Have you ever had a time when you know someone is wrong, but there’s no chance in changing his or her mind no matter what you try? It’s like watching them stumble while desperately trying to maintain and upward stance of control yet everything is falling down around them? You told them not to drink half that bottle of whiskey, but they insist they can hold their liquor. That’s exactly what I’m seeing with FirstNet. They keep drinking their own liquor and every swig along the way only convinces them more in believing their own delusional mindset. Here we stand just waiting for them to just lose their balance and go crashing through a plate glass window, down 4 flights of stairs surrounded by a group of Governors just watching them fall. The power of personalities and influential know-it-alls has reached a point of no return.
There are those within FirstNet, although a valiant effort, are failing to see beyond their only limitations. As I have stated from the very beginning, the solution FirstNet is advertisingwill not work, that being the carrier supported national model, but I’m helpless in lending a hand and helpless in penetrating those thick personalities who are convinced they have all the right answers. Letting them fall is the only option now. The good thing is that the “Opt Out” States really don’t need FirstNet to get their Public Safety Broadband up and running. FirstNet needs the States more than the States need them. It’s a hard fact to accept when FirstNet fails to see beyond its own delusion of an idea that will fail no matter how far you get along in its implementation. Unfortunately, the drunk must learn a lesson.
FirstNet was doomed once Sam Ginn announced they already had a plan and were working with the carriers to come up with a solution. At that point in time they had already convinced themselves that they had all the answers they needed. Everything since then, and up to know, has just been a waste of time and money.
In a recent Urgent article by Donny Jackson entitled “FirstNet says opt-out states must share revenues, meet nationwide network policies“ he quoted a couple of FirstNet representatives. Just one thing before I show you the quote; would anyone ask a lawyer to build you a house? Why would we ask one to build us a network? Anyway…
“Some state officials have been intrigued by the opt-out alternative almost from the moment that FirstNet was established, with a few initially expressing a desire to have revenue generated from the network help address general state-budget shortfalls. FirstNet officials quickly noted that the law requires all revenues must be reinvested into the FirstNet system, but a legal question remained: Could an opt-out state keep all revenues generated by the RAN it built within the state to deploy a network with greater performance or reduce the subscription costs to public safety?
The answer is “No,” according to the resolution approved by the FirstNet board last Friday. FirstNet Acting Chief Counsel Jason Karp noted that opt-out states would benefit from the use of 20 MHz of 700 MHz broadband spectrum that is licensed to FirstNet, which is mandated to build out a nationwide broadband network for public safety.
“We need to ensure that any revenue that’s generated—particularly in highly dense, populated areas that will generate significant value for the excess capacity available—that that money is appropriately reinvested back into the network in a way … that benefits the entire nation,” Karp said during the meeting. “We don’t want the national deployment to, in any way, suffer because a particularly rich state that is able to generate significant revenue because of that population density retains that revenue to create essentially a higher-quality radio access network in their state than we have in other localities around the country.”
I’m sorry, but I have a few issues with these statements. First, the law States that the revenue generated by the State must be reinvested back into the network. That is true, but nowhere does it say anything about the people. The network is being created as Public Safety being the Priority. To add, the law states that the use of Public Private Partnerships can be utilized and thus commission commercialized services on a non-priority basis giving Public Safety the primary role. Any Public Private Partnership (P3) created will have an ownership stake for invested parties. The FirstNetBoard even said themselves that they were looking to give a majority share of“63%” to a commercial carrier partner.
So, if I get this right, it’s okay for FirstNet to setup a P3 and utilize the investment revenue for itself and its partners, but the States can’t? Something just doesn’t seem right with that, then again it may be just me. Why would FirstNet be allowed to give away 63% of anything? The network, and the spectrum, was allocated to Public Safety – not FirstNet. FirstNet wasn’t even created until after the law was enacted, and even then it took them a year to get the FirstNet Board even going. Remember all that talk about having a 15-member board, but no organization to operate under its direction? FirstNet was not mandated to build the network, the 15-member board was, plus the spectrum was not allocated to FirstNet -- especially when it didn’t even exist yet -- it was allocated to Public Safety that was represented by the Public Safety lobbying committee long before the board was even a thought.
The law, as written and signed by the President, was in fact scribed before FirstNet ever came into existence. What I’m confused about is when did FirstNet take over the entire spectrum, and who said they could do anything to the spectrum without the okay of Public Safety? I may be missing something here, but isn’t the majority of Public Safety driven at a State and local level, not some newly created NTIA organization? From what I recall, FirstNet was created to organize the creation of the network as to support Public Safety’s needs; in essence FirstNet was created to help develop the solution for Public Safety – not the other way around. From what I understand, and I may be wrong, but nowhere along the way was FirstNet ever given all the assets to build what they wanted. The spectrum has always been allocated to Public Safety -- thus the State. If anything, FirstNet should be reporting to a 15-member board under the direction of the Board of Governors instead of what they have going on now.
If a State, or States, decides that they want to do their own P3 arrangement, and grant ownership shares to their own private investors, then the State must reinvest their own share back into the needs of the network. The law says nothing about the share of the private investment side. If the law stated that a State had to reinvest all of their revenue, then why would FirstNet approve a vote to relinquish “63%” of its partnership, thus revenue, to third parties? If it were true then, by law, FirstNet has to dedicate all its revenue to the network as well – that means no money for its partners, thus no investors. Catch 22 going on here.
Jeff Johnson is a great guy, but the following statement is awkward.
“We are building this nationwide network for public safety, and that doesn’t mean seven of 56 states, territories and commonwealths—it means all 56,” Johnson said. “That means we’re going to have to take resources from areas that produce more, and share them in the places don’t produce enough.”
First off that statement sounds kind of socialistic. Brings back memories of someone saying, “share the wealth”. I know what Mr. Johnson is trying to say is that the reinvested money, the portion that goes to the “Public” side of the Public Private Partnership, will be rendered for the “self-sustainment” clause within the Act, thus the “entire” network. I understand that, but I have a better thought. What if FirstNet were to stipulate that it has to take 5% ownership of all the State P3’s, thus enabling them a long-term committed revenue stream to support national public safety programs? That would make a hell of a lot more money for FirstNet then giving away the farm to the commercial carriers. Plus, any State that Opts-Out has to abide by the standards of technicalities as listed by FirstNet, i.e. physical network design characteristics, approved vendors, etc.. FirstNet would also be in the position to script a framework for consideration that the State can utilize to execute its own Public Private Partnership. Within that framework FirstNet could state its requirement for a 5% ownership stake, thus its revenue equivalent that would go back to FirstNet as a way to help support the needed Public Safety programs for those States that lack their own funding. Sounds a lot better if you ask me.
Laws can be written or modified to insure the “Public’s” side of the P3 arrangement is committed to Public Safety. We have to remember that Public Safety is essentially a local element -- anything else is a nationalistic police force. The law does state the revenue generated by the State (the State’s portion of ownership) has to go back into the network, thus allowing the State to generate self-sustainment to maintain its long-term operations and maintenance of its own solution, where as 5% of their stake would go back to FirstNet to accommodate the Nation’s needs as well. If FirstNet wants to “share the wealth”, then by all means go ahead and share your 5%. Just remember, the State Governors are the ones that define their own State’s Public Safety.
But whom am I other than….
Just some guy and a blog….