Scores of licensees are receiving very official looking solicitations in the mail warning that their licenses are in peril. One notice even states, “After 2/16/16 all two-way radio licenses that have not updated/modified to comply with the narrowbanding mandate will be dismissed.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The FCC did release a public notice that clarified radio licensee’s responsibility to comply with the narrowbanding mandate, which became effective January 1st, 2013. Let’s separate fact from fantasy:

FACT: Applications filed for updates, license transfers, renewals or general modifications (frequencies that are 150-174 MHz / 421-470 MHz) that contain only wideband emissions, without a waiver, will be dismissed.

FACT: The FCC has no master plan to summarily dismiss, in bulk, active Licenses on 2/16/16

FACT: The Commission has added tools to assist licensees with modifying their authorizations.

FACT: Operating with an occupied bandwidth in excess of 11.25 kHz is prohibited.

FACT: Applications filed to remove wideband designators do not require frequency coordination or payment of FCC fees.

FACT: For more information call FIT at 888-583-2-WAY or visit the FCC’s overview here https://www.fcc.gov/general/narrowbanding-overview

There are numerous agencies that endlessly track license data through the FCC’s publicly available database. This information is then tendered into massive mail merge lists and licensees are hammered mercilessly with solicitations for every service imaginable. The Commission does not sanction these agencies. In fact, it’s important to note, that the Federal Communications Commission rarely solicits money.  Do not be fooled, if it looks like “spam mail” it probably is. Make sure that any correspondence originates from the FCC and bares its seal.

For the official narrowbanding release click here: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db0113/DA-16-36A1.pdf

Cybersecurity is a key topic that will be highlighted at International Wireless Communication Expo (IWCE), the premier annual event for communications technology professionals, scheduled to take place March 21-25, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. As more critical systems become connected it also means that communications technology infrastructures are more vulnerable to hacking and cyber attacks.

IWCE’s opening keynote will be presented by Curtis Levinson, Cybersecurity Advisor to NATO.

He will discuss threats to the critical infrastructure, including power grids and communications systems across the globe, as well as the adversaries that are targeting the U.S. with cyber attacks. He will also outline specific cybersecurity considerations for the communications-technology industry and provide practical actionable remediation—policies, procedures and technology—that can be implemented right now to help protect your valuable data and networks.

IWCE will offer several educational sessions on cybersecurity including:

  • Introduction to Cybersecurity  

  • The Threat to Technology: Cybersecurity Overview  

  • The Power Grid: The Biggest Vulnerability

  • The Challenges for Security in the Wireless Environment

  • Armageddon! How a Cyber Breach Can Disable a City

  • Case Studies in Vulnerability  

  • SCADA, Industrial IoT and Cybersecurity Convergence  

For additional information on IWCE, the conference program and to sign up for email updates, visit iwceexpo.com. Stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook @iwceexpo and follow our IWCE company page on LinkedIn.

 

 The FCC and the LMCC have been working on changes to the 173 MHZ VHF band to allow Vehicular Repeater Systems (VRS) for use by Business entities and Public Safety agemcies/  VRS systems extend the range of the two way radio system by retransmitting the audio that is received by a vehicle, retransmitting it on a different band to a portable carried by a person.  This is especially helpful where in-building penetration of the original signal is hampered, a situation which may be critical to Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians or Police personnel. The systems are also functionally handy for construction, delivery and other business related activities.

In September of 2015 the LMCC prvided the FCC with a document listing the concesus protocol for coordinaton of these systems.

http://lmcc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/LMCC-Ex-Parte-Ltr-PS-Docket-No-13-229-Final.pdf

The FCC Responded Dcember 11,  2015 with their Clarification Order finalizing the process.

 https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-15-103A1.pdf

Net result is that 6 KHZ maximum bandwidth is required on the six channels, the channels are available for both Busuiness/Industrial and Public Safety elligibles,  remote control, telemetry and mobile repeater operations are allowed,  and the coordination protocols and procedures proposed by the LMCC are established.

