Thursday, March 6, 2014

FirstNet Public Safety Broadband -- LA-RICS the Great Oz has spoken! California "Opts Out"?!

Update: LA-RICS has taken the path of "the same old" when it comes to deploying their large-scale LTE network. Is anyone keeping a log of what the ups-and-downs will be along the way? It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Personally, I see rough waters ahead, especially when it comes to funding the solution long-term. No matter how much they try to hide their difficulties, the fact of the matter, the only ones that will be harmed in this endeavor will be the taxpayers -- and a few consultants and vendors. You can quote me on that, LA-RICS will be a burden on the taxpayer! My question to you, do you think the State of California will be able to come up with sufficient funding to deploy PSBN to the whole State? Without hitting the taxpayers pocket?

For the entire State deployment my estimates put that figure to be between $1.5 and $2 Billion dollars in a capital build program; at least, 3500+ sites (new sites like LA-RICS); and another $150 to $200 Million a year in operations and maintenance of the network. That is peanuts to what the network is actually worth and how much money it can generate annually. But has LA-RICS just blown it? I hope LA-RICS understands it’s going to cost them around $15-$20 Million a year to operate just in their county alone. I’m sure they included that in their figures, but who's counting? Isn't the State already $20 Billion in debt? Ahhh, what is debt anyway? Who cares just get it built and ignore the collapse of the State's economy? We can at least say “we did our part for the Nations Public Safety Broadband Network and for the citizens of the State”. With the future collapse of the economy, I can assure you, the State will need that Public Safety Broadband Network. Here we thought the LA Riots were bad? Just in case you aren’t following me – I'm trying to be sarcastic.

If the approved Motorola bid was at $217 $175 Million, my math may be off, but that would have been $100 $65 Million more than the bid we would have submitted while at my last employer -- a bid I lead. That doesn’t include the $380 Million contract Motorola won for the LMR network as well. If the Authority's T&Cs would have been less stringent, and actually not biased towards Motorola, the County would have had a great bid that would have at least saved the taxpayers a $100 $65 Million. You can refer to my earlier article about the T&Cs ruining their chance of a safe and viable bidding process entitled “FirstNet: this is how LA-RICS will fail” as well as the article entitled “Vendor Negotiations for the LA-RICS LTE PSBN project -- First, a history lesson of LA-RICS, from an observational point-of-view!”.

In reviewing my crystal ball, I can state, that the $217 $175 Million that Mr. Mallon just put together for the project, could have been completely funded by Private Equity, thus avoiding any bonds, grants, or entitlements from the taxpayers. But, LA-RICS is comfortable in spending taxpayer money, at a premium, for a vendor who doesn’t make a single piece of LTE gear. I have to say, Motorola did choose a great partner in Ericsson though -- you can’t go wrong with their LTE product. But, the judges are still out on GD (General Dynamics) being the construction crew. I’m sure GD’s pricing will be quite pricey, I’m assuming all those airplanes and ships come with a lot of overhead; then again GD will just sub-out all the construction work anyway causing a lot of passthroughs. I wonder how much the Motorola and GD mark-ups are? By comparison to the bid I led, I can safely ascertain, at least $100 $65 Million worth of overheads. Only time will tell, the board has spoken (just like Oz), so onward and upward?

In the end, I really do wish the State of California the best in achieving what it needs to survive and to be successful in its implementation for FirstNet. I really do believe that Motorola will do its best to deliver you a great LTE network -- their reputation is on the line for this one. I am praying that your management team will be guided down the path of least resistance in attempting to build a very complex LTE network. Just remember, if you start to realize that your plan isn’t working, when it comes to funding, you can call me anytime for assistance. I promise not to gloat.

Does this mean that California is "Opting Out" of FirstNet? It sure does sound like it. If LA-RICS is building the network themselves then, to me, that is a clear definition of "Opt Out".

Just some guy and a blog….

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