Our Emergency LTE Network May Need Much More Cash
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. Now it appears that FirstNet may also be facing budget problems. Politico
notes how the $7 billion doled out to the effort may not be anywhere close to enough to provide uniform connectivity. From the report:
One study by Televate, a firm that services public safety networks, said the current $7 billion funding could deliver a public safety-owned network covering 226 densely populated counties — far from enough to blanket the entire (country). Nationwide service, the report indicated, would cost $5.5 billion to $9.4 billion more to build, depending on how it’s constructed and the extent to which it relies on help from wireless companies.
Ex-Verizon executive and FirstNet General Manager Bill D’Agostino downplays the financing threat to Politico. FirstNet could look toward first responder fees to make up the shortfall, though that could harm the project's efforts to attract users.