Meeting Minutes

New England Region 19 700 MHz

Technical Advisory Committee Meeting


Tuesday, December 8, 2015


  New Hampshire Department of Safety Headquarters

                                                       33 Hazen Drive

                                                   Concord, NH  03305


Mr. Jerry Zarwanski of CT chaired the meeting.  The meeting was opened at 10:00 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.  Members are allowed to call in to the meeting via a telephone conference bridge. Attendees participating by Conference Bridge:


Steve Brown – Connecticut DOT

Jim Fraser -


Agenda Item 1:  Approval of Minutes


A copy of the minutes from the last meeting was available to attendees.  Motion made by Mr. Blair Sutherland to approve the minutes as written. Motion seconded by Mr. Steve Verbil.  A voice vote to accept the minutes was approved by unanimous vote.


Agenda Item 2: State System Updates


Connecticut: Mr. Verbil provided an update of the State of Connecticut DESPP Public Safety Data Network (PSDN) and Next Gen 911 system progress. Mr. Verbil reported an add-on to the PSDN known as the BTOP network created 400 additional sites to the system. A federal audit of BTOP is currently taking place to verify the State is providing the service level they claimed the system would provide. The NG911 system now has expanded to 24 PSAPs and expected completion of the full Next-Gen 911 system is 2016. NG911 will include a secondary network backup system to prevent a reoccurrence of a router failure that occurred despite the redundancy included in the primary system. The State considered multiple backup systems including a satellite backup interconnect which proved to have too much delay for proper system functionality. Mr. Verbil relayed his experience with a number of NG911 system failures that caused operator issues and a recent software upgrade that seemed to correct a host of problems. He provided another unique outage incident related to router network monitoring settings and also described additional details of the State’s new NG911system.






Massachusetts:  Mr. Blair Sutherland provided an update on the State of Massachusetts radio projects and an RFR is ready to go on the street. The purpose of the RFR is to review proposed designs and confirm the state is headed in the right direction. Study will be done in April. State is continuing with further system procurements and a 700 MHz application has been submitted.


The State’s NextGen911 project is moving forward slower than expected.  Progress is being made. The 911 Agency will continue to provide subject matter expertise to help solve some network issues and a user community will provide further input regarding the 911 system functionality. Multiple vendors provide product support for the NG911 system installations which will provide such things as text to 911.


New Hampshire:  Mr. Jim Kowalik provided a short update on the Department of Public Safety IP-Based microwave “NHSafeNet” system and potential FIRSTNET 700 MHz broadband network.  An audit of the NHSafeNet is in progress and Mr. Kowalik does not predict any issues associated with the state of the system.  Mr. Kowalik advised that NH DRED will be filing for 700 MHz frequencies in the near future. Justin Bellen of DRED briefly spoke of their plan to request 700 MHz general use or other available deployable channels for statewide use. NH SWIC John Stevens gave brief description of recent interoperability governance advances and first responder training in NH.  Mr. Stevens mentioned the recent hiring of attendee Mr. Mike Varney by FIRSTNET as the Region 1 Coordinator and commented on continuing FIRSTNET activities in NH. Dave Chase from NH DOT explained the agency will be putting out an RFP for additional traffic management systems in the Nashua to Hooksett highway corridor which may or may not involve 4.9 GHz microwave interconnect. 


Rhode Island:  No Report from the State of Rhode at this time.


Maine: No Report from the State of Maine at this time. 


Vermont:  Mr. Terry Lavalley reported on progress in Vermont with the NG911 system implementation. It was very successful with few hiccups and a five year warranty from vendor Solarcom. A new interoperability system known as V-Comm using national set aside VHF and UHF channels has been implemented for first responders. An array of radio base stations has been installed and interconnected via a private MPLS microwave/fiber network back to the PSAPs.  Vermont is actively pursuing additional frequencies along the Vermont-Canada border and expects to be performing on air tests in the near future. Mr. Lavalley updated attendees on Vermont’s FIRSTNET activities. Vermont is actively performing outreach to first responders with approximately a 75% response rate. They will be providing the response data to the FIRSTNET consortium for inclusion in the release of the FIRSTNET RFP. The State is creating an executive order to establish a Commission to create a SPOC for Vermont.



Mr. Kowalik posed a question to Mr. Mike Varney related to the evolution of groups forming as consortiums to deal with FIRSTNET in certain regions around the country. Mr. Varney described certain activities that are taking place in some states or regions. He mentioned the State of Maine is considering shared planning as part of their current FIRSTNET activities. Mr. Varney will provide a FIRSTNET presentation later in the meeting.


Mr. Lavalley commented that the FIRSTNET planning process is configured as more of a single state by state decision making process than that of a consortium. He cautioned that each state needs to remain aware of the individual state requirements in the law. Other attendees voiced the fact that this subject has come up at various meetings.


Agenda Item 3: FCC Update


A.   FCC 14-172 Regional Plan Review/Approval. Chairman Zarwanski provided attendees with an update regarding the updated plan and FCC submission deadline date for the new 700 MHz Region 19 Plan. One issue discussed was the “interregional dispute resolution” process between regions. Chairman Zarwanski explained how Region 19 members worked with adjacent state regional planning members to resolve that issue and others at the Fall 2015 APCO Atlantic Chapter meeting in Burlington, Vermont. Chairman Zarwanski thanked all participants and especially John Ruggiero from MA who assisted with the final document preparations which allowed Region 19 to submit the completed revised plan to the FCC on the October 30 deadline date.


