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Proposes to create a second regime of protection for full-service FM, Class D, FM translators, FM boosters and other LPFM stations


WASHINGTON — REC Networks filed a Petition for Rulemaking with the FCC calling for changes in how LPFM stations are required to protect FM translators. There’s a lot to digest here, and for those interested in LPFM and its impact on others, it’s worth a deeper read here .

In the June 13 filing (RM-11810), REC’s Michelle Bradley writes that the petition addresses “various issues that had been precluding a more successful deployment of Low Power FM stations, especially in suburban and core urban areas.”

Specifically, “REC proposes to create a §73.815 Regime of protection for protecting full-service FM, Class D, FM translators, FM boosters and other LPFM stations which is available to LPFM stations that specify locations that do not meet the current distance separation requirements of §73.807.”

According to a summary on REC’s website, “Due to the way the LCRA was worded, REC is making a case that a table of lower distances, originally intended for 10 watt LPFM stations was codified in the rules when the LCRA was enacted and that the Commission can use those numbers.” Bradley also notes that many of the suggestions were previously was raised in the 2017 Media Modernization proceeding (MB Docket 17-105).

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the current and proposed second regimes:

Current Regime (§73.807)

  • 50 to 100 watts at 30 meters HAAT. (up to a 5.6 km service contour)
  • Protects full-service stations using specific distance separations.
  • Protects FM translators and LPFM stations using specific distance separations.
  • Because of distance separation, any interference to other facilities is non-actionable. Full-service stations that file subsequent applications can only legally displace an LPFM station if there is LPFM interfering contour overlap in the city grade contour of city of license of the modified full-service station.

Second Regime (§73.815)

  • 50 to 250 watts at 30 meters HAAT. (up to a 7.1 km service contour)
  • Protects full-service stations by contours but must also meet a distance separation using reduced requirements from §73.807.
  • Protects FM translators and LPFM stations using contours.
  • Because of using contours, any interference to or from other facilities is actionable and will be handled through similar rules used by FM translators.
  • Second (§73.815) Regime applies only if the LPFM creates a new or increased §73.807 short-spacing of full-service or translators or if the LPFM wishes to operate with a faciliy that exceeds 100 watts at 30m HAAT (maximum 250 watts at 30m HAAT).

Additionally, the petition sugggests a variety of changes that reflect what they consider to be the “maturity” of the LPFM service, and also “allows LPFM stations more options for changes and presents them in a manner that is respectful to Commission policy and decorum and does not put the grant of any existing cross-service FM translator license at risk.”

In the petition’s conclusion, Bradley urges the commission to “adopt this rulemaking and help move LPFM forward to the next generation in a manner that strikes a balance between community need and crowded spectrum while respecting the status quo.”

Read the full petition online here.

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Filers have expressed concern about difficulties of prepping info for filing

WASHINGTON — To gather more accurate information about existing earth stations and to better determine if access to the 3.7–4.2 GHz band should be expanded, the Federal Communications Commission is giving fixed-satellite service earth stations more time to detail their current usage of C Band spectrum.

Back in April of this year, four FCC bureaus issued a Public Notice announcing a temporary freeze on the filing of new or modification applications for FSS earth station licenses, FSS receive-only earth station registrations and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7–4.2 GHz frequency band. This was done to give the FCC an accurate snapshot of the C Band landscape. The commission is looking into the feasibility of permitting terrestrial broadband use within this band and will consider an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on this issue at its July Open Meeting.

Since the beginning of the freeze, however, many parties have shared their concerns with the FCC about the volume of unregistered earth stations and the difficulties that many of these operators may be facing in preparing information for filing.

These parties indicate that without some relief, many operators will be unable to satisfy the filing deadline and the commission will be without accurate information for its deliberations in the midband proceeding,” the FCC said in a public notice released June 21 .

As a result, the International Bureau has extended the 90-day filing date for an additional 90 days — until October 17 — in order to provide operators with more time to file applications. Keep in mind that only earth stations constructed and operational as of April 19, are eligible for filing during this window.

That original 90-day filing window was due to expire on July 18.The FCC also waived the coordination report requirement for the duration of the freeze and clarified that applications to register multiple FSS antennas in this band (those located at the same location) may be filed by using a single registration form and paying a single fee. The bureau also announced that those who are registering a large number of geographically diverse earth stations can submit a single network license to ease issues with batch filing.

