700 MHz Public Safety Broadband Task Force Delivers Report in 60 Days
It all began with this announcement: NPSTC Invites Participation in National Discussion of Minimum Requirements for Regional Build-out of 700 MHz National Broadband Network. It called for participation at NPSTC’s June Governing Board meeting in a national discussion of the requirements for minimum standards for the 700 MHz national broadband network…
Spotlight on Member Organizations - TIA The TIA-Public Safety Story
by Bob Speidel
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is the leading trade association representing the global information and communications technology (ICT) industries through standards development, government affairs, business opportunities, market intelligence, certification, and world-wide environmental regulatory compliance…
Letter Regarding the 700 MHz Broadband Task Force Report
by David Buchanan
September 4, 2009 – This is the letter the Broadband Task Force Chair, David Buchanan, sent as he submitted the 700 MHz Broadband Task Force Report on behalf of all those who worked so hard to NPSTC’s Governing Board. It certainly reminds us of the “why” NPSTC volunteers do what they do…
Fourth Richard DeMello Award Winner to Be Honored at RCA Centennial
The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC’s) Governing Board will present the fourth annual Richard DeMello Award at the Radio Club of America's 100th Anniversary Gala celebration. RCA’s Centennial celebration opens on November 20, 2009, at the Georgetown Conference Center and Hotel…
Are You Ready? Plan Now for Narrowbanding
By Ralph Haller
NPSTC’s Home Page features a digital clock counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until mandatory narrowbanding begins. In 3 short years, all radio systems operating at frequencies below 512 MHz will be required to narrowband or meet the efficiency standard of two talk paths in 25 kHz…
Emerging Networked Vehicles – New Growth in the Automotive Industry
by Emily Boucher
The weather forecast for the auto industry these days is “overcast with scattered downpours.” Now, however, a beam of light has begun to shine, and it’s coming from a new development in the industry – the application of wireless communications services to vehicles…
Planning for Narrowbanding in Vermont
by Terry M. LaValley
Vermont’s Interoperability Committee (VCOMM), which was formed by executive order, has taken the steps to ensure narrowband compatibility within Vermont – vendor contracts, funding for first responders, outreach programs, and more…
by Bette Rinehart
- FCC Focusing on National Broadband Plan
- FCC Seeking Comment on Waivers Seeking Early Deployment of Broadband 700 MHz Public Safety Systems
- Ocean County, NJ TV Band Waiver: Section 337 Waivers Must Address 700 MHz
- Comments to 4.9 GHz Further Notice
- FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces Top Bureau Appointments
- Senate Confirms Appointments of Clyburn and Baker as FCC Commissioners
- 700 MHz Regional Planning Update
Public Safety Urges Congress to Allocate D Block to Public Safety Broadband Network
A consensus group of public safety organizations are supporting the legislative proposal below that would allocate the 10 MHz D Block in the 700 MHz band to public safety. The legislation is now being distributed to members of Congress in an effort to find support and sponsorship…
NIIX Update: DHS Uploads 200 SOPs and MOUs to Reference Library
NPSTC congratulates the DHS Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) on the release of the Formal Agreement and SOP Template Suite and Reference Library. The Formal Agreement and SOP Template Suite can be found on NPSTC’s secure, public safety website, the National Interoperability Information eXchange (NIIX) at www.niix.org…
New In-Building Fire Codes
by Jack Daniel
After a lengthy process, new fire codes have been issued that support in-building coverage for first responders. Two nationally recognized bodies have issued similar uniform codes – the International Code Councils International Fire Code (IFC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)…
September 9, 2009 – The PSST held the Third Quarterly Meeting of the Board of Directors. The Board unanimously re-elected the current officers for 2-year terms. Chief Harlin McEwen representing IACP will continue as Chairman; Kevin McGinnis, representing NASEMSO will continue as Vice Chairman; and Alan Caldwell representing IAFC will continue as Secretary-Treasurer…
From the Executive Director
by Marilyn Ward
Many of us are just getting back to work after attending the APCO, IAFC, and IACP conferences. NASEMSO and AASHTO are also having their meetings this time of the year, with our members all busy with their associations and their regular tasks…
Since We Last Met
- NPSTC’s Chair Reports to FCC Panel on Broadband Technology and Public Safety
- NPSTC’s Executive Director Participates in DHS ESS Risk Workshop
- National Incident Management System: A Workbook for State Department of Transportation Frontline Workers
- DHS and State Sign Bi-Lateral Telecommunications Agreement with Mexico
- NTIA Naming Conventions Added to NPSTC’s Channel Naming Guide, Meeting National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) Milestone
- FEMA’s Disaster Management Program Hosts Monthly Online Special Interest Group (SIG) Presentations for Emergency Management Practitioners
- NPSTC Congratulates CITIG on Award for Excellence in Emergency Preparedness
700 MHz Public Safety Broadband Task Force Delivers Report in 60 Days
It all began with this announcement: NPSTC Invites Participation in National Discussion of Minimum Requirements for Regional Build-out of 700 MHz National Broadband Network. The announcement called for participation at NPSTC’s June Governing Board meeting in a national discussion of the requirements for minimum standards for the 700 MHz national broadband network that would allow regions and cities to build their own systems and that would ensure national roaming and interoperability.
Sixty days later, at NPSTC’s September meeting, the Broadband Task Force (BBTF) delivered its Report and Recommendations, and the Governing Board approved the document for forwarding to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), holder of the 700 MHz Public Safety Broadband License (PSBL).
THE PRESS WEIGHS IN…
NPSTC BROADBAND TASK FORCE DESERVES KUDOS
Aug 27, 2009 By Donny Jackson, Urgent Communications
Yesterday, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council’s broadband task force announced the completion of its final draft of a report designed to outline required – and desired – characteristics to be included in a 700 MHz national broadband network for interoperable public-safety use.…
This work is the culmination of an initiative started earlier this summer, when NPSTC established the task force and gave it 60 days to complete the massive project… But it appears the NPSTC broadband task force has done it, delivering a document that notes the operational, technical, and governance issues that need to be met to ensure that entities seeking FCC waivers to allow the early deployment of broadband networks at 700 MHz are built in a manner that will support interoperable communications and roaming by first responders from throughout the country.
“Everyone has worked very hard, and it has come together,” task force Chairman Dave Buchanan said…
Ed Note: Complete article is available on NPSTC's website and at www.urgentcomm.com
All summer over 100 participants worked feverishly to meet the 60-day deadline, led by Dave Buchanan, BBTF Chair, and the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the three Work Groups. The Operations Work Group was led by Dan Hawkins and Dave Troup; the Technical Work Group was headed by Andy Thiessen and Emil Olbrich; and the Governance Work Group by Laura Phillips and Bill Schrier. In presenting the report to the Governing Board, in addition to recognizing the accomplishments of the Work Groups’ leadership, Buchanan gratefully acknowledged the support of Department of Homeland Security (DHS’s) Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC) and the Department of Commerce (DOC’s) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program for support and participation in developing the report.
It All Began with Regional Waiver Requests
NPSTC formed the BBTF to develop a set of minimum requirements for regional 700 MHz broadband networks that would ensure future interoperability and compatibility with the proposed national public safety broadband network. The need for such minimum overarching requirements developed as waiver requests began to materialize when a number of major cities in the United States filed waivers to build regional networks in the 700 MHz band, following the auction that produced no winning bidder of the D Block license in early 2008.
