Thursday, June 23, 2016

FirstNet is becoming "SecondNet" and the States are becoming "FirstNet" -- Mark Levin would be proud -- practically speaking anyway!

Just read some interesting statements made by Mr. Poth and Jeffrey McLeod of the NGA. Is it just me, or is there a sense of urgency in people trying to correct an image? Just saying.

The first item I wanted to address is this notion of FirstNet communicating and the States not listening…or is it State is talking but FirstNet isn’t listening? The important thing to point out is that a statement of “not communicating” or “not involving the States” is being misinterpreted by FirstNet.

“We spend a lot of time trying over-communicate to the states. We don’t view them as constituents, but they are critical partners, just like public safety and just like our federal partners.” (CEO Mike Poth)

Over communicating means someone either doesn’t understand, which I believe the States understand quite nicely, so over-communicating has developed; or, the other party is trying to communicate that they aren’t getting the “right” message from the conveyor, meaning “FirstNet we hear you plenty when it comes to what the network will look like and who will take part, what we aren’t hearing is what’s in it for me...the State…and by the way I don’t want to pay anything to have it and I want it for my own personal use as it relates to local Public Safety users – or as you put it “constituents”.

“Some [states] have expressed concern about the tone of the engagement,” McLeod said during the hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. “During the consultation process, FirstNet has referred to states as ‘constituents.’

The term “constituents”, to me anyway, is an interpretation that the taxpayers are the ones who will get the bill…with the majority of that responsibility falling on the State taxpayer base. Why else would anyone use the term “constituents if they weren’t relaying a fact that the States have to abide by their “constituents” or “taxpayers” -- which happens to be true? But, using the term “constituents” in this setting may not be a mistake at all -- rather in this context it can actually be interpreted as a threat? A threat that if a State chooses to Opt-Out, then they will have to face their “constituents” meaning that if a State decides to build its own network, using its own business model, then it will have to answer to its own taxpayers. I’m sorry, but don’t they do that already? Daily? Why would this be any different than what they do already.

  • “If state officials do not like the state plan submitted by FirstNet and its contractor, the law include a provision for a governor to “opt out” of FirstNet, which would mean that the state would be responsible for building and maintaining the radio access network (RAN) within its jurisdiction. While the opt-out alternative is a legal option, it is not a practical choice for most governors, Jeffrey McLeod Dir NGA said.”

I hate to pull a Mark Levin on you, but what the hell does “legal option” and “practical choice” mean in an Opt-Out? My definition of a “Legal Choice” is FirstNet trying to shoehorn a network solution that doesn’t fit into the State’s purview. “Practical choice”? Let’s talk about being practical:

  • The State relinquishes total control of its network to the Feds who then picks an unknown entity to run the State's local statewide network, supposedly for ‘local First Responders”
  • The State will get hit with a bill, by the Feds, to fund their portion of their State’s network – which is undefined at the moment.
  • The State doesn’t get any benefit of creating a revenue stream for its own use – but FirstNet does.
  • The State supposedly will get services that are cheaper than what they have today and will reach all the rural areas of their State.
  • The State has no say in who the FirstNet partners will be.
  • The State will have no say in the networks progress, nor the technical required needs of the future
  • The State will be reliant upon the federal government to build to their State specific needs – even when there has never been a successfully delivered program in the past

  • The State gets to create its own Public Private Partnership with its own investors to avoid taxpayer funding meeting full “self-sustainment” and “self-funding” as required by law
  • The State gets an ownership stake in its P3 to create a revenue stream that pays for First Responder needs without taxpayer funding or grants
  • The State gets a fixed board position and a say, in how the network will be developed for the foreseeable future
  • The State gets complete prioritization of their local First and Secondary Responders
  • The State gets complete say in approving who their contractor will be to build their network
  • State gets to foster local economic development by introducing commercial access through their P3
  • State gets to create its own local job creation and reduction on taxes to the tax base – better known as the “constituents”
  • State gets to apply (receive) for their portion of the $7 Billion allocated to the Public Safety Broadband Network in support of “design and construction services of the network”
  • The State gets to step in a take over the network at anytime.

In short:

Opt-In = you pay and you get no control
Opt-Out = you receive and you maintain all control

This will be on the test later on, but which choice do we think is more practical?

Am I missing something here? When the term “practical” and “legal choice” are being thrown around, do they mean the Opt-In or the Opt-Out choice? I’m confused. After all we are talking in practical terms here…aren’t we.

“To many states, the opt-out scenario is a false choice,” McLeod said. “While there are a number of unknowns associated with opting in, very few states are in a position to consider taking on the unknowable—and likely significant—financial liabilities associated with building, operating, maintaining and upgrading a full radio access network in their states, if they choose to opt out.”

Mark Levin would be proud; what they hell does “false choice” mean? Do they mean a false choice in accepting, blindly, a FirstNet Top-Down solution? How does a State have a “false choice” when they construct their own solution to build their own network that is fully paid for by their own chosen financial partners and constructors?  The only context being successfully “communicated” here is that, per FirstNet, or maybe the Department of Commerce (which seems to be more of the fit), is that the State will have to pay the piper when the time comes, but “they” can’t define what that is at the moment…so why not “over communicate” to confuse the message? I find it rather interesting when a centralized theme of government control, who believes they can act as a telecom company, tries to build out a nationwide platform by appeasing the NGA with conservatively toned messages of practicality. Smells more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing if you ask me. How’s that Obamacare website coming along?

“Very few states are in a position to consider taking on the unknowable—and likely significant—financial liabilities associated with building, operating, maintaining and upgrading a full radio access network in their states, if they choose to opt out.”

First, the term “financial liabilities” is best defined by not knowing what it will cost your taxpayers to Opt-In.  Second, I have to say that such a statement is disrespectful to any State Governor. This statement basically articulates that a Governor can’t think for themselves, but the DOC – I mean FirstNet (or was it the NGA? I’m confused!) -- are the only ones that can handle such complex decisions, especially as it relates to local issues of which they will heroically stand in to save the Governor from those pesky little “constituents” – you know those people that elected them into office.

As a close friend recently told me “FirstNet is turning into SecondNet and the States will be FirstNet” (Pat A.)

But why listen to me, after all I’m…

Just some guy and a blog….

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