Ever wonder how the FCCs Enforcement Bureau does its job? Here is a lnk to their website explaining their enforcement-fines-collection process.

https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/blog/2015/11/25/enforcement-fines-collection-process

From LMCC:

LMCC NEWS

FACs Will Follow Rules as Written
December 23, 2015

Herndon, VA – On November 4, the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for clarification regarding the intent of Rule Section 90.187(d)(ii)(1)(D), which states that licensees that are not narrowband compliant need not be considered affected parties during analyses conducted by frequency advisory committees (FACs) seeking exclusive-use channels for use within trunked radio systems. Having not heard from the FCC, on December 17 the LMCC filed a second letter advising the FCC that, pending Commission clarification, both Business/Industrial Land Transportation (B/ILT) and Public Safety FACs understand that they have authority not to consider licensees with wideband-only emission designators as affected parties for purposes of exclusive-use channel analyses, except if they have a waiver to continue operating wideband equipment or satisfy the efficiency equivalency standard. This issue arose because FACs received conflicting interpretations of this provision from FCC staff.

The FCC refotrm act of 2015 has picked up more attention in the House recently.  Here is a summary of the Bill’s intentions:

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (05/29/2015)

Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015

Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to: (1) adopt rules concerning rulemaking comment and reply periods, public notices, petition dispositions, the specific language of proposed rules or amendments to be included in proposed rulemaking notices, and performance measures to be included in certain proposed rulemakings or orders that would create or substantially change a program activity; (2) seek public comments regarding a bipartisan majority of commissioners’ authority to place items on an open meeting agenda, deadlines for the disposition of certain license applications, and whether to publish orders, decisions, reports, and actions within 30 days after adoption; and (3) initiate a new rulemaking proceeding every five years to continue consideration of procedural rule changes.

Allows a bipartisan majority of commissioners to hold a nonpublic meeting under specified conditions if: (1) no votes or actions are taken, (2) an attorney from the FCC’s Office of General Counsel is present, and (3) the meeting is disclosed subsequently within two business days.

Establishes requirements concerning: (1) the budgets, agency documents, and consumer complaint information required to be made publicly available on the FCC website; (2) Federal Register publications; (3) the FCC’s performance in meeting Freedom of Information Act disclosure requirements; and (4) reports to Congress.

Prohibits the FCC, in compiling its quarterly report with respect to informal consumer inquiries and complaints, from categorizing an inquiry or complaint under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (places restrictions on telephone solicitations and automatic dialing systems) as a wireline or wireless inquiry or complaint unless a wireline or wireless carrier was the subject of the inquiry or complaint.

Amends the Universal Service Antideficiency Temporary Suspension Act to extend through December 31, 2020, the waiver of certain limitations on: (1) expending, obligating, or apportioning appropriations with respect to federal universal service contributions collected or received under the Communications Act of 1934; and (2) expending or obligating funds attributable to such contributions for universal service support programs.

DA 15-967
Released: August 27, 2015

ENFORCEMENT BUREAU ENHANCES PROCEDURES FOR
PUBLIC SAFETY AND INDUSTRY INTERFERENCE COMPLAINTS

Below is an edited version of the FCC Public Notice. The copmplete version may be downloaded or read on line at www.fcc.gov.

******************************************************************************

In its Field Modernization Order, the Commission directed the Enforcement Bureau (EB) to establish procedures for public safety and industry complainants to escalate their complaints to ensure that EB’s field offices timely respond to these complaints. This Public Notice implements that direction by committing to enhance the Commission’s complaint intake and case management systems. These procedures may be refined based on experience, the Commission’s resources, and other enforcement priorities. We are confident that this escalation process will improve EB’s responsiveness and performance for public safety and industry interference complaints.

Enhanced web intake for public safety/industry interference complaints.

EB will work with the Office of the Managing Director, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, and the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to establish a web portal at www.fcc.gov for complaints from public safety and industry interference complainants.  Once operational, the system should allow users to receive immediate confirmation of the FCC’s receipt of their complaints, as well as permit them to track the status of their complaints within the FCC. The intake and management system also will automatically transfer complaint information from the web portal to EB’s case management.

