Monday, February 23, 2015

FirstNet -- why is Net Neutrality and Title II important to Public Safety Broadband?

Why would FirstNet be interested in Title II and Net Neutrality? The basis for understanding is quite simple: Public Safety is the catalyst and anchor tenant for a new hardened infrastructure that can support broadband to everyone. Commercial broadband access is just a derivative of the hardened requirements. FirstNet needs all the partners it can gather, but they also need control of its implementation, at least to a point where the baseline, hardened, protected infrastructure is built and implemented and everyone else's needs are applications that ride within it.

We hear a lot about convergence and consolidation and a lot of people think it just has to do with the commercial carriers – this is not entirely the case. When analyzing the consolidation we think about shrinking the carriers into a chosen few, i.e. AT&T and Verizon with large amounts of geography and Sprint and T-Mobile with smaller shares. The context of this theory is that the playing field is based on physical infrastructure and signal propagation. If you look at consolidation from a layer above you can see that consolidation also means morphing of the broadband space in its entirety. In short, its more than just a few carriers and some turf… that’s just what the press wants to write about. The fact is the market of broadband “technology” itself is forcing the change not the companies.

As broadband technology continues to progress we see a simplification of the platforms and infrastructure, thus the cost and complexities of designing, deploying and operating broadband services becomes cheaper. What has become more complex, outside of the science itself, is the applications that interface with the platform, but those platforms are associated with particular industry needs, i.e. Public Safety, cloud based services, Utilities, etc..

For the carriers though they are holding the baggage of past networks, towers, and any other physical assets of the old networks, thus their reason for shedding assets. Why do you ask? The reason the carriers are shedding assets is because it detracts from their revenue margin on access. Simply, it costs more to maintain the infrastructure than what they can make off your Internet access to your home. Plus, if they can sell off some old assets, why not. On the upside the carriers are seeing increased revenue on application services, i.e. TV, video-on-demand, cloud services, etc.., so if they can shed the physical and move into all services, they will decrease their overheads and increase their revenue. The issue is control though; this is where FirstNet comes in.

FirstNet managed to acquire the most valuable spectrum on the planet called the D-Block. By acquiring this spectrum FirstNet became the new main catalyst to the convergence and consolidation of broadband. Now we have a physical reason to build and control the unwanted physical broadband assets that are detracting from the commercial business model, i.e. towers, fiber and backhauls. By giving priority to Public Safety we are in-fact establishing the baseline for an all-encompassing telecommunications infrastructure that can be rebuilt from the ground up…literally. Towers will be built to a hardened spec that the carriers find to expensive for their needs and fiber can be delivered to remote areas for coverage that others were unwilling or incapable of delivering. 

With the President and the FCC bending the Title II and Net Neutrality rules, FirstNet will be in the position to work with the Utilities, most specifically the Electric Cooperatives, to deliver broadband.  The Electric Cooperatives cover all the rural areas of the United States and they have inherent telecommunication requirements, most specifically broadband for SMART Grid, and with Title II they will be allowed to compete in the commercial broadband space, meaning they will be allowed to sell broadband as part of their utility bill. It just so happens that the Electric Cooperatives, the bigger IOUs, and the Municipalities are also considered a part of Public Safety, thus are anchor tenants to the Public Safety Broadband Roadmap that FirstNet is working to deliver. Through the Public Private Partnership construct that I created and trademarked the Myers Model®, FirstNet, and the States, will now have the funding they need to build out 100% of the geographic landmass.

In closing, to put this all in simple terms, we have a new sheriff in town when it comes to building the plumbing for broadband to all Americans and its reasoning is in alignment with the requirement for essential services. This is what will help Americans get the infrastructure needed so they can get their universal broadband access. The commercial carriers are reluctant to change, especially when they lose control of the physical assets, yet at the same time can’t complain when they don’t want to spend the money to build it themselves.

But who am I other than…

Just some guy and a blog….

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