TETRA private land mobile radio (PLMR) technology continues to draw the interest of utilities and critical infrastructure providers planning to replace or update their radio systems. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved TETRA base stations in the 450 - 470 MHz UHF band and the 800 MHz land mobile band. The technology has also been approved north of the US border in Canada, where the utility BC Hydro is deploying a TETRA system.
RadioResource Media Group, which has covered TETRA since its inception through its international magazine, RadioResource International, has created a Special Report edition dedicated to TETRA technology in North America. The report provides a history of the technology and a regulatory update that summarizes the status of TETRA with US and Canadian regulatory agencies. A review of contracts to date in North America includes spotlights on a few of the vendors supplying those systems and the RFPs under way. The report is available on MissionCritical Communications' web site for download HERE. (http://www.radioresourcemag.com/MissionCriticalUniversity/frmSignIn.cfm?mcUniversityID=57)
In a press release dated April 18, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced a rulemaking to consider version 5 of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards, or CIP standards, proposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) in January of this year. Version 3 of the CIP standards are currently in effect with version 4 approved and will become enforceable on April 1, 2014. The CIP standards apply to the bulk electric power transmission system over which FERC has jurisdiction. The notice proposes skipping the implementation of version 4 of the CIP standards and moving directly to version 5.
According to the press release, the NERC CIP 5 proposal includes 12 requirements with new cyber security controls that address Electronic Security Perimeters, Systems Security Management, Incident Reporting and Response Planning, Recovery Plans for BES Cyber Systems, and Configuration Change Management and Vulnerability Assessments. It also would use a new, tiered approach to identifying and classifying bulk electric system cyber assets that is a step toward applying CIP protections more comprehensively to better assure protection of the bulk electric system.
The Commission is seeking comment on certain language in the proposed CIP version 5 Standards to alleviate concerns regarding the potential ambiguity and, ultimately, enforceability of the proposed Standards. NERC is the FERC-certified Electric Reliability Organization for the bulk electric system. Comments on the proposed rule are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. UTC will continue to monitor the rulemaking and provide updates and analysis.
On April 26, 2012 the FCC announced a limited suspension of the acceptance and processing of certain applications for Part 22 and Part 90 services operating in the 470-512 MHz shared TV band. In layman's parlance, this is a freeze. The FCC took this action in response to a directive contained in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 which, in part, requires the FCC to relocate incumbent public safety licensees within the band and commence an auction for new initial licensees for the spectrum within nine years. Left unsaid is what becomes of incumbent industrial/business licensees in the band.
In February of this year, the FCC released a Public Notice(PN) seeking comment to inform the Commission as to how it should go about meeting this mandate. The Commission is seeking specific proposals for implementing the mandate including the technical, financial, administrative, legal, and policy implications. The PN asks a number of questions ranging from basic fact-finding (how many licensees, repeaters, mobiles, etc.), to ideas for alternative spectrum for incumbents to migrate to, to potential relocation costs, to whether or not certain additional types of modifications should be allowed during the pendency of the expected rulemaking proceeding. See the
full text of the PN here.
The Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) will be responding to the PN. As a member of LMCC, UTC would like to contribute the views of utilities to those comments. If you are an incumbent licensee in the 470-512 MHz shared TV-band and are concerned about what impact the current freeze is having on your operations, or what a forced migration from the band will do to your operations, we would like to hear from you. The comment due date is May 13th so if you have any input please contact Donald Vasek or Klaus Bender at your earliest opportunity.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Rule Making on March 27, 2013, addressing its radio frequency (RF) safety and exposure rules. FCC rules require that licensees ensure that the public is not exposed to unsafe levels of RF energy as a result operating their stations. Rulemaking FCC 03-139 is the FCC's first review of the rules regarding RF exposure in ten years. These rules are located in FCC Rule Part 1 and results from the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements for environmental reviews, specifically those reviews related to health and safety of radiofrequency (RF) emissions from radio transmitters. The document is divided into three parts: a Report and Order, a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in ET Docket No. 03- 137, and a Notice of Inquiry in a new docket, ET Docket No. 13-84. The Report and Order implements proposed changes from 2003 that had support from commenters and FCC staff. The Further Notice poses additional questions related to the 2003 proceeding. Neither the Order nor the Further Notice address the current FCC safety levels for the general public and occupational workers. This matter is discussed in the Notice of Inquiry and seeks to incorporate up-to-date research into the impact on non-ionizing radiation on humans. Since the FCC acknowledges they have no expertise in this field of study, they will rely on experts in the field to create a rich record of comments from which a consensus can be reached among industry, concerned citizens and regulators.
Initially, the impact to critical infrastructure licensees will be administrative. FCC Rules currently exempt a variety of radio services from regular mandated review of the RF levels. The licensee certifies that the operation will meet FCC Rules when it signs its application. Assuming the licensee is compliant with RF safety levels, there is no other action required. The new Rules will eliminate the radio service based exemption in lieu of a criteria based solely on effective radiated power (ERP). Part 90 and Part 101 licensees may now be required to certify compliance on a yearly basis, either by calculation or measurement, depending on the power of the system. Industry response to proposed rules has been overall neutral. Consumer advocates applaud the FCC for addressing the issue, while experts in the field are lamenting the relative short 90-day reply deadline for such a technical topic.
UTC will provide a detailed review of the new compliance requirements in a separate document. We encourage UTC members and clients with interest in this matter to contact UTC so we can formulate a response, if needed. We note that "smart meters" are only mentioned once in the document, in the context of which measurement method to use for calculating compliance. In this context, smart meters were included with WiFi devices, cordless telephones and RFID devices.
For more information, contact the UTC Legal/Regulatory department.
