Wednesday, October 9, 2013

FirstNet to give spectrum to the carriers!?

Well, I'm on a flight back to Dallas from the PCIA conference in Miami. It was a, how should I put it, quaint conference. I really enjoyed meeting all the people. I seem to be in my 15 minutes of fame, because people are starting to recognize me, especially the FirstNet guys.;)

Which, speaking about FirstNet, I have a topic I would like to talk about. That topic is about FirstNet's possible plans to give the spectrum away to the carriers, as a means for them to build FirstNet -- if that were such a great idea, then why didn't the first auction work? Why is it we think its a better idea to just give it to them instead? At least before we made some money off it.

By granting the use of the spectrum to the commercial carriers, we would be robbing the States of some badly needed economic recovery. Plus, a carrier delivered solution will be a disaster.You will never be able to mix business models on this one. The carriers are in it for the revenue and Public Safety is not. By allocating the spectrum over to the carriers, all we will be doing is lining their pockets with more cash based on their business model. Why is it so hard to understand that it's in our best interest to let the States build their own networks based on their own Public Private Partnerships?  This does not discount the carriers as non-players, in fact, it actually benefits the carriers more on what their ultimate objective is -- that is to improve margins, and bring in more revenue, without having to own, and maintain, more infrastructure that detracts from their bottom line. Hellloooo, anybody in there?

Let's make it simple; Public Safety needs hardening and total coverage. The carriers only need just enough hardening to insure service, and don't need total geographic coverage. Population wise the carrier already covers 98% (40% geographic), of which, Public Safety already covers 100% of the population with LMR. To any simple minded person, it would seem logical that partnering with the carriers would be a good idea, but, in fact, it would be a disaster, because Public Safety needs a HARDENED NETWORK THAT COVERS 100% OF THE GEOGRAPHIC LANDMASS -- NOT 40%! The business needs do not align. Who pays for the areas that aren't being covered? So its OK to just give the spectrum away, cover only the metro environments, and then let the taxpayers pay for building the carriers network into the rural areas, so that the carrier can spread their commercial model even more?

If you want to do a deal with the carriers, so you can cover 40% of the Nation, then just buy a total solution MVNO (Managed Virtual Network Operation) from the carrier you want to work with, why do we need to give them spectrum? Do we honestly think that just because we give them the spectrum that they would do anything different in how they collect revenue for their business, or how they manage their move away from owning the infrastructure? They will get the spectrum, then build it to their needs, and yes, they will give you some service out of it as well. But, in reality, all we would be doing is fulfilling their corporate dreams of commercial service, not Public Safety's need. After 10-15 years of waste and abuse the State, Congress, or the Federal government will have to step in, then what happens? What happens to all that co-mingled communication gear on commercial carrier networks within the metro environments? What happens to all the needed rural tower maintenance and upgrades? Who will pay for all of this?

I'm afraid to say it, but a State based Public Private Partnership is the only real way to make this a success. If you aren't getting this message yet, then it's starting to become obvious that alternative motives are at play, and issues more credibility to the claims of Board abuse within FirstNet. I think we may becoming to a point in time where we start seeing State's take action on their own...after all why should they wait? It will be a call to arms for the State to take on its own build, and use the spectrum to the benefit of the State and its constituents....not another Federal organization. What happens in the next government shutdown where FirstNet could experience its own furloughs? What will the State's do then?

But then again, I'm...

Just some guy and a blog....

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