Meeting Minutes

New England Region 19 700MHz

Technical Advisory Committee Meeting


Tuesday, March 8, 2016


  Massachusetts State Police General Headquarters

                                                       470 Worcester Road

                                                   Framingham, MA 01701


Chairman Jerry Zarwanski of CT was excused for family reasons from this meeting in person but joined the meeting via the conference bridge.


 Vice Chairman Steve Verbil opened the meeting at 10:00 AM. The meeting 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. Vice Chairman Verbil 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:


Chairman Jerry Zarwarnski - CT

Steve Brown – CT DOT

Ed Luzco – Bristol, CT

Bob DiBella – CT

Steve Mallory – ME


Agenda Item 1:  Approval of Minutes


A copy of the minutes from the previous meeting of Dec 8, 2015 was available to attendees.  Motion made by Mr. George Carbonnell to approve the minutes as written. Motion seconded by Mr. Blair Sutherland. A voice vote to accept the minutes was approved by unanimous vote.


Agenda Item 2: State System Updates


Connecticut: Mr. Verbil provided the latest update of the State of Connecticut DESPP Public Safety Data Network (PSDN) and statewide Next Gen 911 (NG911) system progress. Mr. Verbil reported that approximately 480 new locations have been added to the statewide PSDN system.  The PSDN system in part is being used for next-gen 911 and inter-connect to other public safety local and regional community P-25 systems. CT currently has 24 PSAPs converted to NG911 with additional locations becoming cut over as the vendor continues to install 2 PSAP’s per week. Mr. Verbil commented on changes planned for CT’s Automatic Location Information (ALI) data systems as they transition to the new next generation 911 Location Information Service (LIS) . Completion of the NG911 system upgrades is expected in December 2016.

Scott Wright of CT Department of Public Safety gave a brief description of the State of CT statewide P-25 phase 2 compliant system project. There will be a 2 phase (west and east) implementation and a transition period as the State moves from their legacy Smartzone system to the P-25 network. The project is going well, with minimum issues related to frequencies with adjacent regions.


Massachusetts:  Mr. Blair Sutherland provided an update on the State of Massachusetts 700MHz radio projects. MA SP is working directly with FIRSTNET to provide grant guidance related to relocating band 14 low power frequencies back to the FIRSTNET frequency pool. The State of MA has applied for 700MHz high power frequencies within the Region 19 700MHz frequency pool.


Mr. Sutherland and Mr. John Ruggiero gave an update on the State of MA proposed P-25 statewide system which will include the replacement of T-Band UHF frequencies. MA SP  has hired a consultant (XFECT) to do a two part study, first part to study how to best move off current Smartzone system to a P-25 multi frequency system using existing sites and a second part to study possible further coverage expansion of the P-25 system. That expanded system is expected to be capable of accommodating multiple state agencies as funding permits.


The State’s Next Gen 911 project will be getting under way with an accelerated schedule expected from the project prime vendor General Dynamics.  Pilots are expected to begin in June 2016. MA also has concerns related to moving away from selective routing for the existing 911 system from Verizon as a transition begins to the NG911 statewide.


New Hampshire:  Mr. Jim Kowalik provided a summary of activity related to the NH Department of Safety IP-microwave “NHSafeNet” microwave system. There are no changes planned in the near future and the system has been up and running for over two years with minor outages.


Mr. Kowalik described an RFP process that is currently in progress with consultant firm Mission Critical Partners (MCP). The scope of the RFP is to address existing radio coverage issues and providing a detailed system upgrade RFP document to the State.  NH State Police Communications Maintenance section technicians escorted MCP system engineers to multiple remote radio sites as part of a site survey data collection activity. The state expects to issue a statewide bid for equipment by Fall 2016 with installation and acceptance by Fall 2017.


