Sen. Rockefeller Scolds Motorola Solutions on FirstNet Allegations (9/23/13)
Monday, September 23, 2013 | Comments

Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV released a statement taking Motorola Solutions to task for reports that it is engaging in efforts to undermine the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). In a letter to Motorola Solutions CEO Gregory Brown, Rockefeller said he is concerned with recent news reports that have suggested Motorola and its paid consultants have engaged in behind-the-scenes activities to undermine FirstNet.

Rockefeller called on Motorola Solutions to work constructively with FirstNet to bring more competition to public-safety communications.

"Your company's actions to oppose this important effort to strengthen our nation's public-safety communications systems directly contradicts the intent of Congress, and it potentially endangers the success of a network that will benefit millions of law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other first responders," Rockefeller said.

"I will not abide a return to the model of costly, and often proprietary, equipment that our nation's first responders face in narrowband communications. This model has led to disparate systems even among public-safety agencies in the same jurisdiction. And I will not stand by while your company continues to defend a business plan solely because you are unwilling to make the investments and commitments necessary to be a true competitor on the new level playing field for public-safety communications equipment.”

In July, Bob Schassler, Motorola Solutions senior vice president of government solutions, denied the allegations in an interview with MissionCritical Communications magazine.

Rockefeller authored the legislation creating FirstNet, which was signed into law last year. The creation of FirstNet fulfills one of the final recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

In an emailed statement, Motorola Solutions said: “It should be noted that Motorola was a strong supporter of the legislation that created FirstNet, and the company believes the law that established FirstNet should be implemented to give all public-safety end users fair and reasonable access to this critical resource. Again, our objective is to help make FirstNet a success and enable local first responders to do their jobs more safely and effectively.”

"I urge you to immediately cease your campaign and to work constructively with the FirstNet board,” Rockefeller said. “I urge your company — under its own letterhead — to compete head-to-head with other vendors to provide the best equipment for FirstNet and our nation’s first responders.”

“The need for a nationwide public-safety network has been communicated to Motorola by its customers for many years on behalf of the millions of citizens they are entrusted to protect and serve,” Motorola Solutions said. “We have not only listened, but appreciate and share their views. Moreover, we were pleased to join them and dozens of public-safety organizations to support FirstNet.”

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