TETRA Today magazine, in conjunction with the North American TETRA forum, released an article called “The Opportunity for TETRA in North America” earlier this month. The publisher has also released the article for download. The document summarizes a roundtable discussion held in late 2012 in Washington DC. Industry representatives openly discuss the technology and the challenges to bringing TETRA to North America. The panel was made up of Bill Branlow, AASHTO, a transportation sector frequency advisor; Mark Crosby, Enterprise Wireless Alliance, a business band frequency advisor, Roger Dowling, Sepura, a TETRA equipment vender; Phil Godfrey, TETRA and Critical Communications Association; Phil Kidner, TETRA and Critical Communications Association; Gary Lorentz, North American TETRA Forum; Bruce Marcus, Marcus Communications, a system designer and integrator; Jose Martin, PowerTrunk, a TETRA vender; John Monto, ARINC, an airline industry frequency advisor; and UTC’s Klaus Bender.
One misconception about TETRA is that the equipment is a European technology and not available in the US. The roundtable participants clarified that this is not true and that TETRA equipment has been approved by the FCC in the 450-470 MHz and 800 MHz bands. There were several regulatory hurdles to TETRA’s availability in the US and the article provides a review of these essential steps. With the technology available in the US and North America, the group addressed the question of how to promote TETRA’s use. Several attendees pointed to a dealer infrastructure that can promote, as well as sell and install the technology. Bruce Marcus noted that “[i]t has nothing to do with the technology. It has to do with the people in place that have knowledge of the product, are willing to sell it and bring it to customers. There are customers that want it.” The article continues with discussion related to voice and data communications capabilities and the fact that TETRA is a narrow band compliance solutions. We encourage those interested in TETRA to download and read the free article.
In other TETRA news, the University of New Hampshire CID Labs have joined the North American TETRA Forum membership to set up TETRA technical training courses. This is one of the initiatives resulting from feedback received from industry leaders at the Washington DC roundtable meeting. The first two day technical training program will be conducted at UNH April 30 and May 1, with a third marketing only information day on May 2 for those who may require more business oriented overview, with demonstration platform available also on that day. Conference information is listed here. There are other TETRA training opportunities. Feel free to contact UTC staff for more information.
On February 26th, the White House National Science and Technology Council released a report “highlighting the Administration’s most recent achievements to make the Nation’s electric grid stronger, smarter, and cleaner than ever before.”
The 20 page report follows the President’s State of the Union address, where President Obama reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to create a stronger, smarter, cleaner electric grid. The report highlights several important steps taken by the administration since it published the June 2011 policy framework for a 21st century grid, available here.
In discussing new technology added to the grid, the report points to the nearly 13 million smart meters, 5,000 automated distribution circuits, and several hundred advanced grid sensors added to the grid because of White House and Congressional initiatives. Nearly $250 million in loans has aided deploying grid technology into rural areas. $100 million was allocated to 50 projects to train the nation’s workforce on advance grid technologies. Consumers will have more information about their energy usage through the Green Button initiative, which is being implemented by utilities around the country. With this information, consumers can control their energy costs and save money.
Finally, the report cites the recent Executive Order intended to strengthen the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure industries, including the electric power sector. This report can be downloaded here.
The annual RSA conference, which is the largest gathering of Cybersecurity professionals in North America, kicked off in San Francisco with the keynotes from Art Coviello, Executive Chairman of RSA and Executive Vice President of EMC, and Scott Charney, Corporate Vice President Trustworthy Computing of Microsoft.
Coviello encouraged the 6,000+ conference attendees to discard the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) and antiquated and obsolete perimeter protection technology in favor of using advanced analytics to proactively manage and improve information security of their organizations and networks. He declared that it is counterproductive to focus on who is responsible for the breaches and instead encouraged the audience to design and implement robust anti-fragile solutions that are less susceptible to failure and are designed to self-heal.
Charney discussed tremendous technological advances made in the recent years and proposed a new paradigm of using "the trusted stack" that improves security. The trusted stack consists of hardware, software, data, and identity. Charney reviewed the recent technology advances and the rapidly evolving threats. He discussed examples of practice and technology adoption that make him optimistic about e future. Charney advocated for stronger national policy and international strategies and cooperation for improving the global state of Cybersecurity. Charney commented that the national strategy should be focused in addressing one of the four aspects of cybersecurity problem: cyber crime, differences among countries on handling cyber space, military espionage, and cyber warfare.
IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) opened its fourth annual Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technology (ISGT) this week in Washington DC with a keynote address from Patricia Hoffman.
Ms. Hoffman is the Assistant Secretary for the US Department of Energy, working in the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Ms. Hoffman's remarks summarized some of the benefits and lessons learned as a result of DOE Smart Grid Investment Grants. On the transmission side, visualization tools for Phase Measurement Units (PMUs) are allowing utilities to see areas of stress on the grid, adding robustness to the transmission system.
Ms. Hoffman said "further developments will foster a more predictive grid, rather than a reactive system." Work is continuing on next generation energy management systems and resource availability tools. Further, work is needed to develop consistent data platforms and a convergence of data models. Work in the distribution system allows for peak load reduction and outage management, asset management, microgrids and active distribution systems. Ms. Hoffman also noted that cybersecurity is a critical issue and DOE is supporting work in that area. Ms. Hoffman concluded her remarks stressing the need for workforce development and training of young professional in the utility space.
The IEEE ISGT conference continues through February 27th.
|FCC Public Notice Addresses Narrowband Compliance||03/19/13|
|OpenADE to Publish Draft Green Button Test Procedures||02/27/13|
|White House Releases Progress Report on Grid Modernization||02/27/13|
|RSA Conference Starts with Optimistic Keynotes||02/27/13|
|IEEE 2013 Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference||02/25/13|