By Richard Mirgon, Public Safety Consultant
Over the last few days there have been a number of articles in different publications all having the same theme, no transparency from FirstNet/AT&T. They all contain statements as to AT&T not disclosing details of the FirstNet contract. As someone who has been involved from the beginning, I have to ask myself why the issue? Let’s remember that the AT&T contract has been read, reviewed, and compared to other offers to include Rivada and deemed the best offer. Not only did this group of independent evaluators, who are experts and not FirstNet employees, determine it was best, it was also agreed to be the best after a legal review by a judge. So, enough already with AT&T not disclosing contract information and that’s why it’s a good reason to select Rivada, Verizon or some other company? I am going to keep this short and to the point in hopes people will read and remember.
Multiple states have solicited responses from Rivada and others which have been compared to the FirstNet offer and after evaluation have chosen to opt in. So, are we saying we don’t trust those states that have come to the opt in decision? I know most of them and they are smart and knowledgeable people.
Rivada lost their protest in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the Judge was specific about one concern. The Judge wrote “…… deficiencies related to “Rivada’s lack of financial stability, capacity, and required funding” and went on to say “Rivada did not provide acceptable evidence demonstrating that it could obtain” such funding. (page 9, paragraph 3 of the ruling)
Again, based on Rivada’s deficiencies when it came to the award, why aren’t people questioning their abilities to provide systems to states? If you want to challenge someone, then the question should be, “why aren’t Rivada’s proposals, financials and offers made public?” They point the finger at AT&T so no one will ask them about theirs. Rivada “doth protest too much”. Isn’t it time Rivada explains who is financing all their work, how exactly will they finance their build cost, what interest rate are they promising the lenders on loans and how much will that cost public safety?
Everyone may not be happy they can’t personally judge the contract. The reality is if competitors were privy to that contract they could, and some would, undermine the FirstNet program. So instead of complaining about the program we have, let’s put “those that protest too much” under the magnifying glass.
Richard Mirgon is a Public Safety consultant focused on FirstNet. He is a Past President of APCO International and has over 35 years of public safety and first responder experience. For more information about the author please go to http://www.presidential-partners.com/the-partners/