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Old 01-30-2013, 6:56 PM
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Default $7 Billion Disconnect: FirstNet Aims to Get First Responders Talking...

Winchester VA: The $7 billion FirstNet effort, intended to provide a nationwide broadband communications system for first responders, would not fix the interoperability problems faced by users of push-to-talk radios.

$7 Billion Disconnect: FirstNet Aims to Get First Responders Talking 12 Years After 9/11 | Defense News | defensenews.com
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Old 01-31-2013, 8:24 AM
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I don't even no where to begin.

Luckily for me, I'm not allowed to make remarks that are critical of such wonderful projects.

Nobody cares anyway.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:22 AM
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I love this article.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:37 AM
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Excellent write-up.
They said it all.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:30 PM
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Well written article, but it truly misses the point.

Here in central Wyoming, it is VAST. I mean HUGE. Many thousands and thousands of square miles with absolutely ZERO infrastructure in place. No electricity, no water, no solar, no ANYTHING.

They gov't is telling me that they want to cover the entire U.S. with a seamless coverage of 700mhz signals? All for 7 billion? Absolutely never going to happen.

While 700mhz works great in densely populated areas, out here, the foliage absorption is off the charts. Every single valley (and there are thousands and thousands of them here) would need it's own dedicated tower with it's own power source.

Heck, cell companies have spent several billion in this state alone and they STILL only have about 50% coverage.

Sorry, but for the allotted budget, this is a pipe dream by people who have never been in the flyover states.

WM
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Old 01-31-2013, 1:31 PM
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I agree with you Wyoming, been to your state and vast isn't a word that actually covers you guys up there. The pipe dream that the government has is just that, a pipe dream. I think they could do more with HF to LVHF, but I'm no expert.
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Old 01-31-2013, 1:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyomingmedic View Post
Well written article, but it truly misses the point.

Here in central Wyoming, it is VAST. I mean HUGE. Many thousands and thousands of square miles with absolutely ZERO infrastructure in place. No electricity, no water, no solar, no ANYTHING.

They gov't is telling me that they want to cover the entire U.S. with a seamless coverage of 700mhz signals? All for 7 billion? Absolutely never going to happen.

While 700mhz works great in densely populated areas, out here, the foliage absorption is off the charts. Every single valley (and there are thousands and thousands of them here) would need it's own dedicated tower with it's own power source.

Heck, cell companies have spent several billion in this state alone and they STILL only have about 50% coverage.

Sorry, but for the allotted budget, this is a pipe dream by people who have never been in the flyover states.

WM
Remember Morgan O'Brien's comment about "manna from heaven?" Cost was the reason the original upper D block auction failed several years ago. The specs for that included a supraterrestrial component where there would be sparse coverage. That means much greater cost for those entities who would have to go satellite when they cruise beyond the coverage of the last eNode-B. And, with LTE, as you go further outward, your throughput diminishes. The urban people are touting LTE as their sixth sense in situational awareness with hat-cams broadcasting real-time video to commanders and decision makers (nevermind who is going to sort through all this data just to get something relevant). The same model doesn't work across the country. The rural officer responding to a marmot sucked into an engine compartment may not need streaming video sent anywhere. And think about your cellular systems and their billions of dollars invested - and that's probably just in revenue-producing areas. How's that coverage 5 miles off the Interstate or outside of town?

The infrastructure is going to be fantastic to support. Today's IT kids have no concept of survivability in terms of facilities. They should take a lesson from the Cold War era Bell System. It doesn't matter how resilient "the Internet" is, or whom you can patch into who, if the eNode-B is down within the operational area of the incident, the entire system is useless. With LMR architecture, a system manager has full knowledge of the state of the system and can take actions to implement backups. Even simplex is a viable backup mode in some situations. With a provider/subscriber model, you abdicate that to the carrier who might make decisions to live with the impairment and never make notification to the affected end-users. None of these things has a simplex mode, and the 3GPP folks aren't interested in going off-network (if you don't pay your subscriber fees, the device should only be useful to shim the leg of a wobbly table).

