Saturday, November 7, 2015

Is FirstNet committing a Criminal Act by fraudulently misleading the States?

Recently we’ve been hearing a lot about FirstNet propagandizing that the States can’t use the revenue generated off the deployment of the Public Safety Broadband Network.

Let me draw your attention to a very important section within the legislation:

Sec. 6302. State and Local Implementation
 (g) PROHIBITION. (1) IN GENERAL. A State that chooses to build its own radio access network shall not provide commercial service to consumers or offer wholesale leasing capacity of the network within the State EXCEPT DIRECTLY THROUGH PUBLIC-PRIVATE-PARTNERSHIPS for construction, maintenance, operation, and improvement of the network within the State.

It can’t be clearer than that. The “Except (ion)” clause specifically states that a State can generate its own revenue. In fact a State can sell service broadband services through a Public Private Partnership. Any equitable share, that belongs to a governmental body, must be reinvested back into public safety. The remaining share of the P3 formation goes to the private investment, or commercial entities. This means that if a State “opts out” then they can reap the benefits of the revenue generated off the network.

It’s quite perplexing as to why FirstNet would deny that this exists in the law. This is why I created The Myers Model® Public Private Partnership. My model specifically addresses the key areas of the law so that a State can utilize the network to design-build-operate a fully self-funded and self-sustaining solution for Pubic Safety. By FirstNet coming out and stating that the States can’t use the revenue generated by the PSBN solution is just wrong and, in fact, such behavior could be construed as fraudulent by the deceptive practice of misleading the Public and the States -- thus a criminal act. I understand the stance of the FirstNet Authority to seek to protect its mission in establishing a nationwide solution, but it doesn’t need to be at the expense of sacrificing the benefits to the States.  What we have here is a failure to communicate and an overarching demand that each party is right.

FirstNet is hell-bent in its plan to build from the top-down, when in fact we have to build from the bottom-up. Bottom-up starts with a State. By stepping out of their box FirstNet will realize that it can still administer its mission of a “nationwide” solution even if the States decide to deploy their own Pubic Private Partnership. In fact by subjugating to the States ability to control its own P3, FirstNet would stand to reap the benefits as well. As I have illustrated in The Myers Model®, FirstNet could take an ownership approach in equity while at the same time administering standards, approved vendors and hardening requirements for the States to follow. The fact is the State will be faced with building its own anyway. The party that pays the most in the public safety solution will be the party that controls the build out – the State will be the one that pays the most. If FirstNet doesn’t adapt to the State solution of “Opt Out” then FirstNet will be the only loser in the deployment. Nobody in their right mind would pass up the chance to generate revenue, create jobs and increase access for their own economic and political needs.

A combined approach of all States, building their own solutions, will generate enough resources to pay for the entire build – 100% geographic coverage – plus generate enough revenue to pay for all the Public Safety needs – down to the handset. The top down solution that FirstNet is pitching won’t be able to achieve these results. Commonsense needs to morph the attitudes of those that won’t change – or --change will be against them and force them out.

Once it becomes apparent that telecom (broadband) networks are ALWAYS built from the ground-up, things will start to click and become clear on how all the pieces fit together. As it stands, FirstNet is fixated on this notion that they have to be in charge rather than “consulting” with the States on how they can build the network from the ground up. The current structure has the Department of Commerce as the appointed authority over the enactment of the First Responder Network Authority, which is fine for administering a liaison activity on the progress of the “FirstNet solution” to the legislatures, but the FirstNet board should be under the direct guidance of the State Governors for the deployment. This is the piece that is missing and this will be the main point of contention between building the network from top-down or bottom-up – better known as “opt In = top-down” and “opt out = bottom-up”.

The DOC has no control, or insight, as to how Public Safety is administered, especially at the local level. The only governing body that can represent the needs of the First Responders is at the State local level. Yes, there are national law enforcement entities that span multiple States, thus federal organization representation is needed. But, the majority of the deployable solution will be under the local ability of the State. Why would we think that someone at the federal level is better suited to design-build solutions for Public Safety at the local level…it makes no sense? But then again I’m….

Just some guy and a blog….

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