The National Association of Broadcasters has been vocal in expressing its concerns about sharing C Band spectrum with wireless operators. In a filing submitted earlier this month, the NAB urged the commission to require proponents of expanded use to submit specific and detailed technical proposals to the commission. “That is the only way to allow stakeholders to provide informed comments and analysis to guide the commission’s decision-making process,” the NAB said.

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The Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act provides additional tools to the FCC to address illegal radio operations

WASHINGTON — The PIRATE Act is one step closer to becoming law.

On June 13, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology unanimously voted to pass the PIRATE Act, otherwise known as the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act, which provides additional tools to the Federal Communications Commission to address illegal pirate radio operations.

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly applauded the move, which sends a “clear message that pirate radio ‘stations’ must be eliminated,” he said. “This bill rightfully increases the penalties, requires regular enforcement sweeps, and augments the tools available to the commission to stop illegal pirate broadcasters.

“Today’s mark-up is an important step forward in ensuring the PIRATE Act becomes law and I look forward to seeing the bill take the next step in the legislative process,” O’Rielly continued. 

The decision was also supported by the National Association of Broadcasters, who saluted co-authors Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) and Rep. Mike Tonko (D-N.Y.) for their bipartisan sponsorship of the legislation.

“The bipartisan legislation will increase the ability of the FCC to crack down on pirate activity by increasing fines, streamlining enforcement and placing liability those who facilitate illegal radio broadcasts,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton.

The bill now heads to the Energy and Commerce committee for consideration.

As reported in Radio World, the PIRATE Act proposes to hike the fine for violations to as much as $100,000 per day, with a maximum fine of $2 million. The rules currently allow the FCC to impose a maximum daily penalty of about $19,200 per day.

The bill has been endorsed by several groups including the New Jersey Broadcasters Association and New York State Broadcasters Association, with association President David Donovan telling lawmakers at a subcommittee hearing earlier this year that illegal operators are undermining the nation’s Emergency Alert System, causing invasive and insidious interference, posing potential public health problems due to overexposure to radio frequency radiation, and interfering with airport communications.

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He says 48 dBµ would be a more appropriate value than 54 dBµ

WASHINGTON — In comments to the FCC, Crawford Broadcasting Director of Engineering W. Cris Alexander argued that the broadcaster “has interests on both sides of the FM translator interference issue” — meaning that the company and its affiliates currently are licensees of 15 AM and nine FM commercial stations plus nine FM translators. This, Crawford says, means they have a “unique perspective on the issue and perhaps a more balanced view.”

In light of that, Alexander submitted comments on behalf of Crawford regarding the proposed amendment of Part 74 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding FM Translator Interference (MB Docket No. 18-119). He expressed support for the commission’s reform efforts and offered additional suggestions. (Cris Alexander also is a contributor to Radio World, which was not involved in the filing.)

[Read about the commissioners’ opinions on the proposed changes.]

First, Alexander, writes: “We believe that the provisions of §74.1203(a) and §74.1204(f) should be harmonized so that predicted interference to existing listeners outside the translator 60 dBµ contour can be addressed prior to grant of the translator application. What constitutes ‘interference’ is well defined in the FCC’s rules by means of codified protection ratios, and we believe these ratios should be applied to predicted interference cases prior to grant of a legitimately-objected translator application.”

He notes that this is advantageous because it would help to prevent “drawn-out and often expensive interference complaint prosecution” by eliminating cases in which “a proposed translator will ‘pass the test’ provided by §74.1204(f) because there is no predicted interference to existing full-power station listeners within the translator 60 dBµ contour, but after operation commences, existing listeners located outside the translator 60 dBµ contour begin receiving interference.”

Additionally, this is important, Alexander says, because ofen “the damage is done in fairly short order after the translator signs on — those existing listeners displaced by the translator interference often tune elsewhere and may not ever return.”

Alexander also supports “the proposed modification of Section 74.1233(a)(1) of the Rules to define an FM translator’s change to any available channel as a minor change as a means of mitigating legitimate interference to an existing full-power broadcast station.” This is consistent with the idea that it’s important to offer “fast and complete resolution of interference issues.”

He also concurs that six is a good minimum number of listener complaints to be used to claim translator interference, saying that a “station bringing this many complaints undoubtedly has a real interference issue.”

