Thursday, January 2, 2014

FirstNet and Public Safety Broadband Network -- the upcoming political battlefiled of elections 2014 and 2016

First, Happy New Year and I hope everyone had as much  of a Merry Christmas as I had. With 6 kids you can imagine life gets pretty exciting around our house this time of the year. Never thought I would have so much wrapping paper to pickup or corralling of kids who are all high on sugar, but, as always, it's a blast this time of the year. Plus, now that the hangover is long gone I am ready for the New Year.

For the past three years I've been publishing articles on my blog supporting the best, and probably only, business model that will work to deploy our Nations Public Safety Broadband Network, my plans haven't changed, I will continue with the effort. After all, somebody has to be listening, I seem to have a lot of readers and I don't think it's because of my photos in Playgirl. Wishful thinking, I know.

Towards the end of 2013 (in December no doubt and with consternation from my wife) I had plenty of phone calls to discuss the model, as well as what the next steps may be for FirstNet -- my interpretation anyway. I have a feeling we have many things that will start to happen, but most predominately I think we will start to see states "opting out" of the FirstNet model. This means good things for contractors who build the networks and the LTE vendors that want to deploy their kit, in the end it's a $50-$100 Billion market, who wouldn't be excited?

With the oncoming political battlefield being laid out for the upcoming 2014 elections, as well as the national elections in 2016, I think we have more than a few states wanting to make a move in establishing their Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN). A strong stance on the support of Public Safety will, or should, be a resounding message to the constituents this year. What better message to your state representatives than a self-funded, no taxpayer responsibility, of a network buildout that actually creates jobs, brings in much needed revenue, and maintains local control and focus on First Responders? Why wait for something you know you will get all screwed up if the federal government tries to built it from the top down, especially when you have to construct it yourself anyway? Maybe you can have them build your website? ;)

But, for those that want to "opt-in" we must look a little deeper. What political battles will be fought in the very near future? Should we consider the long-term outcome when it doesn't go as planned? What happens if you proceed with the "one-size-fits-all" federal agency to design, build, deploy and maintain the national PSBN and then we have a complete reversal of the political landscape? What funding do you think will be cut first? Who do you think will be left holding the bag -- the State? Do we wait until after the elections? Do we let this new federal agency proceed with its plan by getting itself entrenched to a point of no-return? When do we realize that by using the "one-size-fits-all" model it will have to be funded by the taxpayers? When do we realize that the burden of that tax base would be on the states? As I stated earlier, if that is the case, then why wait?

If you are a state governor, and you know you will have to face the taxpayers to help fund your statewide buildout, how long before your supporters start to ask "what's in it for us?" Why are we waiting for the Federal Government to come in a do a job we should be doing ourselves? How does the federal solution create jobs for us locally? How does the federal solution bring revenue into our state to help bolster our own economy and relieve of us of internal servitude and indebtedness?

It's obvious what will come of it if you go the way of the Public Private Partnership (P3) model; you get to advance your cause with the constituents of the state at the same time avoiding higher taxation; you get a long-standing source of revenue; you get a fully managed network without the risk of the technology curve; you get the entire thing at no cost to the State or its taxpayers. Why wait?

What is unclear is how the solution will get built any better with a new federal agency? In fact it can't be built any better than a P3; construction is construction no matter how you look at it; assets are assets and are predominately locally owned: taxpayers are taxpayers and live in states no matter how you view them; jobs are jobs and are best adopted locally, not through some federal organization located in the beltway of DC; and, revenue is best controlled and spent by the State for its own needs simply because it knows what is best for its base of support. What the federal "all-encompassing" model lacks is the will of Private Equity that can only be introduced via a P3 model. We need to attract private equity in order for them to invest and that is best done locally at the state level.

In the end both solutions build almost the same network, but only one is fully funded, creates its own revenue, generates local jobs and keeps local control; the other uses taxpayer money to fund it, with no revenue, and only benefits another big Orwellian federal agency.

But who am I?

Just some guy and a blog.......

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Words to Live By: “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” (Steve Jobs)