One thing everyone needs to understand, is that the failures that Public Safety is facing today is not the fault of AT&T. The quagmire within the FirstNet plan is the result of the lack of understanding and the ill-equipped commercial experience of the management team within the FirstNet organization – note I did not say the Board, but they too have some issues to face. The primary reason we are now seeing all the press about AT&T, and its lack of understanding “Public Safety Grade” solutions, has everything to do with the FirstNet leadership not enforcing its own rules and succumbing to the lobbying activities behind the scenes. But, you can’t knock them totally, because a lot of the mix-up came from their having to deal with the DOJ investigation of illegally playing ball with the carriers from the start.
The individuals who were involved with that investigation have been long gone now, but they left the aftermath for those that took the reins following their departure. I’m afraid that the residual of those prior acts of collusion still permeate within the framework that FirstNet (the organization) is working under. It was a lack of understanding about how that collusion actually saturated the thought process associated with executing its own master business plan. The current staff was either unwilling, or lacked the comprehension, to understand the damage done by the previous staff, thus choosing drastic measures to meet the timelines laid out in the law. In short, they were forced to try and fit a square peg of a carrier solution, into a round hole of a Public Private Partnership. But, were they? From my standpoint, and I asked this directly to the leadership at one of the many conferences, “how were they prepared to handle the situation if business model fails?” Of course, it was quickly diverted with a statement of “we have complete faith in the award and its success”.
FirstNet always speaks about how it is there for the purpose of enforcing the rules for Public Safety, yet fails to consider that maybe the award of the RFP never met the needs of Public Safety in the first place. Had FirstNet outlined a simple philosophy of some basic requirements, then never diverted from the primary objectives, we wouldn’t be in the spot we are in. Some of those basic requirements are for “complete coverage”; “Public Safety Grade” infrastructure; prioritized Public Safety; and complete interoperability based on a business model of constructing its own service provider – not using existing, unaligned, business model of the commercial market. There are a host of other ancillary items such as broadband standard, use of D-Block, approved vendors, etc. If you read the law the way it is written, that is exactly what it is saying. The thorn in their side, started with the introduction of a “carrier solution” from the start. What FirstNet, and the public, should have been hearing is an organic solution for a broadband plan administered by FirstNet but delivered by the States. I’m afraid the virus of the commercial carrier solution was injected into this effort long before the FirstNet organization was ever formed.
What is the course to correct such a blatantly ill-equipped business model? I’m afraid the correction that FirstNet needs is “back to the drawing board”. The entire solution needs to be based on a concept, whereas, FirstNet is just an oversight and administer of a conceptual framework of how the States should physically construct their own solutions, then ramp those networks up into a national foothold of inter-cooperating statewide networks. FirstNet needs to go back and formulate a Public-Private-Partnership (P3) framework that the States can utilize to construct its portion of the network. As we are now reading, Verizon has indicated that it is equipped to help augment those statewide solutions as an operating partner for each State. AT&T should be in the same position. Some States work better with Verizon, some work better with AT&T, or whatever carrier they prefer, such as New Hampshire and US Cellular, Kentucky with WindStream, or many others.
The P3 framework that FirstNet administers, should allow the State to benefit from its own share of ownership in the spectrum and allow the private market place to construct an approved broadband company that is in the benefit of said State. As Don Brittingham of Verizon stated, it’s the competition in the market place that really makes everything work. There is no better model to generate and great local economy than a Public-Private-Partnership that works locally. After all, 98% of all the traffic on the network will be generated locally – not nationally. FirstNet just needs to understand that it doesn’t need to focus on trying to create a monstrosity of a centralized national carrier to deliver a network best suited for local controls.
But what the hell do I know I’m…
Just some guy and a blog…..