FCC votes to prevent authorization of equipment deemed a risk

WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission, which plays an important role in protecting the security of America’s communications networks, today proposed rules that would prohibit all future authorizations for communications equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to national security. In recent years, the Commission, Congress, and the Executive Branch have taken multiple actions to guard against potential threats to the supply chain of equipment and services within the United States, including ensuring that public funds are not used to undermine or pose a threat to national security.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry adopted today build on the Commission’s ongoing efforts to protect our nation’s communications networks. In addition to proposing to prohibit authorization of equipment that poses an unacceptable risk to national security, the NPRM seeks comment on possible changes to the competitive bidding rules for auctions to protect national security…

Public Safety Advocate: Is Your Agency Using FirstNet? If Not, Why Not?

Public Safety Advocate: Is Your Agency Using FirstNet? If Not, Why Not?

Since the build-out of the FirstNet network began, many federal, state, and local public-safety agencies have become part of the growing number of entities using this Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).

According to the latest FirstNet (Built with AT&T) report, 16,000+ agencies are using the network and more are joining every month. During the last eighteen months, there were concerns that broadband networks might experience some difficulties keeping up with demand due to Covid-19 and so many people working and studying from home. More and more agencies signed up with FirstNet for interoperability between agencies and to benefit from the increased capabilities provided by AT&T’s rapid build-out of public safety’s 20 MHz of 700-MHz spectrum and access to all of AT&T’s LTE spectrum…

Albany County Launches ACCORD Pilot Program To Modernize Dispatch Response For Mental Health Crises (NY)

The newly created Albany County Crisis Officials Responding and Diverting (ACCORD) program designed to improve outcomes for nonviolent emergency calls into County dispatch is rolling out Friday as a pilot program in the Hilltowns. The initiative is a multi-agency partnership that will team up County social workers and paramedics to provide an appropriate response unit for those in need of assistance where a law enforcement presence is unnecessary.

“This multi-faceted program is a common sense upgrade of the way that nonviolent calls for emergency assistance are handled in Albany County,” said Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce. “When we conceptualized this program last fall we wanted to ensure that people got the proper help they needed and that our police force was freed up to focus on upholding the law. Now more than ever, our deputies should be preventing and responding to crime…

Securing The Next Generation Of 911

While conducting research for my 2021 Wisconsin Public Safety Commission (WIPSCOM) conference presentation, it became immediately clear that securing the nation’s public safety answering points (PSAPs) is no longer just an IT challenge.
Shifting from an analog to digital operating environment — the next generation of 911 — will require strategic investments into three key areas: people, processes and technology. As call center technology evolves nationwide, the need for greater cybersecurity in the public safety space has never been more important.
Internet connected systems…

600 MHz incentive auction Broadband funding, everywhere: A rundown of major federal efforts

One of the biggest barriers to closing the digital divide has long been cost – it simply costs so much to put in the infrastructure that the return on investment takes too long or is simply non-existent, network operators have said. Now, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic when broadband has played a crucial role in enabling online work, school and personal connection, there are billions of dollars being dedicated to various aspects of broadband deployment, through various legislative efforts. At the federal level, these include:

-The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund reverse auction for Universal Service Fund support in the coming decade wrapped up last December; the FCC is still reviewing the long-form applications of the presumptive winners. RDOF awards $9.23 billion in support of high-speed rural broadband deployment, with service tiers ranging from a minimum of 25/3 Mbps and up to gigabit speeds. The FCC said that the funds will be used in 49 states and one territory to connect nearly 5.3 million locations in 61,766 eligible census block groups… 

Public Safety Advocate: Is Your Agency Using FirstNet? If Not, Why Not?

Public Safety Advocate: PSSA Thanks FCC Commissioners for Approving Stay of 4.9-GHz, More Work to Be Done

Last week, the Public Safety Spectrum Alliance (PSSA) issued a press release thanking the FCC Commissioners for their positive vote on the PSSA’s December 30, 2022 stay request. The Commission is currently made up of four Commissioners: Two Democrat Commissioners, Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, and two Republican Commissioners, Commissioners Brendan Carr and Nathan Simington. Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Commissioners Starks and Simington voted for the stay while Commissioner Carr maintained his original no vote but did indicate he was receptive to working with public safety on how to best use this spectrum.

Last year’s five-member FCC Commission voted three to two in favor of reallocating the 4.9-GHz spectrum, taking it from the public-safety community and awarding it to each state. That ruling would have permitted each state to execute a master lease with an organization that would then determine how the spectrum would be used in that state. There was some wording in the order that might have protected existing public-safety 4.9-GHz users, but it was unclear whether this would actually shelter them…