BayRICS, Motorola Solutions fail to reach deal with FirstNet
Directors for the Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications Systems Authority (BayRICS) did not vote last week on a spectrum-lease agreement with FirstNet, or on a new LTE-deployment deal with Motorola Solutions.
BayRICS board members were scheduled to consider a modified Build Own Operate and Maintain (BOOM) agreement with Motorola Solutions regarding the deployment of a private LTE network for San Francisco-area first responders as part of a spectrum-lease agreement with FirstNet.
“The BayRICS board did not approve either the spectrum lease or the BOOM [on Thursday],” Barry Fraser, BayRICS general manager, said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Apparently, all of the parties were further apart on a few issues than we had originally thought. We didn’t have any final documents approved by FirstNet or Motorola, so we couldn’t do anything.”
All parties had agreed on language for the BOOM agreement and the spectrum-lease agreement, with two exceptions regarding push-to-talk functionality and the responsibility for future costs that could occur if FirstNet adopts new requirements, according to a BayRICS staff report released before the meeting.
The original BOOM agreement called for Motorola Solutions to provide a proprietary push-to-talk functionality, but FirstNet officials expressed concern that it may not be interoperable with FirstNet’s push-to-talk capability, which has not been chosen yet. Motorola had agreed to incur any costs required to meet push-to-talk standards adopted by 3GPP, the LTE standards body.
The other key negotiation point is associated with covering costs to meet future FirstNet requirements that may be adopted prior to April 30, 2015. Motorola Solutions officials believe that the language proposed by FirstNet “amounts to a potentially uncapped cost liability” that the company “cannot accept,” according to the BayRICS staff report. Motorola Solutions proposed alternative language that the company would accept.
Those issues undermined the effort to get the entities to agree to new accords that would allow the LTE project to proceed in the San Francisco Bay area, according to Fraser.
“They’re really the same issues,” Fraser said. “We thought we were closer on push to talk; I thought we had kind of a path to a resolution, but it didn’t work.
“Those really are still the two key issues. If those could get resolved, I think everything else would fall into place.”
Negotiations on a spectrum-lease agreement had been extended to Friday by the FirstNet board. With no deal in place as of the Friday deadline, negotiations have ceased for the moment, according to Fraser.
Although the parties were not able to reach an accord last week, the FirstNet board could grant another extension to the negotiation period with BayRICS, as it has done several times since opening the door to early-buildout candidates of public-safety LTE systems in February.
To date, FirstNet has signed spectrum-lease agreements with the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Authority (LA-RICS) and the state of New Mexico. In addition to BayRICS, FirstNet is in the process of trying to negotiate spectrum-lease deals with the state of Mississippi, the state of New Jersey and Adams County, Colo.