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Is Our Emergency LTE Network Plan Getting Hijacked By Verizon?
FirstNet Board Member Claims Shady Dealings Afoot
by Karl Bode 08:35AM Monday Jun 24 2013
In September of 2011 the National Preparedness Group released a report stating that national U.S. emergency networks still aren't up to snuff a decade after the events of 9/11. Several Congressional efforts to build a nationwide LTE network have stumbled over the last few years courtesy of partisan gridlock, though the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 did create the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which according to its website is supposed to objectively help coordinate the build of an 700 MHz LTE-based emergency broadband network.

Except back in April, one FirstNet board member started claiming that shady dealings were afoot, most notably that those with ties to industry's largest players (primarily Vodafone, Verizon and AT&T) had started conducting secret meetings, making decisions outside of the board room, hired outside industry consultants with ties to industry, and that those with actual security and emergency backgrounds were being elbowed out by industry insiders. Paul Fitzgerald, an Iowa Sheriff and a FirstNet board member had this to say back in April:
"The plan was developed largely by consultants who were not engaged in a fair, transparent, objective manner as required by the law, whose qualifications in relation to the public-safety communications have never been disclosed or demonstrated to the board, who have prior relationships with certain members of the board who come from the commercial wireless world, not the public-safety community, and who are paid amounts that have never been disclosed to the board as a whole," said Fitzgerald.
FirstNet is denying any impropriety or that a secret plan has been built, though this sounds like fairly standard operating procedure where Verizon, AT&T and government money is concerned (after all, their lobbying power far outweighs that of actual first responders and those with a non-financial stake in the results). FirstNet's new GM, Bill D'Agostino, is conveniently coming to that post directly after employment at Verizon. Fitzgerald meanwhile continues to insist that a plan heavily relying on Verizon's network has been constructed covertly by Verizon, and that further public meetings will be theatrical in nature.

We will probably wind up with a functional emergency network eventually, but it will ultimately cost taxpayers significantly more once the incumbents get done gaming the system to obtain their pound of flesh.

topics flat nest 

Mike Wolf

Beachwood, NJ

Wish there was a way to fix this

I wish there was a way to stop all these backroom dealings and for once actually have an uncorrupted and legitimate organization like all this was supposed to be in the first place. I can't say I'm not surprised that corporations have screwed everything up.


Glen Head, NY

Re: Wish there was a way to fix this

said by Mike Wolf:

I wish there was a way to stop all these backroom dealings and for once actually have an uncorrupted and legitimate organization like all this was supposed to be in the first place. I can't say I'm not surprised that corporations have screwed everything up.

Unfortunately the horses have left the starting gate. I often try to imagine how one would reasonably fix the corrupt society we now live in and I just cannot fathom a way to do it. Outside of a major disaster of a continent wide proportion that basically causes existing government institutions to collapse (along the line of Jericho or Revolution, which introduces its own problems), those that have secured their positions through backroom deals, government subsidies and cronyism will continue to rule over us. Various blue ribbon commissions and investigative committees will only nip at the heals without really solving anything.

Sorry to be such a downer but sometimes people need to understand how things really work.
I support the right to keep and arm bears.


Limestone, ME
The problem is that money seems to be the only voice that is heard.

Being Right or Good doesn't seem to matter anymore.

Free at last, free at last
New Orleans, LA


Glad to know that me and my people are getting f**ked while some fat a$$ lines theirs already bloated pockets with more money.

Dacula, GA

Give Verizon a break!!

They're too busy handling call metadata to the NSA to concentrate on piddly little stuff like our emergency LTE network.

After all, they have to choose their priorities:

Sell out their customers?
Make more money by screwing up government contracts?

Selling out their customers takes less effort.


Washington, NJ

Fact of the Matter is

Big Business is Big Government, Capitalism ran amok...

Squire James


Re: Fact of the Matter is

So is government or corporations, or both, to blame? I find it hard to blame one without the other.

I disagree that this is "capitalism ran amok". It is "corruption run amok". Without these government/corporate back-room deals, capitalism would do fine thank you! If you think socialism would somehow be less corruptible than capitalism, read up on the old Soviet Union.

Ai Otsukaholic

The government inept and corrupt...

...and corporations and their lobbyists line up at the taxpayer funded trough?

Say it ain't so Joe.
Nocchi rules.

East Amherst, NY

Re: The government inept and corrupt...

It doesn't make sense to build an overlay network. That would cost billions and is wasteful. It is easy enough to create a tag for ER networks and give them the highest priority. If they came up with a standard versus try to build one, and then that way they can choose the vendor (meeting the ANSI standard), and have a backup if needed. LTE chipsets are good enough now to handle multiple frequencies.

The issue is that once this happens the piss poor tower DRP will need to be updated and some redundancy will need to be built in, not to mention extended backup power not unlike POTS USED to be.

The government rarely builds these networks anyways, they are always going to be built by a private company anyways, so why not just admit it and do it right..

Iowa native
Springfield, MA
·Verizon Broadban..

Third world emergency communications

Here, you are not getting true enhanced 911 unless you call from a landline (which is why I keep a landline). If you call 911 from a cell phone, you get the state police dispatch and you have to verbally identify the city or town you are calling from and they have to transfer you to the responding agency.

Heaven forbid that you went cell only and have a child who is not breathing and you cannot think clearly enough to give the location of the emergency.

While the cell infrastructure has been upgraded to transmit location information, not all state 911 systems have been upgraded to receive the GPS signals from cell phones.

A good 911 system is one call response that does not require you to be transferred and gives location information, no matter what phone service is used.

The carriers are not to blame, it's state and local governments that are operating 911 systems on outdated technology.
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.
Whats a Posting tag?

Bellingham, WA
·Comcast Formerl..

Ham's are already doing it.

Broadband-Hamnet™ (formerly called HSMM-Mesh™) is a high speed, self discovering, self configuring, fault tolerant, wireless computer network that can run for days from a fully charged car battery, or indefinitely with the addition of a modest solar array or other supplemental power source. The focus is on emergency communications.

In its current form it is built using the Linksys WRT54G/GL/GS wireless routers and operates on channels 1-6 of the 2.4GHz ISM band, which overlaps with the upper portion of the 13cm amateur radio band. Other platforms and bands are in development at this time. Next will be Ubiquiti equipment with others supported as development resources permit.

Get a license »www.arrl.org/ham-radio-license-manual
Get involved »hsmm-mesh.org/
Bellingham Scanner Kicks Ass! »bhamscanner.kicks-ass.org/