Tuesday, February 25, 2014

FirstNet and LA-RICS -- is that the Titanic parked in Long Beach? Or are you just happy to see me?

As I spoke about in the past ("FirstNet: This is how LA-RICS will fail..." dated September 30th of 2013) and ("LA-RICS Next Obama Mistake?” dated February 2012), the issue with LA-RICS (Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications Systems) is not the technical, or tactical, approach to building the 231 sites for Public Safety; rather it’s the financial model and its ability to generate revenue. I am referring to a recent article in Urgent Communications by Donny Jackson entitled, “LA-RICS board delays consideration of Motorola Solutions LTE contract”.

The LA-RICS deployment is the cornerstone (forcibly) of the State’s plan to build the statewide Public Safety Broadband Network. On one side you have leadership within the State’s legislative body that wants to support President Obama in anyway they can, but they realize that without help stabilizing their own economy and fixing their indebtedness, the support for FirstNet will be fleeting. The context for California was pretty much the epitome of “opt in”. What became a problem was the lack of a clear and concise message from FirstNet on a business model, a business model that could foster the States needs. Then came along “this guy with a blog” who opened up the opportunity of doing a Public Private Partnership – the Myers Model™ -- a P3 that made sense. His idea, sorry my idea, sparked interest by illustrating its control for Public Safety, opened doors for private investment, created jobs, and ultimately turned a solution into an income source for the state… without having the taxpayers pay for it.  Then comes the question, if the State wanted to support the administration in its plan for the NPSBN, then why do we have a rogue deployment that is the epitome of “opt out” – LA-RICS?

Well we can’t blame the LA-RICS staff, or the board oversight, because the LA-RICS thing has been in the works for the last 5-years, to say the least. Over time it grew to a point of “we just have to get it done at all costs”. As you can imagine, this probably goes against the wishes of the State, especially if they have a business model that could help the state tremendously. Why spend $200 Million when you can get it for free through private investment? How does the State still demonstrate support for the President in his efforts?

In the end the real reason the LA-RICS is stalling is that the Motorola model, that was presented to the board, does not illustrate the ability to “self-sustain” and does not adequately reflect its funding roots. Case in point would be BayRICS, but this article is not about BayRICS. In context how do you justify a build-out on the back of taxpayers when there is a way to do it for free….and take in revenue….and not hit the taxpayers?

Anyone can do the math of this and can come to consensus that maybe LA-RICS just needs to slow down and drink some fruit juice or something… or, whatever they drink in LA these days. Have they legalized pot yet? The model is right in front of the board, what is clouding their judgment is that they are fixated on bonding, grants, taxpayer impacts and ultimately the message to the constituents. Plus, it doesn’t help that they believe they have all the answers (or the vendor has all the answers), when in fact, they don’t. Anybody can be inches away from the hull of the Titanic to see the damage; it’s the higher viewpoint that really illustrates what the message is.  

[“We had taken the proposed contract to the board [last Thursday], and they delayed action on it until March 6 to do some further analysis of the funding plan,” LA-RICS executive director Patrick Mallon said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.] (Donny Jackson Urgent Communications)

Another key area of interpretation is the fact they barely squeaked by with a questionable bidding process to build-at-all-costs just to meet a timeline of federal funding. How would a vendor be able to produce a business model that does not take into consideration the impacts on its revenue operation? A vendor must feed the corporate dragon, else they get consumed. Anybody remember the term “vendor financing”? Anybody remember the collapse of the telecom market back in 1999?

The fact of the matter is that the Myers Model™ (Public Private Partnership) demonstrates the advantages of private investment without the stereotypes, or a bias towards one vendor. In fact, the Myers Model™ actually equalizes the business models by aligning their needs through stability, anyone who partakes can reap their own intrinsic success – to include the vendors. In the end everyone on the board, and in the State leadership, just needs to understand, we are not dealing with a technical, or timeline issue, we are dealing with a financial issue. Then again this could all go south if the board does not concede its defeat and instead reconvenes to move the deal with Motorola to the next level, of which then they will be inundated with stress and anxiety. I have a solution for that as well, it’s called Zoloft.  

Just to demonstrate that it’s not all doom and gloom, the beauty of the P3 is that it can be implemented at anytime, the only thing the State needs to ask itself is; do we want to waste money up front, or just let private equity step in to take control and foster a better model for LA County and thus the state?  Either way, the network has to be built, we have Public Safety issues regarding Police, Fire, EMS, INS, DoD, Highways, Utilities and High-Speed Rail systems that all need a safe and reliable network, but then again I’m…

Just some guy and a blog…

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