Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FirstNet -- LA-RICS continues to use taxpayer money for a solution as to whether the chicken or the egg came first. Motorola continues to buy in.

Just read the update on LA-RICs entitled “LA-RICS helped by 700 MHz narrowband order, set to begin LTE network deployment next week.” (Oct 28, 2014 Donny Jackson | Urgent Communications) and truth is there were no surprises. The fact that the LMR solution has moved forward, and the LTE solution has not, only illustrates the imbalance of the business model, the needs of its users, and the false path of believing that “if you build it they will come approach” does not apply to a very complex broadband program. The reality is that Mr Mallon and Chairman Fujioka need not spend any of the bonds or grants on physically building the broadband LTE network, plus there is a better way to attract the “cities” that will not commit. As I have stated in earlier articles, the approach that Mr Mallon is taking is not the correct one. I don’t say this to embarrass anyone; rather I say this to help the State out in that it really needs this Public Safety solution. Whether you like my comments, or not, reality really stinks sometimes – a reality this messenger did not create.

The course the LA-RICS program is committed too will be tied up in the “chicken or the egg” scenario for sometime unless they take a different approach -- an approach that I have pitched on many occasions. By the way we’re one year into the 2-3 years I said we would be tied down in a quagmire before a new course has to be set – that means another 1-2 years to go unless the light comes on. The issue is, and will always be, the balance between user requirements, user needs, private investments and the ownership. Until someone really takes a look into that aspect of the LA-RICS program, we will continue to funnel cash down a dark hole. Designing and building the solution is the sexy and easy part. Building a complex broadband network without a business plan is like building the Space Station without any instructions. But then again Men don’t need any stupid instructions. We get there when we get there. ;)

Here is another interesting point. The article mentions Motorola as the contractor for the LA-RICS program. It’s understandable that there are those that really like Motorola and have relied upon them in the past for “LMR” based Public Safety solutions – after all, it’s just a tower and some radios – we can do that – right? Have you noticed though that every “LTE” broadband initiative awarded to Motorola has taken a downward spiral or went into stalemate? It’s just an observation but BayRICS, Harris County and a few others have all come to the same question – why do we have a vendor leading the effort when private investment is actually required? The fact is, not only is Motorola burning cash in these pursuits, but the State agencies that continue to encourage their efforts are as well. Having a solid long-standing relationship, and using that relationship to “implement the real solution, the solution that nobody else really understands because they don’t do what we do” may not be the best approach. If this were a scoreboard then Motorola’s efforts are not doing very well; neither are the State representatives that keep pushing a solution that does not engage the open market. 

Motorola needs to ask itself if it’s in the best interest of Motorola to continue such pursuits when the company is spending more cash than revenue they are generating on the effort. I don’t know too many private, or commercial, companies that have survived on such a model. The State Governor’s need to step in as well. Why is it we have to continue spending taxpayer money for such a poor record of success? Had the LA-RICs program adopted the Public Private Partnership approach from the start, we would not be in a scenario where we are comparing the reproductive cycle of chickens and eggs.

But then again I’m….

Just some guy and a blog….

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