My personal opinion agrees with yours - it's a dream. One that's concocted by industry and public safety ustabees who are shareholders. The inside track is LTE stands for "Long Term Employment." Much longer than P25.

As far as responders are concerned, we'll need to be really worried when they start carrying blister-packed FRS/GMRS radios for their own safety to do off-network talk-around. At least there will be an easy interoperability fix: they can all set their radios to channel 9-11.
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Old 01-31-2013, 2:29 PM
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Originally Posted by rafdav View Post
I agree with you Wyoming, been to your state and vast isn't a word that actually covers you guys up there. The pipe dream that the government has is just that, a pipe dream. I think they could do more with HF to LVHF, but I'm no expert.

The lower frequencies would certainly propagate better over distance, but you have two issues.

1. Very hard to fit an efficient antenna into a laptop for frequencies at 50Mhz or below.

2. The lower in frequency you go, the data rates drop off quickly. Too low, and you are VERY slow. To the point that it would be useless.

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Old 01-31-2013, 2:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 902 View Post
Remember Morgan O'Brien's comment about "manna from heaven?" Cost was the reason the original upper D block auction failed several years ago. The specs for that included a supraterrestrial component where there would be sparse coverage. That means much greater cost for those entities who would have to go satellite when they cruise beyond the coverage of the last eNode-B. And, with LTE, as you go further outward, your throughput diminishes. The urban people are touting LTE as their sixth sense in situational awareness with hat-cams broadcasting real-time video to commanders and decision makers (nevermind who is going to sort through all this data just to get something relevant). The same model doesn't work across the country. The rural officer responding to a marmot sucked into an engine compartment may not need streaming video sent anywhere. And think about your cellular systems and their billions of dollars invested - and that's probably just in revenue-producing areas. How's that coverage 5 miles off the Interstate or outside of town?

The infrastructure is going to be fantastic to support. Today's IT kids have no concept of survivability in terms of facilities. They should take a lesson from the Cold War era Bell System. It doesn't matter how resilient "the Internet" is, or whom you can patch into who, if the eNode-B is down within the operational area of the incident, the entire system is useless. With LMR architecture, a system manager has full knowledge of the state of the system and can take actions to implement backups. Even simplex is a viable backup mode in some situations. With a provider/subscriber model, you abdicate that to the carrier who might make decisions to live with the impairment and never make notification to the affected end-users. None of these things has a simplex mode, and the 3GPP folks aren't interested in going off-network (if you don't pay your subscriber fees, the device should only be useful to shim the leg of a wobbly table).

My personal opinion agrees with yours - it's a dream. One that's concocted by industry and public safety ustabees who are shareholders. The inside track is LTE stands for "Long Term Employment." Much longer than P25.

As far as responders are concerned, we'll need to be really worried when they start carrying blister-packed FRS/GMRS radios for their own safety to do off-network talk-around. At least there will be an easy interoperability fix: they can all set their radios to channel 9-11.
I think you've got it. Lots of people who don't know what they are talking about (or want lots of money) pushing this project.

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Old 01-31-2013, 2:41 PM
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A BIG part of the problem here is that APCO, Project 25, the FCC, IRAC, ( the big players) are all dominated by Committee members from BIG Bureaucracies that have large staffs dedicated to communications.

They do not have any idea of the problems faced by small Public Safety agencies.

These big players can afford to allow one one their staff members to spend time on these projects and committees.
Little Public Safety agencies ( the majority of them outside of metropolitan areas) and their concerns, (cost, infrastructure, operating procedures) are not represented and consequently are ignored.

There are NO representatives from very small departments, a small department is one where the Chief's secretary is the departmental representative to the local NLETS/NCIC advisory board, and a shift sergeant is responsible for running the departmental PSAP.

