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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-21-2013, 4:41 PM
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Default Washington DC, Firstnet Troubles

A new federal government project to bring first responders’ communications into the digital age is grappling with a key question: Who’s going to pay for it?

First responder network ponders cash conundrum - Tony Romm - POLITICO.com

No surprises in this story.Coverage shrinking too.
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Old 11-21-2013, 6:54 PM
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That was supposed to be the Nationwide Public Safety LTE network right?

Yeah, that wasn't gonna work. The only thing I believe will work if you let the states implement their own flavor of the network, hopefully compatibile with other state's network. (I believe my state - MI, had already started some exploration to enhance MPSCS with LTE in the future).

Just look at TRSes.

States had shown to be fully capable of running successful statewide TRSes. It works at that level.

Feds running big systems? Look at IWN.
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Old 11-21-2013, 9:47 PM
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Feds running big systems? Look at IWN.
Qualification for that one?
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:22 AM
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$350 million project that's been abandoned

I wouldn't call that a success.
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Old 11-22-2013, 2:57 AM
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$350 million project that's been abandoned

I wouldn't call that a success.
Abandoned? WTH (w=where) do you get that impression from?
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Old 11-22-2013, 7:56 AM
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FirstNET is a gross example of the Race to Waste.
Completely impractical and will do nothing but line the pockets of a small number of vendors.

Another pork barrel project brought to you by General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Harris and Motorola Solutions.

They profit- we all pay. What do we get? Zero. What a deal!
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Old 11-22-2013, 1:33 PM
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Abandoned? WTH (w=where) do you get that impression from?
After IWN's cancellation, DOJ continues to push for radio modernization - FierceGovernmentIT

Justice IG finds IWN program provides little value - FederalNewsRadio.com
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Old 11-22-2013, 7:40 PM
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Count me as someone who hopes FirstNet succeeds. Not for the fancy video streaming and blueprint downloads that have been the selling points, but for the mundane uses.

MDT's\AVL\biometics\etc in every Ambulance\Fire Engine\Police car. Remote SCADA\monitoring at Tower sites. Even replacing $$$ cell phones with VOIP phones. Mundane day-to-day uses like that to improve the efficiency of our first responders.

In my city, every single one of 2500 police officers has a PDA to do reports on. They aren't even allowed to do paper reports any more because the electronic reports are so much more efficient. The PDA's are free, but the department has to pay air time of $39 a month (if I recall, that's the number they told the City Council in the last budget, but I think it used to be $59). (they laid off 300 transcriptionists to transcribe the paper reports, so they actually saved $$$ on the PDA's!)

That's $39 a month times 2500 = $97,500 every month. How long would it take to break even, even if the initial cost of the FirstNEt to our City was $10Million?
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Old 11-22-2013, 9:15 PM
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Completely abandoned.

As of this afternoon, I have accumulated 326 active talkgroups (including 2 new in the last 24 hours) on the IWN system and 4136 radios (19 previously unseen) in the last 24 hours.
4 new sites have come online in the past 90 days, with 4 more scheduled to be up before January.

In addition, partnership with the Washington State Patrol and the City of Yakima Police Department will be adding an unknown number, but possibly as high as 40, new sites and God-knows-how-many radios to the system...And that's just in this state.
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Old 11-23-2013, 6:50 PM
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That's the problem, IWN only happened in Washington state and Oregon according to one article. In the DC area as well, the results--two states and DC don't justify the 356 million cost. How much to actually do the rest of the country? Typical fed cluster FUBAR. Most agencies now try to piggy-back on state systems as subscribers, as it is a lot cheaper.
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Old 11-23-2013, 8:35 PM
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Don't forget that the system is also deployed along most of the US/Mexico border, albeit in a conventional mode. Those radios will roam to a trunking site when one is in range.
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Old 11-25-2013, 9:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by szron View Post
That was supposed to be the Nationwide Public Safety LTE network right?

Yeah, that wasn't gonna work. The only thing I believe will work if you let the states implement their own flavor of the network, hopefully compatibile with other state's network. (I believe my state - MI, had already started some exploration to enhance MPSCS with LTE in the future).

Just look at TRSes.

States had shown to be fully capable of running successful statewide TRSes. It works at that level.

Feds running big systems? Look at IWN.
IWN? What's that (snicker, giggle)?

This whole thing is going to turn into "Public Safety Tel."
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Old 11-28-2013, 6:00 AM
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So apparently you like the idea that you would pay one time for this system. Wrong, this system would cost a lot to operate. There are ongoing costs which you as a taxpayer would be responsible for. Did you think that if the Feds pay for this it's free? It still costs tax dollars which come from working people.