The decision to create the BBTF had its genesis at an earlier meeting on May 28, 2009, hosted by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials – International (APCO), where eight major public safety organizations met to discuss the future of the nationwide interoperable broadband network in 700 MHz. At this meeting, the organizations substantially agreed to petition Congress to reallocate the D Block, rather than auctioning it, creating a single 20 MHz block of broadband spectrum for public safety, and to add the D Block spectrum to the current national PSBL, which is the PSST. The group also agreed to support approval of waiver requests for use of 700 MHz public safety broadband spectrum and early build out in those areas requesting the waivers.
“Cities or regions could then sublicense the spectrum for local networks subject to minimum national requirements that would allow each regional or city network to interoperate,” said Harlin McEwen, Chairman, PSST, at the time. “The states, regions, or cities that want to build their own systems would have most of the same rights as the national licensee with the conditions that they would have to be interoperable and in harmony with a national plan so there can be nationwide roaming,” McEwen said.
NPSTC Votes To Endorse LTE Technology for Broadband Network
Following an earlier announcement from APCO and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) endorsing LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology for the proposed broadband public safety network, NPSTC hosted vigorous dialogue on the standards issue at its June Governing Board meeting. Ultimately NPSTC’s 15 public safety organizations unanimously voted to endorse LTE as the favored technology standard most suited to the development of a nationwide interoperable broadband network in the 700 MHz public safety band.
“NPSTC took action today to move public safety closer to the goal of a nationwide broadband network by adopting a network platform that will ensure a robust, high throughput, low latency capability with the potential to reduce the cost of devices and infrastructure for public safety,” NPSTC’s Vice Chair, Doug Aiken, said in June.
Following the vote to support LTE, further discussion culminated in a Governing Board vote to create a Broadband Task Force that would partner with the Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate, Command, Control & Interoperability Division (DHS/S&T/CCI) and their technical support organization at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to define requirements for state and local networks that would ensure interoperability in a system of systems approach to a national broadband network. NPSTC‘s organizations were to provide public safety input while CCI and NIST would bring independent technical expertise and a structured standards development process to the effort.
Task Force Objectives
The BBTF used a transparent and open process to reach consensus on the recommendations in this report. The membership of the BBTF was open to all persons wishing to participate and the trade press was invited to monitor and report on the BBTF’s progress. The BBTF included members representing public safety, federal government representatives, vendors, and consultants. All decisions were made by the consensus of the members that represented public safety entities.
The Task Force met as a group mainly by weekly conference calls and at two face-to-face meetings, one in Boulder, Colorado, and the other APCO 2009 conference. The Work Groups also met by weekly conference calls. Between meetings much discussion and information exchange was done via email.
The objectives for the three Work Groups were to do the following:
- Define the minimum requirements for public safety built 700 MHz broadband networks that enable national interoperability for users of the 700 MHz band.
- Provide a governing framework for the relationship among public safety regionally built systems, and the PSST, and include the option for public/private partnerships as defined in this report.
- Accommodate the potential scenarios for the 700 MHz D Block and PSBL as they may be defined by Congress and the FCC, including reallocation of the D Block to public safety as recommended in this report.
- Defer defining requirements necessary to provide operability to the public safety entities authorized to deploy regional systems in their respective areas, and recognize the right of the regional operators to select and deploy applications beyond those defined as necessary for roaming and interoperability.
- Offer recommended technical requirements that public safety entities use in procurements to satisfy the 700 MHz minimum roaming and interoperability requirements.
- Provide a base set of recommended requirements by August 2009 to allow entities that have filed for 700 MHz waivers to fulfill their 700 MHz broadband objectives as rapidly as possible.
- Provide a set of best practices for network architectures and configurations for items that are not required, yet are suggested as quickly as possible.
Buchanan made it clear at the first teleconference of the BBTF that the task force would not be re-defining the 700 MHz Statement of Requirements (SoR) that NPSTC issued previously on November 13, 2007. “Under a regional model, it is our expectation that any region deploying its own system will define the requirements to provide operability for that respective area,” he said.
BBTF Meets at NIST in Boulder, Colorado
The Governance Work Group recommended the establishment of an Advisory Group made up of representatives of the regional system operators and the PSST to continue follow-on work and to provide advice to the PSST Board. The key applications recommended by the Operations Work Group are that the Nationwide Broadband Data System support roaming and interoperability through Internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) access, both available in the current release of the LTE standard. These two applications enable the implementation of several other Operations Work Group recommended applications.
The Technical Work Group received input from the Operations and Governance Work Groups and used that input to determine the LTE architecture required to implement the Operations and Governance recommendations. The Technical Work Group extensively reviewed the LTE standard and received input from LTE equipment vendors and commercial providers of broadband services. From this, a set of required recommendations and best practices, recommendations were developed.
The BBTF members strongly supported quick approval for the regional operators to start building systems. The BBTF recognized that some recommendations and applications may need follow-on work or may not be supported by the current release level of the LTE standard and this should not hold up the approval and quick build out of the regional systems. The proposed Advisory Group should develop timelines for regional systems to fully implement the recommendations in the BBTF Report, and the Advisory Group should monitor the LTE standards process and recommend features to add to the LTE standard that support the recommendations of this report. The PSST Board should attempt to influence the LTE standards process to adopt those features.
One very important recommendation is that NPSTC, its member organizations, other public safety organizations, and the PSST should begin a coordinated effort to have the D Block 5+5 MHz of spectrum allocated for public safety use, and licensed to the PSBL, currently the PSST. During the work of the BBTF, it was apparent to members that the current 5+5 MHz of spectrum available for public safety use for broadband data systems will not be sufficient to support disaster operations. Also some or many of the regional systems will need to enter into public/private partnerships as described in this report in order to fund implementation and operation of the regional systems. Without the D Block spectrum, there will be insufficient spectrum for these partnerships to most effectively operate.
To review the complete BBTF Report, please click here
Spotlight on Member Organizations - TIA The TIA-Public Safety Story
by Bob Speidel
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is the leading trade association representing the global information and communications technology (ICT) industries through standards development, government affairs, business opportunities, market intelligence, certification, and world-wide environmental regulatory compliance.
TIA roots go back farther than the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) roots. In 1924, a small group of suppliers to the independent telephone industry got together to plan an industry trade show. Later, that group became a committee of the United States Independent Telephone Association. In 1979, the committee split off as a separate affiliated association, the United States Telecommunications Suppliers Association (USTSA), and became one of the world's premier organizers of telecom exhibitions and seminars. TIA was formed in April 1988 after a merger of USTSA and the Information and Telecommunications Technologies Group of the Electronics Industry Association (EIA). EIA began as the Radio Manufacturers Association in 1924.
TIA is a member-driven organization. Board Members are selected from member companies. The Board formulates TIA policies that are implemented by TIA staff. TIA has a number of product-oriented divisions – User Premises Equipment, Wireless Communications, Fiber Optics, Network, and Satellite Communications – to address the legislative and regulatory concerns of its’ members. The TIA Communications Research Division (CRD) ensures the U.S. communications sector continues to be a world leader in advanced research.
TIA has a long history of assisting the public safety community. TIA provides assistance to the public safety communications community through advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with many representative public safety organizations and through the development of relevant standards.
