Is it just me, or do we all sense a slowdown in FirstNet? Not hearing a lot from any of the key players and not sensing any real support from the market – except Rivada – for the proposal responses. There is one thing I am hearing though and that is a lot of rumblings within the States to Opt-Out. In the end is a State really Opting-Out of anything….no not really. The only real difference is that a State will take control of its own solution and its own future. How many of us out there really expect FirstNet to come in with a great solution, a solution that will replace an existing carrier contract, a solution that will be self-funded, self-sustaining, truly hardened and not demonstrate a hint of distrust? Who really thinks the Federal Government will come in to your State and actually work for the benefit of your constituents, especially when there is 56 of you – 50 States and 6 Territories?
There is no possible way a FirstNet solution will be totally void of taxpayer funding and prioritized towards Public Safety priority without some concessions. Any solution outside of the P3 I have been boasting about will in fact break the law – how do I know this – because I specifically designed the P3 model based on the law. As I have stated in the past there are too many variables out there that can contribute to a disaster. In fact, if you could picture Red Square in China on a revolutionary holiday entrenched with all the Red Flags – FirstNet would still dwarf its celebrations in Red Flags of distress.
Forget about the technical side of FirstNet and all its glory of LTE and shared services, just think about the governance headaches, the political follies, the campaign redirect, and the political funding cuts, plus the notion that there are States who just don’t trust the Federal Government to do anything. Has anyone tried to ask the question how many of these States that Opt-Out potentially ruin FirstNet’s plans before it even starts? I did and my figure is roughly 5 average size States or 1 large State and three smaller ones. Even if FirstNet were to setup and award its Program Management Team to build out nationally, given the amount of Opt-Out States will only mean that FirstNet picked the PM Team for the State still leaving the State to responsibility to complete the task. What is different than the State just picking its own team do to the same work anyway?
Now I understand FirstNet put out an RFP asking for any and all solutions that FirstNet should consider in addressing its objectives based RFP. Which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the market lost confidence in FirstNet following all the accusations of insider trading and monopolization of the spectrum. Show me one State that has complete trust in FirstNet to completely deliver what is says it will deliver. In a past article I wrote about the honor that needs to be restored and the trust that needs to be rebuilt with the community -- before FirstNet can expect a viable response. I’m afraid that time has passed and now FirstNet’s only real option is to hope the States can deliver the solution themselves and will consider FirstNet’s contributions.
As I said in the past, FirstNet should be focusing on a business plan that can accommodate for all the Opt-Outs and still succeed. I gave my own solution for that issue some time ago, in short, FirstNet would just be an equity partner in the P3 established by the State that Opts-Out. FirstNet will be the standards organization and centralized control center in connecting the national layer solution. Do we actually think a centralized FirstNet organization is going to build an entire broadband network that is twice the size of AT&T and Verizon combined from the top down; during a change of administration; and following the disasters of the Healthcare Act, websites and many others? Take a sip from the commonsense cup and focus on your local needs. You know you can do better than what a top-down federal agency can do for you. Just the sheer size of the programs; the timelines to getting things accomplished; the pride for the State to accomplish it; and the personability of a local touch; and the local ability to address local concerns cannot come from an organization that resides in another State or in the District of Columbia. Carpe Diem!
But what do I know I’m….
Just some guy and a blog….