Rivada Networks LLC has told a House subcommittee that it has the experience to build radio access networks (RANs) for states that opt out of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system. At a Nov. 1 hearing before the House communications and technology subcommittee, Rep. Mike Doyle (D., Pa.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, asked John Stevens, the statewide interoperability coordinator and FirstNet state point of contact (SPOC) for New Hampshire, the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee has concluded that the alternative state plan prepared by Rivada is superior to that of FirstNet’s, if he was concerned that Rivada has not built a RAN (TR Daily, Nov. 1).
Mr. Stevens said the alternative plan that Rivada prepared includes “safeguards” such as performance bonds.
In a letter to the subcommittee dated yesterday, two Rivada board members, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R.), said, “Rivada’s team includes network engineers and executives who have built networks on five continents for some of the world’s largest wireless operators, and held executive positions with some of the world’s largest equipment manufacturers. Collectively, Rivada’s team represents a cumulative several centuries of experience at companies like Sprint, Nextel, Ericsson, Nortel, Ciena, and many others.”
The letter added that “Rivada’s proposals to States show we will work with local wireless carrier partners with knowledge of each state’s challenges, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas. For example, Rivada is working with CenturyLink and US Cellular in a number of states. Rivada’s partners are some of the country’s best operators, with records that show they are fully qualified to build and operate wireless public safety networks.”
“In addition to our carrier partnerships, Rivada will also contract with companies such as Black & Veatch, MasTec, Bechtel, Crown Castle, American Tower and many others,” the letter added. “These are the same contractors used by Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and, yes, AT&T to build networks and then replace them in the event of a disaster. In this respect, Rivada will be operating in very much the same way as AT&T would plan to operate.”
Rivada lost out to AT&T, Inc., for the 25-year FirstNet contract. A federal court upheld FirstNet’s decision to eliminate Rivada from the procurement proceeding. The court’s opinion showed that FirstNet was concerned that Rivada would not be able to fulfill the contract due to a “lack of financial stability” and it was worried about the company’s wholesale business model (TR Daily, March 31). —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org