The Elimination Of Net Neutrality Must Protect Public Safety

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A Fact Sheet was recently issued by Democratic FCC Commissioner Clyburn on the FCC’s proposal to eliminate Net Neutrality.  As noted by the Commissioner, the Rules sought to be repealed were previously upheld as reasonable regulation by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
You may wish to read the Fact Sheet in conjunction with Last Week Tonight’s Story by John Oliver from a couple of years ago.  You might want to move to the 2:30 point of the video to skip the setup jokes.
There are significant questions as to how the elimination of these rules impact public safety communications.  It was originally argued that Net Neutrality would keep carriers from being able to offer public safety preemptive service.  That apparent hurdle was overcome, as can be seen by AT&T’s FirstNet offering as well as Verizon’s competing offering.
It has also been suggested by a former FCC attorney that the absence of Net Neutrality would have a negative impact on public safety.
Public Safety is increasingly dependent upon IP connected services, from transmitter sites with IP-based interoperability, to IoT security, to backhaul and controls, to VOIP E911 calls.
Regardless of which Net Neutrality position you believe in, what is important is that if the FCC continues on its apparent course to “free” providers of their current responsibilities, the final rules must include provisions that specifically preclude the ability of providers to give a reduced prioritization to public safety traffic (or to make them pay more), regardless of whether such traffic is FirstNet related.

Mandatory 6.25 kHz VHF/UHF Narrowbanding? Not Soon!

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A recent FCC decision resulted in some riled up members of the Part 90 land mobile radio community.  Specifically, on July 30 the FCC denied a Waiver Request submitted by the International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA).   IMSA had requested that the FCC waive the requirement that Part 90 VHF & UHF radio manufacturers include a 6.25 kHz bandwidth mode (or equivalent efficiency) into newly type-accepted products. Continue reading “Mandatory 6.25 kHz VHF/UHF Narrowbanding? Not Soon!”

To FirstNet Or Not To FirstNet, That Is Your Question

FireWatching the FirstNet decision making process by states has been a fascinating experience.  As of this date, a number of states have opted-in, at least one state having “barely considered” opting-out.  In contrast, other states have issued RFPs to determine whether in fact alternatives exist which are economically and technically feasible.  The State of Michigan has even gone as far as to select Rivada Networks as a vendor if the state opts-out. Continue reading “To FirstNet Or Not To FirstNet, That Is Your Question”

Shared Part 90 Spectrum Means Monitoring Before Transmitting

Walkie TalkieOn May 16, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Utility Mapping Services Inc. (UMSI) for its operation of a Trimble R8-Model 2 Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Receiver modem on 461.075 MHz, a Part 90 UHF shared frequency, in a manner that caused interference to co-channel users. Continue reading “Shared Part 90 Spectrum Means Monitoring Before Transmitting”

Should Your State Opt-Out Of FirstNet?

OK, I admit it, the headline is click-bait.  However, given everyone’s opinion on this, now that AT&T is about to roll out state plans, it really is appropriate to fully discuss at this time.

Right now, the proper answer is “I don’t know.”  And the reason for that non-committal response is several fold: (1) you haven’t seen your state plan, so it’s impossible to know yet if the FirstNet plan makes sense for your state, regardless of what you’ve been told by people “in the know”; (2) every state is different, there cannot be a cookie cutter answer. What works for one state may not work for another; and (3) I don’t know what you’ve done so far to research your options. Continue reading “Should Your State Opt-Out Of FirstNet?”

Small Cell Deployment – Your Chance To Provide Input

After Net Neutrality, perhaps the most controversial current proceeding at the Federal Communications Commission is the Broadband Deployment proceeding.  This proceeding deals with how wireless carriers and other tower companies can implement small cell, 5G systems in communities without significant barriers. Continue reading “Small Cell Deployment – Your Chance To Provide Input”