Rivada Calls on Governors to Reconsider Opt-Out Following Revised SMLA
Friday, December 22, 2017 | Comments

Rivada Networks released a statement urging all governors to reconsider opting out in light of the less stringent requirements and “very manageable risks” in new spectrum management lease agreements (SMLAs) distributed to some states by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) earlier this week. The company also sent a letter to National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Assistant Secretary David Redl asking him to restart the 90-day shot clock for governors’ decisions.

In an email sent Dec. 19, FirstNet said that if opt-out state buildout or operation of its radio access network (RAN) fails during the term of the SMLA, the state will be responsible only for the actual cost of re-establishing the RAN in the state. The original SMLAs said the state would be obligated to pay to the government the entire cost of reconstituting a band 14 RAN in the state.

“Given the timing of this change, it would be prudent for all governors to opt out now and fully review the changed circumstances in the post-opt-out period provided for under the law,” Rivada said in the statement.

FirstNet is required by law to give governors 90 days to review and evaluate FirstNet’s state plans. The deadline for governors’ decisions is Dec. 28.

“This dramatic change makes opting out much less risky and more attractive to states, and that is to be applauded,” Rivada said. “But the manner in which it was done and the timing of the change leaves states with no opportunity to fully weigh its ramifications. It also seriously harms states that had earlier expressed an intention to opt in under the threat of ‘draconian’ penalties for opting out. In some cases, those states canceled legally required RFPs (requests for proposals) or ended them without award, based on threats that FirstNet now seeks quietly to disown.”

Rivada declined to make available the text of the letter to Redl.

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