The Federal Communications Commission released on 31 July 2012 an order implementing the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. The Act creates a First Responder Network Authority. The FRNA will be responsible for implementing a nationwide, interoperable broadband public safety network. The FRNA will hold a single license for use of the 700 MHz D-block (758MHz-763MHz/788MHz-793MHz) and existing public safety spectrum (763MHz-769MHz/793MHz-799MHz).
The Act gives FNRA the authority to issue “open, transparent, and competitive requests
for proposals to private sector entities for the purposes of building, operating, and maintaining the network that use …”
How competitive and how fair will the issue of the requests for proposals be? Will larger, publicly-owned companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint get a fair shake at these contracts? Or will investors be denied the revenues, rates of return on assets, and dividends these contracts could bring?
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration in a discussion on public safety waiver applications and terminating existing leases in public safety broadband spectrum noted that “[f]or FirstNet to be successful, it must avoid the balkanization that has plagued earlier efforts at interoperable public safety communications and must find ways to lower costs by the economies of scale that ensue from consolidated procurement.”
Seems to me if you want to avoid balkanization, ensure the best carriers are awarded for their proposals to provide the public safety network. Larger carriers have the economies of scale to provide nationwide service.