When will we learn to see what’s right in front of our eyes? Nothing better than a huge incident opening the eyes of the masses to inject change.
Why grab possessions like thieves, or divide them like socialists when you can ignore them like wise men? (Natalie Clifford Barney)
Recent news of AT&Ts 911 outage only goes to remind us of what’s at stake with the Public Safety Broadband Network. We are driven to remember the catalyst of reasoning as to why we must consider the allocation of spectrum to Public Safety in the first place. This is not AT&Ts first time in having disastrous consequences for Public Safety. Just remember the earth quakes in DC and California; the fires out west; and hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The result of these types of disasters demonstrate why a carrier relationship with FirstNet will not work. You can’t blame AT&T; the blame will sit soundly in the lap of FirstNet’s decision to partner. AT&T is just doing what AT&T has done since its existence – to provide service to its consumers.
AT&T’s entire business is designed around maximizing their return to their shareholders, thus the infrastructure was, and is, designed to accommodate the least amount of overheads to achieve maximum amount of revenue. Public Safety’s goal is not about maximizing its revenue, it’s about providing a hardened infrastructure that can provide service during disasters. The business model for FirstNet should reflect a total different thought pattern as to how it needs to minimize its downtime while maximizing its coverage and access. For Public Safety to succeed, it requires a completely different way of doing business. I figured this out back in 2003 when I wrote about it in my dissertation. In short, the only way you can deliver such large-scale, complex, telecommunication infrastructures are through a specific type of Public Private Partnership driven with an entrepreneurial focused objective of shared wants – The Myers Model.
I think that by ignoring the show you're ignoring the audience who put you there. (Simon Cowell)
The entire reason that Public Safety fought so hard to acquire its own spectrum, was so that it could establish a network that would save lives. AT&T’s recent 911 outage specifically demonstrates that a commercial carrier business model takes precedence over any other reasoning – to include Public Safety. It’s not about whether an Executive at AT&T feels that Public Safety is not important, or because a certain customer doesn’t make as much revenue, it’s because their entire infrastructure has been designed around a different cause and you can’t just change that infrastructure to accommodate one type of client – even if they wanted too. The task of redesigning, rebuilding, reprioritizing and reestablishing its goals after 100-years since its inception is unachievable. The only way you can accomplish such a task is via a completely new rebuild. One must forego any existing infrastructure and start from scratch – thus the reason for Public Safety to build its own network.
To fully articulate a new build one cannot spill the entire puzzle on the table and expect it to just fall into place. You must start small. Those States that have taken the first step in introducing their own RFPs are on the right path, i.e. Colorado, New Hampshire, Illinois, Arizona, Alabama and a large slate of others. We can’t create this entire broadband solution from the lofty position of a centralized federal program – it simply won’t work. The law specifically addresses a backdoor to allowing States to do its own thing, thus why else put the “Opt Out” option in the Bill at all? Commonsense was injected into the Bill from the start.
The real question now is how does a State put out its own RFP that will accommodate a viable path of prioritization, standard specification, and shared ability to generate revenue for self-sustainment without isolating the market, its users, and its overall purpose? The answer is quite simple; a Public Private Partnership at the State level that balances the needs of public and private wants, needs and requirements. I’ve laid this out on many occasions.
In the end, what’s important? The States are given a solution that no other entity has ever had, a chance to create its own profitable broadband solution without having to purchase the most valuable spectrum on the planet. Chance to create a truly hardened infrastructure that can support both public and private markets for the foreseeable future. A Chance to finally allow for its IT expenditures become a real revenue generator for the State. A chance to fully utilize its assets for a purpose other than just being a lost capital investment. A chance to fully prioritize Public Safety as the cornerstone to the entire solution while creating jobs, avoiding taxes and building revenue. Carpe Diem!
But who am I other than….
Just some guy and a blog….