Our $7 Billion Emergency LTE Network Might Just Be Broken
Our belated attempt to build a nationwide emergency LTE network has already faced criticism
due to board members' close ties to wireless carriers; the organizations investigation of itself
not exactly eliminating those concerns. That was followed up with concerns about potential budget shortfalls
, with insiders concerned the $7 billion doled out to the program may not be anywhere near enough.
More than a decade after the events of 9/11 highlighted our awful emergency communications infrastructure, and another two years after the LTE network was proposed, it appears that the project is stuck in an unsurprising patch of dysfunctional purgatory. A report by Government Technology
written by a FirstNet State Point of Contact for Washington doesn't paint a flattering picture.
In the report, Bill Schrier notes that in addition to the scrambling by carriers to get their share of this $7 billion, there's a scrambling among agencies to get their share of the money as well. This cash rush appears to have caused gridlock, with very few actual networks or even employees to show for it:
I think FirstNet has about 25 federal employees working for it. Their goal, I believe, is to have 100 or more full-time staff to do the work. Gee, two years into a $7 billion project and only 25 full-time staff have been hired!?...key positions go unfilled, such as the CIO and CTO positions.
Schrier goes on to note that other emergency networks that were under construction at the time the project was proposed were also put on hold -- meaning in some instances our emergency communications networks are worse off
than when we started. While it might be a little early to label this another broadband boondoggle (Schrier promises the people who are
involved are competent and intelligent) there's a few unmistakable signs that it could easily turn into one if somebody doesn't give the entire thing a swift kick in the digital posterior.
Re: What emergency LTE network? Exactly?! Why not simply have the carriers build it and then run it and we simply use theirs? I mean why start something we have no idea how to do? This is why government is a scam and simply doesn't know how to do anything right!
"The relationship between what we see and what we know is never settled..."
| |said by BiggA:We had a mere 5.8 Earthquake here about 5 years ago (no one injured, barely any damage, I think the news found a brick chimney that came down somewhere), and it shutdown the wireless networks of all carriers for over an hour, because everyone was making the "are you OK?" type calls. I could only get through to my wife via a land line.
Just get service from Verizon. We don't need YET ANOTHER network.
We've seen the same thing with 9/11. Also with Katrina, but that was largely because of massive damage. But in a nutshell, when something big happens, don't rely on any cellular network to get your message to someone (or 911 for that matter) because the cellular networks WILL go down.
They are simply not up to the task of everyone trying to use their cellphones at the same time. That's why I keep a landline at my house, because as long as the infrastructure itself isn't damaged, it is likely the only way to get a hold of people and/or emergency services. Your cell phone will be useless in the first few hours.
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"