Following an explosion in September in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City and discovery of other unexploded homemade bomb devices, the New York Police Department identified a suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was sought in connection with the bombings and attempted bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey. For the first time ever in this circumstance, the NYPD used a communications tool initially known as the “Commercial Mobile Alert System” (CMAS) and later renamed to be “Wireless Emergency Alerts” or WEA to function as an electronic wanted poster. This was in contrast to more familiar uses of this emergency communications capability, such as the localized transmission of severe weather advisories or Amber Alerts. Under FCC rules, these alerts are originated by authorized federal, state and local governments, and they currently are used to geographically target 90-character messages that fall into three distinct categories: Presidential, Imminent Threat, and Amber Alerts. Continue reading The New York Police Department’s Use of Wireless Emergency Alert System to Seek Help in Locating Bombing Suspect: A New Use for these Alerts
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) on January 13, 2016, issued its Request for Proposals (RFP) to deploy and operate a nationwide public safety broadband network, marking a major step forward in a decades-long effort to modernize communications for first responders and other public safety personnel. The release follows extensive dialogue with public safety and potential vendors in the technology and communications industry on the objectives and scope of the RFP for the FirstNet network, including a consultation and outreach program to engage with the states, territories, federal agencies, tribal governments, among others.
The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) International Bureau (“IB”) has removed Cuba from the International Section 214 Exclusion List, an index of countries that are not covered by the FCC’s otherwise global “International Section 214” authorizations to carry telecommunications traffic beyond U.S. borders. Entities seeking to operate lines between the U.S. and countries on the Exclusion List were required to obtain specific authorization from the FCC and the U.S. Department of State (“State Department”).
On January 29, 2016, the FCC released its 2016 Broadband Progress Report (“Report”) pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Section 706 requires the FCC to report annually on whether advanced telecommunications capability “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” and to take “immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market” if the FCC determines that that it is not being deployed in this way. The Report finds that “advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” This finding comes one year after the FCC revised its standard for broadband, from 10 Mbps/1Mbps to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps. Continue reading FCC Releases 2016 Broadband Progress Report
Starting out the New Year with its first “enforcement advisory,” the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau on February 5, 2016 issued a Public Notice reminding telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers that they have until March 1, 2016 to file annual Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) certifications with the FCC. Continue reading Reminder – CPNI Annual Certification Filings Due March 1