In his latest weekly commentary today, Andy Seybold, a wireless industry consultant and public safety advocate, took aim at Verizon Communications, Inc.’s public safety offering and its efforts to connect its planned public safety core to the First Responder Network Authority’s core, echoing complaints by others in the public safety community.
“The public safety community must stay focused on its many-year efforts to have a single nationwide public safety broadband network. As FirstNet and AT&T continue to build out the nationwide network, with much improved coverage, public safety must step up and embrace the FirstNet NPSBN and take advantage of its growing capabilities. AT&T has stated from the day it was awarded the FirstNet contract that it intends to win over the public safety community by continuing to demonstrate its commitment to the first responder community,” Mr. Seybold said.
“The Verizon request to connect its network core to the FirstNet/AT&T NPSBN is contrary to good business sense and contrary to all public safety has supported for many years,” Mr. Seybold argued. “There are clear security risks when connecting multiple cores and that, along with competitive business reasons, is why Verizon and other commercial carriers do not connect their cores today.”
“The public safety community must once again stand up for its best interests,” Mr. Seybold added. “The building of the FirstNet NPSBN cannot be allowed to become a competitive battle between Verizon and AT&T, especially since AT&T has stepped up to the plate to build the single nationwide network public safety wants. Verizon sat out the battle but now appears to want to win a war. Congress passed a law in 2012 to create FirstNet because Verizon and others were unwilling to step up and build such a network for public safety, the stated reason being that providing priority to public safety went against their commitment to their customers and shareholders. However, today, after the fact, Verizon has changed its mind and is now willing to provide pre-emption.”
Mr. Seybold said he is not a consultant to AT&T or FirstNet. However, his columns appear on the pro-FirstNet allthingsfirstnet.com website, and Mr. Seybold shares ad revenue from the site.
In response to the criticism, Kevin King, a spokesman for Verizon, said, “Verizon has a long history supporting public safety and we have been consistent in our belief that public safety agencies should be able to select the communications service provider that best meets their needs. In fact, that’s how FirstNet was designed. Public safety agencies are not required to use FirstNet even though their state opted in. We remain committed to serving our public safety customers.” —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org