In the late 1980s, representatives of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO), the National Association of State Telecommunications Directors (NASTD), and the federal government established Project 25, to create voluntary standards for digital public safety radio communications. Following the creation of Project 25, TIA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) offering Project 25 the use of TIA TR-8, the Mobile and Personal Private Radio Standards Engineering Committee services, as an ANSI-accredited Standards Development Organization (SDO), to develop the necessary technical documents and standards, which are now known as the TIA-102 series.
The TIA-102 series provides standards designed to meet the operational needs of local, state, and federal public safety organizations and agencies. TIA-102 equipments comply with the regulatory environments of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the FCC in the U.S., as well as the regulatory environments of many international countries. Future elements in the TIA-102 series will meet the evolving, multi-faceted, operational and regulatory needs of the global public safety community. While the TIA-102 series has been developed in conjunction with the public safety community, TIA-102 equipment is fully applicable for non-public safety applications. TIA-102 equipment is a good choice whenever there is a need for a high-quality, secure, digital, private radio communications.
TIA support of public safety has not been limited to Project 25. Two areas where TIA has been significantly involved are the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), and the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA) activities. On CMAS, TIA has interfaced with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), helping those agencies create regulations to ensure wireless providers deliver text messages notifying customers of emergency situations. On CALEA, TIA works to develop standards providing the public safety community with the mandated capabilities. TIA is committed to preserve government's ability to intercept communications while at the same time protecting the privacy of communications and to do so in a manner not impeding the introduction of new technologies, features, and services.
Adequately describing all of what TIA does and how TIA supports the public safety community would take far more space than allotted for this article. For more information about TIA and for information on how individuals or organizations can participate in the important work TIA is doing, contact the TIA representative to the NPSTC Governing Board or contact the TIA Vice President, Marketing and Business Development.
Bob Speidel represents TIA on NPSTC’s Governing Board.
Letter Regarding the 700 MHz Broadband Task Force Report
by David Buchanan
Editor’s Note: This is the letter the Broadband Task Force Chair, David Buchanan, sent as he submitted the 700 MHz Broadband Task Force Report on behalf of all those who worked so hard to NPSTC’s Governing Board. It certainly reminds us of the “why” NPSTC volunteers do what they do.
September 4, 2009
Governing Board of NPSTC
Reference: Report of the 700 MHz Broadband Task Force
Dear Board Members,
I’m pleased today to submit to you the report of the 700 MHz Broadband Task Force that you asked me to chair. This report is the result of countless hours of effort by public safety personnel, vendors, and others to make recommendations that ensure the proper roaming and interoperability between proposed Regional Systems to provide a true National Broadband Data System. I can’t thank enough all those that contributed to this effort. Given the short time frame for the task force to complete this work, only a very dedicated effort along with good cooperation, made meeting the deadline possible.
I would like to end this letter on a personal note. On August 30, I was working to pull together the material and documents of the first draft of this report, when my doorbell rang and my neighbor was at the door. He led me out to the street and very visible to the east was the first of two fires that threatened my neighborhood. As I worked on finalizing this report over the next few days I also monitored the fires only 1 mile from my house. This gave me pause to really consider why I was working on this effort.
I realized first that in over 30 years of supporting the communications systems for firefighters and spending many hours at several large and small wildfires, this was the first fire to threaten my house. I’m thankful that the fire community, law enforcement, and other public safety agencies in my area enjoy true voice interoperability and are skilled at evacuating residences and fighting the fires. But I also realized there are always ways to improve those efforts.
I think the dawn of these broadband data systems will provide the means for those improvements. I believe that the availability of interoperable broadband networks will spur many innovations in the provision of public safety services. I can imagine several applications usable with a broadband data system that allow better management of fighting wildfires. More importantly, those working in the public safety services will imagine many innovations if only we provide them this tool.
I urge the NPSTC Board and its member organizations to do everything possible to bring about a true National Broadband Network, using the concept of Regional Networks and public/private partnerships to start the process. There is much work to be done and I hope to be part of it. I want my house and my neighbors’ houses to remain safe.
David Buchanan, Chair, NPSTC 700 MHz Broadband Task Force
Fourth Richard DeMello Award Winner to Be Honored at RCA Centennial
The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC’s) Governing Board will present the fourth annual Richard DeMello Award at the Radio Club of America's 100th Anniversary Gala celebration. RCA’s Centennial celebration opens on November 20, 2009, at the Georgetown Conference Center and Hotel. The exhibit room opens November 21, and will feature technical and special-interest panel discussions. Confirmed speakers to date include Mark Crosby, Mike Fitch, Harlin McEwen, Dale Hatfield, Stu Overby, Stan Reubenstein, Michael Altschul, and Richard Mirgon.
In conjunction with the 100th Anniversary celebration, RCA will be operating an Amateur Radio Special Event Station, W2RCA, from a table in the Exhibit Room in the conference center, running two or more stations remotely via an Internet connection. Those members attending who have an amateur operator’s license are welcome to participate and help keep the station active from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. RCA also may be able to make arrangements for those who cannot travel to Washington, D.C., to participate from their home stations.
Award Named to Honor DeMello’s Achievements
Beginning in 2005, NPSTC has presented an annual award to one public safety communications person who has demonstrated the highest levels of personal and professional conduct and performance in the local, state, and national public safety communications arena. The Richard DeMello award was named to honor the achievements of DeMello, one of the founding fathers of NPSTC. He was a frequency coordinator for the Forestry Conservation Communications Association (FCCA), the 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee Chair for Region 21, Michigan, a Life Member of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials – International (APCO), and a member of RCA.
Mr. DeMello served on the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee (PSWAC) and on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC’s) Public Safety National Coordination Committee (NCC). Marilyn Ward, Executive Director, NPSTC, said that Mr. DeMello was instrumental is bringing all of the frequency coordinators together in NPSTC. “Richard believed that we should continue the work of PSWAC and develop a broader group of all levels and disciplines of public safety to work on consensus agreements on FCC filings,” Ms. Ward said. “He remained a steady guiding force as NPSTC matured from its infancy into a mature consensus body.”
DeMello Award Sponsors
Thanks to EADS Secure North America Networks for their generous support of this year’s award. NPSTC’s Governing Board also thanks RCA and past DeMello sponsors for their generous support: Ericsson, Motorola, and GEOCOMM. Past DeMello Award winners are Chief Harlin McEwen, John Powell, and Chief Charles Werner.
Radio Club of America
RCA was formed by a small group of dedicated radio amateurs and experimenters nearly a century ago. The Radio Club of America counted among its membership the very best in the radio communications industry, including the pioneers who shaped the industry.
Are You Ready? Plan Now for Narrowbanding
By Ralph Haller
NPSTC’s Home Page features a digital clock counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until mandatory narrowbanding begins. In 3 short years, all radio systems operating at frequencies below 512 MHz will be required to narrowband, i.e., begin operating in 12.5 kHz channel bandwidths instead of the current 25 kHz channel bandwidths in use today or meet the efficiency standard of two talk paths in 25 kHz. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that narrowbanding be complete by January 1, 2013. What does this mean to you? It means that many existing systems operating in these bands will need to be modified or replaced.
