Verizon, Eyeing Competition with AT&T, to Build First Responders’ Networks

Carl Weinschenk

FirstNet, the first responders network that is a public/private partnership to be built by AT&T and an ecosystem it puts together, has entered the stage in which states decided whether to participate.

Those that don’t must make other arrangements: Doing nothing is not an option. These networks will be expansive and expensive; a lot of money is on the table. Now, Verizon said that, in essence, it isn’t ceding all that money to AT&T. It is making “substantial investments in new network capabilities, as well as expanded products and services” to its first responders’ network.

Verizon will build and operate a private network core for public safety, enter into priority access and preemption agreements to ensure that first responder communications take precedence over other services and tenants and invest in mission-critical equipment. The carrier said that it “is responding to requests from public safety agencies.”

No Huge Changes in VSG’s U.S. Ethernet Rankings


Vertical Systems Group (VSG) this week released its mid-year U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. The results showed some changes in ranking but, since they don’t have total numbers, don’t provide much insight into the size of the market.

The Leaderboard identifies carriers with at least 4 percent of U.S. Ethernet services. The companies on the list, in order of ports in service, are AT&T, Level 3, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, CenturyLink, Comcast and Cox. Verizon moved from fourth to third place due its acquisition of XO. That pushed Spectrum Enterprise from third to fourth place.

The Challenger Tier, which tracks providers with 1 percent to 4 percent of the market, is comprised now of Altice USA, Cogent, Sprint, Frontier and Zayo. The precise order was not released by VSG.

Preparation Necessary for AR, VR and MR

Many companies are eager to exploit virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality (VR, AR and MR). There are challenges, however.

There is a lack of the back-office capabilities necessary to support the complex services among at least some of these companies. A second and related issue is security. There is a tremendous amount of new and untested technology, all of which could cause problems. These new forms of communications and IT raise important privacy issues.

The story looks at AR, VR and MR experiences of Boeing, Bosch and Case Western Reserve University. The bottom line is that a significant amount of preparation is necessary before it is prudent to deploy these promising – but ambitious – IT tools.

AV Security Challenges Deeper than Thought

People are understandably concerned about the potential of hackers to affect autonomous vehicles (AVs). A blog post from Trend Micro suggests that the situation may be more dire than previously thought.

The researchers say that problems to date focused vulnerabilities in specific makes and models of cars. Now, however, TrendLabs Security’s Forward-Looking Threat Research Team, Politenico di Milano and Linklayer Labs have found a hack that is “stealthy and vendor neutral.”

The hack can disable devices and systems. It can’t, however, be detected by even state-of-the-art security systems. The blog post features a general Q&A about the hack and a deep dive on how it works. The main take-away is that the situation is serious and attention must be paid:

It’s not the car manufacturers’ fault, and it’s not a problem introduced by them. The security issue that we leveraged in our research lies in the standard that specifies how the car device network (i.e., CAN) works. Car manufacturers can only mitigate the attack we demonstrated by adopting specific network countermeasures, but cannot eliminate it entirely. To eliminate the risk entirely, an updated CAN standard should be proposed, adopted, and implemented. This whole process would likely require another generation of vehicles.

Data Pricing Drops, Usage Increases: Chetan Sharma Consulting

The amount of data that people used rose sharply and prices dropped, also sharply, during the second quarter of the year, according to Chetan Sharma Consulting.

The overview says that prices have receded 60 percent this year. Revenues were down in the first quarter but rose in the second, the study says. The firm found that the U.S. is third in monthly subscriber usage, but is on pace to rise to second place by the end of the year. The context for the percentages is that smartphone penetration rose above 90 percent.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and connected cars accounted for much of the data growth during the quarter.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


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