Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FirstNet - Why Chief Dowd's 911 was never going to succeed!

The issue with the misalignment on the 911 system in New York City, and the communications network, is the fact that the Capital Program Office of the MTA is in charge of building, running and maintain the 23 Point-of-Presence (PoPs) locations that these wireless LMR solutions and the data centralization of 911 are reliant upon. The MTA is heavily unionized and influenced with corruption. Chief Dowd wouldn’t have been the first, or the last, official to take favors from the vendors and contractors in the city. Chief Dowd was just the latest to fall prey to the lobbying.

The MTA of New York has been planning, installing and upgrading the old SONET ATM (Phase 1 and 2 which was originally awarded to Siemens back in 1996) network to the next generation of DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing) and Gigabit Ethernet solution for the last 20 years. This upgrade was a much-contested suggestion I proposed some years ago – me playing golf with the then CPM President. I was the Project Manager for the oversight of Siemens for Phase 1. My direct line of thinking basically informed him that they were wasting more than $250 Million on the purchase of 271 SONET ATM switches for a product line that didn’t meet specs and was, in fact, declared end-of-life – this was around 2002. The product was the SeaBridge Switch. Eventually I introduced Ericsson to at least get the right switches installed so that it could meet spec, but this didn’t alleviate the issue that the comm closets were not prepped to handle the HVAC concerns and the water penetration issues.

As I just hinted about, one of many issues that they face, they insist on utilizing the 23 PoP locations that are located within the subway system, that also tie together 291 of the old communication closets located in stations that the MTA maintains. The issue is that these closets are decrepit and leaking with water, after all, the subway was put in in 1904 and, as you might guess, so were these communication closets.

The simple solution would be to splice the fibers, which run throughout the cities subway, into the basement of buildings located above, then retrofit for the hardening characteristics that are needed. We had 900 -1000 pound cabinets that needed to be installed, but we couldn’t even get them into the stations due to the narrowness of the stairs accessing the closets. We spent 10 times more on these cabinets in hopes that it could accommodate with the humidity and precipitation. Once again, I stated this years ago.

The difficulty that the MTA was facing actually became the basis for my dissertation back in 2003, in short, “why can’t the MTA build a telecommunications network”. The outcome of that research capitalized on the fact that the City needed to utilize the Public Private Partnership model I came up with, this is the same model that is being considered today by FirstNet and about 37 States. Just so happens that the MTA in New York was my case study – who would have thought? I am not surprised that the 911 solution for the City is in disarray, and you can count on the fact that there will be fraud and corruption uncovered as well.

The contractors that typically get all the work, not the big guys, the big guys are just the face of the project, I’m talking about the contractors that are tied to all the Unions within the city. The reason they can’t get anything done is because the Unions are killing any momentum they try to move forward with; if its not the Unions then it is all the inbred, or in-bed, relationships that are pervasive throughout any of the city contracts. I wouldn’t count on anything actually being done in the future either, unless DeBlasio will go after the unions and the corruption – I wouldn’t count on it though.   

Just some guy and a blog….

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