One of the toughest things to do in life is find your first job. I'm not talking about flipping burgers at some fast-food emporium or stocking shelves at the local supermarket. Rather, I'm speaking of the first job in one's chosen profession. Invariably, young applicants encounter an age-old and utterly frustrating Catch-22 as they bounce from interview to interview: Most employers won't hire an applicant unless he has experience, which of course cannot be gained until someone hires him.

While most of us can empathize with this plight, I think it can be well argued that employers are acting prudently when they are picky in choosing their staffs, as they have a lot riding on such decisions. Profitability is at stake, of course, but a bad hire also could expose the company to potential liability and costly litigation. Theoretically, the potential for productivity increases, while the likelihood of costly errors and lapses in judgment diminishes, proportional to the experience of the employee.

Which is why I'm hoping that Verizon or AT&T wins the 700 MHz D Block auction scheduled to be conducted next month.

There is some temptation to root for Frontline Wireless because the nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders would be dead had Frontline not come forward with its plan to meld commercial and public-safety spectrum in the band. And Frontline has smart, capable people at its helm. I particularly like and — more importantly — respect Dr. Stagg Newman, Frontline's chief technology officer, who has been the public face of the company.

But Frontline is an upstart that never has built a wireless network of any kind, much less one that stretches coast to coast and that must be 99.9% reliable, which is why the company is ill-suited for the task at hand. Given their considerable technical and financial resources — as well as their experience in building out large-scale networks — both Verizon and AT&T would be far better choices.

Much is at stake concerning the deployment, operation and maintenance of this network, starting with the lives of the first responders who will be using it and the people they will be trying to protect. As such, this is no place for rookies.