Tuesday, August 13, 2013

FirstNet Starts Physical Construction of the Public Safety Broadband Network

Nice to see some progress is being made with FirstNet. I especially like it that the LA-RICS is moving forward. The economy needs the movement. I am also very excited that Bay-RICS, New Mexico and Mississippi will be coming out soon as well. All very good to hear.

I have a few observations though. What happens when the BTOP funding runs out as well as the 2+5 Billion in FirstNet allocations? To cover the entire US with RAN (Radio Access Network) alone will cost in excess of $14 Billion. What happens when we need to cover the rest? Do the State's expect that the Feds will come in and fill in the gaps of funding? Who will pay for the long term management and care? Typically the maintenance of a telecom capital program is about 10% of the total capital expenditures to build it, which means, that in order to maintain the RAN architecture alone, we should expect to pay $1.4 Billion annually. Who will pay for that? What happens when you add the transport layer of fiber, microwave backhaul, control centers, data-centers and respective applications? What happens if you have 160 public safety service organizations, within one State, that all require their own specific requirements for the same? Suddenly the $7 Billion really starts to look insignificant and demonstrates a real shortage. We shouldn't just blindly start building the car without funding it first.  But, we are talking about a government controlled initiative so it wouldn't be the first time.

Those States, or counties, need to understand that there is no time limit on when the Public Private Partnership model can be put into effect. But, one must consider the use of taxpayer money if you choose to go the traditional route of bonds, taxpayer money and vendor financing. In the end its just money right? What the traditional model does is put you down a familiar path of legislative budgets, allocations and long waits, but, at least we understand the process and know how to navigate the land-mines...right?

Plus, one forced traditional model that will definitely not help is the OEM led EFI model. You aren't doing yourself any favors in aligning with an OEM led EFI (engineer furnish and install) model. That model suffers tremendously when it comes to quality and source of resources to construct (reference Turf contracts or the original Bay-RICS/WEB contract).  Regardless, the P3 model can come in to save the day later on. I would just suggest you consider the impacts down the road. The person that instituted the plan today, will undoubtedly be the one blamed for its failures, thus may not be the person to implement it later.

Just a thought.

Just some guy and a blog.....

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