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Almost 15 Years after the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, DHS Still Has Not Achieved Interoperable Communications

June 10, 2015 Comments off

Almost 15 Years after the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, DHS Still Has Not Achieved Interoperable Communications (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

In November 2012, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) published an audit, DHS’ Oversight of Interoperable Communications (OIG-13-06), concluding that DHS components could not talk to each other in the event of a terrorist event or other emergency. The DHS OIG has just completed a verification review and concluded that, two and a half years later, DHS components’ inability to communicate with each other persists.

+ Full Report (PDF)

EU — Radio Spectrum: A Key Resource For The Digital Single Market

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Radio Spectrum: A Key Resource For The Digital Single Market
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Radio spectrum refers to a specific range of frequencies of electromagnetic energy that is used to communicate information. Applications important for society such as radio and television broadcasting, civil aviation, satellites, defence and emergency services depend on specific allocations of radio frequency. Recently the demand for spectrum has increased dramatically, driven by growing quantities of data transmitted over the internet and rapidly increasing numbers of wireless devices, including smartphones and tablets, Wi-Fi networks and everyday objects connected to the internet.

Radio spectrum is a finite natural resource that needs to be managed to realise the maximum economic and social benefits. Countries have traditionally regulated radio spectrum within their territories. However despite the increasing involvement of the European Union (EU) in radio spectrum policy over the past 10 to 15 years, many observers feel that the management of radio spectrum in the EU is fragmented in ways which makes the internal market inefficient, restrains economic development, and hinders the achievement of certain goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

In 2013, the European Commission proposed legislation on electronic communications that among other measures, provided for greater coordination in spectrum management in the EU, but this has stalled in the face of opposition within the Council. In setting out his political priorities, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has indicated that ambitious telecommunication reforms, to break down national silos in the management of radio spectrum, are an important step in the creation of a Digital Single Market. The Commission plans to propose a Digital Single Market package in May 2015, which may again address this issue.

4G and 3G mobile broadband research

April 7, 2015 Comments off

4G and 3G mobile broadband research
Source: Ofcom

Overall, 4G networks performed much better than 3G networks in five sample towns and cities tested – Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Newcastle and Poole/Bournemouth – where both 4G and 3G networks have been rolled out.

In these areas, 4G networks delivered an average download speed of 14.7Mbit/s (compared with 5.9Mbit/s on 3G) and took 0.72 seconds to load a web page (compared with 1.04 seconds on 3G).

The research, which collected 120,000 test samples on smartphones, also highlighted variations in performance between the UK’s network operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – across four key measures:

  • Download speed – how quickly data can be transferred from the internet (relevant to downloading files). Download speed is most likely to affect the consumer experience when downloading very large files to a mobile device or when speed is too slow (under 2Mbit/s) to support high capacity video services.
  • Web browsing speed – the time it takes to load a standard web page (relevant to browsing the internet or interacting with apps).
  • Upload speed – the rate at which data can be transferred from the user’s device to the internet (relevant to uploading pictures, videos and other content to social media, for example).
  • Latency – the responsiveness of the network, measuring the delay of transferring data to and from the user’s device (lower latency is important for activities like gaming, video calls and web browsing).

CRS — The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress (February 27, 2015)

March 18, 2015 Comments off

The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress included provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications, by creating the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The act assigned 10 MHz of additional radio frequency spectrum to accommodate the new network and required that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assign a license to FirstNet, comprising the newly assigned frequencies and 10 MHz previously assigned to states by the FCC for public safety use. In addition, the act has designated federal appropriations of over $7 billion for the network and other public safety needs. These funds are provided through new revenue from the auction of spectrum licenses to the commercial sector.

2013 Information and Communication Technology Survey

March 16, 2015 Comments off

2013 Information and Communication Technology Survey
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The Information and Communication Technology Survey provides data on both noncapitalized and capitalized spending for information and communication technology equipment and computer software by U.S. nonfarm businesses with employees. It covers all domestic, private and nonfarm businesses, including agricultural nonfarm (NAICS subsectors 113, 114 and 115) businesses

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UK — Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework (PDF)
Source: Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC)

This Report includes, for the first time in a single document, a comprehensive review of the full range of intrusive capabilities available to the UK intelligence Agencies. It contains an unprecedented amount of information about those capabilities, the legal framework governing their use, and the privacy protections and safeguards that apply. The Report also reveals the use of certain capabilities – such as Bulk Personal Datasets and Directions under the Telecommunications Act 1984 – for the first time. The Report represents a landmark in terms of the openness and transparency surrounding the Agencies’ work.

UK — Public sector telecommunications and digital infrastructure maps

February 9, 2015 Comments off

Public sector telecommunications and digital infrastructure maps
Source: Cabinet Office

This report provides interim maps and data for the UK public sector telecommunications and digital infrastructure.

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