Regarding the complaints themselves, Alexander agrees that listener complaints should include sufficient information “for the translator licensee to follow up… determine the listener’s exact location, and make measurements and tests at that location.” He notes that this would also ensure that the complainant is not affiliated with the full-power station.

In fact, Alexander writes that it would be bettter to remove the middleman — the complaining listener — from the process as soon as possible because complaining listeners “ may be uncooperative,” hard to contact or could even be bribed to withdraw their complaint.

Instead, he suggests, the resolution should be determined through “a technical showing that all interference has been eliminated.” Specifically, he writes, “any showing by the translator licensee should include a U/D study based upon the F(50, 50) and F(50, 10) field strength charts contained in Section 73.333, unless the use of the Longley-Rice propagation model is indicated based upon established criteria.”

Also, Alexander argues “there should be a full-power station field strength value beyond which no complaint of actual or predicted interference will be considered actionable.” However, he says that they do not “believe that 54 dBµ is the appropriate value for this cutoff field strength.” Rather, Crawford says, “a better compromise would be 48 dBµ, which represents an electric field strength value of 250 µV/m. We believe this value to be appropriate for all classes of FM stations and do not recommend that a different value be adopted for class B or B1 stations.”

He explains that a recent listener survey indicated that “92% of the respondents regularly listen in areas beyond the 54 dBµ contour and with predicted field strengths well below that value;” and he said the same is likely the case for class B1 stations which are protected to 57 dBµ, “it is likely that there are listeners to even lower field strength signals than to those with a 60 dBµ protected contour.” He cited also cited a 1975 study and report that indicated there was “some argument for a value of 47 dBu” field strength as a cutoff for interference complaints.

Read his comments online here. Comments on MB Docket No. 18-119 are due July 6 and reply comments are due Aug. 6. 

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Commission alleges 65 AV transmitters intended to relay video to UAS can transmit in unauthorized radio frequency bands

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to come down hard on a manufacturer whose devices could potentially transmit without authorization in certain radio frequency bands.

The FCC proposed a $2.8 million penalty against HobbyKing, a provider of audio/video transmitters that are intended to relay video to unmanned aircraft systems and other devices. According to the commission, 65 of these devices have the alleged capacity to transmit in unauthorized radio frequency bands, including some models that could allegedly operate at what the FCC called “excessive transmission power levels.”

According to the commission, transmissions such as these could potentially interfere with key government and public safety services like aviation systems and weather radar systems.

The FCC did not detail any specific incidents in its announcement.

Through its website , the Hong Kong-based company markets devices that the commission said provides a video link between transmitters that are mounted on unmanned aircraft systems and users who are flying drones. According to the commission, HobbyKing represented that its transmitters operated in designated amateur radio bands; an investigation by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau found that 65 models could also apparently operate outside those bands.

FCC authority is required for users operating a radio frequency-emitting device that could potentially operate outside of the designated amateur-use radio frequency bands. The commission said that none of the devices in question marketed by HobbyKing were certified by the commission. In addition, the FCC said that all amateur equipment used to telecommand model crafts are limited to 1,000 mW of power. The commission said in its announcement that three HobbyKing transmitter models allegedly operate at 1,500 mW and 2000 mW.

Following complaints to the FCC, the bureau opened an investigation in 2015 into the company’s marketing of radio frequency devices and issued a formal citation in 2017 to warn the company that it must comply with FCC requirements.

The steep proposed penalty is not only for marketing noncompliant radio frequency devices but also for failing to comply with commission orders. According to the commission, HobbyKing failed to respond to the enforcement bureau’s previously issued a citation notifying HobbyKing of its legal and regulatory obligations. The company also failed to stop marketing the alleged noncompliant equipment despite a cease and desist order from the FCC. Current law requires companies to respond to requests from the FCC after being warned of possible violations.

The FCC said that HobbyKing has an opportunity to respond to the proposed assessment, and reminded the public that the commission will consider submitted evidence and legal arguments before taking further action.

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He is concerned engineers are too busy, or stations feel they can’t pay the $435 filing fee to register their downlinks

We have been hearing a lot about C-Band satellite dish registration lately. 

It is critical that the Federal Communications Commission understands how pervasive C-Band receive dishes are at radio (and television) stations throughout the United States and its territories before they open the band up to 5G interference. 

I am, however, concerned that many engineers are too busy to bother or stations feel they can’t spend the $435 to pay the filing fee to have their dishes registered.

