As of September 12th, FirstNet has 20 states that have opted into the network. Verizon has previously made pronouncements about offering it’s own version of the network, despite not having bid on the RFP.
Now it looks like a number of individuals and organizations are ratcheting up the anti-Verizon rhetoric, the latest being Richard Mirgon, the past president of APCO, who has written an article entitled Verizon. It’s Not the Solution It’s the Problem. (Part 1).
The title and end of the article suggest a Part 2 is to follow next week, where he suggests he’ll look at another aspect of the Verizon proposal. You have to wonder if the folks at FirstNet are feeling some heat with 30 states still out deciding whether to opt in or not or if this is just some form of setting the record straight from those who are irritated that Verizon never bid – and at least from Mr. Mirgon’s perspective – categorically denied they would ever provide the priority access to the network that is a key provision of its architecture.
The governmental architecture of our country has always made consensus-type projects like this problematic. With 50 states/governors/political orientation/company bias/other forces at play, it’s a major lobbying effort to get everyone under the tent. FirstNet executives seem to have done an admirable job of reaching out to each state with a plan and a methodology for inclusion in the network. And AT&T seems to have done an admirable job of hiring individuals dedicated to making FirstNet a viable public-safety network with priority features and functionality that are necessary and possibly not applicable to its commercial business.
Verizon probably hurt its case by not responding to the RFP. If it had done so, its case for an alternative network would probably be resonating more strongly across the country. But it is still early… and both companies are professionals in terms of lobbying and navigating the nuances of state government.
Do you think the anti-Verizon rhetoric is justified?