NPSTC Home NPSTC Newsletter Volume 11 Issue 2, Summer 2011

From the Chair
by Ralph Haller
The last quarter has been a particularly busy time for NPSTC.  Many thanks to the Government of Canada and to Lance Valcour, Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG), for hosting a very informative and productive Cross Border Interoperability and NPSTC Committee Meeting at their impressive Embassy in Washington, D.C., in May…
D Block Legislation: Will it Be Passed by 9/11?

As September 11 approaches, Congress is under some pressure to pass legislation on the public safety broadband network, which the White House supports.  The Dingell-Green Bill, Rockefeller-Hutchison Bill, would give the D Block to public safety, provide funding to build the network.…


NPSTC Opposes Freezing 700 Narrowband Spectrum Proposed in Republican Draft Legislation
House Energy and Commerce Committee

NPSTC urges House to make public safety a priority by reallocating the D Block and providing funding for broadband network as is proposed in Senate Bill S.911…


Intrinsically Safe Issues Still Unresolved
Intrinsically Safe Standard

In September 2010, NPSTC learned a new version of the intrinsically safe standard affecting LMR was to go into effect January 1, 2012.  FM Approvals intends to replace their current, still safe standard…


Radio-Frequency Measurements to Support Public Safety Wireless Communications in Large Buildings and Structures
by William Young , Kate Remley , Christopher L. Holloway , Galen Koepke, Dennis Camell, and John Ladbury
Radio-Frequency Measurements

The public safety community requires dependable wireless communications in buildings that often degrade the radio-frequency channel due to construction materials, architectural features, and large physical dimensions…


GPS TWG Sends Report to FCC:  The Controversy Continues
GPS TWG Sends Report to FCC

LightSquared is a company that has spectrum in the 1.5 GHz band adjacent to the spectrum used by all GPS receivers… This could radically change and degrade the spectrum environment in which adjacent GPS signals are received…


Protecting Public Safety Communications – Preparing for Coexistence of GPS and 4G Broadband
by Jeff Carlisle, EVP of Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, LightSquared
Preparing for Coexistence of GPS and 4G Broadband

No one in public safety would argue that a basic requirement for first responders is dependable communications…  Careful coordination of all spectrum licensees is critical to ensure peaceful coexistence among the competing demands for spectrum…


An Alternative to IECGP:  Emergency Communication Goals and Activities Funded by FY 2011 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)
An Alternative to IECGP - HSGP

Earlier OEC announced that IECGP was defunded in FY 2011…  To ensure emergency communication priorities were preserved in FY 2011, OEC worked with FEMA to incorporate emergency communication goals and activities into HSGP…


Narrowbanding:  Complying with Two FCC Deadlines
by Mark Rychman, ICMA representative to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust
Narrowband Interoperability

(Editor's Note:  This article first appeared in ICMA's Public Management Magazine.  Managers may not be aware of it yet, but another unfunded mandate is waiting just around the corner.  The FCC is taking steps to more efficiently allocate the limited airwaves (or spectrum) available.…


Regulatory Update
by Bette Rinehart, Chair, Editorial Review Working Group
Regulatory Update

FCC Issues Guidance on Narrowbanding Waiver Requests, FCC Levies $20,000 Fine for Unauthorized Operations, Comment Deadlines Extended for Signal Booster Docket, 800 MHz News, 700 MHz News, and more…


The Roaming Continuum
by John Powell
The Roaming Continuum

William K. ("Bill") Jorgensen is the Director of the Williamson County Office of Public Safety in Franklin TN south of Nashville.  He is also one of OEC's many COML instructors and one of the driving forces behind the production of (and a star in) the highly successful Tennessee DVD, Are We Prepared, The Interoperability Continuum


Compelling Video on Interoperability and the Value of the Interoperability Continuum
courtesy of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)
Compelling Interoperability Continuum Video

A straight-talking, compelling video that will help the public and its officials understand what interoperability is, and why it is imperative that public safety be able to talk to one another has been developed…


NPSTC Provides Added Public Safety Input to DHS Video Quality in Public Safety (VQiPS) Initiative with New Video Technical Advisory Group (VTAG)
NPSTC Adds VTAG Input to DHS VQiPS

NPSTC announces the creation of a practitioner advisory group, the Video Technical Advisory Group (VTAG), to provide input to the DHS Video Quality in Public Safety (VQiPS) Initiative on choosing, using, and improving the ways video technologies serve the public safety community…


Since We Last Met
Since We Last Met

NPSTC Filings (VOIPS and 700 MHz, LightSquared, TETRA,…), Canadian "Enabling Interoperability Forum" in September, PSAC Adopts Recommendations…

From the Chair
by Ralph Haller

From the Chair
by Ralph Haller

From the Chair

The last quarter has been a particularly busy time for the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC).  Many thanks to the Government of Canada and to Lance Valcour, Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG), for hosting a very informative and productive Cross Border Interoperability and NPSTC Committee Meeting at their impressive Embassy in Washington, D.C., in May.

Canadian Embassy, Washington, DC

NPSTC participants heard from U.S. representatives and their Canadian counterparts as they shared ideas and information on interoperable solutions.

Among the invited guests were Gregory Schaffer, Assistant Secretary, Office of Cybersecurity & Communications, Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Dr. Robert Griffin, Director, First Responder Programs, Office for Interoperability & Compatibility (OIC), DHS; and Chris Essid, Director, Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), DHS.

Ambassador Philip Verveer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. State Department delivered the keynote address, and James Arden Barnett, Jr. Rear Admiral (RET.), Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was our luncheon speaker.  Also from the FCC were Jennifer Manner, Deputy Chief, PSHSB; David Furth, Deputy Chief, PSHSB; Brian Marenco, Electronics Engineer, Policy and Licensing Division, PSHSB; and Roberto Mussenden, Advisor, Policy and Licensing Division, PSHSB.

From Canada, speakers included Steve McDonald, Chief of Interoperability Development Office, Public Safety Canada (PSC); Jennifer Wharram, Manager, Mobile Engineering, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector; Dr. Anthony Ashley, Director General Defense R&D Canada (DRDC) Centre for Security Science; and Claude Belisle, Vice President, Satellite Communications & Radio Propagation Research, Communications Research Centre (CRC) Canada.

Rick Galway, National Emergency Number Association (NENA) Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald, National Sheriffs' Association (NSA)

Congratulations to Governing Board members Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald, National Sheriffs' Association (NSA), and to Rick Galway, National Emergency Number Association (NENA), who have both been elected to chair their respective associations.  [From Left: Paul Fitzgerald and Rick Galway]

D Block Legislation: Will it Pass by 9/11?  As September 11 approaches, Congress is under some pressure to pass legislation on the public safety broadband network, which the White House supports.  The Dingell-Green Bill, H.R. 2482, introduced July 12, is being supported by the Public Safety Alliance (PSA) and its member organizations and is very similar to the Rockefeller-Hutchison Bill, S. 911, which would give the D Block to public safety and provide funding to build the network.  On July 15, the Majority Staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce circulated a memo and discussion draft but has not yet introduced it as a bill.  The Majority discussion draft proposes to auction the D Block, use the 24 MHz of public safety 700 MHz band spectrum (12 MHz of broadband and 12 MHz of narrowband voice) for the nationwide broadband network and instead of having a single nationwide license it would direct the FCC to license the spectrum to the 50 states.  More on the D Block in this issue.

GPS Interference.  On June 15, NPSTC submitted a letter to the FCC outlining public safety's concerns regarding interference to GPS services due to terrestrial LTE operations on adjacent L-Band allocations:  The public safety report submitted by the LightSquared (LS) TWG concluded that theoretical analysis; organized, industry-wide and individual company laboratory testing; and fielded, Live Sky testing indicated that terrestrial use of L-band allocations near accepted and utilized Satellite Navigation allocations (1559 – 1610 MHz), including GPS, does diminish location accuracy and/or preclude, under certain circumstances, GPS service entirely.  In the interim, LS submitted an alternative proposal to the FCC.  See our articles on the issue in this newsletter.

Also in this issue is an excellent article on Radio-Frequency Measurements to Support Public Safety Wireless Communications in Large Buildings and Structures from engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  Public safety requires dependable wireless communications in buildings that often degrade the radio-frequency channel due to construction materials, architectural features, and large physical dimensions.  The Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Program measured public safety radio frequencies in large buildings and structures.

D Block Legislation: Will it Be Passed by 9/11?

As September 11 approaches, Congress is under some pressure to pass legislation on the public safety broadband network, which the White House supports.  The Dingell-Green Bill, H.R. 2482, introduced July 12, is being supported by the Public Safety Alliance (PSA) and its member organizations and is very similar to the Rockefeller-Hutchison Bill, S. 911, which would give the D Block to public safety and provide funding to build the network.

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved S. 911 on June 8 in a 21-4 bipartisan vote, but opponents are expected to continue to push their objections, including those with the bill's price tag, its reallocation of the D block, and the establishment of a non-profit Public Safety Broadband Corporation.  The next step is to find consensus in the House of Representatives.

On July 15, the Majority Staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce circulated a memo and discussion draft but has not yet introduced it as a bill.  The Majority discussion draft proposes to auction the D Block, use the 24 MHz of public safety 700 MHz band spectrum (12 MHz of broadband and 12 MHz of narrowband voice) for the nationwide broadband network and instead of having a single nationwide license it would direct the FCC to license the spectrum to the 50 states.