Mr. Kowalik discussed an application submitted on CAPRAD from the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development (NH DRED) for 700 MHz deployable and interoperability frequencies.  NH DRED received a required letter of concurrence to proceed from the NH SWIC office which Mr. Kowalik presented to the committee. This allows NH DRED’s application to move forward. Mr. Kowalik and Chairman Zarwanski noted the request contains newly allocated deployable frequencies which as yet are not available until the most recent Region 19 700 MHz plan update is approved by the FCC.

Mr. David Chase from NH DOT updated the committee on its recent issuance of an RFP for a consultant to engineer additional traffic management systems in the Nashua to Hooksett Everett Highway corridor. The system will be a hybrid system that will include multiple ITMS system devices using fiber or 4.9 GHz microwave interconnect along the turnpike. 


Rhode Island:  A brief report from Mr. Thomas Guthlein relating to their struggles with T-Band relocation issues. RI also continues to request 700MHz spectrum.


Maine: Steve Mallory reported briefly on 700MHz activity in the State of Maine. Maine State Police plans to use 700MHz vehicle repeaters. The City of Portland is working out the bugs to the new hybrid VHF/UHF/800MHz systems and plans to incorporate 700MHz frequencies which have yet to be applied for or deployed in the system sometime in the near future. 


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


Agenda Item 3: FCC Update


A.   FCC 14-172 Regional Plan Review/Approval. Chairman Zarwanski provided attendees with the latest information regarding the updated plan and FCC review of the modified 700MHz Region 19 Plan. Having submitted the plan in October 2015, the region is now waiting for the FCC comment period and FCC final review process to complete.  Mr. Zarwanski explained we may be experiencing a longer delay due to our plan amendment changes that included new coverage engineering parameters and interference analysis. A further discussion related to the engineering parameter changes and in particular a new term, “responsible radiation”, occurred among the attendees. The goal of the engineering parameter amendments are to begin to use similar engineering parameters as our adjacent state RPC’s use. The new plan as submitted to the FCC is not expected to make it through the review process until approximately late summer or fall of 2016 and will not be in effect until a final FCC approval letter is received by Chairman Zarwanski.


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 recent posting of an RFP. The RFP will create the basic nationwide infrastructure and offers vendors options to either build out or assist each state to build out their own.  Mr. Varney advised attendees that FIRSTNET will be performing further outreach to ensure all state governance boards understand their opt in, opt out options. There is also a plan to work with more states to create FIRSTNET pilot programs, more information on that to follow. Mr. Varney noted that the FIRSTNET RFP and questions submitted for it are easily found on the FIRSTNET website. FIRSTNET plans to have a contractor on board by December 2016 and State Plans for review by May 2017. Chairman Zarwanski noted that the State of New Hampshire has issued an RFP to build out a 700MHz system similar to the FIRSTNET plan. Mr. Kowalik of NH was only able to verify that such an RFP was issued and five responses were received for review at this time.


C.    T-BAND Frequency Allocations.  Scott Wright and Chairman Zarwanski spoke briefly about issues still unresolved related to the need for T-Band users to move off those frequencies by 2021. 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 are areas in NY, MA and other states where there are thousands of current T-Band radio users who are not prepared to vacate spectrum without assistance. Scott has offered his assistance as a liaison for NY and MA.  


Agenda Item 4: Application Engineering


A. Spreadsheet Format .  Mr. Zarwarnski once again updated the attendees regarding the status of the engineering software platform conversations between the Regions 19, 30, and 8 technical committees. Progress has been made to have all applications provide frequency data information using a csv - delineated Excel spreadsheet file. However, the committee is still looking for csv sample files from Comstudy and FreqEasy software products to allow common reception of data from applicants. Mr. Kowalik will check with Justin Bellen of NH DRED who works with FCCA applications to see if he can provide a csv file from FreqEasy program. 


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 current committee members for their efforts to keep up with Region 19, Region 8, and 30 adjacent state application concurrences. Mr. Wright also discussed the good work being done by both the Region 8 and Region 19 technical subcommittees and noted there is an issue with coverage studies causing undue concurrence requests when coverage areas cross water bodies or coast lines.