But, the clock may be ticking even more quickly than you think. By January 1, 2011 – a little over a year away – the FCC will no longer accept new or modified applications that exceed the narrowbanding guidelines, which means that a modification to expand the interference contour of an existing station will not be accepted. It means that the manufacture or importation of equipment will be limited to 12.5 kHz technology. So if an agency’s 25 kHz bandwidth-only equipment is damaged or lost, replacement equipment may not be readily available after January 1, 2011. Another thing to consider is the fact that it is not unusual for public safety agencies to expand or change the geographic areas for which they are responsible, but these changes would not be permitted by 2011 for systems that operate exclusively at 25 kHz, unless they meet the efficiency standard, e.g., utilize two or four slot TDMA.
Take a Narrowbanding Quiz: True or False
Narrowbanding requires licensees to implement digital technology.
False. There is no digital requirement.
Licensees will end up with twice as many channels.
Hundreds of new channels will be available in 2013.
Failure to narrowband will result in secondary status.
False. Failure to narrowband will be illegal and stations will have to go off the air.
Interference may occur to existing systems.
True. Wideband operations may experience interference from new narrowband stations
Interoperability may be negatively impacted.
True. Until all entities transition to narrowband, some may operate on interoperability channels with wideband equipment while others are at narrowband. Distortion or volume discrepancies may occur.
Paging channels need not narrowband.
False. With the exception of two channels only – 152.0075 MHz and 157.4500 MHz can remain 25.0 kHz bandwidth.
And wait, there’s more. Although a deadline for the second phase of narrowbanding, conversion to 6.25 kHz channel efficiency, has not been specified by the FCC for VHF/UHF licenses, a deadline has been established which requires 700 MHz channels to operate at 6.25 kHz efficiency by January 1, 2017.
There Are Good Reasons for Narrowbanding
The FCC made the decision to narrowband this part of the spectrum to promote more efficient use of the highly congested VHF and UHF land mobile bands. There is often not enough spectrum available for licensees to expand their existing systems or implement new systems. The FCC expects that as licensees convert to equipment that operates on the narrower channel bandwidths, new channels will become available, and that the narrowband conversion will encourage the development and use of new more spectrum-efficient technologies. There are several other misconceptions in the public safety community in addition to the ones noted in the True or False Quiz. Narrowbanding is not required in 800 MHz; it only applies to spectrum below 512 MHz (low band, 30-50 MHz and 220 MHz are not included). Another rumor is that the FCC will allow continued operation at 25.0 kHz after January 1, 2013, by waiver or extend the deadline as they did for the Digital Television transition. “This is extremely unlikely,” says Ralph Haller, NPSTC’s Chair. “The FCC has taken a hard line policy on narrowbanding.”
What You Need to Do Now
Start planning now especially in the context of your agency’s budget cycle. “Narrowbanding is the next serious challenge to interoperability, and the deadline looms,” say John Penido, “Fire Chief, City of San Marino, California, Chair, CalSIEC. CalSIEC needs to educate our constituents and their governing bodies who will be asked to pay for the cost of narrowbanding.”
“The California fire service has committed to beating the 2013 deadline by completing this daunting project in 2010, no mean feat given our budget troubles!” he says. “But our federal partners have already done it, so we need to get it done now if we want to continue to talk with each other. Given our heavy reliance on mutual aid and voice communications, all California fire agencies will need to make the switch together in order to remain interoperable.”
What else should you do?
- Inventory equipment subject to narrowbanding. Most equipment manufactured since 1997 has a narrowband mode so narrowbanding may be no more than a programming issue.
- Get a funding cycle approved.
- Establish a schedule to meet the 2013 date. “Develop a wideband-to-narrowband conversion plan that reflects well-coordinated logistical and implementation strategies needed to accommodate the replacement and installation of any new narrowband-capable off-site base or repeater station radio(s) needed in advance,” says Nick Ruark, General Manager, Quality Mobile Communications, LLC. “The plan should include reprogramming all radios in a system as close to simultaneously as possible to assure minimal disruption to ongoing radio communications operations. Work closely with a professional two-way radio service vendor during the development of any system conversion plan to insure there are no surprises during the actual narrowbanding cutover.”
- Determine if additional sites will be needed to compensate for the narrower bandwidth
- Determine if pagers will require replacement.
- Ruark suggests that agencies schedule and coordinate with their radio service vendor, as soon as possible, ascertaining the dates and times for the actual system conversion (or cutover), and making certain that all radio users have been advised in advance and are aware of the process. Also make sure that all handheld and mobile radios are readily available for reprogramming at pre-scheduled times.
- Modify existing licenses for narrowband, including new sites, if needed, working closely with frequency coordinator.
- Notify the FCC of conversion through license modification to remove wideband emission designator(s).
What about Federal Spectrum?
In 1992, the Congress required the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to adopt and implement a plan for federal agencies with existing mobile radio systems to use more spectrum-efficient technologies. The following three bands were required to narrowband. If your agency operates on federal channels by MOU, you may be required to narrowband immediately upon notification by the host federal agency.
- 162-174 MHz: January 1, 1995 (new systems), January 1, 2005 (all systems)
- 406.1-420 MHz: January 1, 1997 (new), January 1, 2008 (all)
- 138-150.800 MHz: January 1, 1995 (new) January 1, 2008 (all)
The International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) have issued an excellent guide to narrowbanding, available in print or electronically at IMSAsafety.org. Ruark also suggests the following resources:
Editor’s Note: The Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is working to ensure that narrowbanding is included in the SAFECOM grant guidance for fiscal year 2010. OEC hopes to ensure that narrowbanding will be an eligible expense for recipients of Homeland Security Grant Program and Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program funds for FY 2010. And the Office is urging agencies to consider applying for COPS grants as well, as they may also cover narrowbanding expenses.
Emerging Networked Vehicles – New Growth in the Automotive Industry
by Emily Boucher
The weather forecast for the auto industry these days is “overcast with scattered downpours.” Now, however, a beam of light has begun to shine, and it’s coming from a new development in the industry – the application of wireless communications services to vehicles.
An organization called the Networked Vehicle Foundation is the premier source of knowledge about this new ‘mega-sector.’ Over 60 executive leaders from the technology and business development sides of companies such as Cisco, IBM, INTEL, and HP, participated recently in a workshop on the next generation of the automotive industry at the sold-out Networked Vehicle Challenge in Greenville, South Carolina. Many of the participants presented original research on issues such as standardization, mobile enhancement, social networks, and cloud computing and how they might be implemented in a vehicular environment.
Marilyn Ward, Executive Director, NPSTC, joined a panel of first responder industry colleagues including: Lloyd Mitchell, VP, Forestry Conservation Communications Association, and George Crouch, Department of Homeland Security, to discuss the impact the first responder technology will have on the emerging ICT-Automotive sector.
“The Networked Vehicle and the vast amount of information it can provide will have an enormous impact on the first responder community. Greater information for emergency services at accidents and improved interoperability will increase the speed and efficiency of emergency response,” says Barry Gander, Chair, Networked Vehicle Foundation, and Executive Vice President, CATA Alliance. “For example, with the innovation of telemetric connections for health care, monitors in your seat belt can detect a heart attack and relay that information to the proper response team. It’s this sort of innovation that will bring the next generation of auto-related prosperity to North America.”
After the success and growing interest of the South Carolina workshop, another workshop is scheduled to take place in San Francisco, California, in February 2010 to continue discussion on the framework and structure of the Networked Vehicle sector. For more information on the Networked Vehicle Foundation please visit www.networkedvehicle.org.
