment opportunity resembling private equity investments in infrastructure, such as data centers and fiber, signaling investors’ long-term confidence in semiconductor demand.
The deal comes after President Joe Biden this month signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law, which included $52.7 billion in subsidies for U.S. semiconductor production and research, Inside Towers reported. Zinsner said the transaction “builds on the momentum from the recent passage of the CHIPS Act in the U.S.”
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter|| Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers, Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
Blooston Partners to Give Virtual Seminar on Telecom Privacy
BloostonLaw partners Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer have recorded lectures for a virtual course on telecommunications and privacy law for the Stoops Center of Law and Business at the Florida State University College of Law, of which Ben is a graduate (Class of ’77). The course, which is titled “Limits on the Private Sector,” will be available later this year.
The course is designed to assist business professionals in, among other things, learning to navigate the web of regulation surrounding marketing communications, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the CAN-SPAM Act. It also covers uniform privacy legislation currently pending before congress. We are glad to answer any questions our clients may have on this subject.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Adopts USF Report; Seeks More Contribution Authority
On August 15, the FCC adopted a Report in its docket on the Future of the Universal Service Fund, WC Docket No. 21-476. The Report, which was mandated by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Infrastructure Act), provides recommendations for further actions by the Commission and Congress to build upon the USF investment and improve the ability of the Commission to achieve its goals of universal deployment, affordability, adoption, availability, and equitable access to broadband through the Universal Service Fund (USF or Fund) and other Commission programs. Of particular importance to our clients, the FCC makes a number of recommendations regarding the High Cost program and further recommends that Congress adopt legislation to clarify its ability to expand the USF contribution base.
Specifically, regarding the High Cost program, the FCC recommends that it:
Regarding the Affordable Connectivity Program and Lifeline, the FCC recommends that it:
Finally, the FCC found that there is “significant ambiguity in the record regarding the scope of the Commission’s existing authority to broaden the base of contributors.” As such, the FCC recommends Congress provide the Commission with the tools needed to make changes to the contributions methodology and base, through the legislative process.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
NTIA Announces All States Have Filed Applications for Initial BEAD Planning Funds
On August 17, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that all states and territories have submitted applications for initial planning funds as part of the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. As part of its BEAD funding, each state and territory may request up to $5,000,000 of its minimum allocation in Initial Planning Funds. Eligible Entities that receive Initial Planning Funds may use those funds for the following planning and pre-deployment activities:
Initial planning fund applications for the BEAD program were due by August 15, 2022. NTIA indicated it will evaluate the applications and make awards available as soon as possible. Within 270 days of the receipt of planning funds, states and territories are required to submit a Five-Year Action Plan.
“The Internet for All Initiative will provide states and territories the resources they need for thorough planning, which is essential to ensure funding is used equitably, efficiently, and effectively,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “I want to thank every state and territory for meeting our deadline so that we can close the digital divide as quickly and completely as possible.”
We expect the BEAD program to be a major source of funding for rural projects. While the overall rules regarding the program are the same, each state will be administering its own program. BloostonLaw attorneys are able to help providers navigate the relevant program and apply for funding once the opportunity becomes available. Providers with questions about BEAD may contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
Law and Regulation
FCC Continues 2022 EEO Audits
On August 19, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that it has issued the second set of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) audit letters for 2022 to randomly selected radio and television stations. The deadline for stations to upload responses to their FCC-hosted online public inspection files is October 7. In contrast with past practice, the FCC has indicated that it will no longer issue letters to licensees upon completion of its review of audit responses. If questions arise during staff review, the FCC will contact the licensee.
A list of the radio and television stations included in this audit as well as the text of the August 19, 2022 audit letter can be found on the FCC’s EEO headline page on the FCC website at: https://www.fcc.gov/enforcement/eb-eeo/equal-employment-opportunity-headlines.
In accordance with the EEO rules, the FCC annually audits the EEO programs of randomly selected broadcast licensees. Each year, approximately five percent of all radio and television stations are selected for EEO audits.
While the FCC generally focuses its enforcement efforts on broadcast radio and television licensees, our common carrier licensee and CMRS licensee clients should also make sure that they are in compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules. As we have previously reported, in addition to the Form 395 and Annual Report of Employment Complaints, common carrier and CMRS licensees with 16 or more full-time employees must have a Statement of Equal Employment Opportunity Program (EEOP) on file with the FCC. Please contact our office if you have any questions or need assistance with your EEOP.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy, Sal Taillefer and Richard Rubino.
Urban Rate Surveys for 2022 Sent to Selected Carriers; Responses Due Sept. 19
On August 15, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that the urban rate survey for 2023 has been initiated. Those carriers selected for participation in the survey are required to respond by September 19.