C. CAPRAD.  Chairman Zarwanski indicated that Region 19 has agreed to post inter-region communications, concurrence letters, and applications placed onto the CAPRAD system. Chairman Zarwanski tasked Region 19 CAPRAD Administrators Jim Kowalik and George Carbonnell to be responsible for such postings.  Chairman Zarwanski and Vice Chairman Verbil will forward correspondence to George and Jim as those documents are received. George Carbonnell continues to update the CAPRAD frequency database so that all regions can see which frequencies have been assigned and to which entity. Discussion from George regarding the CAPRAD’s limited 30 character space availability in the application note box.


Agenda Item 5: Region 19 Applications


  1. MASS State Police. Mr. Zarwanski noted that there is a Region 19 700 MHz application in the system from Mass State Police. John Ruggiero updated attendees on the progress of the MA SP application. There is still a need for a concurrence letter needed from Suffolk County, NY.  Regarding this application, discussion occurred regarding how to get an application moving that is being held up for concurrence. It was suggested that there is a procedure available which uses a Notice of Non-Interference letter to give parties time limits to respond to each other. If proper documentation is submitted and no response has been received after a certain time period, the concurrence may be considered approved. LMCC guidelines recommend first LOC response limit is 10 days, 2nd LOC response is another 10 days, then a letter of Notice of Non-Interference may be used.


  1. CT DESPP. Scott Wright and Jerry Zarwanski briefly discussed the State of Connecticut 700 MHz application. The technical subcommittee approved the application and it has been sent to Region 8 for concurrence.


  1. NH DRED. Mr. Kowalik discussed a new 700 MHz application from the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development. NH DRED Comm Tech II Justin Bellen has submitted the application on CAPRAD. The application requests interoperability and new deployable frequencies and required a letter of concurrence from the NH Office of Interoperability. The NH SWIC has reviewed the application and issued a letter of concurrence which has been received by Mr. Kowalik for Region 19 files. It was noted that the application cannot be completed since the new deployable frequencies are part of the yet to be approved Regional Plan. A suggestion was made to change the application to request only the interoperability channels so it can move forward. Mr. Kowalik will meet with Justin to make that recommendation.



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


There are currently no Region 8 and 30 concurrences ready for review by the Committee. However, Region 19 has been advised by Region 8 that multiple applications will be submitted in the near future. All applications will be submitted via the CAPRAD system.


Agenda Item 7: National Regional Planning Committee (NRPC)


The NRPC monthly conference call occurs every third Wednesday of each month. There are multiple Region 19 committee members who regularly attend the conference calls. Chairman Zarwanski briefly described a recent NRPC proposal to create an additional system ID for all Wide Area Communication Networks. The WACN number will help identify disparate systems joined within networks during incidents especially when deployable systems are introduced to the area. More information will be forthcoming at future NRPC and APCO P25 committee meetings.


 It was also noted once again that 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 Zarwanski advised attendees to register usage of 4.9 GHz frequencies with Region 19. Users must identify each node in use and if a point to point system is put in place, an FCC call sign modification authorization must be received. It was noted that current CAPRAD system appears to be tracking both the State 4.9 GHz full licenses and also the FCC 4.9 GHz node licenses.


Agenda Item 9: New Business


Membership: There are still some open positions available. Discussion occurred relating to filling open positions with proper documentation. For example, the CT AASHTO Coordinator Slot would be different than the CT Highway Slot. A letter from the appointing authority may be submitted to the RPC Chairman for approval to fill open slots in each category.


Next Meeting Dates and Locations:


The next meeting will be held June 14, 2016 beginning at 10:00AM at the Putney Volunteer Fire Department, 14 Main St., Putney, VT 05346.


Seeing no further comments or new business, Vice Chairman Verbil asked for a motion to adjourn.  George Carbonnell motioned for adjournment and Brian Glancy seconded the motion. All members voted unanimously to adjourn at 11:17 AM


Submitted - Jim Kowalik - Secretary