Meeting Minutes

New England Region 19 700 MHz

Technical Advisory Committee Meeting


Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Kennebunkport Fire Dept.

32 North Main St.

Kennebunkport, ME 04046



Mr. Jerry Zarwanski of CT chaired the meeting.  The meeting was opened at 10:05 AM.  An agenda and minutes to the previous meeting were emailed to all committee members prior to the meeting and copies were also available for those attending the meeting.


Chairman Zarwanski noted that a Quorum of committee members was present for this meeting.  Attendees participating by Conference Bridge:


Joe Yurman - NY Region 8

Alan Demco – NY Region 8

David Sturn – NY Region 8

George Carbonell – CT

Steve Brown – CT

Tom Guthlein – RI

Bob Isby – NY Region 30

Tom Andross – NH

Steve Verbil – CT (Vice Chair)

Ed Luczkowski – CT

Blair Sutherland - MA

Billy Carter - IL


Agenda Item 1:  Approval of Minutes


A copy of the December 9, 2014 minutes from the last meeting was available to attendees.  Motion was raised to approve the minutes as presented.  Approved by Mr. Steve Verbil and seconded by Mr. George Carbonell. Minutes approved by unanimous voice vote.


Agenda Item 2: State System Updates


Connecticut:  Mr. Steve Verbil provided an update of the State of Connecticut DESPP data network and the statewide Next Gen 911 call handling system.


The statewide Public Safety Data Network Data system is fully installed and functioning normally. The State is awaiting access applications from local entities that may want to utilize the fiber connectivity for data. A committee with a governance structure receive, review and approve online applications for use of the fiber interconnect system. A DESPP technical committee finalizes the engineering configurations and works with the entities to set up a cost agreement. Usually the cost is related to equipment needed to work the new circuits into the system. There are approximately 60 applications with 40 pending at this time.


The stateŐs NG911 system installation has been started. Previous snags to the project have been corrected and the expected completion time frame is end of 2015 or early 2016. New Britain will be receiving NG911 calls around March 25, 2015.


CT State Police statewide radio network – no update.


Rhode Island:  Tom Guthlein reported that the State is working with the HPD system by working with RIPTA bus service communications to track new equipment being installed.  Equipment procurement being discussed is the use of 4.9 GHz frequencies for video service on the buses.  


Massachusetts: Mr. John Ruggiero reported that there has been significant funds expended to update legacy base stations from older MSF5000 models to new GTR8000.  Dedicated funds totaling $68 million is available. The State plans to replace the aging analog 800 SmartZone system with a new statewide 700/800 MHz trunking system to include replacement of existing mobile and portable radios. As the system is built out,  700 MHz frequencies will be added into the system to supplement capacity of the current 800 MHz radios.


New Hampshire:  Mr. Kowalik reported that the New Hampshire Safenet shared IP microwave network is mostly completed with major stakeholders using the network on a daily basis. The New Hampshire SWIC is following up with FIRSTNET activities including a plan to attend the FIRSTNET consultation meeting in MA in a couple of days. A new project to replace the aging 20 year old VHF Astro system with new GTR8000 radios and linear simulcast is planned for 2015.


Maine: Bob Isby is doing some work with the statewide project in ME which is nearing completion with some cutovers still to be completed. There is no use of 700 MHz frequencies as the state 700 MHz license has been canceled. Steve Mallory, Maine SWIC, reports that the statewide network cutover is in final process and final acceptance tests are being held at this time. The next project related to the statewide analog system is to add interoperability with federal entities.


John Richards was noted as the current MSCOMMNET contact for State of Maine.


Vermont:  No report from the State of Vermont.


Region 1 FEMA Interoperability update: Rich Andreano, FEMA regional interoperability coordinator provided a brief update of current SCIP plans. NH is completed, MA draft is in the works, CT is requesting additional time, ME, RI and VT are scheduling meetings to begin updates of their state SCIP plan. Chairman Zarwanski noted that he provided a copy of the New York Interoperability plan which shows their planned use of 700 MHz interoperability frequencies. He noted that each New England (Region 19) State needs to put the 700 MHz interoperability information in their plans as they are updated. Mr. Kowalik noted that NH has entered the 700 MHz interoperability frequencies and have added the interoperability zone of newly purchased dual band VHF/700MHz radios. Mr. Ruggiero reported use of the 64 700 MHz frequencies within all 700 MHz capable radios but there is no fixed infrastructure equipment at this time in MA.



Agenda Item 3: FCC Update


A. 14-172 R&0 - 700 MHz

Chairman Zarwanski continued the discussion of the action items Region 19 must take to address the most recent release (December 2, 2014)  of R&O 14-172 proposed rulemaking regarding 700 MHz narrowband operations.  There were 12 items discussed by Chairman Zarwanski with attendees. Copies of FCC 14-172 were available to attendees.  It was hoped that the needed changes to the Region 19 plan update will be inserted in the draft currently under way by the Technical Subcommittee. Once completed, the updated plan must receive adjacent region concurrence and sent to the FCC by June 2015, unless the FCC approves an extension of time.


Two main items which require immediate attention by each state are an update to the 700 MHz region 19 membership list and proposed changes created by the reallocation of T-Band frequencies. There are hundreds of licensed Region 19 users within the 50-Mile designated areas of T-Band who must relocate to 700 MHz reserve channels. The T-Band migration to 700MHz will be the item that most impacts the Region 19 planning and frequency allocations in the Boston, MA areas in addition current T-Band users have priority access to the reserve channels.


