Wednesday, March 6, 2013

FirstNet doing the deal with the Devil? The Devil is in the details: Carriers to build the Public Safety Broadband?

Seems as though FirstNet Board has their mind made-up on who will provide the Nations Public Safety Broadband Network -- that being the carriers?

In a recent article titled: “FirstNet chairman outlines goals to governors” on Mar. 5, 2013 by Donny Jackson | Urgent Communications, Mr. Jackson quotes Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley expressed interest in another version of local control — the ability for states to negotiate deals with partners that could help generate revenue.

"I hope that you'll also give us the capacity to let us work out leases that give us the priority — and give us the ability to pre-empt — but also allow us to raise some dollars at the local level, so we can buy and invest in the 700 MHz network," O'Malley said.

Ginn said that the concept of negotiating deals with potential partners will be a key component of the ongoing plans for the FirstNet network, but he did not commit to a specific methodology.

"The question is: Could the individual states do better in negotiating with an AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, or could we cut a better deal nationwide?" Ginn said. "Whatever way it goes, you want to plow those savings back into the pricing structure."

Is this a blatant answer to where Samm Ginn and the FirstNet Board are going?  From my interpretation this reads that Samm Ginn, thus the FirstNet Board, are fixated on doing a deal with the commercial carriers no matter what. It doesn’t matter for the fact that there will not be enough funding to make it happen; nor that fact that the carriers, who have no intention of hardening their own networks for the last 10 years, will put a dime into hardening the infrastructure in the future (which cost roughly three times their normal spend). Nor does it even start to address who will pay for the networks build-out to the rural areas of the Nation – the carriers? The Board doesn’t even hint at the fact that somebody has to pay for the networks long-term management and maintenance. Who will be held responsible for these activities – FirstNet? The State Governor’s better take a hard look at this one -- I will bet huge amounts of money that the State’s will end up holding the bag and thus trying to work with the same commercial carriers they have been fighting with all along. Then again maybe its just me and my commonsense getting in the way again.

Or, maybe what Mr. O’Malley was referring to was the States ability to put together its own “Public Private Partnership” where as they can benefit from Private Equity paying for the entire State solution; as well as a share in the State’s recurring revenue from the State’s PSBN users. Maybe it has nothing to do with the carriers. By partnering with the commercial carriers does not “plow the savings back into the pricing structure” as Samm Ginn eludes too. What “cost savings” come from paying the commercial carriers even more money for a solution they can’t even deliver on today? In fact it actually takes taxpayer money and pays the commercial carriers even more than what they already take from the State and Federal Government.

Personally, I’ve asked formally on two separate occasions to present a sound Public Private Partnership model and have heard nothing more than crickets. The model I wish to present actually benefits FirstNet and the States precisely to what Mr. O’Malley may be alluding to in his question. Why would it be of concern to the FirstNet Board to consider a much more lucrative and cost beneficial solution to build the Nations Public Safety Broadband Network other than obstinacy?

I can safely claim that if FirstNet does a deal with the devil they had better be prepared for the wrath of political upheaval -- or at least be able to account for some “shovel ready jobs”. You can rest assured that if they proceed with what I interpret to be their plan, then there will definitely be a lot shoveling of something – and I don’t think it will be dirt

… then again they only have three year terms, so why should they care.

Just some guy and a blog …..

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