While I think the FCC should have waived that fee, regardless, here is an alternative idea that might help the commission understand the plethora of C-Band dishes actually in use. 

During the comment period, I would hope that every one of the various radio networks who distribute their content via C-Band satellite — as well as the networks who lease transponder space from other networks — will file comments complete with a detailed list of call letters and locations (by city and state) of their affiliates. 

Certainly those networks know who their affiliates are today because receivers have to be permissioned (authorized) to receive the signals and the networks have these records. If every network files this information with the FCC, the commissioners will have a robust, accurate list of the scope of this situation — and the potential disaster that is awaiting if they try to share this spectrum with carriers opening up 5G services.

In addition, those who feed translators and full-service stations by satellite (thinking NPR, EMF, Salem, Moody, etc.) on a full-time basis could be particularly hard hit and should file that same list with the commission.

INTERFERENCE EXPERIENCE

This brings to mind issues we had in Florida (as well as in other coastal areas) post-9/11 when Airborne Early Warning and Control System sentries were patrolling with their very high-power radar turned on. 

This was a major issue for me and many other engineers in our area. About every 20 seconds, our receivers would mute for about 1-2 seconds and come back on. We purchased a filter and installed it on our feed horn, but that did not solve the problem. 

Initially, the USAF denied they were causing this interference, but enough complaints surfaced that they changed their ways to eliminate the problem (that they had not been causing in the first place), and it went away. That was transitory and was solved. 

In my case, we have two cellular providers on our 400-foot tower at the studio, which is also one of our FM station’s transmitter site. We have our C-Band receive dish approximately 50 feet from that tower. I can’t imagine trying to eliminate co-channel interference at that range. Many other engineers will be in a similar situation. 

We should stop this before it gets started.

Kneller is a consultant to Solmart Media LLC.

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The pubcaster says sharing should mean exclusive spectrum for incumbents, wireless broadband

WASHINGTON — Public radio is waving a caution flag as the Trump Administration pushes to open up the C-band (3.7-4.2 GHz.) for broadband, echoing comments by the National Association of Broadcasters.

Its advice is to divide if it wants to conquer in the race to 5G. National Public Radio has told the FCC it should reserve some C-band spectrum for wireless broadband, but should reserve the remainder for exclusive use by incumbents, like NPR’s fixed satellite delivery of its programming.

The FCC sought comment on how to free up C-band satellite spectrum for sharing with broadband services as it seeks to advance 5G and nationwide broadband deployment, including how best to share it. NPR had plenty to say.

NPR says that the best thing to do is give incumbents and new users their own designated spectrum rather than mandate sharing of the same spectrum by both commercial wireless and fixed satellite users like NPR. Those fixed satellite users also include TV broadcast networks and cable operators. “[T]he only feasible way to share the C-band spectrum without causing harmful interference to current users is to subdivide it, and in so doing to ensure adequate protections for existing uses through guard bands and appropriate licensing requirements,” NPR said.

NPR dropped some familiar programming names whose distribution depends on C-band spectrum to get to 42 million people via 1,270 public radio stations, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Marketplace.

Some wireless companies, including T-Mobile, have said that shielding and filtering can allow both to share the same spectrum, but NPR says no. “Shielding can be effective in limited circumstances to remediate interference between two fixed devices,” said the public broadcaster, “but there is currently no shielding technology that could provide the kind of dynamic, all-encompassing protection that would be required to protect against interference from mobile devices.

Similarly, filtering can be useful to block out interfering signals within a certain range, but it reduces the effectiveness of the downlink signals it protects, and it does not create the kind of clear, interference-free transmission zone that is essential to public radio’s programming distribution needs.Mobile broadband should be allowed in the band only if it does not create such interference of threaten access to all that content–including emergency alerts and local journalism–on the stations, the filing concluded.

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In a letter CTIA President calls for making July into “mid-band spectrum month”

WASHINGTON — Wireless carriers want the FCC to add a vote on opening up the 3.5 GHz band at its July meeting, and an auction of that spectrum by next year.

That is according to a letter from CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker.

“The wireless industry urges the Commission to move forward in July on key mid-band spectrum opportunities—the 3.5 GHz band and the 3.7-4.2 GHz band—to address the United States’ international deficit with respect to mid-band spectrum availability,” She wrote to the FCC.