The Networked Vehicle Foundation is affiliated with the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, Canada’s largest high-tech trade association. CATA’s been involved in a number of first responder and security research initiatives, including an upcoming First Responder Vendor Outreach Forum. The Forum is the second in a series to bring first responders together with vendors to discuss the technological needs and realities of first responders. The event takes place in Calgary, Canada, from October 21 – 22, 2009. Please visit www.cata.ca for more information.
About the Networked Vehicle Foundation
The vision of this new not-for-profit organization is to make vehicles part of the global communications network, in order to integrate them into our digital lifestyle in a manner that will optimally impact time, resources, and other areas of human endeavour.
The mission of this new not-for-profit organization is to create a highly interactive community of thought-leaders from the ICT and the Automotive industry to generate business and technical expertise on how a networked vehicle platform can be created and operated on a sustainable base.
Planning for Narrowbanding in Vermont
by Terry M. LaValley
Vermont’s Interoperability Committee (VCOMM), which was formed by executive order, has taken the following steps to ensure narrowband compatibility within Vermont.
First, we established contracts with all of the major radios vendors within Vermont and adjacent states to go out and reprogram all of Vermont’s first responder radios with the new narrowband frequencies. The contract established a per radio cost that would be paid to the vendor by VCOMM for these services. When the vendor requested payment from VCOMM, they had to provide a complete inventory of the organizations’ radios in use and identify which ones could not be reprogrammed due to either lack of channel capacity or if the radio would not accept the new channels for technical reasons. We did not contract with these vendors for reprogramming any base or repeater systems due to the FCC licensing requirements.
We then developed a program under VCOMM which allowed Vermont’s first responders to apply for funding from VCOMM to replace those radios that were not compatible. Currently we are looking at funding pagers through the same program.
Additionally we continue to do outreach to the first responders through direct mailings, emails, articles in local trade magazines, and numerous public meetings. We also have a web site http://www.dps.state.vt.us/vcomm/narrowbanding.html that tracks our activities and progress.
Terry M. LaValley, Chair, Northern Border Working Group, serves the Vermont Department of Public Safety as Communications Program Manager.
by Bette Rinehart
FCC Focusing on National Broadband Plan
In adopting legislation to make stimulus funding available, Congress also set a deadline for the FCC to develop a National Broadband Plan to ensure that everyone in the US has access to broadband capability. Broadband access for public safety and homeland security will be one aspect of that national plan. With the February 17, 2010 deadline less than 6 months away, the FCC is focusing on gathering the input needed to develop the National Broadband Plan. The first information received came from comments filed during June and July in response to a Notice of Inquiry (NOI).
The FCC is urging any interested party to continue to file ex parte comments in the NOI, and is particularly interested in comments addressing:
- Analysis of trade-offs among approaches
- Strategies for implementing ideas
- Analysis of current and future spectrum allocations
- Costs of deployment
- What applications are most needed
In addition, the Commission is holding a series of broadband workshops; has launched a broadband website ( http://www.broadband.gov/) and broadband blog. The first workshop addressing Public Safety and Homeland Security is scheduled for August 25 in Washington, DC. The workshop schedule and instructions for registering or joining the webinars is available at: http://www.broadband.gov/workshops.html
The broadband blog is available at: http://blog.broadband.gov/
NPSTC filed comments to the Broadband NOI in July and Ralph Haller, Chair of NPSTC, participated in the August 25th workshop.
FCC Seeking Comment on Waivers Seeking Early Deployment of Broadband 700 MHz Public Safety Systems
The FCC has released a Public Notice asking for public comment on the thirteen pending waivers which seek permission to deploy broadband systems in the 700 MHz band prior to a decision in the pending docket on the D Block auction and the requirements of a public/private nationwide interoperable broadband public safety network. The FCC is seeking comment on each of the following early deployment waivers:
- City of Boston
- City and County of San Francisco, City of Oakland and City of San Jose (Bay Area)
- City of New York
- District of Columbia
- City of Chesapeake, Virginia
- City of San Antonio, Bexar County and Comal County
- City of Charlotte, North Carolina
- Iowa Coalition (12 Counties and the City of Cedar Rapids)
- State of New Jersey
- State of New York
- State of New Mexico
- State of North Dakota
Many public safety agencies have the need and funding to develop a localized broadband network now but cannot because the spectrum is licensed to the PSBL which has no funding for a build out. Thirteen of these agencies have filed waivers asking to be allowed to deploy broadband systems in the 700 MHz public safety spectrum now. A key element of any such waiver request is how an early deployed system will fit into a future nationwide network.
Appendix A of the Public Notice outlines particular concerns that the Commission would like commenters to address:
- Should the FCC act on the early deployment waivers before finalizing the pending docket?
- If so, what waiver conditions or other measures would avoid prejudicing issues pending in the docket?
- Should the waiver conditions be identical for each applicant?
- Some licensees seek "sub-licensing" of the PSST with all the rights of a direct licensee; others suggest long-term leasing arrangements; one seeks direct licensing of the spectrum. Commenters are asked to address the pros and cons and possibilities of these licensing proposals.
- Early build-out was addressed in the 2007 Report & Order in Docket 06-229. How can those rules be applied to the pending waivers?
- If the waivers were granted, what waiver conditions would be needed to guarantee that each could be integrated into a future nationwide or regional network?
- How should any costs associated with that integration be addressed?
- Should cost relief be tied to ensuring interoperability with a future national or regional network?
- Should the waiver petitioners be responsible for paying the relocation costs of any incumbent narrowband 700 MHz licensees?
- Is there sufficient detail in the waiver requests for the Commission to act or should additional information (such as funding or technical information) be requested?
- Should waiver conditions related to interoperability (such as a common air interface, interoperability standards, common technical or governance structures) be adopted?
- Some waivers overlap one another geographically; should the FCC require coordination with adjacent jurisdictions; limit waivers to states? How should the FCC address multiple requests from jurisdictions that cover the same geographic area?
- If granted, how can the FCC monitor deployment to ensure that the waiver conditions are met?
- Are the waiver Petitioners' proposed users eligible to operate on the network under the 700 MHz Public Safety eligibility rules?
One of the waivers was from a commercial entity (Flow Mobile) seeking to deploy a broadband system in the state of North Dakota using both the broadband and narrowband state allocations. Subsequently North Dakota filed its own waiver proposing the same. The FCC asks for comments on these aspects of those waivers:
- Is Flow Mobile eligible to apply for a waiver to use the public safety spectrum?
- Are the "commercial and residential services" mentioned in Flow Mobile's waiver eligible to use the spectrum?
- How would deploying broadband on the narrowband general use spectrum impact adjacent states/Regions deployment of narrowband systems?
- Is a proposed "4-G-Like" network consistent with the FCC's interoperability and integration goals?
While all 13 waivers are combined in this public notice, comments can be filed specific to a particular waiver or addressing the waivers in general. Comments are due October 16; Replies are due November 16. The text of the Public Notice is available at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-1819A1.doc
Ocean County, NJ TV Band Waiver: Section 337 Waivers Must Address 700 MHz
Ocean County, NJ, has been granted a waiver to modify its existing TV band system which operates on frequencies in TV Channel 20 (506-512 MHz) to add 12 frequencies in TV Channel 15 (476-482 MHz) which is allocated for use in the New York City area.