On Monday, July 17, Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.), issued their own staff discussion draft of the Public Safety Broadband and Wireless Innovation Act of 2011 that would reallocate the D Block to public safety, authorize more than $11 billion to construct a nationwide public safety broadband network, and permit the FCC to hold incentive auctions.  The Congresspersons want to enhance committee consideration of these issues and clarify how they would approach legislating in this area.  Both members have instructed committee staff to continue bipartisan dialogue with the majority and strongly prefer a consensus approach.

NPSTC has been reporting up to-the-minute news on the D Block and the proposed nationwide public safety broadband network and has copies of all proposed legislation including commentary and analysis courtesy of TRDaily, Andrew Seybold, and others on its D Block web page.

NPSTC Opposes Freezing 700 Narrowband Spectrum Proposed in Republican Draft Legislation

House Energy and Commerce Committee

NPSTC Urges House to Make Public Safety a Priority by Reallocating the D Block and Providing Funding for Broadband Network as Is Proposed in Senate Bill S.911

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee released staff discussion draft legislation to be discussed at the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing July 15 on spectrum legislation.  The draft, titled The Spectrum Innovation Act of 2011, has a number of controversial provisions, including imposing a ban on the future use of public safety spectrum for narrowband communications.  It would require the D block to be re-auctioned, but doesn't include any specific funding for the construction of a public safety broadband network, and would authorize the FCC to hold incentive auctions.

The GOP Draft proposes to auction the D Block, use the 24 MHz of public safety 700 MHz band spectrum (12 MHz of broadband and 12 MHz of narrowband voice) for the nationwide broadband network, and would direct the FCC to license the spectrum to the 50 states instead of having a single nationwide license.

It would freeze expansion of narrowband voice services in the 700 MHz spectrum to facilitate transition to broadband.  The Commission would not be allowed to "permit the public safety spectrum to be used by a narrowband land mobile radio system unless such system was purchased before September 1, 2011," the draft states.  It neglects to acknowledge that there are no current or planned broadband technologies that will replace public safety land mobile narrowband voice systems and provide public safety with mission critical capabilities that allow unit-to-unit talk around when responders cannot access a network like that which is contemplated for broadband.  Without access to a network first responders will have no communications.

On Monday, July 12, Reps. John D. Dingell (D., Mich.) and Gene Green (D., Texas), House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced a companion bill, H.R.2482, to S.911, which would reallocate the D Block to public safety, authorize $12 billion to construct a nationwide public safety broadband network, and provide the FCC with incentive auction authority.

Intrinsically Safe Issues Still Unresolved

Background:  In September 2010, NPSTC learned a new version of the intrinsically safe standard affecting Land Mobile Radio (LMR) was to go into effect January 1, 2012.  The standards for intrinsically safe electrical equipment apply to equipment used in hazardous locations, including LMR.  A standards certification organization, FM Approvals intends to replace their current, still safe standard, FM 3610:1988, with the new FM 3610:2010.

The energy constraints imposed by meeting the new FM standard will result in limiting the transmit power capabilities of LMR products.  The actual power reduction may vary by manufacturer because different design considerations are employed.  But there is no question that power will be reduced if traditional product size, weight, and duty cycle requirements are retained.  The impact of the changes will affect more than basic product design of portable radio equipment.  Significant system infrastructure expansion might be necessary to maintain current geographic and in-building coverage.


Reaction and Actions

NPSTC created a Working Group, issued a position paper, initiated discussion with FM Approvals, and participated in meetings with the International Society of Automation (ISA).  NPSTC has met with the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC), and many public safety groups to discuss this issue.

Throughout the spring, NPSTC proceeded along various fronts to resolve this issue.  NPSTC representatives presented a proposal at the ISA meeting in March that is being circulated for discussion at ISA's September meeting.  TIA convened an Engineering Subcommittee to potentially create a new LMR-specific standard for intrinsic safety.  Shortly after TIA announced its intentions, a representative of FM Approvals stated that FM would be developing a new LMR-specific standard.  In early June, FM announced they were taking initial steps to create a new standard designed to address the LMR industry's concern with proposed changes to the IS standard.  However, FM said, if the new FM Approvals standard is adopted, radios meeting the standard would not be considered intrinsically safe, but would instead be deemed safe for use in the most hazardous environments under "other protection techniques."

NPSTC Writes to FM Approvals

On June 24, 2011, NPSTC's Chair wrote to the General Manager of FM Approvals to ask them to state their intentions regarding the IS standard for LMR in writing, stating, "NPSTC believes it is time to clarify public safety requirements in our land mobile radios to ensure that all of these groups understand our needs as defined by the public safety users themselves."

NPSTC is concerned with the press reports stating that FM Approvals has embarked on a new standards development process where the radios may not be called "intrinsically safe."  The letter states, "... this is a concern because we do not understand this comment.  We also understand that TIA is developing an ANSI LMR standard and wonder if FM Approvals will test to a standard developed by TIA, or is FM Approvals developing a 'new not intrinsically safe standard' to certify to exclusively?  Should these new standards conflict with one another, what would the impact be?",

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), International Society of Automation (ISA), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) are organizations that develop consensus standards through the participation of manufacturers, regulators, and consultants as well as standards certification organizations like FM Approvals.
the letter says, adding that public safety needs to understand the impact of new standards on public safety insurance coverage and the reaction of the unions who support public safety.  If the long-range plan is to move public safety certification from Division 1 to Division 2, what would that mean to public safety?

 

NPSTC requested that FM Approvals provide some idea of their direction, in writing, so NPSTC can plan how to support that effort with the best result for public safety users.

FM's Response

The reply from FM Approvals explained the several methods used to certify a product for use in Class I Division 1-classified hazardous locations.  There are a number of protection techniques that can be used including Intrinsically Safe.  An alternative technique is referred to as "Other Protection," which includes a combination of techniques for products like LMRs used in Class I, Division 1 hazardous classified locations.  FM Approvals is using the Other Protection technique in the development of its new LMR standard.  They state, "....we believe by following this new approach we can test and certify a new LMR for use in Class I Division 1 hazardous locations that will provide the same level of performance characteristics as currently available for LMR."

Going Forward

Several initiatives remain underway to provide both short-term and long-term solutions to the issue.  FM has agreed to continue recognition of products manufactured after January 1, 2012, provided that the product was certified to FM 3610-1988 prior to January 1, 2012, and that no substantive hardware changes that would impact intrinsic safety considerations have been made by the manufacturer to such products.  Additionally, the intrinsic safe subcommittee of TIA, TR-8.21 continues to work on the development of appropriate standards with the help of UL.

UL Proposes Extension of Review of 913 Standards for Intrinsically Safe

In the meantime, on June 30, UL issued a release proposing to extend the review period of new and revised requirements for Intrinsically Safe products in Class I, II, and III, Division 1 from July 31, 2012, to July 31, 2016.  UL stated, "Recently a revision cycle was completed with UL 60079-11 (based upon the same international standard as is the new FM 3610-2010), upon which the majority of the requirements for UL913 Revision 7 are based.  UL is proposing the effective date extension to provide a revised time frame that would satisfy the industry and UL's concerns with respect to the time and resources needed to review all products."

Simultaneously, UL has extended the withdrawal of its UL913, Version 5 to 2016.  UL offered its UL913 Version 5 publication to TIA for TR-8.21’s consideration as an alternative to an independent TIA standard.  Early indications are that designing and testing to UL913, Version 5 will allow the LMR industry to offer the user community with the traditional performance attributes they require (such as size, weight, and transmit power), while simultaneously offering the ability to operate in hazardous locations while providing historic Intrinsically Safe performance.  Evaluation efforts are underway.

"In effect, UL has done what public safety and industry have been asking FM Approvals to do, extend the date of current Intrinsically Safe requirements.  This is excellent news for public safety, however there will be other questions arising if UL takes this action," says NPSTC’s Executive Director Marilyn Ward.  "For example, manufacturers have traditionally used FM Approvals to certify their equipment.  Manufacturers need to know if FM will also extend the FM 3610-1988 effective date and/or will FM certify to UL913, Version 5, or will manufacturers have to change who they use as a certification entity?  NPSTC will continue to monitor the situation to ensure public safety's voice and needs are known as it evolves.  In the past 10 months great strides have been made, but we are not out of the woods yet!  More to follow."

Radio-Frequency Measurements to Support Public Safety Wireless Communications in Large Buildings and Structures *
by William Young , Kate Remley , Christopher L. Holloway , Galen Koepke, Dennis Camell, and John Ladbury

Abstract

The public safety community requires dependable wireless communications in buildings that often degrade the radio-frequency channel due to construction materials, architectural features, and large physical dimensions.  Here we introduce measurements made by the Public Safety Communications Research Program focused on public safety radio frequencies in large buildings and structures.


Studying Radio Communications

Wireless communications technology represents a critical component to the successful and efficient operation of public safety organizations.  This article overviews studies and results from the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) measurements of radio-frequency (RF) propagation within large buildings and structures.  The overall goal of this project is to create a large, public domain data set in the public safety frequency bands, representative of "difficult" responder radio environments.

Since 2003, PSCR researchers have continued to investigate how well RF waves in a variety of public safety bands penetrate and propagate into large structures such as office buildings, processing facilities, convention centers, and apartment buildings[1]–[3].  Figure 1 shows three of the structures included in the RF propagation measurements.  PSCR has collected data on sixteen buildings, providing the public safety community with information largely unavailable to date.  In an effort related to these propagation measurements, researchers are testing the performance of wireless technology used in Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS) and urban search and rescue (US&R) robots[4].

