It looks like the Rivada Mercury lawsuit has been tossed out and FirstNet is poised to finally award its $6.5 billion network contract to a commercial provider (looks to be AT&T). Yesterday RCR Wireless had an excellent Webinar that provided an update on FirstNet’s status – a good synopsis and report written by Kelly Hill can be downloaded here Public Safety LTE.
The issues with FirstNet are political not technical. It requires each state to decide to either opt in or opt out of the system. And states have a small window of time after the RFP is awarded to make that decision. For years there have been state-wide radio networks in which local cities and states have been cajoled into joining. This has typically played out with the rural communities opting in (they don’t have funds for their own system) and the larger cities opting out. In this instance, it may be the “rural” states that decide to opt out because the system won’t provide enough radio coverage. Rivada is already encouraging some states to opt out and let them deploy a more suitable (read more coverage) network.
There are many commercial and political interests at play here. Those, as usual, will trump the technical and economic considerations.