Top 5 stories: Week of Nov. 14-20
Here’s a look at the most popular stories on IWCE’s Urgent Communications from last week.
Here’s a look at the most popular stories on IWCE’s Urgent Communications from the last week.
- “City of Los Angeles ends LA-RICS membership, plans to build own LMR system” – Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously last week to opt out of its membership with the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS). Citing cost advantages as their main reasoning for the parting, city councilmembers also announced their plans to deploy a new city-owned land-mobile-radio (LMR) network in the next 13 months. There had been speculation for months that the city would take the route of disassociating from LA-RICS. “It is in the City’s best interest to opt out of LA-RICS, because the City will be able to upgrade its existing system and use existing infrastructure at a lower cost, while still achieving interoperability within the region,” according to a report provided to council members by the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) Sharon Tso and City Administrative Officer (CAO) Miguel Santana.
- “NTIA still undecided about fate of public-safety LTE projects funded with BTOP money” –Despite Congress calling for a five-year extension for awardees utilizing Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) monies, public-safety LTE projects funded with the federal dollars remain in limbo. Last week, spokeswoman for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) confirmed that no legal decisions had been made to determine whether BTOP-funded public-safety LTE projects—including LA-RICS, which has between $30-50 million of BTOP funding remaining—would be eligible for the extension. “In light of the legislative language, we have been engaging with active grantees to evaluate whether those projects might benefit from the additional time provided by Congress,” according to an NTIA statement. “Whether specific projects or grantees meet the legislative and programmatic requirements for additional time or funding will be determined on an individual-case basis.”
- “NetMotion announces diagnostic solution designed for use on FirstNet devices” – NetMotion Diagnostics 3.2, a NetMotion Wireless software package that supports two 700 MHz Band 14 devices today and potentially more in the future, will offer public-safety agencies a means to evaluate wireless broadband options from FirstNet and commercial carriers. Diagnostic tools that can provide objective information about coverage area, data throughputs and application characteristics will be vital for public-safety entities in providing input once FirstNet is built or to any entity using LTE radio access network (RAN), Steve Fallin, senior product manager for NetMotion, said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “If they need to report up to the governors, ‘These are what our needs are as you’re considering whether or not we’re going to [opt out],’ or in their own discussions with [FirstNet], this is vital data for them—and it’s going to be driving concerns like officer safety, as well as to be able to serve the public.”
- “FirstNet focused on year-end RFP release, officials say” –FirstNet still intends to release its highly-anticipated final request-for-proposal (RFP) document by the end of this year as preparation continues for the FirstNet board meeting that is scheduled to be conducted next month, according to a spokesman for the organization. Last month, FirstNet released its final legal interpretations on several key issues, including the ability for states and territories to “opt-out” of the nationwide broadband network. Questions still linger on priority access for certain entities to the FirstNet system. Members of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) have been studying proposals for the last year on priority and preemption, but FirstNet has not established an official policy on those topics.
- “APCO speaker outlines potential PSAP cybersecurity strategies in heightened threat environment” – Telephony denial of service (TDoS) is just one of the many cyber threats public-safety answering points (PSAPs) face daily, so communications center leaders are charged with ensuring systems, staff and standards are equipped to ease the impact of imminent cyber attacks, Jay English, director of Comm Center and 9111 Services for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, said last week during APCO’s Emerging Technology Forum in Atlanta. “Every time a cyber incident occurs, you’re going to go through that process, you’re going to learn from it, and you’re going to build a better mousetrap and you’re going to be more prepared for the next one,” he shared. “You guys know your operations better than anyone else. Take your intelligence. Take the experience you have to come up with a plan to fight the bad guys, like you do every day.”