Posts Tagged ‘fcc’

Smartphone Security Checker

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Max, is that you?

If you have a smartphone, it’s time you take your security more seriously. Use the FCC’s new tool.

Suzanne Choney sums it up nicely via NBC News

Among the steps you can take by using the checker:

  • Set PINs and passwords.
  • Download security apps to enable remote locating and data wiping.
  • Back up the data on your phone if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Wipe the data on your old phone before donating, reselling or recycling it.
  • Learn to safely use public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Find out what you need to do if your phone is stolen.

The FCC worked together with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission, CTIA wireless trade organization, National Cyber Security Alliance and mobile security companies Lookout, Sophos and others to develop the checklist.

Not in Comcast’s Backyard

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been around for a while, obviously, but that hasn’t prevented the City of Philadelphia from passing a bill last fall to limit installation of satellite dishes. As Philly is Comcast’s corporate home, I’m not surprised.

It should come as no surprise that the SBCA is preventing the law’s enforcement, according to a report by the Philadelphia Daily News:

Enforcement of a bill passed by City Council last fall to regulate placement of TV satellite dishes has been stalled due to a petition filed with the Federal Communications Commission by the satellite-dish industry.

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association is fighting the bill, approved in October and sponsored by current Council President Darrell Clarke, prohibiting satellite-dish companies and installers from placing dishes at the front of homes unless putting them elsewhere would cause signal reduction or significant extra cost.

A petition filed in November by the association, and pending before the FCC, alleges that the bill violates a 1996 over-the-air reception-device rule that blocks restrictions of satellite-dish installations without a public-safety concern or historic-preservation justification.

“We feel that it isn’t just a matter of taste, but a matter of fairness,” said Lisa McCabe, the association’s director of public policy and outreach. “It’s a burden. It would increase the costs of doing business in the city and would ultimately fall on the users.”

The city’s two major dish companies, DirecTV and Dish Network, argue that the city uses “aesthetic concerns as a pretext to restrict consumers’ access to satellite television.”

But the city disagrees.

“There’s no consideration,” said William Carter, Clarke’s director of legislative affairs. “We simply ask that they don’t do in our community what they wouldn’t do in theirs.

“We were noticing a disparity in areas of the city inundated with satellite dishes. You don’t see this in Chestnut Hill, Society Hill,” Carter said, adding that more dishes are seen in areas with more renters.

Philly has more than 100,000 dish users and was the first city to pass such a measure.

Under the bill, dishes installed in the future must match the colors of homes, and hundreds of inactive dishes will be removed.

I doubt Philly will get its way. People simply refuse to pay higher rates for TV entertainment, and urban neighborhoods with a high concentration of new immigrants will always opt for satellite TV service and their international programming options. I’ve seen more satellite antennas in cities than ever before. You can’t argue with popular preference.

How about above-ground cables and wires strung from utility poles? Now that’s ugly!


FightSquared!

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

All was well with the GPS world. LightSquared had some trouble surface last June, then the farmers were sold a load of manure. Fine. We can work this out, right?

Not really.

A draft report was leaked and promptly published by Bloomberg, concluding LightSquared will harmfully interfere with 75% of GPS devices.

Philip Falcone’s proposed LightSquared Inc. wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of global-positioning system receivers examined in a U.S. government test, according to a draft summary of results.

The results from testing conducted Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 show that “millions of fielded GPS units are not compatible” with the planned nationwide wholesale service, according to the draft seen by Bloomberg News.

“LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to majority of GPS receivers tested,” according to the draft prepared for a meeting next week of U.S. officials reviewing the LightSquared proposal. “No additional testing is required to confirm harmful interference exists.”

GPS users are the 99% here and I’m afraid the bankers have got something to worry about.

The National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Systems Engineering Forum presents its results on 14 December 2011.


The PNT Took My L-band Baby Away

Friday, June 10th, 2011


Seems LightSquared has a problem on its hands, after a report (PDF) from the National PNT Systems Engineering Forum

Key Findings:

  • All GPS receiver applications impacted by proposed LightSquared Network
  • Simulation of fully deployed LightSquared network of ~40,000 base stations would:
    1. Degrade or result in loss of GPS function (ranging, position) at standoff distances ranging from few kilometers and extending to space operations
    2. Out of band emissions due to close proximity to GPS Band
    3. Appear to be satisfactory
  • No universal mitigation approach identified

Seriously, it’s not a good situation, according to Fierce Wireless

Jim Kirkland, vice president and general counsel at Trimble Navigation which has opposed LightSquared’s operations as currently designed, said the tests showed that LightSquared’s network clearly cause interference with GPS.

“There is not a solution here,” he said. “In our view, it’s time to stop squandering resources on this and look for alternative spectrum for this operation. What LightSquared is trying to do is a great thing. It’s very important that we have more competition in broadband and more spectrum in broadband wireless. However, there is one place in the satellite band where this does not work,” and that is the spectrum next to GPS, he said.

It gets worse. According to the WSJ blog post by Amy Schatz, the DoD, aviation and a swarm from Congress are signaling a rough go ahead…

A bipartisan group of 66 House members asked the FCC Tuesday to protect global positioning systems from interference from wireless broadband start-up LightSquared, which is trying to launch a new network.

LightSquared’s airwaves have been knocking out some GPS systems during recent tests in New Mexico, according to unofficial reports from GPS users.

The company has acknowledged the problem but says technological fixes are available. LightSquared and GPS makers are scheduled to file a joint report to the FCC on June 15 about any interference issues.

The aviation industry, Defense Department and other government agencies are worried that the new mobile broadband network’s planned 40,000 cell towers could interfere with highly precise GPS systems used in military, aviation and homeland security equipment. Federal officials and GPS industry advocates have been lobbying Congress heavily to pressure the FCC to resolve any interference issues before letting LightSquared turn on its service.

“We request that the Commission only approve LightSquared’s waiver (to offer service) if it can be indisputably proven that there will be no GPS interference,” the lawmakers wrote Tuesday. A bipartisan group of 34 Senators wrote a similar letter to the FCC last month.

By our count, the House letter was signed by 17 Democrats and 49 Republicans, including four committee chairman: House Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, Science Space and Technology Chairman Ralph Hall of Texas, Small Business Chairman Sam Graves of Missouri and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Like a challenge, rocket scientists? They’re hiring!