We are finally seeing FirstNet make an effort to address Opt-Out States -- but through the NTIA and FCC. I have this vision of a brat whining to the school teacher because others won't play with him on the playground.
“FirstNet will deliver the interoperability compliance matrix to the FCC, NTIA, and the States and Territories as expeditiously as possible, but no later than the time of delivery of State and Territory Plans.”
Although, this matrix will most likely only outline technical features (addressed only to the FCC/NTIA), for the benefit of doubt lets say FirstNet is making an effort to address Opt-Out States. Addressing the technical aspects of the network will not be that complex to administer -- no matter how complicated FirstNet makes it seem -- that’s because we only have 3-4 real providers of the technology, all of which already interface with each other. The real issue will be how FirstNet lays out its operational controls and governance.
It doesn’t matter what FirstNet believes on how the network should operate, because being a State based Opt-Out solution, the State will be in charge of its own operational plan and governance control. FirstNet trying to impose a fixed structure of operational control over State based assets will not fly. Let alone the Tenth Amendment, the real issues will be driven by revenue controls and provisioning of new groups. The complication comes from the billing engines and the provision of services to the initial handset solutions assigned to specific groups. Technically it can seem to be overwhelming, but the carriers do it every day with 100’s of Millions of users every minute of the day. The real issue will be financial and operational control; who gets to provision new users; who gets to control the revenue flow from the users; who gets to control the user groups geographically, statewide and nationally – these are the real issues -- not what interface I have to use to connect two fibers. It will be interesting to see what FirstNet thinks in regards to how this will be run.
Even though FirstNet is creating this matrix, it really doesn’t mean anything outside of the fact that the NTIA/FCC need something to work with. As I spoke about in an earlier posting about trust, FirstNet does not hold a lot of trust, primarily due to the fact that creating this matrix is the first real effort FirstNet has made in addressing the States that will Opt-Out. This gesture may be construed as FirstNet just appealing to the demands of the FCC who is, most likely, being inundated with State Representatives peppering them with what the “technical” and “interoperable” standards will be for an Opt-Out State. This is what I mean about building trust. Being forthright with what the FirstNet business plan is, or what FirstNet has been thinking in that regard, is the only real way to build the trust. If there is any hint of people within the FirstNet organization not playing by this open game, and fostering the States own solution, then they should find a new job.
We’re coming upon a half Billion dollars being spent on FirstNet so far trying to construct a “new carrier operation” from the top down. How much more money needs to be spent before FirstNet understands their position as an oversight of Opt-Out States, thus applying their “technical matrix” through the FCC? Sure, FirstNet needs to act like a business owner for those States that will Opt-In, but, I can assure you that adjusting a business model to address such a solution will, or needs to be, driven from the bottom up and will be drastically smaller of an effort than what FirstNet is spending the money on today.
As with any government driven solution, we have to pay the folly-payment first, then the work really gets started. Along for the ride are those States that are “waiting to hear what FirstNet has before moving forward”. I can professionally state that there are a lot of States talking Opt-Out (and I have met with all of them), especially after the façade of “Opt-In and we pay for it all” has worn off. Reality has settled in – and I think FirstNet has come to realize this as well – States need to start sharing efforts to mobilize around a consistent Public Private Partnership model that can be replicated across borders to insure operational and governance controls that are easily understood and setup between adjoining multiple States. FirstNet is not going to provide you a framework of a Public Private Partnership model if it keeps playing the “top-down” card -- Why? Because they won't let go of preconceived ideas of how the network needs to be built. The answer to the whole PSBN lays within each State. The State is not going to get the answers it needs from a technically driven “interoperability compliance matrix” created for the FCC and NTIA. Remember, FirstNet doesn’t want the Opt-Out State to succeed -- they want their plan to succeed -- that plan is a government administered plan, not a State driven plan.
Probably the biggest market economic boost in the last 10 years is being held up and the only people who are suffering are those in life-threatening situations; people that need jobs; the middle class that needs tax breaks; and the State’s ability to drive energy into its local economy. Why? Because someone believes they may lose out on some “Free” money from the Federal Government, which is asinine. Just taking money from one pocket and moving it into the other. Fostering the Public Safety Broadband Network into existence, through the Public Private Partnership model I’ve been preaching about, will create thousands of jobs locally, provide a solid infrastructure to support communications in-whole, all while prioritizing Public Safety first over everything else....and fortunately...the modified FirstNet mission will rise with the tide.
But who am I other than….
Just some guy and a blog….