I read a lot of material on a daily basis. Much of that material pertains to FirstNet. I have noticed something about all the hoopla in respect to Opt-In versus Opt-Out and I think most people don’t understand one crucial piece of the entire argument. Let me indulge myself a little bit.
FirstNet is crying out that any and all,States must comply with their interoperability characteristics when it comes to deployment and long-term operations. This is understandable given the nature of the law to create “one network” for Public Safety. The physical build-out of the network, the chosen vendor solutions, and the ability to adopt technical standards is not the issue here – I’m afraid this is where both FirstNet and the Opt-Out players have a failure to communicate. The fact is that the real argument is about each party using the network for their own advantage.
If a State decides to Opt-Out, and FirstNet wants to insure it gets the network that meets its needs as well, then as a designer of the network all I would do is isolate the FirstNet network from the rest of my network using the same footprint. In short, I would isolate the fiber, isolate backhaul and protect edge access for prioritized Public Safety solutions as Priority 1. You can build a lot of fiber into your network; you can also have duplicate backhaul solutions; you can even isolate and encrypt traffic demands right on the handset or radio interface. All other data traffic whether it be Utilities, Transportation, Agriculture or even commercial usage, would be Priority 2 or 3 depending on the States business model. The fact I’m trying to make is that what’s important is the accommodation for both networks within the same infrastructure – this is where everyone is missing the point.
The beauty of Band-14 being owned by Public Safety is not because they get their own isolated network, it's because they get to be priority on the network they own. Without secondary or tertiary use of the network the Public Safety Broadband Network won't work -- they need the revenue to get the "fully-funded" and "self-sustainment" mandate in the law. The physical demands of hardening and coverage only complement each parties network desires – all boats rise with the tide. The technology is perfectly designed, in fact was designed, for the prioritization, classification, protection and isolation of data traffic patterns. There will be only one physical network, as described in the law, it’s just FirstNet will have its own fiber, its own backhaul, and it’s own encrypted access for the Public Safety Broadband Network – which was the plan all along. FirstNet will even have its own awarded contractor to build their solution as well, but so will the State. The State will use the excess capacity, or “other” assets for their own good, which includes the spectrum. What we are trying to do here is capitalize on the use of the spectrum for what it is intended to be used for – provide more bandwidth than any one stakeholder can use and to generate enough revenue that makes everyone happy.
So everyone stop getting all up in arms about the FirstNet versus the Opt-Out States, the fact remains that it’s really only one infrastructure. If FirstNet wants its own building to support the State’s Public Safety entities, its own fiber, its own access, then so be it have your new contractor deploy it for you. Meanwhile, the State can capitalize on the use of the infrastructure to consolidate its own Public Safety needs, in an adjacent building to FirstNet’s, for the purpose of the State to take advantage of benefits – through a Public Private Partnership – in consolidating State First/Secondary Responders and commercial broadband services throughout its coverage areas. Seems to me to kill two birds with one stone. FirstNet gets its backup solution for communications nationwide and the State gets to use the assets to create jobs, bring in investment and generate revenue for other needed services. Who would complain about that? I would recommend that FirstNet allow the State to build its own network first though, else FirstNet will run out of money fast and with no means to bring in more.
Just some guy and a blog….