The commission is already planning to vote on opening up the 3.7-4.2 GHz mid-band spectrum at the meeting, which CTIA is all for. But Attwell Baker wants to turn July into “mid-band spectrum month” by moving on the 3.5 GHZ band as well as the rest of the world races toward 5G.

To help light a fire under the proceeding, Attwell Baker pointed out that the U.S. is ranked sixth in mid-band spectrum availability, while South Korea plans to auction 3.5 GHZ spectrum next month.

Specifically, Attwell Baker wants the FCC to finalize its 3.5 GHZ band rules by July, and announce a 2019 auction of 70 MHz of licensed spectrum.

CTIA cited the compromise it had reached with the Competitive Carriers Association on license sizes as paving the way for the FCC to wrap up optimization of the licensing regime to make sure the licenses are investment and innovation friendly.

CTIA and the Competitive Carriers Association have agreed that the FCC should issue MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) licenses in the top 306 cellular markets, but smaller, county-based licenses for the remaining 428.

It argues that using census tracts as the license sizes would lead to unprecedented complexity.

The FCC voted last October on a proposed framework for freeing up the 3.5 GHz spectrum — it would be shared with incumbent government users — for wireless broadband that could encourage cable and telco broadband players to use, and bid on, that spectrum in the race to 5G.

Changes to the priority access license in the band are meant to incentivize faster network broadband deployments of fixed and mobile service. Those include longer license terms and contemplating different sized licenses.

NCTA-The Internet & Television Association has been pushing for smaller sized licenses —its compromise between partial economic areas and census tracks is county-sized licenses . Cable ops are eyeing that swath of spectrum for their own wireless and mobile services.

But it does not want them too small either. NCTA member Charter has advocated for license areas bigger than census tracts but no bigger than counties.

NCTA has told the FCC it is also ready and willing to find compromise to avoid delay.

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FAA Hosts Drone Webinar Series

Get more info about the most requested Part 107 waivers under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule


WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration is hosting a series of webinars about drones, centering on the most requested Part 107 waivers under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule, according to a press release from the FAA.

The first webinar, entitled “Where Is My Waiver?”, focuses on how to apply for an operational waiver. It’s scheduled for June 5 at 1 p.m. (ET). It will cover the waiver application process; when to apply for a waiver and which provisions of Part 107 are subject to waiver; how to avoid the common mistakes that lead to application denials; and risk analysis/assessment/management and hazard recognition.

FAA Safety Inspector Kevin Morris and other experts will be available to answer questions, according to the announcement.

Each webinar is limited to the first 1,000 registrants . The webinars will be hosted via the AdobeConnect app. Also, audio transcripts will be posted after each event.

The other webinars are in the series are as follows:

  • June 19, 1 p.m. — “Risky Business”
  • July 10, 1 p.m. — “Just the Facts”
  • July 24, 1 p.m. — ‘The Dark Night Part 1”
  • July 26, 1 p.m. — “The Dark Night Part 2”
  • Aug. 7, 1 p.m. — “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”
  • Aug. 21, 1 p.m. — “Beyond Visual Line of Sight”
  • Sept. 4, 1 p.m. — “Operating Limitations: Altitude”
  • Sept. 18, 1 p.m. — “Operations Over People”

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The subcommittee held a hearing on the SMART IoT Act on May 22

WASHINGTON — The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Digital Subcommittee held a hearing Tuesday (May 22) on a bipartisan bill, the State of Modern Application, Research and Trends (SMART) IoT Act , which charges the Commerce Department with studying IoT from various angles with an eye toward what the government needs to do to promote adoption while protecting the security of the nation’s networks.

On hand to talk about the kind of information the government needs were Tim Day, VP at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Dipti Vachani, VP of the IoT Group at Intel; and Michelle Richardson, deputy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology.

One of the takeaways was that the Chamber of Commerce is working on privacy and data protection principles that it will be releasing sooner than later and will work with Congress on.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said the Facebook hearings showed the government needs to pay more attention to privacy and security. Vachani said security and privacy are an imperative for Intel and a fundamental premise for how to store data or integrate IoT solutions. Dingell said she had been hacked at least 15 times and that the data genie can’t be put back in the bottle.

Dingell asked if Day supported clear rules for the road now. Day said yes, and suggested the Chamber of Commerce would work with them and will work with Congress on those privacy principles. “I firmly believe that consumers deserve to have their data respected,” he said.

