The FirstNet story is pretty troubling Basically, the group responsible for designing the LTE broadband network for first responders outsourced the proposal to consultants who also work for Verizon and other telcos. Unsurprisingly, the proposal involves paying Verizon and AT&T big bucks to do everything, in perpetuity.
One of the group's board members called out the conflicts of interest, and pointed out that the users of the system (police and firefighters) had no input on it's design. The other board members said that's not a problem, here's a quote:
Board member Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver, compared FirstNet's mission to that of the secretive Manhattan Project, which spearheaded creation of the United States' first nuclear bombs during WWII. Just as FirstNet is aimed at helping and protecting first responders, he said, "The Manhattan Project was going to save a lot of lives as it related to soldiers on the ground. They weren't part of the discussions. They weren't part of the working group. They were the beneficiaries of a product that was produced by the best quality minds of the United States. I think we have the capacity to do the same thing."It's hard to suppress a laugh when he's comparing some telco consultants to Oppenheimer.