Ocean County sought a waiver of 90.303 and 90.305(a) because three of its transmitter sites are located beyond 50 miles from New York City. The additional spectrum was sought due to seasonal weather-related interference affecting the system. Ocean County’s request was filed in May 2007 seeking relief under the provision of Section 337 ( c) of the Telecommunications Act. One of the five requirements of a “Section 337 waiver” is that the applicant must demonstrate that there are no other frequencies within the public safety pool immediately available. The waiver request included documentation that no public safety VHF, UHF, or 800 MHz spectrum was available.
The waiver did not address 700 MHz. Due to the completion of the DTV transition, the public safety 700 MHz frequencies are now available in Ocean County, NJ; therefore the waiver does not meet the requirements of Section 337. However, the FCC, on its own motion, granted the waiver under the provision of section 1.925 which requires that an applicant demonstrate that the underlying purpose of the rule would not be served and that a grant would be in the public interest; or due to the unique circumstances the applicant has no reasonable alternative under the rules.
In evaluating Ocean County’s waiver under these guidelines, the Commission determined that the County had demonstrated a clear public interest argument and had addressed potential interference to broadcast television stations in the market. Ocean County’s waiver was granted with certain conditions:
- Operations on 476-482 MHz at base stations and mobile units operating beyond 128 km (79.5 miles) from the center coordinates of New York City/Northeast New Jersey are secondary to current and future full and low power Channel 15 TV stations.
- The County’s operations on 476-482 MHz at four sites (Toms River, New Egypt, Barnegat and Pasadena, NJ) may not interfere with existing TV stations.
Because the DTV transition out of TV Channels 60-69 has been accomplished, any Section 337 waiver will have to demonstrate that the 700 MHz public safety frequencies are either not available or insufficient to meet the applicant’s requirements. Otherwise, an applicant seeking unused “out of pool” frequencies will need to demonstrate that the request is in the public interest and meets the waiver requirements outlined in 1.925.
The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-1976A1.doc
Comments to 4.9 GHz Further Notice
In May, the FCC modified the 4.9 GHz rules to permit permanent (in place for more than 1 year) fixed point-to-point stations that connect or support broadband operations co-primary status with temporary fixed and mobile operations. Permanent fixed point-to-point stations that connect or support narrowband operations remain secondary.
In the decision, comment was sought on what steps the Commission could take to ensure that primary permanent fixed point-to-point operations could successfully co-exist with temporary fixed, mobile and hot spot operations. The FCC particularly sought comment on whether or not a pre-coordination process similar to the one used in the Microwave service (Part 101) would be appropriate.
Comments were due July 20; replies due August 19. Five comments and two reply comments were filed most supporting a registration process through the local Regional Planning Committees (RPCs) rather than a formal pre-coordination process. Once a decision is reached, the FCC will release a Report & Order and will also release a Public Notice describing how to license primary permanent fixed point-to-point stations.
FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces Top Bureau Appointments
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski filled the top level positions in the Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) in July.
PSHSB Chief Rear Admiral (ret.) Jamie Barnett served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve for 32 years, retiring in 2008. Most recently, Admiral Barnett was a Senior Research Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Deputy Chief David Furth has served at the FCC since 1992 and in the PSHSB since its formation in 2006. Mr. Furth has been Acting Chief of the Bureau since January of this year.
Prior to that, Mr. Furth had been closely involved with the 800 MHz rebanding proceeding and the 700 MHz rulemaking proceedings. Before joining the PSHSB, Furth held various positions in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau including Deputy Chief and Chief of the Commercial Wireless Division.
Deputy Chief Jennifer Manner’s background includes regulatory policy advisory positions at several telecommunications companies, an Attorney-Advisor at the FCC, and as FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy’s Senior Council having responsibility for wireless, technology, and international issues.
Senate Confirms Appointments of Clyburn and Baker as FCC Commissioners
Mignon Clyburn (pictured left) and Meredith Attwell Baker (pictured right) received Senate confirmation on July 24. These confirmations fill the remaining two seats of the five-seat panel of FCC Commissioners bringing the Commission to full strength.
Baker is the former acting head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and is filling the unexpired term of former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. That term runs through June 30, 2011. Clyburn is a South Carolina utility regulator and daughter of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC). She fills the seat vacated by Deborah Tate for a full 5-year term. Clyburn was sworn in at a ceremony in South Carolina on August 3, while Baker was sworn in on July 31.
700 MHz REGIONAL PLANNING UPDATE
Fifty-three of the 55 Regions have either held or set the date for their first meeting. Two Regions have selected conveners but not yet set a date for the first planning meeting. Twenty - seven Regional Plans have been approved; four Regional Plans are now pending.
One 700 MHz Regional Plan Put on Public Notice and Four Approved
The FCC placed one 700 MHz Regional Plan on Public Notice in July and has approved four Plans to this point in September:
On Public Notice: Region 41 (Utah) Comments due 8/13/2009; Replies due 8/24/2009
The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-1605A1.doc
Approved: Region 30 (Eastern NY) Approved August 6.
The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-1760A1.doc
Region 33 (Ohio) approved September 11
Region 13 (Illinois) approved on September 22
Region 28 (E. PA/S. NJ/DE) approved on September 22
The following plan amendment was approved in early August:
Region 39 (Tennessee) approved August 6. The text of the PN is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-1761A1.doc
Three Non-Streamlined 800 MHz Plan Amendments Put on Public Notice
If a Region modified its 800 MHz Plan in any way other than shifting the original allotments down 15 MHz, the modifications were ineligible for streamlined review. These non-streamlined amendments were subject to adjacent Region concurrence and formal Public Notice processes. In August, the FCC put the following NPSPAC plan amendments on Public Notice:
On August 10, Region 24 (Missouri) Comments due August 31; Replies due September 10. Text of the PN is available at:
On August 12, Region 22 (Minnesota) Comments due September 1; Replies due September 11; Text of the PN is available at:
On August 17, Region 6 (Northern California) Comments due September 8; Replies due September 18; Text of the PN is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-1825A1.doc
Bette Rinehart is Chair of the Editorial Review Working Group.
Public Safety Urges Congress to Allocate D Block to Public Safety Broadband Network
A consensus group of public safety organizations are supporting the legislative proposal below that would allocate the 10 MHz D Block in the 700 MHz band to public safety. The legislation is now being distributed to members of Congress in an effort to find support and sponsorship.
The proposed legislation would allow the Public Safety Broadband Licensee (PSBL), currently the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), to lease access to the spectrum for regional build out and operation of public safety networks that would fit into the national framework. The legislation also calls for Congress to have the FCC adopt rules that would provide funding for the operations of the PSBL.
Legislative Proposal: Amend Section 337 of the Communications Act of 1934, as follows:
By adding new subsection (g): Public Safety Broadband Spectrum “ Not later than ____, and notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in this Act, the Commission ”
(1) shall allocate the paired electromagnetic spectrum bands of 758-763 megahertz and 788-793 megahertz for public safety broadband communications and shall assign these paired bands to the national public safety broadband licensee that is also the licensee of spectrum in the paired 763-768 megahertz and 793-798 megahertz bands.
In taking this action, the Commission shall adopt such regulations as may be necessary to encourage the rapid deployment by the national public safety broadband licensee of a national public safety broadband network, and notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, allow use of the network by emergency response providers as defined by 6 U.S.C. §101(6).