We have collected RF propagation data at narrowband frequencies ranging from 50 MHz to 4.9 GHz, and wideband data covering 100 MHz to 18 GHz.  The data and accompanying analysis offer information that can support the public safety community in a variety of efforts, from designing wireless systems, to developing concepts of operations, to establishing standards for wireless communications.

Measuring RF Propagation

The measurement approach used by PSCR falls into two general categories of narrowband and wideband wireless communications.  Each method offers unique insights into the RF propagation behavior within the building.  The narrowband and wideband data can be thought of as providing macro- and microscopic views of the RF propagation, respectively.

The narrowband measurement process simulates public safety personnel moving through the building while communicating with a temporary command center located outside the building.  For these measurements, a person carries a mobile radio or transmitter that is continuously emitting an unmodulated signal at or very near a particular public safety frequency, e.g., 160 MHz, 450 MHz, or 750 MHz.  At a site outside of the building, the received signal power level is sampled using a spectrum analyzer, along with information about the general location of the mobile radio.  For example, in Figure 2 the time is recorded when a mobile transmitter reaches an unboxed number as the transmitter is carried through the building.  These data are used to create a "radio mapping" of the building by plotting the received RF signal power versus time.  An important consideration in the narrowband collection process is to cover key features of the building such as stairwells and basements where radio communication is often intermittent and weak.

Wideband data support detailed analysis of reflections and scattering within the structure.  This is known as a multipath environment.  These data are collected over wide frequency bands of widths ranging from 100 MHz to 18 GHz, and support analysis of the time-domain characteristics.  Figures of merit such as the root-mean-square (RMS) delay spread may be calculated and used to quantify the period required for multipath reflections to decay below a given threshold level.  Generally speaking, the longer the delay-spread, the stronger the multipath effects.  Because the collection process for wideband data is time consuming and uses a fiber-optic link, limited numbers of locations are measured in the building.  The boxes in Figure 2 show example wideband measurement locations.

As noted above, other concurrent tests capture the performance of a specific wireless technology, such as PASS or US&R robots, at key locations in the same structures.  This enables the development of laboratory tests that emulate the same propagation environment.  Correlating results from real-world measurements and laboratory tests helps validate the laboratory test in predicting performance in real-world deployments.

Viewing the Collected Data

The collected data are initially viewed in several ways.  For example, Figure 3 shows a typical radio mapping for the 60-story building.  Notice that a significant portion of the 4.9 GHz signal is below the spectrum analyzer's noise floor of -120 dBm, which demonstrates that the 750 MHz signal penetrates deep into the building better than 4.9 GHz does.  The noise floor is the power level where the signal is not of sufficient level to detect.

From the wideband data, we obtain delay-spread results.  Figure 4 shows delay-spread values for the 60-story office building, where the delay-spread actually decreases from the 5th to the 10th floor.  This decrease is due to the fact that the 10th floor was a wide-open room with no partitions, while the 5th floor contained many partitions and small offices.

 

Gaining Insight into Performance

Subsequent analysis of the collected data allows further insight into wireless device performance differences due to frequency and/or building types.  For example, the percentage of data greater than the noise floor provides an estimate of coverage percentage within the building.  Figure 5 is a comparison of three buildings and two frequencies at three different thresholds above the noise floor.  As expected, the percentage coverage is best at 750 MHz for all three buildings.  More interesting is the less than 40% coverage for the 60-story office building at 4.9 GHz for all three threshold values that we selected.

As an example of the time-domain behavior, Figure 6 illustrates the delay-spread behavior for three buildings.  The longest delay-spread values occur in the 60-story office building, while the shortest values occur in the apartment building.  Thus, the apartment building does not exhibit as strong a multipath environment as either the office building or the conventions center.

Additional Information

This article provides a brief overview of PSCR's activities in radio frequency propagation for the public safety community over the last several years.  The example data and interpretations are intended to raise awareness of both the existence of the data as well as the potential value of this extensive data set.  For example, radio mapping data can support coverage prediction, the delay-spread data can help with transceiver design guidelines, and both types of data are useful in developing channel models for numerical or simulation-based performance analysis.  The reader is encouraged to explore the following website[5], which contains multiple reports based on these data.  These reports include a large set of statistics on radio-frequency propagation such as mean RF signal penetration, variability, and delay spread.


References

[1] W.F. Young, et al., "Radio Wave Signal Propagation Into Large Building Structures Part 1:  CW Signal Attenuation and Variability," IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 58, Issue 4, April, 2010, pp 1279-1289.

[2] K. A. Remley, et al., "Radio Wave Signal Propagation Into Large Building Structures Part 2:  Characterization of Multipath," IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 58, Issue 4, April, 2010, pp 1290-1301.

[3] C. L. Holloway, et al., "Attenuation of Radio Wave Signals Coupled Into Twelve Large Building Structures," NIST Technical Note 1545, May 2008.

[4] K. A. Remley, et al., "Interference Tests for 900 MHz Frequency-Hopping Public-Safety Wireless Devices," 2011 IEEE Society International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Long Beach, CA, August 2011.

[5] http://www.nist.gov/pml/electromagnetics/rf_fields/remley_publications.cfm, scroll down to:  "Wireless System Measurements for Industry and the Public Safety Sector".


* This work was sponsored by the Public Safety Communications Research Program, under Dereck Orr, Program Manager.

Electromagnetics Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology
U.S. Department of Commerce, Boulder Laboratories
Email: wfy, remley, holloway@boulder.nist.gov
Phone: 303-497-3471

Work of the U.S. government, not subject to U.S. copyright.

GPS TWG Sends Report to FCC:  The Controversy Continues

Background:  LightSquared is a company that has spectrum in the 1.5 GHz band adjacent to the spectrum used by all Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers.  LightSquared plans to build an LTE terrestrial network with approximately 40,000 sites which would provide wholesale capacity to commercial broadband providers.  This could radically change and degrade the spectrum environment in which adjacent GPS signals are received, as strong signals from the LightSquared facilities could block GPS reception by public safety communications facilities and devices.

In January 2011, NPSTC wrote to the FCC raising concerns about the potential for interference.  Accurate GPS information is very important to the public safety community.  GPS is used for wireless 911 location, support of dispatch operations, mapping/response directions to responders, and synchronization of simulcast systems across the country.  The FCC subsequently required LightSquared (LS) to test for interference to GPS and submit a report by June 15, 2011, to document the potential for interference and recommended mitigation procedures.  NPSTC participated in the GPS Technical Working Group (TWG), co-chaired by LS and the U.S. GPS Industry Council to assess the potential for interference.


 

June 15, NPSTC Submits Letter to FCC Outlining Public Safety Concerns Regarding Interference to GPS Services Due to Terrestrial LTE Operations on Adjacent L-Band Allocations:  The public safety report concluded that theoretical analysis; organized, industry-wide and individual company laboratory testing; and fielded, Live Sky testing has indicated that terrestrial use of L-band allocations near accepted and utilized Satellite Navigation allocations (1559–1610MHz), including GPS, does diminish location accuracy and/or preclude, under certain circumstances, GPS service entirely.  Each impacted device will exhibit a denial of service radius.  The report and other relevant materials can be found on NPSTC GPS Interference Working Group page [Click on Filings and Letters, Final Report Filed with FCC, June 15].

NPSTC cited interference to infrastructure such as roof- and tower-mounted antennas, mobile PC-based and stand-alone devices, portable handsets, and E911 calls.  NPSTC was concerned that more testing on public safety systems was not done in the extremely expedited schedule under which the TWG conducted testing.

June 15, FCC Grants LS Request To Extend GPS TWG Report Deadline:  One of the reasons for the delay was that LightSquared determined that additional testing, including alternative frequency plans to support its network, was necessary to permit a proper evaluation of various mitigation options for addressing the GPS receiver issue.

June 30, LS GPS TWG Submits Report to FCC:  On June 30, 2011, LS filed the 1,000-plus page TWG report analyzing interference from LS's proposed deployment plans in the Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) band adjacent to GPS.  The report was based on their February 2011 planned three-phase deployment.  All three phases identified by LightSquared for study used a portion of the MSS band directly adjacent to GPS, 1545.2–1555.2 MHz.  The test results showed overwhelming interference to every category of the 500 million GPS receivers.

June 30, LS Submits Alternative Plan:  LS had stated previously that its proposed plans would not interfere with GPS; however in light of the evidence of massive interference, LS also released a 58-page Alternative Recommendation Document.  LS submitted a report on its proposed wireless broadband network that calls on the Commission to approve the company's revamped service plan under which it would use 10 MHz of spectrum in the lower L-band to launch its wholesale wireless broadband service.  LS said it agreed that the 10 MHz of spectrum that make up the upper L-band was not usable for its service now because it would "adversely affect the performance of a significant number of legacy GPS receivers."  However, the company stressed that use of the lower part of the band would not hinder the performance of 99.5% of GPS receivers.

LS also asked the GPS industry to help it solve interference problems, while taking aim at the industry for not seeking a resolution to those problems earlier.

June 30, FCC Sets Comment Deadlines of July 30 on LS GPS TWG Report; Replies Due August 15, 2011:  On June 30, 2011, LS submitted a final report that includes the working group's analyses of the potential for overload interference to GPS devices from LS's terrestrial network of base stations, technical and operational steps to avoid any such interference, and specific recommendations going forward to mitigate potential interference to GPS devices.

