Meeting Minutes

NE Region 19 700 MHz Technical Advisory Committee


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Putney Volunteer Fire Department,

14 Main Street

Putney, VT  05346



Mr. Jerry Zarwanski chaired the meeting.  The meeting started at 10:00AM.  Chairman Zarwarnski noted that there were enough New England State members represented and declared a Quorum was present for this meeting. An agenda was emailed to all committee members and copies were available for those attending the meeting.  Several members called in on the telephone conference bridge.


Attendees participating by Conf Call:


Mike Varney - CT SWIC

George Carbonnell- CT / AASHTO Coordinator

Paul Zito – CT

Stan Fage – ME

Craig Hitchins - ME

Scott Wright - CT


First item on the agenda:  Approval of Minutes


A copy of the minutes from the March 12, 2013 meeting in Framingham, MA was available.  A motion was raised to approve the minutes by Steve Brown. The minutes were seconded by Mr. Steve Verbil and approved by unanimous vote.


Second item on the agenda: State Updates


Connecticut: Mr. Verbil updated the status of the Public Safety Data Network (PSDN) which has been completed for Phase I (PSAPs/state facilities) and is nearly complete for Phase II (fiber installations).  Provisioning of circuits continues and the project team projects they will meet the BTOP federal grant requirement for completion of the PSDN project by September 1, 2013.


Massachusetts: Mr. John Ruggeiro provided an update for the Metro Boston 700 8 site simulcast system which will serve the Boston Metro area within the Route 128 corridor. Construction is underway with completion expected by July 2013.



New Hampshire:  Mr. Jim Kowalik reported the state of New Hampshire’s BTOP SafeNet IP Microwave and Fiber Optic program is 95 % completed with final site surveys and acceptance testing underway. Additional paths were incorporated into the project which will be completed as time permits during the final installation push. Completion of the BTOP network is planned for June 30, 2013 and is still on schedule.


Mr. Kowalik gave a brief update on FIRSTNET activity in NH. A NH Department of Safety committee was formed and continues to advise the Commissioner's office regarding Grant funding availability and network planning activities. Workshop sessions are scheduled for the June or July 2013 time period. 


Rhode Island:  Mr. Brian Glancy reported the State is continuing to install the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) High Performance Data (HPD) 700/800 MHz system. A number of radio frequency issues are being addressed so the project can continue to move forward.


Maine: Mr. Craig Hitchins representing the State of Maine OIT via teleconference bridge advised the committee that the MSCOMMNET project continues towards completion. The 800 MHz portion of the project is moving forward. When completed, the system will consist of over 40 comm sites, approximately 360 VHF frequency pairs and support approximately 2500 subscribers. Full completion is expecting by late 2013.


Vermont:  Mr. Rob White, State of VT advised on the VCOMM system which is underway. However, interference issues with the VT Transportation radios continues and still needs to be resolved. The project is utilizing State of VT allocated 700 MHz frequencies and continues to move forward with site construction and equipment installation.   


Vermont has formed a FIRSTNET committee and is intending to participate in the FIRSTNET process as much as possible.


Third item on the agenda: FCC Update  - 700 MHz State Frequency Use and 700 MHz Broadband (FirstNet) Legislation


Chairman Zarwanski provided handouts for attendees and discussed the latest NPSTC outreach handout reiterating the FCC requirement for states holding 700MHz “State Licenses” must comply with FCC deadlines to provide “substantial service” to one-third of their population or territory by June 13, 2014 and two-third of their population or territory by June 13, 2019. If a state licensee fails to meet any condition of the grant, the state license is modified automatically to the frequencies and geographic areas where the state certifies that it is providing substantial service. The FCC indicated that the recovered “State License” spectrum will revert to 700MHz “General Use” spectrum.


The committee provided an update on the FCC First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) documentation (H.R. 3630 D Block) and initial Grant Funding available to each state.  Mr. Zarwanski advised attendees to verify their local SWICs or Agency heads should have applied for the initial planning funds by the deadline of March 19, 2013. Copies of the HR 3630 are being provided at this meeting or can be accessed on the FCC web site. The FirstNet board is expected to move the project quickly forward by mid July or August of 2013. Mr. Zarwanski provided a brief description regarding the auctioning off of the T-Band UHF frequencies to acquire additional funds which would be applied to the FIRSNET project. Copies of the FCC notice regarding the T-BAND reallocation can be accessed on the FCC web site. A brief discussion among the meeting attendees regarding the T-Band issue occurred.