(2) shall adopt rules permitting the national public safety broadband licensee to authorize, via spectrum leases or through other means to be determined by the Commission, providers of public safety services (as defined in Section 337(f)(1)) to construct and operate public safety broadband communications systems in the spectrum licensed to the national public safety broadband licensee, where such authorizations would expedite the deployment of public safety broadband communications, and provided that such systems--
(A) are, and will remain, fully interoperable with, and in conformance with the same technology standards, as all other systems deployed or authorized by the national public safety broadband licensee; and
(B) provide for roaming by other authorized users of the spectrum licensed to the national public safety broadband licensee, subject to provisions to ensure priority access for public safety services.
(3) shall adopt rules that facilitate the ability of the national public safety broadband licensee, and public safety systems authorized by the national public safety broadband licensee, to enter into network-sharing and infrastructure-sharing agreements with commercial and non-profit entities that will encourage the rapid deployment of a nationwide public safety broadband network.
(A) Such network-sharing and infrastructure-sharing agreements may authorize the shared use of the national public safety broadband network, pursuant to lease agreements, by entities that do not provide services meeting the definition of `public safety services' in Section 337(f)(1).
(B) Any network-sharing or infrastructure-sharing agreements shall be subject to a requirement that public safety services retain priority access to the network, pursuant to procedures adopted by the national public safety broadband licensee and approved by the Commission.
(4) shall, in adopting the rules required under this subsection (g), provide for a means of fully funding the reasonable operating expenses incurred by the national public safety broadband licensee in overseeing and coordinating the establishment of the nationwide public safety broadband network, including activities related to the arrangements to be permitted pursuant to subsection (g)(2).
NIIX Update: DHS Uploads 200 SOPs and MOUs to Reference Library
NPSTC congratulates the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) on the release of the Formal Agreement and SOP Template Suite and Reference Library. The Formal Agreement and SOP Template Suite can be found on NPSTC’s secure, public safety website, the National Interoperability Information eXchange (NIIX) at www.niix.org.
Over the last few months, more than 200 formal agreements and SOP examples have been uploaded to NIIX. The documents have been provided by public safety stakeholders from across the country responding to OEC's nationwide solicitation of formal agreements and SOPs relating to communications interoperability. These resources provide great value to the emergency response community, helping to guide the effective and efficient development of formal agreements and SOPs among interoperable communications stakeholders.
OEC’s release of the reference library achieves two milestones in the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) that call for DHS to do the following:
”DHS will establish a central repository of model formal agreements (i.e., Memoranda of Agreement [MOA], Memoranda of Understanding [MOU], and Mission Assignments) and information that will enhance interstate and intrastate coordination.“ And, ”DHS identifies and refines model SOPs for emergency communications during specific types of incidents and all-hazards response (beyond tactical communications).“
Each guidance document is divided into two parts. Part I highlights sample language, reference formal agreements/SOPs, and Questions to Consider when creating a formal agreement or SOP. Part II provides a template with ”blanks“ and customizable pre-populated language that stakeholders can tailor to meet the needs of their formal agreement or SOP. The guidance documents demonstrate good examples of the following for public safety:
- Executive Order
- State to Local MOU and Local to Local MOU
- System-to-System Console Patch SOP, Mobile Gateway SOP, Shared Channel SOP, Shared System SOP, and Radio Cache SOP.
New In-Building Fire Codes
by Jack Daniel
After a lengthy process, new fire codes have been issued that support in-building coverage for first responders. Two nationally recognized bodies have issued similar uniform codes – the International Code Councils International Fire Code (IFC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). One or both of these codes are adopted by almost every jurisdiction in the United States, and, when adopted locally, will offer a new way to assert improved communications in structures.
The two new codes are designated IFC 2009 and NFPA-1 2009 and are available from those organizations for a fee.
In the past, local authorities have had to write their own in-building codes, which is a laborious and lengthy process of drafts, revisions, and hearings. These new codes can expedite local codes and advance the installation of life-saving equipment that extends seamless radio coverage into high-rise buildings, underground areas, etc.
While the new codes reflect de facto standards used in hundreds of local codes, some unique and appropriate specifications have been included, such as the following.
- 12 hour minimum back-up.
- NEMA 4 cabinets for all electronics to prevent loss of service if there is a 'wash down' from a fire hose.
- Use of qualified personnel, requiring relevant industry certifications, etc.
- Use of pre-approved equipment.
- New alarms that report to a supervised fire alarm panel
- Loss of AC power
- Loss of DC power
- Battery charger fail
- Low battery capacity (< 70%)
- Donor antenna integrity alarm
- Requires system to be updated when frequencies and bands are changed or expanded.
- Requires interference from other sources, including other DAS systems within the structures, to be corrected.
- The NFPA code also includes stringent maintenance requirements
Because of these new codes better equipment which complies with these specifications is already being designed. (One source is already 100 percent compliant at the time of writing.)
These codes are not perfect but will be revised and in time become the national standard. I am now presenting code education classes to both communications and fire officials. These are being very well received and will soon be qualified as factory certification by one or more major equipment manufacturers.
I am proud to have served as an advisor to both code groups and although it was a lot of work I truly believe property and lives will be saved as a result. And that makes it all worthwhile.
Jack Daniel is the Vice Chair of the NPSTC In-building Working Group and a major contributor to NPSTC's In-Building Best Practices publication. He is also a Life member of APCO and a Fellow in the Radio Club of America. You may contact him at JackDaniel@RFWise.com .
The Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) held the Third Quarterly Meeting of the Board of Directors on September 9, 2009. The Board unanimously re-elected the current officers for 2-year terms. Chief Harlin McEwen representing the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) will continue as Chairman; Kevin McGinnis, representing the National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO) will continue as Vice Chairman; and Alan Caldwell representing the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) will continue as Secretary-Treasurer.
In other action the PSST adopted a position to support efforts by a number of major national public safety organizations to urge Congress to enact legislation to direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allocate the 700 MHz D Block Spectrum to the national Public Safety Broadband License (PSBL).
The PSST also discussed a proposal from the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) that includes a suggestion to auction the 700 MHz broadband spectrum, allocated by Congress to public safety in 1997, and currently licensed to the Public Safely Spectrum Trust, and to auction the adjacent 700 MHz D Block Spectrum. The PSST Board members, with the exception of NENA, voted to not support the NENA proposal, to reallocate the 10 MHz public safety 700 MHz broadband block to commercial use, as it would give back scarce public safety spectrum and would undermine progress made during recent meetings among numerous major public safety organizations to further address matters related to the development of a nationwide interoperable broadband network.
About the PSST
The PSST, a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia, is the Public Safety Broadband Licensee (PSBL), holding an FCC license for public safety spectrum in the upper 700 MHz band designated for nationwide wireless broadband use. The PSST’s mission is to provide national public safety leadership an organizational structure through which decisions can be made to guide the construction and operation of an interoperable nationwide broadband network via a public safety-commercial partnership, ensuring the communications requirements of the public safety community are met. For additional information, visit www.psst.org.
From the Executive Director
by Marilyn Ward
Many of us are just getting back to work after attending the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials – International (APCO), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conferences. The National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) are also having their meetings this time of the year, with our members all busy with their associations and their regular tasks. It is busy for all, and yet we are still working on those pesky day job responsibilities: narrowbanding, rebanding, grant processes, managing our communications centers, and many more. Who would have ever expected that our community would have so many interesting and challenging difficult activities all at the same time?