According to the FCC notice, the TWG effort identified significant technical issues related to potential LightSquared operations in the upper portion of the L-Band, which is most proximate to the band used by GPS.  Over more than 3 months, the technical working group tested more than 130 representative devices in seven different receiver categories, in a number of different test environments.  The tests demonstrated potentially significant interference between LS operations in the upper portion of the band and various GPS receivers.  The tests also identified some interference issues in the lower 10 MHz portion of the band.  The overall conclusion of the testing is that transmissions in the upper 10 MHz channel – the channel nearest to the 1559–1610 MHz GPS band – will adversely affect the performance of a significant number of legacy GPS receivers.

In addition to the TWG report, LS submitted its recommendations to address the problems identified by the working group, indicating its willingness to operate at lower power than permitted by its existing FCC authorization; to agree to a "standstill" in the terrestrial use of its upper 10 MHz frequencies immediately adjacent to the GPS band; and commence terrestrial commercial operations only on the lower 10 MHz portion of its spectrum and to coordinate and share the cost of underwriting a workable solution for the small number of legacy precision measurement devices that may be at risk.

The FCC invited comment on these recommendations, including any alternative proposals to enable these two important services – GPS devices and L-band mobile broadband – to co-exist, and welcomed comments on the TWG report generally.

July 7, LS Announced Empower Rural America Initiative, which will, "work with LightSquared and other parties to make sure device filters and other approaches are developed that will resolve any GPS issues related to precision agriculture and other areas;" and "ensure that LightSquared's integrated satellite network can help rural markets augment their broadband and GPS services to provide greater accuracy and continuity of service."

July 7, NTIA Says Additional Testing Should be Done on LS Alternative Plan:  The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said it agrees that additional testing should be done to gauge the impact of LS's alternative deployment of its L-band system, which the company said will protect most GPS receivers.  NTIA submitted a report to the FCC conducted by the National Space-Based PNT Systems Engineering Forum (NPEF) on LS's network.  As reported in TRDaily, independent testing done by NPEF concluded that LightSquared's network would impact all GPS receiver applications.  However, the NPEF did not test the alternative deployment LightSquared is now planning, which involves an initial deployment on 10 megahertz of spectrum lower in the 1525–1559 MHz band.

July 19, Europeans Weigh In:  The European Commission (EC) expressed "deep concerns" that LightSquared, Inc.'s L-band network would cause interference to the Galileo European global navigation satellite system and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).  The EC's letter to the FCC stated that LightSquared's "proposal for a terrestrial network deployment in the MSS spectrum would completely change the nature of radio transmissions in the band.  What are now neighbour MSS transmissions at similar receiver power levels to RNSS [radio navigation satellite service] would in [the] future be many orders of magnitude higher and with the potential to severely disrupt reception of RNSS signals."

July 30, NPSTC Files Comments on LS New Plan:  NPSTC submitted comments to the FCC stating, "...it is clear that the testing done to date confirms significant interference problems will occur if LightSquared's upper channel is deployed.  NPSTC would like equal assurance that interference problems will not occur when only the lower channel is deployed and believes additional testing and analysis of the results is needed under a rational schedule.  NPSTC appreciates LightSquared's proposal for a "standstill period" during which its upper channel would not be deployed, but NPSTC believes additional detail is needed to help ensure no interference to public safety will occur if and when the Commission does authorize use of the upper channel."

NPSTC also noted the very compressed time schedule allotted for testing and asked that more public safety devices be tested and that more time be provided to review and analyze the test results.  "While the Technical Working Group testing encompassed 130 devices overall, only six were in the public safety category.  Testing of a larger group of public safety devices could not be accommodated under the compressed schedule imposed."

NPSTC believes that additional testing will need to be completed to evaluate LightSquared's modified deployment proposal.  "Full testing needs to be performed in both the lab and open air environment .... including both urban and suburban areas of deployment without artificially limiting the scope of public safety devices because of compressed schedules."  Such tests should also be conducted with LightSquared's licensed power and its proposed reduced power.

Protecting Public Safety Communications – Preparing for Coexistence of GPS and 4G Broadband
by Jeff Carlisle, EVP of Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, LightSquared

No one in public safety would argue that a basic requirement for first responders is dependable communications – no matter where they are located in the nation.  Americans are expected to increase demand for wireless data services by 40 to 50 fold over the next five years, which will require additional wireless capacity to ensure first responders and all Americans have ready access to dependable wireless communications networks.  Careful coordination of all spectrum licensees – both incumbents and newer entrants – is critical to ensure peaceful coexistence among the competing demands for spectrum.

LightSquared is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate its mobile satellite service (MSS) as well as build a next-generation, wireless broadband network – an ancillary terrestrial component or ATC – in L-Band spectrum (1525–1559 MHz / 1626.5–1660.5 MHz).  The L-Band is adjacent to frequencies allocated to Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

The FCC currently is overseeing a comprehensive and rigorous testing process to evaluate how GPS and a 4G LTE broadband system will work side by side.  The FCC has stated that LightSquared may only launch service using this spectrum once the government is satisfied.  This is the largest-scale effort to prevent radio interference prior to a commercial wireless network launch in the United States, ever.

LightSquared isn't exactly a new entrant providing wireless services, though.  Under our predecessor name, Sky Terra, we launched our first satellite in 1996 and have been providing reliable and interoperable satellite voice and data services to first responders, public officials and federal agencies in urban, rural and remote areas for years.  The State of Mississippi's emergency responders, for example, relied on LightSquared's satellite network after Hurricane Katrina took down terrestrial networks.

Beginning in 2001, we sought permission from the FCC to use our spectrum to build a next-generation wireless network to complement our satellite network.  The integrated networks will seamlessly combine satellite and terrestrial based wireless communications to provide reliable, affordable and ubiquitous wireless coverage of the entire United States.

Knowing that our spectrum is so close to the GPS spectrum, we began to work with the GPS community over nine years ago to address concerns of unintended interference in the GPS bands.  In 2002 we voluntarily agreed to limit our emissions levels below what even the FCC permitted to prevent our signal from crossing into GPS frequencies and spent millions of dollars developing filters for our cell site transmitters.

Although we have worked collaboratively for the last nine years to make sure that our wireless network would operate without interfering with GPS, recently some GPS users and manufacturers raised new concerns about potential interference.  So in January, the FCC required LightSquared and the GPS community to form a Working Group of technical experts to fully study the potential behavior of GPS devices and identify mitigation measures should they be required.  The Working Group – co-chaired by the US GPS Industry Council (USGPSIC) and LightSquared – includes over 35 Technical Working Group members and over 50 Advisors from the GPS industry, federal government, device manufacturers, the cellular wireless industry, and public safety among others.

The Working Group has established sub-teams in order to aggregate receivers into categories with similar components and performance specifications.  These sub-teams are comprised of members and advisors with expertise relevant to cellular, general location and navigation, high precision, networks, and timing, and space-based receiver.  Participants from NPSTC and APCO, as well as Motorola Solutions and E911, represent public safety on the Working Group.  The cooperative testing process is underway and the FCC has ordered that the final report, due by June 15, includes: (1) the working group's analysis of the potential for overload interference to GPS devices from LightSquared's terrestrial network, (2) technical and operational steps to avoid such interference, and (3) specific recommendations going forward to mitigate potential interference to GPS devices.

On a separate but important issue, we are also working with major infrastructure providers to voluntarily replace public safety network's critical fixed GPS timing device antennas that are operating near a proposed LightSquared transmitter.  These new antennas have been proven to prevent GPS receiver interference and, when such replacements are required, it will be done at no expense to public safety.

LightSquared has been working with NPSTC, the organizations it represents and the GPS industry among others to prepare for LightSquared's new wireless network.  We understand the critical need for reliable communications for first responders and we're working cooperatively and diligently to ensure the systems can coexist.


Jeff Carlisle is Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy for LightSquared, where he is responsible for all domestic and international regulatory and policy matters including those at the FCC, Congress, the Executive Branch, the ITU, and in foreign markets.

An Alternative to IECGP:  Emergency Communication Goals and Activities Funded by FY 2011 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)

Source:  OEC Stakeholder Letter

Earlier the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) announced that the Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program (IECGP) was defunded in FY 2011.  IECGP was the only grant dedicated solely to emergency communications and was instrumental in supporting the governance and planning of interoperable communications, including salaries for Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (SWIC), development of Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans (SCIP) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), and emergency communications-specific training, exercises, and equipment.

To ensure emergency communication priorities were preserved in FY 2011, the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to incorporate emergency communication goals and activities into the FY 2011 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP).  Below is a summary of activities previously allowable under IECGP that are now allowable under HSGP.  Stakeholders are strongly encouraged to work with their State Administrative Agency (SAA) to leverage the FY 2011 HSGP Guidance to support and secure funding for emergency communication positions and activities.

Emergency Communication Priorities Funded through IECGP Emergency Communication Priorities included in HSGP? Page in HSGP Guidance
Funding for SWICs Yes 41
Alignment with SCIP Yes 37, 62
Update SCIP/SCIP Implementation Report Yes 62, 64
Coordination with SWIC Yes 37
Governance Yes 13
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Yes 62
Funding for NECP Goals Possibly 38-39, 62, 64, 76-79
Training and Exercises Yes 76-79
Equipment Standards Yes 37-38
Funding for Narrowband Activities Yes 64
Funding for Broadband Activities Yes 37, 38

Following is a more detailed summary of each activity, how the activity has been incorporated into the FY 2011 HSGP Guidance, and any restrictions on funding, or you can also download a PDF of specific details using this link, Emergency Communication Priorities in FY 2011 HSGP.

