Monday, February 27, 2012

I applaud the Federal Government for its approval of the 700 Mhz and the mandate to go LTE for the Public Safety Broadband network. This is a monumental event in opening up a market place that will dwarf the size of the commercial carrier business.

There are a few things to point out that this legislation will open up:

1. With the consolidation of the commercial carriers this opens the opportunity to control the commoditization of Internet Access. The commercial carriers are alway talking about the cost aspect of the infrastructure they maintain and how it does not justify the commoditized access model...which is correct. The consolidation of the technology to "All IP" means that the network infrastructures can operate at cheaper capital and operational models, but the infrastructure they own is so overly built with the old TDM fabrics that they are cost prohibited to advancement. So the answer is to sell it all off and restart with the new; or just move out of the commoditized access model all together and into content. Content is where the real cash is anyway....the carriers know this.

2. Allowing the Utilities to play in the Public Safety Spectrum space. What better spot to be than an already commoditized access model as the Power Distribution companies. I would definitely sign up to add Internet Access to my monthly electric bill. By opening these LTE networks to the Public Safety entities...don't get me wrong the first models of deployment and service are strictly for Public Safety....but in the future with the advancement into 3GPP rev 10 there will be way more bandwidth than the Public Safety entities will need (to include Utilities). It will become apparent that the LTEs traffic isolation capabilities will allow for the addition of private based access models to the customers of the Utilities and what better place than the Utilities space to do commoditization. Which in the end is good for us include Public Safety. Why isn't Internet Access rated as a Utility anyway? Maybe that is why each State has a PUC -- Public Utility Commission to which Utilities and Telecom are scrutinized.

3. By allowing the Public Safety arena to include players like Utilities only makes the ability to fund the program even easier. Although each State will undoubtedly have to build their own solution for the Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) it will be crucial that they abide by the strict standardization of the Core platforms (better known as eNodeBs). This will allow the Federal authorities to control the core aspects of the network and administer the Public Land Mobile Numbers (PLMN Ids) that identify the Cores. It will also allow for a centralized Federal platform as hinted to in recent press clippings (a Centralized Broadband Network Authority). But what is most important is the States ability to find alternative funding sources to Federal and State Tax dollars through Public Private Partnerships.

4. As was depicted and validated in my dissertation back in 2009 (its published in the EBSCO database if you want to read it) the best possible scenario for advancing telecommunications within the vertical industries, to include sectors such as Public Safety, Mass Transit and Utilities, is through Public Private Partnerships. In essence you allow for the Public Utility and Public Safety entities to partake in the investment communities capability to self fund their own builds. In essence, a State has the option to setup a third party entity, local to the State, that can oversee and run the new Broadband LTE network. As potential investors they could include private, commercial or Public Entity investors to help fund the new third party entity setup for the State. Some of those entities may, in exchange, offer up tower infrastructure or fiber (as an example) to offset their funding capabilities, such as: Utilities allowing the network to be build on their already, and vast, infrastructure of towers and distributed fiber networks. Most importantly the entity created by the State would build revenue based off long-standing contracts with any entity that rides their network. this also allows for those entities to eliminate any capital construction costs associated with having to build their own network. Being that the spectrum is scarce, and the fact that the Public Safety industry itself relies so heavily on State and Federal tax dollars, this makes for a proven manner of self funding. The beauty of this solution is that any State could model this in a hundred different ways yet still maintain the standard process of inclusion and oversight to insure itself safety and administration.

More to come later.

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