A look back at the Top 10 stories of 2014
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A look back at the Top 10 stories of 2014
Another year is in the books, but before we move on to new plans and goals for 2015, let’s look back at the news that shaped this past year and, in some cases, laid the groundwork for next year’s big breakthrough moments.
10. “FCC Chairman Wheeler describes multistate 911 outage report as ‘terrifying,’ vows to take action quickly” – When a software glitch caused a six-hour 911 outage for 81 public-safety answering points in several states, the FCC looked into the cause in an effort to prevent future outages. “We have to do something about this, and we have to do something about this quickly,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during the October meeting. And the FCC did act quickly. In November, the FCC approved rules intended to ensure 911 reliability.
9. “FirstNet gets five new board members; Dowd, Fitzgerald not reappointed” – This year saw much change in the leadership of FirstNet, from the top paid position within the organization to the board that governs it. In September, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed five new members to the board, but that slate of appointments did not include Charles Dowd and Paul Fitzgerald, even though both said they wanted to stay. Sue Swenson became the chair in May; Jeff Johnson was tapped as the vice chairman in early December. The quest to find Bill D’Agostino’s permanent replacement is underway, with applications due on Jan. 15.
8. “Wireless trade organizations seek to transform 900 MHz LMR spectrum to LTE use” – The American Petroleum Institute, the Enterprise Wireless Alliance and the Utilities Telecom Council asked the FCC to stop issuing new 900 MHz licenses for six months so the group could hammer out a plan to use the spectrum for private broadband networks using LTE technology. The EWA and Pacific DataVision (PDV) later asked the FCC for permission to realign 900 MHz LMR spectrum so PDV and others could use a contiguous swath for wireless broadband services enterprise dispatch. In other spectrum news this year, Sprint warned speculators in October that it would not be able to buy 800 MHz frequencies the company recently returned to the FCC.
7. “Adams County launches first public-safety LTE system with FirstNet approval” – Adams County, Colo., launched its LTE network for its first responders in June, making it the first network deployed with FirstNet’s approval. By September, law enforcement was using the network to access databases to improve coverage at a Phish concert held in Commerce City. By November, the first vehicle equipped with Band 14 connectivity was on the system, with plans to equip many more during 2015.
6. “FCC eliminates 700 MHz narrowbanding mandate, reserves channels for T-Band, air-to-ground comms” – Remember that looming 700 MHz narrowbanding requirement that you thought was a bad idea? Turns out, the FCC agreed. The FCC nixed the mandate that would have required many organizations to replace their communications equipment. Also, there’s the whole question of FirstNet and what exactly the new dedicated LTE broadband network will mean for law enforcement communications systems. The FCC’s decision, announced in October, wasn’t a surprise, but it was certainly a relief for public-safety officials, who had been lobbying for the decision.
5. “Airbus DS Communications – formerly Cassidian Communications – put on the selling block” – Airbus DS communications is up for grabs now that its parent company, Airbus Group, has decided to focus exclusively on aircraft-related industries. Formerly Cassidian Communications, the vendor changed its name in the fall. In October, the president and CEO, Bob Freinberg, sat down with Editor Donny Jackson to discuss the company’s status as it awaits a suitor.
4. “Kenwood USA to unveil dual-mode radios that can operate on P25 and NXDN systems” – Kenwood generated a buzz when it announced at IWCE 2014 that it was launching dual-mode radios. In other big news this year, Kenwood USA’s parent company, JVCKenwood, acquired EF Johnson to lead its P25 initiative.