Wednesday, April 2, 2014

FirstNet -- States to Opt-Out.....not a tough road to follow...just the most profitable for the State and FirstNet!

I just read the following article entitled: “IWCE panel: Preparation key to states making good opt-in/opt-out decision on FirstNet (Mar 31, 2014 Donny Jackson | Urgent Communications)”. There is one thing that always gets overlooked when anyone speaks about the “Opt-Out” scenario – revenue. “Money is the root of all evil”, said by a man named Michael Myers. 

If I were a commercial carrier, or a large vendor, why would I be interested in the National Public Safety Broadband Network – FirstNet? Obviously it’s to get more money. Whether it’s selling a box, protecting your turf, or just plain old greed, the fact of the matter is that all of these things are rooted in the mindset of acquiring more money. Not rocket science here. But why is it that vendors, large government contractors and commercial carriers would be so interested in equipping “a national footprint of roughly 5 Million Public Safety Responders”? A network built holistically across every square inch of the United States, and our 6 territories? Seems to be a little lop-sided on the amount of money needed to build it versus the return on the available pool of users, especially when there is all this talk about not having enough money.

These players cloak their interest under the guise of “supporting our Public Safety Community” when in fact the real reason for the interest is all about the spectrum. Why would a commercial carrier, that did $29 Billion covering 100 Million users last year alone, be interested in this measly amount of users? The reason they made $29 Billion last year was based on the fact that the services were all delivered through a scattering of spectrum channels. How would I increase my revenue when the cost of the handset and the service options keep dropping in price? It’s simple; I consolidate my spectrum into the most valuable bands; then eliminate the less-profitable assets that support obscure spectrum bands.

Then comes along the pristine beaches soaked in 20 MHz of the D-Block Band 14 spectrum, allocated by law, to the Public Safety Community. As a carrier I understand that, as I consolidate my spectrum assets, it would be great if I could grab the best spectrum on the planet to further my profitability across the penetrating designs of LTE that bring in bandwidth hungry money making services. The future of profit within the wireless space is all about the services that will run on top of the spectrum – not owning the infrastructure anymore. What does this have to do with FirstNet?

FirstNet, the controllers of the D-Block spectrum, are failing to understand the money that the network can generate – or maybe they do understand -- and thus are planting seeds for a takeover by the carriers. You can believe any conspiracy theory you like, but rest assures that a $29 Billion company knows exactly what this spectrum means. The fact of the matter is that FirstNet controls the spectrum, but the States actually own it. You can’t deliver a broadband wireless platform without the land it covers; else all you own is a piece of paper.
Why not let the States utilize the spectrum as the commercial carriers would? Why not let the States capitalize on the potential revenue of the spectrum for themselves, focused on delivering a solid hardened infrastructure of a wireless solution? Well because the carriers, the vendors and the big government contractors want the spectrum, thus the money, for themselves.

If I were a vendor, or commercial carrier, I would definitely see the potential of the moneymaking machine of the D-Block 700MHz spectrum. Who can blame them? These commercial carriers, vendors and large government contractors report to shareholders, shareholders that include you and me. I would expect no less for my investments. Thus, FirstNet would be a great opportunity to capture as much of that potential cash when the client, who owns it, doesn’t understand the capitalistic model of capturing its profitability. Matter of fact why not exploit and cloud the topic based on a shroud of secrecy “for the benefit of Public Safety”? Essentially the term bait-and-switch comes to mind. Bait them with the notion of having just cause in supporting Public Safety, then switch it later on when they have control of the assets. It’s like swindling a homeowner at a garage sale out of a painting that you know is worth millions, but in this case we are talking Billions. This is what we are seeing when it comes to these presentations on “Opt Out being a tough road”.

The fact of the matter is that FirstNet is not about the cash, but rather using its capability to generate cash to build and sustain our Public Safety infrastructure as a priority, infrastructure that nobody wants to own, but always want to reap its benefits. The truth of the matter is that there is no “Opt Out”. The term was fabricated at the outset of the FirstNet Board, and was only used to quell some of the detractors to the Federal Government leading the effort. You can read the Act, in its full color, and see for yourself that the term “Opt Out” is not in it. We just need for FirstNet, and the States, to understand the value of the spectrum and then adequately adjust the consumption of its technology so that we can gain from its potential. The potential use of this spectrum could foster much more than what we are talking about today. If you take the blinders off, and view it as a carrier, you too can see its potential to fund the entire build and its long-term management. The only way to benefit from the use of the spectrum, to its full advantage, is only through true Public Private Partnerships at the State level -- the Myers Model™.

Just some guy and a blog…. 

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