The public safety/industry interference complaint escalation process will improve the users ability to stay informed. This process also will enable public safety/industry stakeholders to develop mutually beneficial relationships with the EB field agents in their area. By streamlining interference complaint intake and response, this process will help serve the overall efficiency and resource management goals of the ongoing field modernization effort and result in more effective enforcement for our highest priority  interference complaints.

-FCC –

The FCC has announced a REPORT AND ORDER and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding regulatory fees.

This Report and Order adopts a schedule of regulatory fees to assess and collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees for Fiscal year (FY) 2015. These regulatory fees are due in September 2015.

The FY 2015 regulatory fees are based on the proposals in the FY 2015 NPRM, considered in light of the comments received and Commission analysis. The FY 2015 regulatory fee schedule includes  noteworthy changes from prior years to the submarine cable/terrestrial and satellite bearer circuit (IBC) category, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Toll Free numbers; and the elimination of the regulatory fee component of two fee categories: amateur radio Vanity Call Signs and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).

Regulatory fees for the PLMRS/Shared Part 90 applicants and licensees remain unchanged.

FCC ADOPTS PLAN TO MODERNIZE FIELD OPERATIONS
Commission Moves Forward to Improve Efficiency,
Conserve Resources, and Maintain Strong Enforcement Nationally

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2015 - The Federal Communications Commission today adopted a plan to modernize the agency’s field operations within the Enforcement Bureau. The proposal will improve efficiency, better position the agency to do effective radio interference detection and resolution and meet other enforcement needs, and save millions of dollars annually after implementation is complete.

The current structure of the FCC’s field operations is over 20 years old, during which time significant technological changes have taken place and available funding has decreased. The new field structure has been adopted by the Commission after the Enforcement Bureau, Office of the Managing Director, and expert outside consultants conducted a thorough, data-driven analysis of the agency’s field operations to maximize the effectiveness of those operations, align them to the overall mission and priorities of the Commission, improve equipment and advanced technologies for field agents, and ensure the most efficient use of the Commission’s resources.

The field reorganization plan adopted by the Commission today aligns the field’s structure, operations, expenses, and equipment with the agency’s priorities such as radio frequency interference. It also prepares the field to address future enforcement needs in an ever more complex spectrum environment, and aligns field operations to support this mission. Through this plan, the Commission is maintaining a commitment to respond in a timely manner to interference issues anywhere in the nation, including responding to all public safety spectrum complaints within one day.

In accordance with the plan, the Commission will require all field agents to be electrical engineers, and will continue to operate field offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbia (Md.), Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Portland (Ore.), and San Francisco. Offices in Anchorage, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Norfolk, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Juan, Seattle, and Tampa will be closed. The Enforcement Bureau will maintain a field presence in Alaska and Puerto Rico and field agents will also rotate periodically through Kansas City. In addition, three offices will relocate to FCC-owned properties nearby to better utilize agency resources. Finally, rapid deployment teams will be stationed in Columbia (Md.) and Denver to supplement the enforcement efforts of other field offices when necessary and support high-priority enforcement actions nationwide.

Action by the Commission July 16, 2015 by Order (FCC 15-81). Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel. Commissioner Pai and O’Rielly concurring and issuing separate statements.

Office of Media Relations: (202) 418-0500
TTY: (888) 835-5322

The response by Indian officials to terrorists attacks that resulted in over a thousand cell towers being taken out of service was quick and decisive; they ordered their Army and police to restore service quickly.

Three suspected terrorists are reportedly in custody for their actions of putting up threatening posters. Others carried out the attack on a cell tower show room which resulted in the killing of two employees and wounding of two others.

The events happened in the Northern Kashmer Valley after a series of multiple attacks and threatening posters in the area. Other cell tower owners in the area shut down 1,058 of their mobile-service towers out of fear for their safety.

Officials ordered the local police and federal forces to provide security.

Meanwhile, in April,  there was a rash of thefts of equipment, copper wire and buss bar in the Northeast. One enterprising pair were caught wearing shirts that read “electronix Redux”and told police they worked for Paramount Communications.  Police were suspicious of the pair because of numerous thefts and vandalism in the area.  However, the biggest tip-off was that their “Service vehicle” was a Ford Mustang.

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