1.  Sustaining SWIC Positions

Under IECGP:  Funding for SWICs was prioritized.  Grantees were required to demonstrate that a full-time SWIC was in place before allocating funds to other priorities, including:  Standard operating procedures, training and exercises, and equipment.

Under HSGP:  Funding for SWIC Positions is allowable under HSGP, but is not prioritized.  Grantees are not required to have a SWIC in place before allocating funds for other purposes.  In FY 2011 HSGP, SWICs are included as allowable personnel expenses under the: State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), Urban Area Strategic Initiative (UASI), Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS), and Citizen Corps Program (CCP).

Funding Restriction:  SHSP and UASI Personnel Cap.  Grantees should be aware that there is a 50 percent personnel cap under the SHSP and UASI programs as directed by the Personnel Reimbursement for Intelligence Cooperation and Enhancement (PRICE) of the Homeland Security Act.  In general, the use of SHSP and UASI funding to pay for staff and/or contractor regular time or overtime/backfill is considered a personnel cost.  Activities that are considered personnel and personnel-related, and therefore count against the personnel cost cap of 50 percent, include the SWIC position.  Grantees who wish to seek a waiver from the personnel cost cap must provide documentation explaining why the cap should be waived; waiver requests will be considered only under extreme circumstances.  (Note that FEMA has no standard form or format for waiver requests.  Grantees seeking waivers should submit their written requests to their Program Managers, who will request additional information if needed.)

2.  SCIP Implementation Reports

Under IECGP:  States and territories were required to submit SCIP Implementation Reports.  FY 2011 SCIP Implementation Reports are due to OEC on September 30, 2011.  Under IECGP, costs related to preparing or updating SCIP Implementation Reports were allowable.

Under HSGP:  Funding for SCIP Implementation Reports is included in HSGP.  HSGP allows grantees to use planning funds for enhancing and implementing SCIP and Tactical Interoperable Communications Plans (TICP) that align with the goals, objectives, and initiatives of the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP).

3.  NECP Goal Implementation

Under IECGP:  States and territories are required to evaluate response-level communications performance in accordance with NECP Goal Two.  NECP Goal Two requires that, by 2011, 75 percent of non-UASI jurisdictions are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications within 1 hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.  States and territories were informed that they must demonstrate compliance with NECP Goal Two, report on NECP Goal Two outcomes, and include NECP Goal Two capabilities and performance reports in each state's/territory's FY 2011 SCIP Implementation Report, due on September 30, 2011.

Under HSGP:  NECP Goals activities are NOT specifically mentioned in the FY 2011 HSGP; however, the grant does fund planning, training, exercise, and reporting activities that may help States and localities fulfill NECP Goal Two requirements.  For example: States are allowed to use HSGP funding to:

  • Align investments with needs identified in plans, which may include NECP Goal One improvement plans.
  • Support national initiatives, which may include NECP Goal compliance.
  • Design, develop, conduct, and evaluate and exercise, including exercises to demonstrate Goal Two compliance.
  • Develop Improvement Plans, which are also required for NECP Goal compliance.

 

Additionally, under HSGP, States are:

  • Required to develop multi-year exercise plans, which could include exercises related to NECP Goal compliance.
  • Encouraged to conduct exercises that are large enough in scope and size to exercise multiple activities and warrant involvement from multiple jurisdictions and disciplines and non-governmental organizations, and take into account the needs and requirements for individuals with disabilities, similar to activities required to demonstrate compliance with NECP Goal Two.
  • Allowed to use HSGP funding to plan for large, Special Events, which are also eligible activities which States can use to demonstrate compliance with NECP Goal Two.

 

Funding Restrictions:  NECP Goals are not directly mentioned in HSGP guidance; therefore, States are strongly encouraged to contact FEMA Program Managers to determine if NECP Goal-related activities are eligible for funding under HSGP.  Activities that may be allowable include:

  • Projects developed to close gaps in NECP Goal One improvement plans.
  • Exercises planned to demonstrate compliance with NECP Goal Two.
  • Planning activities related to NECP Goal Three compliance.

 

4.  Narrowband Compliance

Under IECGP:  In IECGP, narrowband planning activities were allowable under the grant, and all equipment purchased with IECGP funds were required to be narrowband compliant.

Under HSGP:  DHS has allowed grantees to use funds to develop and enhance plans and protocols, including narrowband plans and activities associated with a conversion from wideband to narrowband voice channels.  Grantees (and sub-grantees) are strongly encouraged to comply with the FY 2011 SAFECOM Guidance for Emergency Communication Grants, which provides additional guidance on narrowbanding.

Funding Restrictions:  FCC licensing fees are not allowable under most grants.

5.  Emergency communication activities necessary to implement the SCIP

Under IECGP:  In IECGP, emergency communication planning, SOPs, training, exercises, and equipment were allowable.  The reference guide provides a more detailed summary of each activity funded under IECGP, how the activity has been incorporated into the FY 2011 HSGP Guidance, and any restrictions on funding which stakeholders should be aware.  Stakeholders are strongly encouraged to work with their SAA to secure HSGP funding for emergency communication activities necessary to implement the SCIP.

Under HSGP:  Planning, SOPs, training, exercises, and equipment are allowable under the program.  Stakeholders should be fully aware that HSGP funds a wide array of emergency communication activities, including:

  • Activities related to enhancing emergency communication plans (SCIP, TICP), that align to NECP goals and objectives (page 62)
  • Activities related to NIMS compliance (page 49)
  • Activities related to the implementation of the SCIP (page 62)
  • Activities related to the NIPP Communications Sector Plan (page 62)
  • Broadband activities (page 37)
  • Communication projects that enhance metropolitan medical response under MMRS (page 42)
  • Development of interoperable communications protocols and solutions (page 62)
  • Development and enhancement of local, regional, statewide strategic and tactical emergency communication plans (page 64)
  • Emergency communication alerts and warnings that serve disabled persons under CCP (page 21)
  • Emergency communications equipment (page 37)
  • Emergency communications towers (page 42)
  • Interoperability assessments (page 65)
  • Interoperability exercises, Special Event Planning, exercising on national scenarios (page 77, 82)
  • Narrowband activities (page 64)

 

CONCLUSION

OEC strongly encourages its stakeholders to work with the SAA to maximize the use of FY 2011 HSGP funds for the SWIC position and other essential emergency communication activities.  OEC is committed to preserving the great progress we have made toward improving emergency communications in every State and across the Nation.

Stakeholders are welcome to reach out to OEC to request information and assistance on emergency communication priorities in HSGP.  Please contact the OEC email at oec@dhs.gov with any questions or comments.

Narrowbanding:  Complying with Two FCC Deadlines
by Mark Rychman, ICMA representative to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust

(Editor's Note:  This article first appeared in ICMA's Public Management Magazine)

Managers may not be aware of it yet, but another unfunded mandate is waiting just around the corner.  Because of the increase in wireless communications, the nation's airwaves are becoming crowded.  To better accommodate current needs and future projected telecommunications growth, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking steps to more efficiently allocate the limited airwaves (or spectrum) available.

The changes include how land mobile radio (LMR) systems operate.  LMR systems use portable, mobile, hilltop base and repeater stations as well as stations connected to dispatch consoles for field radio communications.  They operate on various channels, many of which are 25 kilohertz (kHz) wide, also known as wideband.  FCC is requiring LMR users in certain bandwidths to reduce their voice and data channel operations to 12.5 kHz or equivalent efficiency.

Important Dates

FCC's order requiring narrowbanding, which was adopted in December 2004, includes two important dates:

  • January 1, 2011.  FCC will not license new wideband applications for radio systems operating in the 150–174 MHz or 421–512 MHz bands.
  • January 1, 2013.  LMR licensees operating in the 150–174 MHz and 421–512 MHz bands must move to 12.5 kHz channels or implement equipment that provides equivalent efficiency for voice and data transmissions.
Implementation Plan

 

The deadline to convert to narrowband systems may appear distant, but in the world of local government procurement it might not be as far away as it seems.  Managers are urged to review FCC radio licenses and determine whether any 25 kHz systems are operating in the affected bands.  If a manager is having difficulty verifying which licenses exist, the radio communications system vendor, a qualified FCC licensing assistance service, or an FCC-certified frequency coordinator can be contacted for assistance.

When inventorying radios, make sure to include portable radios, mobile radios in vehicles, base stations, and repeaters.  It is also important to identify any supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that may be using 25 kHz radio systems.

SCADA systems are commonly found in wastewater treatment plants, water systems, electric facilities, and civil defense siren systems.  It can be helpful to build a spreadsheet containing the make, model, and serial number of each radio, and it is extremely important that this information is copied exactly as it appears on the radio.

Dropping a digit from a model number can make the difference between a need to replace a piece of equipment or merely retuning it to change the operating bandwidth.  Next, craft a strategy for replacing and retuning radios.  Ask staff members questions about how many radios are really needed and to whom they should be assigned.  Does every vehicle and piece of equipment in a fleet need a radio?  Who is assigned portable radios and why?  It is common for systems to grow over the years without adequate planning.  This is a time to size a system to meet an organization's needs.

