Rivada Networks and Macquarie Capital said they will pursue contracts with states that opt-out of FirstNet. The announcement comes as the December 28 deadline for states to make a decision whether to participate — or not — in the nationwide broadband network for first responders draws closer.
The first initiative of this alliance is a conditional award from Colorado to build out its public-safety broadband Radio Access Network (RAN). Colorado is the second state, after New Hampshire, to choose an opt-out vendor for a state-wide mobile broadband network for first responders. Neither state has actually opted out of FirstNet yet. Rivada and Macquarie say they are “actively pursuing other opportunities” to provide services for wholesale wireless and public safety workers and agencies.
So far, 31 states have decided to opt-in to FirstNet, with Georgia being the latest, Inside Towers reported. Under the FirstNet contract, AT&T builds the RAN for each state that opts-in and maintains it for 25 years.
In contrast, states that opt-out must build their own RAN which must be compatible with the FirstNet core network. The costs can go into several billions of dollars should a state’s RAN malfunction and need to be re-constructed.
For states that opt out, Rivada and Macquarie would work together to “develop and finance the build-out” of those state RAN’s, according to Nick Butcher, Global Co-Head of Infrastructure & Energy of Macquarie Capital. Macquarie Capital and Rivada Networks, along with their consortium partners Intel, Ericsson, Nokia and Fujitsu, say they will deliver a network that provides states substantial benefits – including a significant discount to the cost of service for public safety, job creation in the state, broad coverage expansion, especially in rural areas, and “real local control” of the network.