Firstnet is for what high tech goodies? The ability for a cop/firefighter in NJ to talk to a cop/firefighter in Kansas? When does that happen? Mutual aid communication from the next town/county is what they need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnoconnor98 View Post
Count me as someone who hopes FirstNet succeeds. Not for the fancy video streaming and blueprint downloads that have been the selling points, but for the mundane uses.

MDT's\AVL\biometics\etc in every Ambulance\Fire Engine\Police car. Remote SCADA\monitoring at Tower sites. Even replacing $$$ cell phones with VOIP phones. Mundane day-to-day uses like that to improve the efficiency of our first responders.

In my city, every single one of 2500 police officers has a PDA to do reports on. They aren't even allowed to do paper reports any more because the electronic reports are so much more efficient. The PDA's are free, but the department has to pay air time of $39 a month (if I recall, that's the number they told the City Council in the last budget, but I think it used to be $59). (they laid off 300 transcriptionists to transcribe the paper reports, so they actually saved $$$ on the PDA's!)

That's $39 a month times 2500 = $97,500 every month. How long would it take to break even, even if the initial cost of the FirstNEt to our City was $10Million?
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Old 11-28-2013, 7:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiomanNJ1 View Post
So apparently you like the idea that you would pay one time for this system. Wrong, this system would cost a lot to operate. There are ongoing costs which you as a taxpayer would be responsible for. Did you think that if the Feds pay for this it's free? It still costs tax dollars which come from working people.

Firstnet is for what high tech goodies? The ability for a cop/firefighter in NJ to talk to a cop/firefighter in Kansas? When does that happen? Mutual aid communication from the next town/county is what they need.
+10 for this!

This is the epic failure with FirstNet or any such idea. Any network of this size and magnitude is not a "set and forget" system. Even a single site conventional analog repeater needs attention to keep running (ask me how I know this).

A system of this size will cost dearly just to keep on the air, especially to "mission critical- always available" standards. This is where the taxpayers get boned.

It is not needed. Plain and simple. An Atlanta firefighter working a house fire on Cahaba Dr. does not need to talk, or send live video, to the FDNY. It's a ridiculous waste of money.

All it will do is increase the bottom line of General Dynamics, Harris, Lockheed Martin and all these other defense contractors.

Meantime, that Atlanta firefighter is short one guy because AFD has to have brown outs and down staff because there isn't enough money to put a full crew on the trucks. (Yes this REALLY happens).

If the Feds want to "waste" money on public safety, how about spending it on stuff that actually matters: you know, like paying for more firefighters and PD, not wasting it on what amounts to some overpriced glorified cellphone network that will be under utilized and cost tens of millions of dollars just to keep on the air.

It just does NOT make sense. Another indication of how corrupt and broken this corporate owned Federal government is.
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Old 11-28-2013, 11:09 PM
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Recurring costs are budget killers. A radio network offers the ability to aggregate costs into the system, but costing out each subscriber unit is a big deal. Yes, it might be "cheaper" than paying for 300 FTEs, but that scenario is the exception, not the norm. Go to "fly-over territory" where agencies are making conscious decisions to buy heating oil to heat the fire house so the tanks don't freeze or diesel fuel so that they can roll apparatus. Then, factor in 50 volunteers who now must pay (either out of pocket, or through some other arrangement) the recurring cost to connect the subscriber equipment.

Moreover, there are many unanswered questions that the dream weavers have not answered. Like how would an agency know that there is an impairment or outage in their area of operation? When they go on a call and the thing bonks out for them? When the subscriber unit indicates "NO SERVICE?" And, then what? The grand plan is to migrate to infrastructure-dependent technology in the next 15 years and abandon LMR and auction the frequencies. Whether that comes to fruition or not is immaterial. The same minds that think there is some kind of tactical advantage to someone who is OUT OF POSITION being in the loop on command and control (as if the incident in Memphis is going to be run by some incident commander in Atlanta... that might work in the fedworld, but in public safety, it's called either "irrelevant" or "ridiculous") think that this system is actually useful for more than a data network.

In my conversations with proponents, resiliency comes in network diversity. That's nice. There are loops or mesh to heal a dig-up somewhere. What of the last mile? Do they get diversity? The indication is that the proponents intend to usurp 4.9 GHz for connectivity. It's being carved up as I type, not that I think a lot of those paper licenses are real. But it will suck to be in an affected area and have to wait 72 hrs for someone to truck out a COW and generator. And, if that resource is committed to a particular part of a widespread affected area - and it's not yours - it's going to suck to be in that area that will stay dark. With 100% migration to the platform, and all carriers down (or experiencing a GPS outage), expect a lot more action on FRS and MURS blister-packed radios. From public safety users.

In my opinion, the people who dreamed this thing up either do not have any public safety experience at all, or were given a rubber gun decades ago (or are stockholders in prospective system operators).
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