Secure the necessary funding and follow required procurement processes.  Start soon, as orders may become backlogged the closer it gets to January 1, 2013.  Make sure the vendor has a firm understanding of the final time frame for conversion.  This will also need to be communicated clearly to employees and area agencies.  Select one point person to respond to questions or address issues as they occur.  Having a single point of contact will lessen the chance of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Based on the final schedule, don't forget to apply to the FCC to modify licenses to reflect the conversion from wideband to narrowband.  Again, don't wait until the last minute to apply, as the FCC may experience delays with the volume of license modifications that are requested nationwide.

Compliance Is Required

FCC's narrowbanding mandate is not negotiable.  All licensees operating in the 150–174 MHz and 421–512 MHz bands must comply.  It is not anticipated that waivers or extensions will be granted.  Failure to comply may result in the issuance of monetary fines and even the revocation of FCC licenses.  In addition, if a local government "narrowbands" before a neighboring one, users may experience interferences that hamper an agency's communications.

Do not delay compliance.  For more information, visit FCC's webpage on narrowbanding at www.fcc.gov/pshs/public-safety-spectrum/narrowbanding.html.


Mark Ryckman, ICMA-CM, is City Manager for the City of Corning, New York, and ICMA's representative to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust.

 

Regulatory Update
by Bette Rinehart, Chair, Editorial Review Working Group

FCC Issues Guidance on Narrowbanding Waiver Requests

The FCC has issued a Public Notice reminding VHF/UHF Part 90 licensees of the upcoming January 1, 2013, deadline to narrowband VHF/UHF Part 90 operations to 12.5 kHz bandwidth or to technologies that achieve one voice path per 12.5 kHz, or a data rate of 19.2 kbps/25 kHz.

The Public Notice declared that any licensee who believes it will be unable to meet that deadline must request a waiver.  The FCC has consistently emphasized its commitment to the January 1, 2013 deadline and stressed that any waivers would be subject to a "high level of scrutiny."

In the Public Notice the FCC has provided guidance intended to expedite waiver preparation, filing, and Commission review of any waivers submitted.  Public safety entities must submit waivers of the narrowbanding deadline to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) pursuant to Section 1.925 or by email through narrowbanding@fcc.gov with the waiver as an attachment to the email.  Licensees that are part of a regional system or are coordinating their narrowbanding efforts should file a coordinated waiver request designating a "lead" licensee to file the waiver.  Each individual licensee should separately file the information specific to its particular system.

Waiver requests should contain the following information:

  • System size and complexity
  • Steps already taken to initiate, plan for and complete narrowbanding
  • Is equipment narrowband-capable or must equipment be upgraded or replaced?
  • Does the licensee plan additional improvements or system upgrades in additional to narrowbanding?
  • What are the funding sources?  Does the licensee's budget require governmental approval or a multi-year budget process?
  • Do neighboring licensees impact the licensee's narrowbanding schedule due to interoperability or other interdependencies?
  • What is the existing spectrum environment in the licensee's area?  Who are the co- and adjacent channel licensees?  How will interference from continued wide-band operations to adjacent and co channel licensees be addressed?
  • If the licensee plans to migrate out of the VHF/UHF band, will the VHF/UHF spectrum currently licensed be relinquished once migration is complete?

 

Licensees should also provide a proposed timetable for completion of narrowbanding including:

  • What will be accomplished by 1/1/2013
  • Anticipated dates for the commencement and completion of replacement or retuning of mobiles/portables and replacement or retuning of infrastructure

 

FCC Levies $20,000 Fine for Unauthorized Operations

A taxi company operating on a VHF frequency in Daytona Beach, FL, without a valid FCC license was issued a fine in the amount of $20,000 for willful and repeated violations of Section 301 of the Communications Act.  Field agents from the Enforcement Bureau's Tampa office first issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) against the taxi company in 2009 for operating without a license.

The taxi company continued to operate even after written and verbal notification from enforcement officers and sought dismissal of the fine arguing that they had a verbal agreement with the actual licensee to use that frequency.  That licensee denied that any such agreement existed.  The taxi company's owner argued that he had never been notified of any violation and couldn't be held responsible.  The Enforcement Bureau personnel indicated that they had spoken on the phone to a person identified as the owner and actions by employees could be held against the owner.

Comment Deadlines Extended for Signal Booster Docket

The deadlines for comments in response to the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on proposed regulations for Signal Boosters have been extended.  Comments were due July 25, 2011; Replies are due August 24, 2011.

The text of the Order is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1078A1.doc

800 MHz News

Rebanding Negotiations for Wave 4 Licensees in Mexican Border Extended

The rebanding negotiation deadlines for 800 MHz incumbent licensees in the Mexican border have been extended as follows:

  • October 3, 2011 Negotiations end
  • October 4, 2011 Mediation begins
  • November 16, 2011 Application freeze ends

 

The text of the Public Notice is available at:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1147A1.doc

Financial True-Up Deadline Extended Until December 31, 2011

The Commission has extended the 800 MHz rebanding financial true-up deadline from June 30, 2011 to December 31, 2011.  The Transition Administrator (TA) must file a report by November 15, 2011 to recommend whether or not the deadline should be extended beyond December 31.  The financial true-up is to determine whether or not the costs incurred by Sprint Nextel to accomplish both the 800 MHz band reconfiguration and the BAS relocation were equal to or greater than the value of the 1.9 GHz spectrum it received.  If the relocation costs are less than the 1.9 GHz valuation, then Sprint must pay the difference to the US Treasury in an "anti-windfall" payment.

The text of the Order is available at:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1076A1.doc

FCC Denies Law Firms' Partial Petition for Reconsideration of Certain 800 MHz Rebanding Decisions

Two DC-based law firms had filed partial Petitions for Reconsideration of a March 2010 Order related to the rebanding proceeding.  The firms had sought reconsideration of two decisions:

  • Licensees' inability to file for Nextel-vacated spectrum until a Frequency Relocation Agreement (FRA) with Sprint has been executed and
  • Licensees' inability to get reimbursement for costs incurred in the preparation of required monthly rebanding status reports

 

The Commission dismissed the partial Petition because the Petitioners had no standing (were themselves not adversely impacted) and the injuries to third parties (800 MHz licensees) described in the filing were deemed too speculative, remote and conditional to establish an "injury in fact."

The text of the decision is available at:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1112A1.doc

700 MHz News

NPSTC Petition for Rulemaking to Allow Aircraft Voice Operations on 700 MHz Secondary Trunking Frequencies Placed on Public Notice: Comments were due July 15, and Replies July 25.

Comment is being sought on the Petition for Rulemaking filed by NPSTC asking that the rules be amended to permit voice operations on board aircraft using the frequencies in the 700 MHz band designated for secondary trunking.  Aircraft operations would be limited to 2 watts ERP and would be secondary to conventional interoperability uses.  The secondary trunked frequencies were chosen because they will probably be lightly used.  The FCC is asking for comment on whether to initiate a formal rulemaking proceeding on NPSTC's petition:

  • How are the secondary trunked frequencies used today?
  • Is air-to-ground use compatible with terrestrial use?
  • How can neighboring licensees coordinate use to limit air-to-ground interference?
  • What are the benefits and costs of the proposal?

 

The text of the Public Notice is available at:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1146A1.doc

City of Charlotte's Request for Declaratory Ruling on 700 MHz Eligibility Addressed

The Commission has addressed a Request for Declaratory Ruling filed by the City of Charlotte which sought specificity on the types of users that could be permitted to use Charlotte's proposed CharMeck broadband network authorized under waiver last year.

Charlotte argued that if an entity was a state, county, city, or town it was eligible to operate on the broadband network regardless of whether its communications were to protect the safety of life, health, or property.  Charlotte proposed to include the City's Department of Transportation as well as the Charlotte/Mecklenburg International Airport on the network and wanted assurance that those entities were indeed eligible to use it.

The Commission disagreed that the type of communications conducted over the network was irrevelant indicating that the Statute clearly said that the "sole or principal purpose" of "Public safety services", with "services" interpreted as "communications services" must be "to protect the safety of life, health, or property."

Nevertheless, the Commission went on to rule that the services supported by many of the entities envisioned by Charlotte and commenters to Charlotte's Request were indeed consistent with the intent of the Statute and could operate on the network.  Some examples:

  • Transportation Departments:  Are generally responsible for the safe conduct of passengers on public transit, motorists on public highways, and the safety of the public roads/highways.
  • Airports: Responsible for the safety of the passengers, crews, airport personnel; must protect against terrorism
  • "Secondary responders" such as animal control, entities responsible for directing evacuations during floods, wildfires or other natural disasters; closing roads; determining when homes were safe for return, etc.

 

In general, the Commission's decision seems to indicate that if the services provided by a potential user on a broadband network can be shown to have a direct relationship to the protection of life, health, or property, that user could operate on the network.

A decision on the eligibility of utilities to operate on 700 MHz broadband networks was deferred.

City of Mesa Waiver to Exceed Maximum Trunked Interoperability Channels Granted

The City of Mesa, Arizona Police Department has been granted a waiver to operate six 700 MHz interoperability frequencies in the trunked mode in a deployable trailer at incident sites for on scene communications.  The Commission's rules limit the maximum number of trunked interoperability frequencies to two such frequencies for every ten general use frequencies licensed.

The regulation is based on a concern that if a jurisdiction were allowed to incorporate several interoperability frequencies into its trunked network, it would become dependent upon those frequencies and it would be "politically impossible" to disengage them from the trunked system when the need arose and/or to convert them from trunked to conventional operations when the need arose.