To set next year’s benchmarks, the FCC collects the rates offered by a random sample of providers of fixed services identified using December 2021 FCC Form 477 data. The FCC will collect separate samples for fixed voice and fixed broadband services, in up to 500 urban census tracts for voice services and up to 2,000 urban census tracts for broadband services. Because some providers serve many urban census tracts, these providers may receive surveys for multiple census tracts.
Notifications that a provider is required to complete a survey will be sent via email to each selected provider’s FCC Form 477 contact person and certifying official on August 15, 2022. According to the Public Notice, the survey consists of an online reporting form, which will be accessible only to the selected providers. The email notification will provide detailed information on how to access and complete the survey online and how to obtain technical assistance
AUGUST 29: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS. The Copyright Statement of Accounts form plus royalty payment for the first half of year is due to be filed August 29 at the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office by cable TV service providers.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
SEPTEMBER 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION AND BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. Four types of entities must file this form: (1) Facilities-based Providers of Broadband Connections to End User Locations (must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which the entity provides one or more such connections to end user locations); (2) Providers of Wired or Fixed Wireless Local Telephone Services (must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide local exchange service to one or more end user customers (which may include “dial-up” ISPs)); (3) Providers of Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Service (must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide interconnected VoIP service to one or more subscribers, with the state determined for reporting purposes by the location of the subscriber’s broadband connection or the subscriber’s “Registered Location” as of the data-collection date); and (4) Providers of Mobile Telephony Services (must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which they serve one or more mobile telephony subscribers).
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
SEPTEMBER 30: FCC FORM 396-C, MVPD EEO PROGRAM REPORTING FORM. Each year on September 30, multi-channel video program distributors (“MVPDs”) must file with the FCC an FCC Form 396-C, Multi-Channel Video Programming Distributor EEO Program Annual Report, for employment units with six or more full-time employees. Users must access the FCC’s electronic filing system via the Internet in order to submit the form; it will not be accepted if filed on paper unless accompanied by an appropriate request for waiver of the electronic filing requirement. Certain MVPDs also will be required to complete portions of the Supplemental Investigation Sheet (“SIS”) located at the end of the Form. These MVPDs are specifically identified in a Public Notice each year by the FCC.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
SEPTEMBER 30: FCC FORM 611-T, DESIGNATED ENTITY REPORT. Each year on September 30, entities that won licenses at auction with bid credits must file a combined 611-T Designated Entity report for any licenses still subject to the “unjust enrichment” rule, which requires licensees to maintain their eligibility for small business and rural service provider bid credits for the first five years of the license term.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
OCTOBER 15: 911 RELIABILITY CERTIFICATION. Covered 911 Service Providers, which are defined as entities that “[p]rovide 911, E911, or NG911 capabilities such as call routing, automatic location information (ALI), automatic number identification (ANI), or the functional equivalent of those capabilities, directly to a public safety answering point (PSAP), statewide default answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority,” or that “[o]perate one or more central offices that directly serve a PSAP,” are required certify that they have taken reasonable measures to provide reliable 911 service with respect to three substantive requirements: (i) 911 circuit diversity; (ii) central office backup power; and (iii) diverse network monitoring by October 15. Certifications must be made through the FCC’s portal.
BloostonLaw Contact: Sal Taillefer.
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.
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
I am a subscriber to Brad’s newsletter and have really appreciated it over the years.
I was hired in 1980 as Northern Communication’s first pager salesperson and now I own the company.😊
We have a wide area public paging system that we are in the midst of shutting down. We have many many spare parts for our Glenayre terminals.
Free to a good home if you want them. Well, OK maybe send me a case of wine.
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PS. I sent a note to Vaughan and Phil Leavitt as well. Keep Calm and Carry on.
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|THIS WEEK'S MUSIC VIDEO|
PFC Partners with ICRC for the International Day Of The Disappeared
Playing For Change
Aug 24, 2022
Thousands of people go missing around the world each year for various reasons including armed conflict, violence, natural disasters, and on the migration route. As a tribute to the families looking for loved ones, the ICRC teamed up with Playing For Change to produce an impactful Song Around The World with more than 20 musicians spanning across five continents. The campaign aims to highlight the importance of supporting search efforts and ensuring that families looking for their loved ones get the answers that they need.
Join us August 30th in honor of the International Day of the Disappeared for the world premiere of the PFC Song Around The World, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," and to stand in solidarity with the families of missing loved ones, using the power of music to unite hearts around the world. #TheSearchDoesntStop
Time does not heal, only answers do.
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