Chairman Zarwanski presented a lengthy PowerPoint review of the major changes contained in the new Region 19 700 MHz plan. The most significant changes occurred in the 700 MHz application process. Mr. Zarwanski explained the new responsible radiation filing requirement, field strength coverage engineering parameters, use of dBm rather than dBu with associated colors and interference analysis to attendees in depth. A further discussion occurred related to the identification of co channel and adjacent channel users within the application documentation. One goal of the 700MHz Plan Amendment is to use common parameters with that of Region 8 and 30 regional plans. The 700MHz Amended Plan as submitted to the FCC will not take effect until a Notice from the FCC is received by Chairman Zarwanski approving the Amendments .



B.    FIRSTNET. Region 1 FIRSTNET Coordinator Mike Varney provided a PowerPoint presentation to update attendees of the latest FIRSTNET activities. The presentation focused on the current status of state consultations and the pending posting of an RFP.

Mr. Varney noted that the PSAC committee has two Region 19 members on the PSAC Board so there is good New England representation in the FIRSTNET Board discussions. Following the presentation, Mr. Varney thanked the committee and offered the PowerPoint presentation slides to Chairman Zarwanski for distribution to attendees upon request.


  1. T-BAND Frequency Allocations. Chairman Zarwanski began discussions related to the need for T-Band users to start planning immediately for moving off those frequencies. The general idea of the FCC guidelines is for T- Band users to receive 700 MHz channels to replace the channels they give back. Much discussion related to this subject occurred and it was noted that there is a mechanism for users to file comments to FCC or through APCO.


Agenda Item 4: Application Engineering


A. Spreadsheet Format .  Mr. Zarwarnski once again updated the attendees regarding the status of the engineering software platform and conversations between the Regions 19, 8, and 30 technical committees. Region 19 has requested applicants to provide frequency data information using a csv - delineated Excel spreadsheet file and there appears to be consensus on this request from most users. The Chairman is still looking for csv sample files from Comstudy and FreqEasy software products to allow common reception of data from applicants.


B. Technical Subcommittee. The Region 19 RPC Technical Subcommittee meets every month via online conference call. Chairman Zarwanski thanked the technical subcommittee Chairman Scott Wright and committee members for their efforts to keep up with Region 19, 8, and 30 adjacent state application concurrences.


C. CAPRAD.  Discussion was held regarding the potential for increased use of the CAPRAD system for 700 MHz and 800 MHz adjacent regional coordination. Region 8 wishes to see all inter-region communications, such as concurrence letters posted on the CAPRAD system. Chairman Zarwanski tasked Region 19 CAPRAD Administrators Jim Kowalik and George Carbonnell to be responsible for such postings. John Ruggiero of  MSP indicated their new 700 MHz application will be posted on the CAPRAD system and will work directly with the technical subcommittee members to review the application as quickly as possible.


Agenda Item 5: Region 19 Applications


Mr. Zarwanski noted that there is one Region 19 700 MHz application filings from Mass State Police received on October 30. 2016. It was noted the application from Mr. Ruggiero is now considered complete and ready for review by the technical subcommittee during the next monthly meeting. Mr. Ruggiero gave a brief description of the content in the application.


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


Mr. Zarwanski noted that there are multiple Region 8 and 30 concurrences ready for approval by the committee. A brief discussion of the applications was presented by Chairman Zarwanski. Mr. Blair Sutherland made a motion to approve the four Region 8 applications;

Orange County, Morris County, Ulster County, and Rockland County. Motion seconded by Steve Verbil and the motion received unanimous voice vote for approval by all Region 19 voting members in attendance. Chairman Zarwanski will send approval an approval letters to Region 8 for the four applicants.


Agenda Item 7: National Regional Planning Committee (NRPC)


The NRPC conference call previously scheduled for every third Thursday of each month has been moved to every third Wednesday of each month. Chairman Zarwanski noted that there are usually two or more Region 19 members who are attending the conference calls. The NRPC is looking for more technical members to volunteer and hold high level NRPC committee officer positions.


Agenda Item 8: 4.9 GHz


Chairman Zarwarnski responded to a written request for Dave Chase of NH DOT to identify all 4.9 GHz users in the State of NH. NH DOT will be expanding their 4.9 GHz usage in NH. The list has been supplied to Mr. Chase.


Agenda Item 9: New Business


Membership: There are still some open positions available. The position of AASHTO frequency coordinator and MA DOT highway for Massachusetts. Chairman Zarwanski noted a recent open position for State of RI EMS and asked attendees to pass the word about the open positions.


2015 Meeting Dates and Locations:

The next meeting will be held at the Massachusetts State Police Headquarters on March 8, 2016 at the Massachusetts State Police HQ in Framingham, MA.


Seeing no further comments or new business, Chairman Zarwanski asked for a motion to adjourn. Mr. Verbil motioned for adjournment and Mr. Kowalik seconded the motion. All members voted unanimously to adjourn at 11:47 AM


Submitted - Jim Kowalik - Secretary