Dispelling More FirstNet Rumors

One of the many things we want to do here at All Things FirstNet is to help cut through the fiction, gossip and rumors. We have talked about having a separate section to discuss these issues weekly but we don’t believe there are enough to warrant a weekly update. However, we did want to provide some comment on some of the fiction that is out there.

Here are a few of the things we are being told.

• States should or could do contracts with FirstNet and or AT&T. That is complete fiction. There are no provisions in the law to allow this to happen. Let’s understand that the relationship between FirstNet and AT&T with the states is simply opt-in or opt-out based on the plan provided. Simple and to the point. To suggest anything else is simply complicating the issue with rumors not based of fact.
• The next rumor is that AT&T is allowing proprietary technology by vendors like Motorola to go into the FirstNet network. That is not true. We have heard FirstNet Board Members and AT&T Executives clearly state the contract requires that the network be built on open standards. AT&T has said many times that they plan on keeping this commitment and requiring anyone who operates within FirstNet to comply. Now let’s face it. This is a complex issue and I know there may be products today that plan on being offered within FirstNet, but based on all comments by those senior officials those products will have to comply and those vendors will need to figure out how to do that.
• The last one for this edition is that Verizon will be offering Band 14. The only way that will happen is if they are a participant with an opt-out state. There are only two ways to get access to the spectrum. The first is to be awarded the FirstNet contract and AT&T has won that award. The second is for a state to opt-out and build their own Radio Access Network (RAN). So the idea that Verizon can provided Band 14 is far from fact and pretty much fiction.

As in all things, rumors are generally motivated by those who don’t have the facts or by those who have motivation to change the facts. The idea that a state could enter into a contract either comes from those who don’t know the law and the issues or those trying to create distractions. Keeping to facts and focusing on the reality will allow FirstNet to focus on what they need to do, not chase wild rumors. We need to support FirstNet in keeping on track so that public safety can access the network sooner rather than later.

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