Monday, May 19, 2008

FCC to overhaul D Block approach - RCR : "The Federal Communications Commission today launched a wide-ranging proceeding to revamp D-Block rules, an effort that will not only examine changes to the national public safety/commercial license left stranded in the 700 MHz auction but also consider whether the public-private partnership approach should be retained. ... Shortly after the agency’s 5-0 vote on the D Block, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to authorize $4 million to begin funding the Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corp. — the 700 MHz public-safety broadband licensee — that would partner with a winning commercial D-Block bidder under the shared wireless broadband network model."
DC Public Safety Broadband Network: "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is backing a broadband public-safety network project in Washington, although officials with the District of Columbia say several unknowns put the project’s future in doubt.

The National Capital Region (NCR) awarded a contract in early 2007 to Alcatel Lucent for an EV-DO Revision A network at 700 MHz. In September, DHS rolled out the Radio over Wireless-Broadband (ROW-B) pilot in conjunction with the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and Clarity Communications. The project integrates new broadband technologies with existing public-safety two-way radio systems, including the integration of location information.

The pilot includes about 200 users from NCR’s police, fire and unified communications departments who are using video on the network, said Vivek Kundra, chief technology officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia. The network is licensed through a special temporary authority (STA) license that must be renewed through the FCC every six months. Federal grants initially were used to roll out the network. Alcatel Lucent has agreed to waive its maintenance fees for a year, Kundra said."
MVNO links made, disputed in D-Block - RCR: "Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corp. Chairman Harlin McEwen has distanced himself from a key element in a Federal Communications Commission inspector general report on the unsettled 700 MHz D Block. The report, which cleared Cyren Call Communications Corp. of any wrongdoing prior to the failed auction of the D Block, described now-defunct Frontline Wireless L.L.C.’s concerns about Cyren Call’s plan to become a mobile virtual network operator that would resell service to first responders across the country."
Serious Discussion of Multiband and Cognitive Radios - MRT: "After Years of Discussion and Debate, frequency-agile radios finally are arriving, with products scheduled to hit the commercial and public safety markets later this year. The adoption rate of these technologies will go a long way toward determining whether a much-promised new paradigm regarding spectrum access, equipment costs and, ultimately, intelligent radio becomes a reality."

Sunday, May 04, 2008

FIRE CHIEF Blog - Interoperability Impact: "A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate coordinated a demonstration of voice interoperability between six different manufacturers’ systems using a new Bridging System Interface. During the demonstration, gear from Motorola, Scitec, Valcom, Cisco Systems, Clarity Communications Systems and Twisted Pair Solutions were connected via the BSI, and communications were conducted in a scenario format involving state, county and local jurisdictions operating on separate bands.

DHS officials were careful to note that the BSI is not a standard, but a specification that leverages commercial voice-over-IP technology. Equipment that allows disparate radio systems to interoperate via an IP platform is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean that the various bridging systems easily interoperate with each other, said Dereck Orr, program manager for public safety communications standards for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“Just because it says it’s IP doesn’t mean it’s interoperable,” Orr said. “We needed to get that word out to public safety and to policymakers, as well.”"

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Chief: Communication gap is 'serious liability': "[New Hampshire] police are considering working with — and paying — Hampton dispatch for a better emergency-communications system. [North Hampton] Police Chief Brian Page said Thursday he spoke with Hampton Chief Jamie Sullivan and the two plan to meet. No cost has yet been discussed, Page said. The problem is a void in communicating with cruisers on the east side of town. The issue has been ongoing, but it was raised on Monday after Page and the Board of Selectmen received a complaint from a resident regarding unacceptable emergency-response time.

'We had an emergency and police could not be reached,' Page told selectmen on Monday. 'It presents a serious liability to the town.'"
Responders test coordination skills: "The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies converged in southern Virginia last week to demonstrate and test the interoperability of the communications systems that will need to work together for the agency’s disaster response plans to succeed.

FEMA has expanded its repertoire of scripted response plans, from 44 in 2006 to more than 240 now. It has also increased the number of agencies it coordinates with in creating scripted scenarios for such exercises, from four to 31, said Glenn Cannon, assistant administrator of FEMA's Disaster Operations Directorate."