In its waiver request, Mesa assured the Commission that trunked operations in the trailer would be for incidence response, not day-to-day operations; would operate on a secondary basis to conventional operations; and would be under the control of the first responders at the scene so that operations could easily be converted from trunked to conventional when necessary.

In granting the waiver, the Commission agreed that Mesa's proposed use did not circumvent the underlying purpose of the rule and was in the public interest.  Mesa's waiver has the following conditions:

  • The disposition of the pending NPSTC Petition to designate the reserve narrowband 700 MHz interoperability frequencies for deployable trunked systems.  If the Petition is granted, Mesa must reprogram its system to operate on those frequencies at its own cost.
  • Operations are secondary; may not cause interference to and must accept interference from any fixed base station, mobile, or portable operating on the interoperability frequencies.
  • The repeaters must be "open" – not require a system key.

 

The text of the decision is available at:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1053A1.doc

One 700 MHz Regional Plan Approved

The FCC approved Region 31's (North Carolina) 700 MHz Regional Plan on June 28.

The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1126A1.doc

Fifty-four of the 55 Regions have either held or set the date for their first meeting.  One Region has selected a convener, but not yet set a date for the first planning meeting.  Forty Regional Plans have been approved; one plan is pending.


Map courtesy of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

The Roaming Continuum
by John Powell

William K. ("Bill") Jorgensen is the Director of the Williamson County Office of Public Safety in Franklin, TN south of Nashville.  He is also one of OEC's many COML instructors and one of the driving forces behind the production of (and a star in) the highly successful Tennessee DVD, Are We Prepared, The Interoperability Continuum."  The movie came about from teaching COML classes and seeing how many public safety agencies were missing the mark, especially how important relationships are to the successful implementation of interoperability.  The Continuum laid the ground work for the direction of the movie to follow."  As an aside, if you enjoyed the movie, take a look at the production "bloopers" on YouTube.  They can be found at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXxscDonrNs&feature=related.

A hallmark of each of Bill's COML classes was a class photo at the end with the class holding a wall-sized laminated copy of the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum.  It was following one of these photos taken at a class in Knoxville that the laminated Continuum "went missing."  A set of suspects was rapidly identified, and a BOLO [be on the lookout] issued on 11/03/2010.  News coverage was immediate with a Breaking News flash on MSNBC.

Bill says, "I started receiving emails with pictures of it playing golf, fishing, etc.  Since the class and the Continuum mouse pad debut, it has made it easier for the Continuum to roam about the world.  I have received pictures of the Continuum in all parts of the U.S., some that I really did not want to see!"

Since that time, other members of the laminated Continuum's family, primarily the mouse pad version, have accompanied Bill and his family around the country.  Others in the Public Safety community have picked up on the plight of the Continuum family and carried its family members to many other interesting places across the U.S., as shown in the attached photo collage.  One is even rumored to have made it into an international geocache following an OEC AUXCOMM class in Charlotte, NC; Bill is eagerly awaiting some of those photos to start arriving.

If you have pictures of the Continuum in exciting or unusual places, please email them to Bill at billj@williamson@tn.org, so he can add them to the ever expanding collection.  Pictures of the Continuum's international cousins (Asia, Australia, Canada, and Europe) taken in other parts of the world would be very much appreciated.

 

 

 

[From L.] Reedley, California firefighter; Continuum in Yosemite with Chris Powell; John Powell, Utah; and May the Continuum be with you!

 

 

 

Look for the Roaming Continuum's continuing saga at the soon-to-be-operational website http://interoperabilitycontinuum.com.


John Powell is Chair of NPSTC's Interoperability Committee.

 

Compelling Video on Interoperability and the Value of the Interoperability Continuum
courtesy of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)

A straight-talking, compelling video that will help the public and its officials understand what interoperability is, and why it is imperative that public safety be able to talk to one another has been developed.  Illustrated with the real-life examples of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Washington, D.C. sniper, the video provides a clear, concise description of the DHS Interoperability Continuum and how it works to improve interoperable communications.

The lanes of the continuum are: Governance, SOPs, Technology, Training and Exercises, and Usage.  The video makes it clear how all the lanes of the continuum work together and how an agency or jurisdiction can evolve in each lane to achieve optimal interoperability.  By simply following the goals along each of the five lanes of the continuum, an agency has a customized path to coordination and improvement.

The foundation of interoperable communications rests on the relationships established across disciplines and jurisdictions.  The video discusses the reality of the present economic conditions and doing more with less.  The Tennessee response is to act regionally with one agency buying a communications vehicle and sharing it within the region for mutual response.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pVZlK6M8WQ

Produced by Williamson County, Tennessee through the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Plan (IECGP) funds in cooperation with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)

For more information, visit www.safecomprogram.com

The Interoperability Continuum video, "Are We Prepared?", had its red carpet interoperable debut at the 3rd Annual Tennessee Interoperability Conference where the film received high praise from the critics and is in the running for two Continuum awards.  When you visit http://www.tninterop.com/, you will have three choices:  the first is the trailer for the film; the second is the film in its full 19-minute length; and the third is bloopers from the film.  If you would like to receive a free copy, click the link and fill out the information and one will be shipped to you as soon as possible.

NPSTC Provides Added Public Safety Input to DHS Video Quality in Public Safety (VQiPS) Initiative with New Video Technical Advisory Group (VTAG)

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) announces the creation of a practitioner advisory group, the Video Technical Advisory Group (VTAG), to provide input to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Video Quality in Public Safety (VQiPS) Initiative on choosing, using, and improving the ways video technologies serve the public safety community.

DHS's Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC), initiated the video quality project in 2009.  The public safety community uses video applications in transportation, crime solving, and public works efforts.  With emergency responders increasingly relying on closed circuit TV technology and systems, they have needed to increase their attention to video quality issues so that they can use and share images across disparate video systems.  The first VQiPS conference assembled a working group which created a Users Guide and developed common definitions, a user requirements framework, and an investigation into applicable standards.  To support the technical needs of assuring video quality and interoperability, DHS S&T has partnered with the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program supported by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).

NPSTC's role in supporting the VTAG is to provide advice and input to the DHS VQiPS Working Group.  The VTAG comprises senior-level practitioners from technology and public safety who can provide the benefit of their insight and experience through the review of various work products and processes developed by the VQiPS Working Group.  The VTAG will also champion the cause of the effective use of video by leveraging the communications networks in their respective disciplines and organizations.

The members of the VTAG are invited volunteers but anyone who is interested in video quality in public safety is welcome to fill out a Volunteer Form and participate.  Please specify that you would like to participate in the VTAG.  Quarterly conference calls are expected with a potential for periodic calls to provide input on special projects.  For more information, visit the VTAG web page.

Since We Last Met

PSHSB Seeks Comment on NPSTC's Petition for Rulemaking to Allow Aircraft Voice Operations on Secondary Trunking Channels in the 700 MHz Band

In March 2010, NPSTC filed a petition that suggested allowing secondary non-interoperability aircraft operations on interoperability channels, subject to state approval.  NPSTC also recommended that aircraft operations be limited to 2 watts.  In response to the FCC's request for comments, public safety and industry voiced strong support for NPSTC's plan for secondary use.  They asked the FCC to launch a rulemaking to draft regulations to allow public safety aircraft voice operations on 700 MHz band narrowband spectrum designated for secondary trunking use.

NPSTC's own comments reiterated earlier points made in the PFR.  "There are no frequencies in either the 700 or 800 MHz band identified for air-to-ground communications, an increasingly important tool for public safety.  NPSTC believes that there are substantive public safety communications requirements across the country that could be satisfied by recommendations in its Petition.  Given the broader viewpoint from the sky, public safety personnel in aircraft can significantly assist with on-scene coordination for law enforcement and serve as a key resource for fire suppression operations.  In addition, public safety aircraft are of great assistance in speeding the transport of trauma victims to hospitals so advanced treatment can be provided expeditiously.  In all these cases, communications to and from the public safety aircraft are essential to successful operations."

The comments added, "A recent inquiry of the Commission's Universal License System (ULS) shows that the specific secondary use 700 MHz channels recommended by NPSTC in its Petition are not currently licensed to any public safety organization.  However, in the event the Commission were to issue a license for "secondary trunking" on the recommended channels, air-to-ground use could still be managed by the appropriate 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee (RPC) and/or Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) to help avoid interference," NPSTC said.

NPSTC's Petition was prompted by a request for help from the state of Maryland, which is establishing a statewide, interoperable public safety network.  The State said "that this Petition represents a critical step in providing 700 MHz channels for first responder aircraft operations.  Maryland also suggests that the issues identified in the Petition are of a nationwide and international scope meriting a national rule making by the FCC."

The National Regional Planning Council (NRPC) weighed in saying the FCC "should initiate a rulemaking proceeding to consider the NPSTC proposal as well as any other flexible, coordinated use of Narrowband Secondary Trunked 700 MHz Public Safety Channels.  Their rulemaking should also request comment and consider similar use for Narrowband Reserve 700 MHz Public Safety Channels.  In these times of dramatic technology advancements combined with a desire for greater public safety capabilities and performance, the NRPC feels that periodically revisiting rules and scope associated with existing public safety spectrum allocations, in this case the public safety 700 MHz band, offers the best opportunities for spectrum efficiencies and effectiveness."

To view comments from other states and entities, visit http://www.npstc.org/fccPositions.jsp.