The hearing background memo pointed out that IoT has the potential to have an economic impact of up to $11.1 trillion dollars by 20205. By 2020, the committee said, annual revenues for IoT vendors of hardware and software, could exceed $470 billion by 2020. It also pointed out that IoT cuts across sectors and government agencies trying to figure out policy and regulation and/or industry self-regulation.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the parent House Energy & Commerce Committee said the bill was meant to “make sure stakeholders are aware of the playing field and are not creating conflicting or duplicative obligations or requirements.” He called it a compendium of who is doing what in the IoT space, and in the process helping remove barriers to innovation.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the Energy & Commerce Committee said that while the report would only be a snapshot, it was a picture the government needs to see.

“Given the integration of IoT into all parts of our lives and the global economy, the report will provide a jumping off point for more work,” Pallone said, suggesting that the additional work should include more focus on securing data.

“I would certainly like to see cybersecurity issues given more emphasis when we look at IoT,” Pallone said.

“Throughout our review, cybersecurity was the issue that came up most often. Cybersecurity is imperative to keeping ourselves and our country safe from malicious actors.”

Vachani put in a pitch for comprehensive privacy legislation so some IoT info collection did not fall through the cracks, but also for not overregulating a nascent market that is already coming up with industry standards for integrating IoT products. She said, instead, the government should leverage those standards.

Commerce will have a year to report back to Congress with facts and recommendations for the “growth of the United States economy through the secure advancement of internet-connected devices.”

Vachani said Intel supports the bill, but had some suggested improvements. She said the subcommittee should include a definition of IoT that is nonproprietary and neutral; should seek recommendations on how the feds can avoid new regs that duplicate industry standards, and should promote investment in public-private partnerships.

Day said he agreed that the government should compile list of federal policies that affect IoT, as the bill would require. He said the space is changing by the day, and that while there needs to be a structure, it should not be too restrictive.” He said business leaders want ability to invest, but not regulate them to the point that they can’t be productive. Day said to look for more out of the Chamber of Commerce on privacy principles.

Vachani said that IoT “solutions” are multi-industry, with predictive maintenance going on at the same time as inventory management, so solutions could include Dell as well as Intel as well as others. She said Intel will have a proof of concept inside the building, but when it goes out into the market it has to work with other systems and older tech. She said that was where the struggle was in gaining scale for IoT solutions.

Given that multi-stakeholder regime, Vachani put in a plug for interoperability of network devices on spectrum being freed up for next-gen.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee, said it was good to hear–from Vachani–that the U.S. was an leader in IoT.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) ranking member, was concerned about how much data was being collected and used, citing the issues with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Vachani said she was also concerned about privacy and that there were some information collection gaps where some IoT information might fall, which is why there needed to be comprehensive privacy protections. Schakowsky said she would be glad to work on that, saying such legislation was absolutely necessary, and in a non-siloed way (applying to all actors). Vachani said legislation should not be IoT-specific.

Day was concerned about too much regulation, but Schakwosky suggested rules of the road were needed. Vachani agreed. She said a light touch was often needed, but things like cars and pacemakers and the consumer market likely needed a a heavier hand.

Richardson, of CDT, said that they supported tech-neutral cybersecurity controls from manufacturers and operators, like the capacity to update software. Other baselines should be passwords and other authenticators. Day signaled the bill was a good first step, but only a first step.

Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) said public policy needs to be mindful of the fast-moving IoT and how it affects privacy, jobs, the economy, and how workers can be prepared for that IoT future. Vachani said she did not think IoT would replace people altogether, and that there would still be decisions that need to be made by humans.

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) asked whether the bill could explore the use of blockchain to help secure IoT systems. Day said he thought the legislation already allowed blockchain to progress without more specifically exploring blockchain.

Vachani said that today it may be blockchain, but that tomorrow it might be something else, so it was better not to make the bill too tech-specific.

Day said having broadband in every home was key to IoT. Vachani said getting broadband to rural America was important, but that current cellular technology could already help, with remote monitoring of the elderly, for example. “There are things we can do today for rural America with the connectivity that we have and we don’t have to limit ourselves to that deployment.

Asked by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) whether the Congress has a role in insuring data protection–Welch clearly believes it does–Day reiterated that consumers need data protected, but talked again about the privacy and security standards the Chamber of Commerce was working on. Richardson said legislation was a must. Vachani agreed with Welch that Congress could not be a “passive observer.”

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