Mr. Zarwanski advised the attendees of a FCC public notice (DA 13-1207) handout regarding a waiver request from Central Maryland Area Radio Communications to allow an extension of the Dec 31, 2016 700 MHz Narrowband deadline to January 1, 2024; citing equipment channel efficiency issues and potential non availability of radio units capable of operation on 6.25 kHz Bandwidth.  Interested parties can follow the waiver issue on the FCC main web page for Docket 13-87.



Fourth item on the agenda: Application Engineering


Mr. Zarwanski once again reviewed the RPC committee's recommendation for a common software engineering application for reviewing Region 19 700/800MHz applications. Additional discussion occurred with reference to previous recommendations to have all applicants provide an Excel spreadsheet identifying specific site parameters in a format that can be imported into ATDI Spectrum E software application currently used by APCO Local Frequency Advisers.


Further discussion occurred among attendees which reviewed current software platforms in use, FreqEz, ComPass, and Comstudy 2 by some. Mr. Carbonnell stated that AASHTO recommends the spreadsheet use an FCC Format. The goal of the committee is to have a common xls template that can be used to import application data into any and all RF software engineering packages in use.   


Fifth item on the agenda: Region 19 Plan/Application CT State Police

Region 19 Technical Subcommittee


Mr. Zarwanski informed the Committee that the CT State Police application is awaiting Region 19 approval. A motion by Joe Delguidice of RI to approve the application was made from the floor and seconded by John Ruggiero of MA. Discussion occurred in which it was determined that technical subcommittee member Mr. Kowalik needed additional time to review the application before voting to approve it. A friendly amendment to the original motion was offered by Mr. Delguidice to grant conditional approval of the application pending a final concurrence from Mr. Kowalik within 7 days from today’s meeting to Chairman Zarwarnski. The friendly amendment was accepted by Chairman Zarwarnski and approved by unanimous vote by the members in attendance. (Note: Mr. Kowalik provided chairman Zarwarnski concurrence via email on June 17, 2013)


Mr. Zarwanski noted that additional Region 8 modification requests are being posted on CAPRAD for review by the Region 19 technical committee. The members should go on CAPRAD and begin reviewing the new applications (mods) as soon as possible. Technical Subcommittee chair Mr. Scott Wright will advise technical sub committee members of the date and time for the next conference call to review existing applications.


Sixth item on the agenda: NRPC


The National RPC committee continues to discuss options for a national common software platform by creating a lead person familiar with multiple software applications to advise the NRPC as to which platform or platforms may be the right solution to the problem.  The lead on this item is Mr. Joe Yurman of NYC Transit. Further data from Mr. Yurman is expected during the next NRPC conference call in July.


A reminder was given to attendees that new members can gain access to the CAPRAD system. CAPRAD administrator George Carbonnell advised the attendees to contact himself or CAPRAD administrator Jim Kowalik to report their access needs to them. It was noted that members should gain access to both Region 8 and Region 19 CAPRAD.


Seventh item on the agenda: Region 8 and 30 700MHz Applications


The Region 8 Window 3, Westchester County application remains pending. A concurrence letter to adjacent regions has been sent for all other requests.  


Eighth item on the agenda: 4.9 GHz


Mr. Zarwanski advised the attendees of a proposal by FirstNet to utilize 4.9 GHZ frequencies for network backhaul. Comments may be sent to the NTIA or FCC.


Ninth item on the agenda: New Business


Mr. Scott Wright commented the technical subcommittee members would like to improve the conference call bridge quality to enhance the sub-committee’s work.


Chairman Zarwarnski advised the committee is always looking for more members. Anyone who wishes to fill an existing open state, county, local, or organizational position should file a request to the Chairman by letter department letterhead stationery.


With no further comments or new business, Mr. Steve Verbil motioned for adjournment.  Mr. Steven Brown seconded the motion.  The motion to adjourn was accepted by unanimous vote at 11:24 A.M.


The next Region 19 RPC meeting will be held at the Kennebunk Volunteer Fire Dept., 32 North Main St., Kennebunk, ME on September 10, 2013.


Submitted / Jim Kowalik / Secretary