NRPC Chairman, Billy Carter joined the meeting. He has begun discussions with all Regional Planning committees regarding the R&O 14-172 during NRPC conference calls. More discussion will be held in the next few months. Mr. Carter spoke briefly of the NRPC recommendations regarding migration of T-Band users to 700 MHz reserve channels. He indicated the deployable channels option will not be made available to T-Band users, rather the T-Band licensees must exchange a T-Band frequency(s) one for one with a 700 MHz reserve channel(s), including matching the existing parameters of the T-Band License. The Region will only have authority to recommend allocation of the 700 MHz reserve channels. The applicant, States, Counties, and Municipalities must follow the normal regional application process to obtain a new call sign from the FCC.  


Chairman Zarwanski advised all state 700 MHz regional advisory committee members to hold in-depth meetings to discuss each proposed change outlined in 14-172.



B. State Licenses.

Vermont and Maine have notified the FCC that they wish to cancel their 700 MHz State License.  Once the general use frequencies are used up in ME and VT, the RPC committee may then consider assigning former ME and VT state pooled frequencies to applicants in ME and VT. No applications have been received for 700 MHz frequencies from ME and VT to date. 


Chairman Zarwanski briefly reviewed a case where CT SP submitted a FCC compliance letter in June for 700 MHz state license use which was questioned by FCC regarding the population figures in their submission. The chairman described a feature soon available from APCOŐs current version of ATDI Spectrumwatch which allows applicants to pull population data from the National Census Bureau. This information is found to be acceptable to the FCC when reviewing population coverage by a county or statewide 700 MHz system.



Chairman Zarwanski provided an update to the HR 3630 D-Block (FIRSTNET) 700 MHz broadband Network. FIRSTNET is continuing to perform preliminary consultations and outreach meetings with states. MA has already held its consultation, NH is scheduled for June 9. FIRSTNET is recruiting technical staff under a new First Responder Network Authority. The State of Vermont has filled a FIRSTNET consultant position (Tess Gauthier) who will be attending the MA consultation meeting.


Agenda Item 4: Application Engineering


A. Comstudy, Compass, FreqEasy vs Spectrum E.  Mr. Zarwanski updated the attendees regarding the status of the different engineering software platforms in use in Region 19, 8, and 30. The issue is whether each platform can use a standard transmitter site data spreadsheet which will return similar results for site propagation results. George Carbonell (ASSHTO) advised the Chairman he will provide the spreadsheet format needed to submit information in the Region 19 spreadsheet format.  There has been no further information on whether the FCC, through the NRPC, may fund each region to receive funds to purchase and use the same engineering platform for frequency coordination and channel allocations. In the meantime, each Region will attempt to turn around concurrence applications within the 30 day window using their respective software programs.


B. Technical Subcommittee. Chairman Zarwanski reported that the Technical Subcommittee has been meeting regularly each month or more often as needed. Region 19 is reviewing adjacent state concurrences in a timely manner at this time. Region 8 and 30 technical members are invited to attend the technical subcommittee conference calls.


C. CAPRAD.   Chairman Zarwanski advised that the Technical Subcommittee is still moving forward with updating the data in the CAPAD database. Chairman Zarwanski advised that Region 8 and 30 have requested they receive Region 19 applications for adjacent region review in CAPRAD. A proposed addition to the updated Region 19 plan will be a request for applicants to apply for frequencies on CAPRAD and provide 3 hard copies and one CD copy for review.





Agenda Item 5: Region 19 Plan/Applications



Chairman Zarwanski noted that the update to the Region 19 plan includes updating the membership lists for each state. There are 11 positions for each state to fill for a total of 66 possible voting members in the Region19 Committee.


Discussion with Region 8 and 30 attendees was held regarding matching up the technical parameters used by each region for coverage areas used to allocate frequencies. The technical teams conversed on co-channel and adjacent channel engineering data differences. Once each region completes its draft document, each region will need to concur with each adjacent regionŐs plan so further details may need to be discussed.



Agenda Item 6: Region 8 and 30 700 MHz Concurrence Applications



The Technical Subcommittee has received and completed a Region 8 adjacent state 700 MHz concurrence application from Middlesex County, NJ. The application was approved and a concurrence letter was forwarded to Region 8.  


Bergen County, NJ has submitted an application which was reviewed by the Region 19 technical subcommittee. Members in attendance at the technical subcommittee meeting  requested an extension of time to further review the application until todayŐs meeting.  A motion to approve the application was put forth by John Ruggiero and the remainder of the technical subcommittee members in attendance voted to approve the application.


The City of Newark, NJ, Essex County, application was discussed by technical subcommittee members and approved by unanimous voice vote. 


Agenda Item 7: National Regional Planning Committee (NRPC)


The NRPC Chairman Billy Carter provided comment earlier on the teleconference bridge and no further discussion regarding the NRPC activities were discussed.


Agenda Item 8. 4.9 GHz


Chairman Zarwanski discussed the importance of notifications to the Region 19 committee when 4.9 GHz systems are put in operation. Chairman Zarwanski noted once again that if the user has not notified the RPC of the use, and, if the FCC modifies the 4.9 GHz rules to reallocate the spectrum for FIRSTNET, those who are not on record may not receive reallocation assistance.



Agenda Item 9. New Business


2014 Meeting Dates and Locations: The FCC has put out a public notice for Region 19 meetings. A handout was available identifying the 2015 meetings. The next 700 MHz meeting will be held June 9, 2015 at the Rhode Island Emergency Operations Center,  Cranston, RI.


Seeing no further comments or new business, Chairman Zarwanski declared a recess at 12:15 AM until 12:25 at which time he will commence the Region 19 800 MHz RPC meeting.



Submitted - Jim Kowalik – Secretary