Tuesday, October 31, 2017

FirstNet Threatens the States? $15 Billion penalty for California?

It was just a matter of time, as I pointed out a few years ago, that the battle between the Opt-Out and the Opt-in models will commence. The scare tactics from FirstNet, going so far as to say that, any State that decides to Opt-out of their planned network with AT&T will have “steep fines and penalties”, only demonstrates just how far FirstNet will go to insure its carrier partnership succeeds -- $15 Billion threatened against California alone.

"California officials said opting out would require “an unrealistic number of subscriptions/connections” as well as nearly $3 billion in spectrum lease payments and more than $15 billion in penalties."

What happened to all the “kumbaya” about FirstNet being there specifically for Public Safety? Since when did a national carrier become Public Safety? If anything, FirstNet should take a step back and stand with those States that wish to go-at-it alone. Stand side-by-side with the State to help insure it gets what it needs for Public Safety instead of trying to force what it believes is the right answer. What Public Safety needs does not lay within the confines of FirstNet alone, in fact, the best solution will only come when all sides understand that no one person, or organization, knows what’s best and that they can only offer their own view points to what the solution may be -- especially a solution drawn up by a centralized federal entity trying to force a local solution. A polluted derivative of a commercially tainted proposal, obviously biased towards a “carrier only solution”, is not the answer. The entire FirstNet solution was doomed even before the RFP was a concept. In the beginning, FirstNet wasn't even going to create an RFP, they were just going to build it themselves...remember that? One organization alone, FirstNet, thought it had all the answers from the very beginning. What they failed to do was incorporate an entire inclusive process of organizing around the State needs – thus local Public Safety.

All the talk from FirstNet about how they are on the side of Public Safety, and how they are there for the needs of the States, are now viewed as lies, deceit, and a bias towards a carrier lobbied takeover. We even see signs of those harmful tactics from AT&T itself, whereas before the leadership within AT&T were stating such things as, “AT&T will deploy infrastructure in the FirstNet spectrum only where it needs more bandwidth than its traditional network can provide”; to “we plan to build out Band 14 throughout the country, aggressively rolling it out to give public safety the coverage and capacity they need”. What changed that forced such a reversal? It’s all to obviously that the political battle between Opt-Out and Opt-In is taking a toll. What we are seeing now is a ploy to curtail all the bad responses of uncharacteristic failings of transparency – or are they? It’s a do-anything scenario to push the spectrum holding over to AT&T, plain and simple. If the FirstNet/AT&T plan is successful, it will be one of the most successful takeovers of spectrum in the history of telecommunications and will pad the pockets of a small group of individuals. If the FirstNet/AT&T plan is a failure, then it will be an inherent shift towards deploying the solution, as it should have been deployed in the first place, to the hands of the States.

The fact remains, why should AT&T benefit from the use of the D-Block spectrum and not a State? If AT&T gets what it wants, then the spectrum, the most valuable spectrum on the planet, will fall under the control of AT&T alone, all for the profit potential of just one carrier. Does that seem fair? If a State controls its own spectrum allocation, then it can benefit in the same manner that AT&T would have, but in this case, the benefits are much greater for the State. Through an investment of private industry, the State will get a much better infrastructure to support a true digital economy based on a solid, hardened, infrastructure of wireless broadband, fiber broadband, and an assortment of secured networks, all for the purpose of supporting resilient applications, such as NG-911, DOT ITMS, Transport PA-CIS and critical communications, as well as a host of private and commercial platforms.  All these solutions will open up new employment opportunities for State constituents that will drive the local economy by bringing in much needed revenue to the State. All of these opportunities are only viable through a State deciding to Opt-Out and deploy their own infrastructure, else AT&T will be the only one that benefits. It's not just about the cash that will come back to the State from its share, its more about the economic engine that is created and how that cash gets introduced back into the State's economy. The Opt-In does not even come close to enabling such an opportunity -- except for AT&Ts goals.

For those that believe that ‘Public Safety” can only be delivered by FirstNet, and the State decides to Opt-Out, then you still have your solution. How? All you do is provide FirstNet its own fiber optic network within the infrastructure and isolate a portion of the spectrum for Public Safety use only. There is only one solution that will allow for that – the Rivada solution. You can isolate specific strands of fiber throughout the States deployed broadband solution, then isolate certain aspects of spectrum isolation through their spectrum arbitrage solution; or just incorporate traditional priority schemes of broadband wireless – schemes that were specific designed with LTE in mind. With the Opt-In solution the network is still being delivered through the existing commercial network -- a network that is designed for consumer traffic, not Public Safety, and is ill-equipped to handle even the smallest disaster scenarios within the State. In the end, the tactical technical requirements are always functionally possible, giving the spectrum to one carrier is not, especially a carrier whose objective and agenda is to enhance its own network on the backs of the taxpayer.

But what do I know I’m…..

Just some guy and a blog….

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