N.H. Governor Forms Committee to Review Opt Out, Questions Proposed Opt-Out Fees
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 | Comments

New Hampshire Gov. Christopher Sununu released an executive order establishing a First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) opt-out review committee. In a statement, the governor called for clarification of proposed fees and penalties that “appear to be arbitrary and primarily designed to deter states from opting out of FirstNet plans.”

The order follows a vote last week by the New Hampshire Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) to recommend opting out of the FirstNet state plan.

The committee is tasked with submitting a report on its recommendations to the governor by Nov. 21.

In 2016, the New Hampshire Department of Safety signed a no-cost agreement with Rivada Networks. Under the agreement, Rivada developed a radio access network (RAN) plan for the state to compare with the FirstNet public-safety broadband state plan, initially delivered in June. U.S. Cellular agreed to assist Rivada in developing the network.

The governor will appoint five members to the committee. The committee’s report shall include a review and summary of all regulatory approvals requirements for the pursuit of an opt-out plan and assessment of the prospects for obtaining those approvals for Rivada’s opt-out plan. In addition, the committee will assess financial risks to the state if regulatory approvals are not obtained.

The report also will summarize the stipulations, conditions and other provisions in a potential final contract with Rivada, along with a due diligence report on the financial viability of Rivada’s opt-out plan. The report should also assess the financial risks to the state if Rivada is unable to complete the provision and implementation of its out-out plan.

“New Hampshire’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) has determined from a technical standpoint that an opt-out of FirstNet is far and away our best option, as evidenced by their unanimous 15 – 0 vote,” Sununu said in a statement. “The state must nevertheless conduct a thorough review of the financial and regulatory viability of Rivada’s opt-out plan. As part of this review, we will seek clarification of certain proposed fees, as well as clarification of penalties that may be imposed by FirstNet if an opt out were to fail. These fees and penalties appear to be arbitrary and primarily designed to deter states from opting out of FirstNet plans. That is why I am calling on key officials at the federal level to assist us as we examine the numbers released by FirstNet and to ensure that states are being afforded their right to make their decisions with correct information.”

Gov. Sununu said he plans to send a letter to other governors that will encourage all states considering their options to lean on New Hampshire as it seeks clarifications and answers that every state can benefit from.

The full executive order is here.

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On 10/18/17, Dr Myers said:
Congratulations to Gov. Sununu. The real basis for the decision is about the revenue potential, but it is also about the risk of who is better positioned to fail — the state doing its own thing or FirstNet. All the discussion seems to be around FirstNet's proclamation that the state will fail when statistically FirstNet carries more risk than the state by leaps and bounds.

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