Although Rivada Mercury disagrees with many findings of the SSA and the evaluation team in the FirstNet procurement, Carney said that Rivada Networks—currently assembling partners to bid on requests for proposals (RFPs) submitted by states that are considering pursuit of the “opt-out” alternative—is working to address shortcomings cited in the nationwide procurement process.

“We are looking carefully at the issues raised by the federal government. We have been since we were first given the debrief [after being excluded from the “competitive range” in October 2016],” Carney said. “Where we think those concerns have merit, we have taken—or are taking—steps to shore up the legitimate criticisms … We take the concerns seriously, and we recognize that, if one set of government bureaucrats see something as excessively risky, another set may see it the same way.

“So, we are not blithely ignoring the implied criticisms of our approach in the evaluation of our bid, but … we also think that—notwithstanding our respect for the process and the judge—the judge has a very narrow standard and basis on which to review this thing. She failed to find egregious error, and she deferred to their judgment—and that may be the appropriate thing to do.

“We do think the source-selection board was not always completely even-handed, but we’re taking their concerns seriously, because they represent concerns of people that we’re going to have to satisfy somewhere down the line anyway.”

Carney said he believes that the FirstNet contract with AT&T that was announced last week falls short of being an innovative approach.

“At the end of the day, FirstNet said they wanted innovative solutions and so on. While they’re claiming that this AT&T arrangement is innovative, it really isn’t,” Carney said. “I think that states have to decide for themselves whether they really want an innovative solutions—as Congress called for and the legislation seems to dictate and public safety seems to demand—or do they want more of the same from oligopolists and quasi-monopolists, like the winner of the federal contract?”