Wednesday, November 9, 2016

FirstNet - President Trump to derail Public Safety Broadband?

So let’s take a look at the landscape. As I stated would happen two years ago, FirstNet has been delayed because of the change of administration. Now it will be six more months (at a minimum) before we see what direction FirstNet will take. Ultimately, it will come back to the very first issue brought up in 2012 – the business model. The current business model that FirstNet is trying to pursue, that is a relationship with a large carrier, will not work. Doesn’t matter if it’s a conservative or liberal administration, partnering with a company whose business model does not align with your own is a dead-end – was a dead-end from the start. The only way for this to truly be a success is by allowing the States to take ownership of their own build-out then consolidate their solutions into a nationwide model – sum of all parts.

FirstNet never should have taken the advice of the carriers from the start, or the consultants who were connected to the carriers. FirstNet just needs to help provide direction, templates for execution, and a framework to consider when tying in interoperable solutions. FirstNet has to focus on the national layer of control of the network -- just in case of a multi-state disaster. Let the State take the lead. It is still the government though, so who knows if I’m right. I’m hopeful that President Trump will view the entire Public Safety Broadband Network as an entrepreneurial exercise of creating a new infrastructure. Government control is not the solution FirstNet needs.

Two years ago I predicated that if FirstNet did not get started a year after it was created, it was never going to happen due to the change of administration. As part of any major public private partnership (P3) you must consider the political impacts of the effort. The inherent concept of a P3 is to NOT be under government control. When the DOC and the NTIA enforced Federal Acquisition Requirements (FAR) onto FirstNet, it was over – just like Trump taking Wisconsin. Had FirstNet attacked this as a small entrepreneurial team, they could have executed a framework of an efficient public private partnership model – as was mentioned in the law – and only took the stance of oversight as the States execute their own portion of the models, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Instead, FirstNet started listening to the carrier lobbyist right from the start. The secret lays within the business model…not technology, carrier need’s, or biased representations.  

How can it move forward? Well, that all depends on President Trump and his appointments. Given that this is a large national security solution, costing $100 Billion when done, I’m sure this will be the initial focus of the new administration – when it comes to Public Safety. Once the new administration starts to analyze the situation, we will have two courses again: let the States execute their own portion and focus FirstNet on oversight; or it will be business as usual, which will end in a disaster again. Take this as a do-over, do-over. Maybe this time we can get it right – right?

What about the States who have their RFPs out on the market? Simple, keep your efforts going and utilize the framework that the State of Alabama used in its RFP. In the end, by waiting only impacts a State’s ability to generate more revenue for other programs such as; Veterans, Public Safety, Health, etc..

We will see…. meanwhile I need to find a real job.

Just some guy and a blog…..

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