FCC Says It Appears Network Reconfiguration Caused 911 Outages

Ever since the AT&T-Mobility 911 outage that affected customers in several states the night of March 8, the FCC has been trying to figure out what happened. Preliminary information indicates the outage lasted five hours in the primary affected areas (the southeast, central, and parts of the northeast) but its effects spread throughout the regions, according to Public Safety & Homeland Security Acting Bureau Chief Lisa Fowlkes.

“It appears AT&T re-configured its network,” and then the routing for 911 calls failed, said Fowlkes, as she updated commissioners during Thursday’s FCC meeting. Continue reading

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‘Dig Once’ and Rights-of-Way Critical to Broadband Deployment

Concepts like “Dig Once,” are gaining traction on Capitol Hill as lawmakers grapple with ways to remove barriers for the deployment of broadband infrastructure. In a hearing this week covered by Inside Towers, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology discussed draft legislation first proposed by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Greg Walden (R-OR) in 2015 that would require installing a conduit during construction of a federally-funded highway or road in an area that needs more broadband. Continue reading

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Tower Industry Execs Tell Lawmakers to End the ‘Regulatory Nightmare’

From left: Steve Berry, Thomas Murray and LeRoy Carlson Jr. Photos by Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers

Access to broadband, both rural and urban, is a bi-partisan issue, lawmakers agreed Tuesday in a House Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on removing barriers to infrastructure deployment. Subcommittee Chair Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), said: “We are all tired of hearing stories about parents driving their children to the local McDonald’s for internet access in order to finish homework assignments. We owe them better, period. Continue reading

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Rivada Weighing Appeal After Court Loss in FirstNet Bid

Rivada Mercury is considering whether to appeal a judge’s decision denying the company’s claim that its bid to be a provider for the FirstNet contract was improperly excluded. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington heard oral arguments in this case, which are not public, earlier in the month and a decision was expected soon, Inside Towers reported.
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CCA Says There’s Ample Record to Justify Repeal of 2016 Privacy Order

The Competitive Carriers Association says there’s plenty reason to justify repealing the FCC’s 2016 Privacy Order which it calls “burdensome and anti-competitive.” CCA suggests the FCC align its rules with those of the Federal Trade Commission.

In reply comments just filed with the Commission, the association says: “Reconsidering the 2016 Privacy Order will ensure consumers can expect uniform privacy practices, and will prevent edge providers from securing an undue competitive advantage over broadband providers in the internet ecosystem. Further, reconsideration is particularly needed for CCA members since the 2016 Privacy Order is uniquely burdensome for small BIAS [Broadband Internet Service Providers] providers.” Continue reading

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Township Council Wants 24 Small Cells in a “Cantennae”

Wireless network coverage continues to expand in New Jersey. Residents of the Township of Bloomfield will soon be the recipient of better coverage once the Bloomfield Township Council officially approves a Verizon Wireless request to install 24 small cells across the municipality. NorthJersey.com states Mark Bocchieri, a director of external affairs for Verizon, calls the devices “cantennae” because of their resemblance to a can. At a March 13 meeting of the council, the mayor and members expressed approval of the plan, but an official vote will not be held until the public weighs in on the matter. Continue reading

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Speed It Up: WIA, CCA Tell FCC Local and State Governments Go Too Slow

WIA and CCA pressed the FCC to ease wireless infrastructure deployment in public rights-of-way. The associations filed additional comments in support of a Mobilitie petition concerning the issue.

WIA told the agency its members continue to face “obstacles that effectively thwart” such deployment. Continue reading

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TV Repack Shot-Clock Starts in April With Tower Crews in High Demand

The FCC’s shot-clock begins ticking for television broadcasters in mid-April. That’s for the 90 days to file construction permits and 39-months total time allotted for the channel repack. During construction, a station may file for a CP extension due to delays caused by weather, the unavailability of a tower crew or tower lease disputes, according to an FCC auction webinar presentation. Continue reading

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Emerging Wireless Technologies Threaten WiFi Existence

WiFi faces multiple threats, and could be rendered obsolete when 5G is deployed. A Bloomberg Technology report explained unlimited cellular data plans, and emerging cellular technologies are aggressively reducing the need for consumers to use WiFi. Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC, explained the situation facing wireless users. Continue reading

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FCC’s O’Rielly Proposes Eased Tower Marking Rules with FAA

An FAA provision regarding tower marking for structures 200 to 500 feet AGL in a recently enacted statute is too broad, and needs a carve out to exempt certain telecom towers, believes FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly. If implemented literally, Section 2110 of the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016 which requires improved physical markings and/or lighting on various small to medium sized towers “will force expensive retrofits to potentially 50,000 existing towers, such as wireless communications and certain broadcast towers, all new towers that meet the broad definition, and raise tower prices for the next generation of wireless services,” he says in a blog. Without relief, communications companies will be forced to spend thousands of dollars per tower – potentially hundreds of millions nationwide – to come into compliance or face significant FAA penalties, and potentially FCC enforcement action, since the FCC follows the FAA’s lead, according to the commissioner. Continue reading

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