NPSTC filed an Ex Parte Letter and Report with the FCC Regarding LightSquared on June 15 and Comments on LightSquared's Alternative Plan on July 30

The June 15, 2011, letter stated, "In its previous letter of January 25, 2011, NPSTC emphasized the need to ensure public safety use of GPS is protected from potential interference that could result by the proposed LightSquared system deployment.  Public safety relies on the reception of GPS for wireless 9-1-1 location, dispatch of "closest responder" based on GPS location, mapping/response directions to responders based on GPS, synchronization of simulcast systems across the country based on GPS time signals and a myriad of other mission critical functions.

The testing conducted confirmed that interference to public safety operations will occur and NPSTC has summarized insight gained into the extent of the interference and some potential mitigation procedures.  NPSTC's July 30 comments state, "... it is clear that the testing done to date confirms significant interference problems will occur if LightSquared's upper channel is deployed.  NPSTC would like equal assurance that interference problems will not occur when only the lower channel is deployed and believes additional testing and analysis of the results is needed under a rational schedule."

On May 26, 2011, NPSTC Filed a Request for Clarification on TETRA

NPSTC submitted a Request for Clarification of the Commission's waiver of the rules to permit certification and use of TETRA equipment, subject to certain conditions, pending the outcome of the rulemaking proceeding.  This request for clarification relates only to operation on the 821–824/866–869 MHz band segment under the waiver.  At the recent NPSTC meeting May 16 and 17 in Washington, DC, the waiver and NPRM were discussed and public safety representatives raised concerns about the impact to interoperability of enabling TETRA technology in the public safety bands.

On April 26, 2011 the Commission issued a combined Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding proposed rules relating to TETRA equipment certification and operation and an Order which granted in part a request for waiver by the TETRA Association, pending outcome of the rulemaking proceeding.  The Commission granted the waiver of sections 90.209 and 90.210 of the rules concerning authorized bandwidth and emission limits, subject to certain conditions.

Under the waiver Order, the Commission indicated TETRA equipment certification will be authorized for the 450–470 MHz and 817–824/862–869 MHz bands.  The waiver decision also limits TETRA operation to Industrial/Business Pool frequencies in the 450–470 MHz band, and ESMR frequencies in the 800 MHz band.  Further, as noted in the waiver Order, "The issues of TETRA use in the public safety bands and with cellular-like architecture will be addressed in the rulemaking proceeding."  NPSTC believes clarification is needed that operation is not allowed under the waiver on the 821–824/866–869 MHz portion of the band for which equipment certification is being authorized because that segment of the "ESMR band" is still being used for public safety, pending completion of 800 MHz rebanding.

NPSTC is concerned that without such clarification, there could be some confusion whether or not TETRA is allowed under the waiver in the 821–824/866–869 MHz portion of the band.  Clarity is needed regarding operation in the various segments of the 817–824/862–869 MHz spectrum because both public safety operations and ESMR operations are currently allowed in the upper 3 +3 MHz of that band.  Also, given the issues the Commission raises in the NPRM about interoperability in public safety, NPSTC concurs that the issue of operation on bands used by public safety is a subject for the rulemaking proceeding and not the waiver.

NPSTC requested that the Commission provide the requested clarification on an expedited basis to ensure its intentions regarding TETRA operation in 821–824/866–869 MHz portion of the band still being used by public safety are clear for the public safety community.

You Are Invited to Attend the "Enabling Interoperability Workshop" in Montreal, Canada, September 15, 2011, Hosted by the Wireless Innovation Forum (SDR Forum version 2.0)

Communications interoperability is critical to the success of public safety and military operations.  Too often communications between services, agencies, or jurisdictions have been hampered by incompatible radio systems.  The problem is well known (fractured spectrum bands, incompatible radio services, governance and policies), but the solutions to solve it are still costly.  The Workshop will explore how various technologies can be utilized to improve communications between services, agencies, or jurisdictions that have historically been hampered by incompatible radio systems operating on different protocols or frequencies.  The workshop will cross commercial, defense and public safety domains, and will include a look at both requirements and regulations.

The questions that will be addressed are how to funnel development to ensure a true interoperable system that can be acquired at reasonable cost.  What are the main requirements and barriers for military and public safety organizations?  What is the commercial sector working on, or should be working on, to solve the interoperability issues?  How can, or should, governments, which regulate frequency allocations, adapt regulations to facilitate interoperability?

The Wireless Innovation Forum also extends the invitation to all attendees to participate in the Forum's meeting, which will be held on September 12, 13, and 14.  Working sessions on Public Safety and Disaster Recovery Communications systems will be included those days.  To register for the Interoperability Workshop, visit www.WirelessInnovation.org.

The Wireless Innovation Forum Workshop on "Enabling Interoperability" takes place in Montreal on September 15, 2011 (see http://groups.winnforum.org/p/cm/ld/fid=171) as part of the conference being held September 12 to 15.  The goal of the workshop is to explore how various technologies can be utilized to improve communications between services, agencies, or jurisdictions that have historically been hampered by incompatible radio systems operating on different protocols or frequencies.  The workshop will cross commercial, public safety and defense domains, and will include a look at both requirements and regulations.  See details and the complete agenda at http://www.citig.ca/the-wireless-innovation-forum-2011-09-12.aspx.

Don't miss these upcoming events (details at www.citig.ca):

  • The Wireless Innovation Forum Workshop on Enabling Interoperability, September 15 in Montreal.
  • Fourth Annual Vendor Outreach Forum, October 18 and 19 in Vancouver.
  • SecureTech 2011, October 25, 26 2011 in Ottawa.
  • The APCO Annual Conference, November 6 to 9 in Ottawa.
  • The Fifth Canadian Public Safety Interoperability Workshop:  A CITIG National Forum, December 4 to 7, 2011 in Ottawa.

 

Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) of the FCC's Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC) Adopts Recommendations

In June, the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) adopted recommendations to help develop a technical framework for the deployment of a nationwide public safety broadband network.  The PSAC adopted reports from its applications and user requirements, interoperability, security and authentication, and network evolution working groups and agreed to ask the PSHSB to convene its next meeting for late September so it can tackle the sensitive topic of governance.  The governance piece is still being debated in Congress, while coverage will depend on funding and other issues that are still undecided.

"We're not ready today to make the kind of commitments that some are suggesting," said Harlin McEwen, Chairman of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police representative to NPSTC, according to TRDaily's Paul Kirby.  Chief McEwen said the eventual public safety spectrum license holder needs flexibility to manage the network.

TRDaily also reported the applications and user requirements working group recommended a variety of apps be included in any network, including an emergency function, a Global Positioning System capability, and emergency alerts.  The PSAC amended language that said the nationwide governing authority should "control" which applications are permitted on the network to say it should adopt standards and manage those apps.

The interoperability working group discussed at length how far to go in the recommendations.  It recommended the use of LTE (long term evolution) Release 8, even though Release 10 is about to be approved.  The security and authentication working group suggested the adoption of a "risk-based methodology" for security authentication.  It wants mandatory implementation of standard LTE security features.

A key recommendation of the network evolution working group is that public safety lag in the deployment of commercial technology, in order to allow the commercial sector to conduct testing of equipment and devices and ensure they are mature, which is why the PSAC decided to recommend an earlier version of the LTE standard.  Some committee members said it could take years for vendors to build equipment for a new standard – time public safety agencies would not want to be waiting.  The network evolution working group also stressed the importance of a road map for deploying technology, which it said could help ensure interoperability and coverage.

Important Dates
Date Event Location
August 1–2 2011 COPS Conference Washington, D.C.
August 7–10 APCO 2011 Annual Conference Philadelphia, PA
August 15–18 2011 URISA/NENA Addressing Conference Anaheim, CA
August 21–24 106th CACP Annual Conference Windsor, Ontario, Canada
August 21–23 9th IACP South American Policing Conference Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
August 22–25 AASHTO Special Committee on Transportation Security and Emergency Management Irvine, CA
August 23–25 IAFC Fire Rescue International 2011 Atlanta, GA
August 28–9/1 NASTD 34th Annual Conference and Technology Showcase Omaha, NE
September 1 SAFECOM EC Meeting Chicago, IL
September 11–14 101st AFWA Annual Meeting Omaha, NE
September 18–23 NASF Annual Meeting Baltimore, MD
September 19–22 ASIS International 57th Annual Seminar and Exhibits Orlando, FL
September 19–21 New Mexico Homeland Security Conference
September 25–28 Fire Rescue Canada 2011 Calgary, Alberta, Canada
September 29–30 NPSTC Committee Meetings Orlando, FL
October 1–5 FCCA Conference  
October 2–7 NASEMSO 2011 Annual Meeting Madison, WI
October 2–5 NASCIO 2011 Annual Conference Denver, CO
October 11–13 IAEM Europe Emergency Management Expo Munich, Germany
October 12–14 Arkansas Interoperability Conference Little Rock, AR
October 13–17 2011 AASHTO Annual Meeting Detroit, MI
October 22–27 IACP 2011 Annual Conference Chicago, IL
Publication Information

NPSTC Quarterly is the newsletter of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC).  NPSTC is a federation of organizations whose mission is to improve public safety communications and interoperability through collaborative leadership.  Funding for the NPSTC newsletter is provided by the Department of Homeland Security, Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC) and the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC).  We welcome questions, comments, and story ideas.  Please contact the Support Office at (866) 807-4755 or by email at support@npstc.org.

Article Reproduction: Unless otherwise indicated, all articles appearing in NPSTC Quarterly may be reproduced.  Please include a statement of attribution, such as "Courtesy of npstc quarterly, published by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council, 866.807.4755."

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