"Fly over country" Fire and EMS have it even worse. They are usually volunteer agencies, and they don't have the money to send a volunteer to repeated meetings 1000 miles away, nor does a volunteer have the time to attend.

Further compounding is the FCC and IRAC, which have "BIG" bureaucracy outlooks

NONE of the commissioners has any technical Knowledge or experience in actually running radio or communications systems, and consequently don't have any knowledge of little agencies problems

And since the 1996 AL Gore inspired "re-invention" mass firings at the FCC, that got rid of the long time technical employees, the FCC has been hiring Lawyers and NOT technical folks Which further compounds the problem.
Some examples:
---the head of the FCC division that is responsible for radio law enforcement has never held an FCC license of any type.
--- two of the current commissioners are ex congressional staffers,
--- the FCC chairman's previous experience was as a law clerk to a judge and lawyer to a cell phone company.

Again;
the problem here is that the FCC, "BIG bureaucracy", lobbyists, and big agency representatives, unaware of smaller agency problems are driving the process.
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Old 01-31-2013, 5:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djm View Post
Winchester VA: The $7 billion FirstNet effort, intended to provide a nationwide broadband communications system for first responders, would not fix the interoperability problems faced by users of push-to-talk radios.

$7 Billion Disconnect: FirstNet Aims to Get First Responders Talking 12 Years After 9/11 | Defense News | defensenews.com
so they want an open sky VOIP type radio response system??? IT WILL NEVER WORK.

First, VOIP is not that reliable. you have SCORES of problems with it, secondly, the FirstNet has no backup in place in case the main system failed.

SECOND, this article proves that they are pushing where they need not go. The FCC can't give one agency any VHF freqs so the agency is forced to use 800 mhz. That's BS if you ask me and that's why The FCC needs the right people in it's top positions.
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Old 01-31-2013, 7:36 PM
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Default Right on.

You guys nailed it. The FCC and Motorola both suffer from the same disease: too many lawyers and not enough technical people who have actually "been there" ("there" being out in "flyover country" actually trying to DO SOMETHING to provide meaningful communications where they are needed instead of sniffing the rarified air in Washington, DC or Schaumberg, IL).

And it will only get worse. EDACS is not going to be supported by Harris much longer, forcing people to go P25 and of course, BUY NEW radios, unless they have already bought multi-format-capable radios ($$$ either way).

700? Ho hum...more of the problems 800 has and less building penetration to boot.

For Wyoming (and some other states too) low band for comms, satellite for data (yeah I know, slow, but it works).

Perhaps it's time to let the poobahs fail and let their stupid solutions fall back into the morass they are creating. But then, it's WE who will feel the negative effects, not them.

Crap, I just depressed myself.

Oh well. It's still true.
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Old 02-01-2013, 1:02 PM
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Pretty much all correct. It is not going to work, they are not going to listen to anyone but people from big east coast departments with lots of dreams, aspirations,and MONEY. Motorola is already too big a player in the planning, it is just screwed from start.

The good news, is like many state systems, they are not going to be able to afford building their own towers on a 7 billion budget, so the tower industry is going to love it! I can't wait for that part.

And Winchester.... Really? No one else bid? What was in the specs to require it to be Motorola? It is easy to write the specs that way, and all the bid specs, working group minutes, etc that led to the bidding have disappeared from their web site - although the links are there, they return dead links.

Lets also look at the lobbiest they mentioned. Former governor of MS. Signed contacts with Motorola for over a quarter of a BILLION dollars. Maintenance agreement costing MILLIONS a year. Now he works for Motorola. While I won't say it is crooked, I will say if it smells like fire, it usually is.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:29 AM
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Having recently retired from a large P25 simulcast system, and having been sceptical from day one on letting a major vendor control your whole infrastructure, I see nothing but insurmountable costs and technical difficulties for most of the country. FirstNet will be the biggest boondoggle in the history of emergency communications. "Trust us and sign on the dotted line". The country is broke and FirstNet won't fix it. P25 as a whole works well but is magnitudes more expensive than it should be. Maybe, I should have stayed working and got my piece of the pie. No, I still have my integrity and pride.
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Old 02-02-2013, 2:40 PM
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This is a step in the right direction. Have to start somewhere!

