Last week was not a banner week for the First Responder Network Authority. New Hampshire became the first state to opt out of AT&T’s FirstNet plan late last week, deciding instead to go with Rivada Networks. And Verizon quit the California RFP for the FirstNet RAN alleging it was unfair.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said that the Rivada plan was technically superior to AT&T and would allow the state more control over the network.
“Rivada has proposed a plan that has the potential to provide immense value to our state, including unparalleled public safety infrastructure investments that will lead to unmatched and near universal coverage for the new public safety network,” Sununu said. “New Hampshire will retain a level of control that it would not have enjoyed in an opt-in scenario.
New Hampshire announced a public/private partnership with Rivada Networks back in September 2016, saying that it had concerns that the rural, mountainous nature of the state “would not get the attention from FirstNet that [it] felt was deserved.” State officials also wanted to be prepared with a backup plan in case they chose not to accept the FirstNet State Plan.
“If the decision was to opt-out; however, the responsibility would then be New Hampshire’s to build the network to support FirstNet initiatives,” wrote John T. Stevens, state single point of contact (SPOC) for New Hampshire. “FirstNet will then require that such a plan be forwarded to FirstNet for approval within 180 days. It has long been the understanding by many that producing such as plan in 180 days is absolutely impractical and unachievable.”
Verizon, which is working with Rivada, has stated that it supplies communications to two-thirds of the public safety market in New Hampshire.
Also last week, Urgent Communications broke the story that Verizon decided not to bid on California’s procurement seeking an alternative vendor to FirstNet, claiming that FirstNet and AT&T are “rigging the game to stifle true competition.”
On the brighter side, Missouri became the 36th out of 56 states and territories to opt in to FirstNet.