The conference in Las Vegas for APCO was all about 700 MHz and all of the issues surrounding implementing the band. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was well represented and attended many sessions and sat on several panels. As usual, it was great that they were able to speak with the attendees who are implementing the policies they create. They got an earful on some of them, too! It was a good conference and we were able to conduct a Broadband Network Requirement Task Force (BBTF) meeting and NPSTC current events panel, both of which were very well attended. We had a teleconference bridge for the Task Force meeting that had 30 callers on the line to participate in the meeting. Thank you to APCO for sponsoring the session and providing the support for the task force.
In addition to preparing for the conferences, we had several initiatives NPSTC was invited to support: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) Target Capabilities (TCL) Meeting, the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC) Science and Technology Directorate Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) Forum, and the DHS OIC Emergency Service Sector Risk Workshop (ESS). All of these programs will eventually have a direct impact on state and local public safety communications and we thank our federal liaisons for including input from representatives of that community.
This is an example of the value of NPSTC. As a collective of volunteer associations, we provide a varied and broad perspective on the issues before us. Our discussions reflect differing points of view about the impact of policy decisions made by regulators on all sectors of public safety communications. Anyone who has been in a multi-jurisdictional and multi-discipline response at a scene understands the importance of including all sectors of responders. We see a blend now in activities and roles that has never been prevalent in communications. For example, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is working on Next Generation 9-1-1. Who would have expected that level of involvement in 9-1-1-from the transportation sector prior to their involvement in Intelligent Transportation systems? Not me, for sure. This is our world today, we all should, and do work together. No one group can represent everyone, it takes cooperation between all interests-- and that defines NPSTC! We are not an association, we are a federation of volunteer associations working together to improve your every day job and the safety of our citizens. It just can’t get better than that.
Since We Last Met
NPSTC’s Chair Reports to FCC Panel on Broadband Technology and Public Safety
NPSTC’s Chair Ralph Haller and Harlin McEwen, Chair, Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) and representing the International Chiefs of Police (IACP) to NPSTC were part of a panel convened by the FCC to explore the use of broadband technology by the public safety and the homeland security communities as part of the development of a National Broadband Plan.
The Federal Communications Commission’s staff workshops will be held throughout August and into September to promote an open dialogue between the FCC and key constituents on matters important to the National Broadband Plan. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 directed the FCC to submit a National Broadband Plan to Congress by February 17, 2010, that addresses broadband deployment, adoption, affordability, and the use of broadband to advance solutions to national priorities, including health care, education, energy, public safety, job creation, investment, and others. For more information, visit http://www.broadband.gov/.
NPSTC’s Executive Director Participates in DHS ESS Risk Workshop
The Emergency Services Sector Specific Agency (ES SSA) has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology – First Responder Technologies Program (S&T R-Tech), DHS Infrastructure Information Collection Division (IICD), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) to facilitate discussion on risk associated with the Emergency Service Sector. NPSTC’s Executive Director, Marilyn Ward, was invited to attend the Emergency Services Sector Risk Workshop in Chicago, Illinois in August 2009.
ESS is comprised of assets, systems, and networks that encompass the physical, cyber, and human components of ESS’ Critical Infrastructure Key Resources (CIKR). The most critical feature of the sector is its large, geographically distributed and extremely resilient base of facilities, equipment, and highly skilled personnel who provide emergency response services. When considering risk for the sector, two layers of associated risk match the elements deemed critical by the sector: the first layer is the sector’s fixed facilities such as EOCs, PSAPs, Fire and Police Stations, etc. The second layer is the sector’s specialized capability teams/units such as TERTs, Bomb Squads/Explosive Teams, HazMat Teams, etc; which may be regionally located and/or created through a network of agreements
This 2 1/2 day workshop was a forum to discuss the risk associated with critical elements in the Emergency Services Sector and its sub-components. Initially, Argonne National Lab’s facilitators asked participants questions relating to physical security, security management, and security force specific to fixed facilities and to prioritize protective measures options across these areas.
National Incident Management System: A Workbook for State Department of Transportation Frontline Workers
The Federal Highway Administration has released two training workbooks on the role of Transportation and Transportation workers in emergency response. While primarily designed for Transportation Workers and Supervisors, the documents stress the importance of the National Response Framework and the National Incident Management System. These documents, and the information they contain should be a part of any incident commander’s body of knowledge. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/security/emergencymgmt/profcapacitybldg/docs/nims/nims_wkbk.htm and http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/security/emergencymgmt/profcapacitybldg/docs/nims/sup_instruct.htm
DHS and State Sign Bi-Lateral Telecommunications Agreement with Mexico
In early September, the Departments of Homeland Security and State announced that senior officials on the United States-Mexico High-Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications (HLCC) signed a bilateral telecommunications agreement to support a new cross-border communications network for public safety and law enforcement organizations focused on strengthening border security. The second National Dialogue on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) began on August 31st and will continue through September 6th. For more information, visit the QHSR Web Site.
NTIA Naming Conventions Added to NPSTC’s Channel Naming Guide, Meeting National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) Milestone
Following discussions with NPSTC and the Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Council (IRAC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) concluded that due to the wide acceptance of the current channel naming convention LE and IR, the naming convention should remain the same.
The referenced section 4.3.16 of the NTIA Manual [NTIA Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management] should be added to NPSTC’s Standard Channel Nomenclature for the Interoperability Channels.
NECP’s Milestone 3.1.36: (Coordination) states, “Within 12 months, Federal agencies identify a uniform naming system for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) designated nationwide interoperability channels, and this naming system is integrated into the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) Guide.”
FEMA’s Disaster Management Program Hosts Monthly Online Special Interest Group (SIG) Presentations for Emergency Management Practitioners
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Disaster Management (DM) E-Government Initiative strives to meet the nation’s need for better emergency communications by stressing information sharing and enhanced services for emergency management community. For general information, see The Disaster Management Program website.
The FEMA Disaster Management Program Office hosts monthly Online Special Interest Group (SIG) presentations geared toward emergency management practitioners and information technology developers. To participate in the DM-Open Platform for Emergency Networks (DM-OPEN) or the Disaster Management Interoperability Services (DMIS) SIGs subscribe to our mailing list at SIG Notification.
NPSTC Congratulates CITIG on Award for Excellence in Emergency Preparedness
NPSTC Liaison Member the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG) was awarded the inaugural Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP)/Motorola Award for Excellence in Emergency Preparedness, presented at the opening of the CACP annual conference. “I am honoured that the CPRC and its valued partners have been presented with this prestigious award for work on the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group,” said Steve Palmer, Executive Director, Canadian Police Research Centre. “Interoperability is one of the biggest challenges facing public safety providers today. Communications Interoperability plays a critical role in emergency management and preparedness and is essential to keeping both responders and citizens safe during emergencies. Receiving this award validates how the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group is having significant impact on this pressing issue. I am proud of the work done by CPRC and salute our partners as we help make Canada a safer place for first responders and the people they serve.”
The CACP/Motorola Award for Excellence in Emergency Preparedness recognizes those that have demonstrated a standard of excellence that exemplifies the combined efforts of law enforcement, fire services, and emergency medicine in preparing their agencies for any subsequent response to natural or manmade disasters leading toward the contribution and dedication to the quality of life in our communities.
|November 2 – 6, 2009
|November 20 – 21, 2009
|November 21, 2009
|January 12 – 15, 2010
||St. Petersburg, FL
|January 25 – 27, 2010
||Orlando, FL, (Winter Summit)
|February 16 – 17, 2010
|March 8 – 12, 2010
||Las Vegas, NV
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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