On a side note, "Motorola" was used 21 times in this small article. I hear that every time it is used in any form of media distribution there is a fee of 3000 dollars due to Motorola.

Great now I owe them 6000 dollars... and free flash upgrades are not even included. Bummer.
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Old 02-02-2013, 3:19 PM
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From the article - "Lobbying records show that Motorola Solutions does spend millions on lobbyists each year. This year, it signed up powerful Republican lobbyist Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, to “monitor and provide guidance and strategic counsel on federal actions impacting state and local broadband projects.”"

Wasnt Haley Barbour involved in some consulting / lobbying scandal with trunked radios approximately 10 years ago? Was it the Florida SLERS? Was in Birmingham Alabama? Hunntsville maybe?
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Old 02-05-2013, 6:47 AM
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From the article - "Lobbying records show that does spend millions on lobbyists each year.
No!

Not only do manufacturers walk the floors at Congress, they do the same at the FCC and at many state and local elected officials. The typical business tactic is for some low level slob to dream up the idea that better communications is needed. After the door is opened to the vampire, there are end-runs and direct access (going to see the politicians that even the employee who proposed the system has no access to) to shore up their position. Then they feed the adult children who wear stars and bars and like to play with impractical nifties a ton of clip art and flash to hype them up and get their support.

They also can afford to get on committees and steer the results to their favor. It's like going to a carnival and putting a quarter on every single number at the spinning wheel game. Wherever the wheel stops, you have a quarter. Even if the wheel stops on a different number than you thought, you can't lose.
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Old 02-05-2013, 9:29 AM
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Perhaps it would be totally awesome to build one system that could cover all the wireless needs in the USA - government, private, federal, state, home, business, subway, military - everyone.

Instead of becoming a third world nation.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:37 PM
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You'd have to take that all in context, as we can never be anything other than a "first world" nation by our own definition, NATO being "first world," Warsaw Pact being "second world," and whomever else that's left over being the "third world." At least during the Cold War, but I think I know what you're getting at. My personal buying power today is at a lifetime low. It will be even lower if the various student loans in the household come due.

Unfortunately, the FCC was created to regulate the role of commerce between competing interests. It creates a competitive environment, so there can't be "one" nationwide everything system without competition in some form. NTIA falls under the Department of Commerce, also charged by the Chief Executive to create enterprise. The FirstNet concept creates a network, but any overflow from it will go to commercial networks the handset devices are capable of functioning in. This also adds to their claim of resiliency, having a handful of carriers, each with their own independent set of infrastructure. Nevermind that it was built with a revenue-bearing skew, so coverage would be robust near the Interstates and population centers, but virtually non-existent off the beaten path.

Those captains of industry who are steering the boat might call one large government-owned network for everything "socialism."
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Old 02-13-2013, 1:34 AM
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The best part about this is the Winchester bid out. Have been hoping to see at least Harris or EFJ build one public safety system in our area. Sad to say it looks like astro25 systems will be dominating this area of Virginia for the next ten years until they go bad. . Harris even has a corporate office of some sort right in the next county over and they couldn't even put a bid in... Washington, D.C. Public safety and the airports authority have the last of the project 16 systems "smartnet" in this region. Wonder if anyone else bid on them either. **Yup I called Smartzone project 16 prove me wrong**

Is anyone else getting into the tower business? 40,000!! Why not just use existing infrastructure as much as possible?

Any bets on completion years for this? 2023 is mine.

Last edited by RonBon; 02-13-2013 at 2:09 AM..
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