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BIA Urges Executive Council to Reject Rivada Contract
Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Business and Industry Association, NH’s statewide chamber of commerce, is asking the Executive Council to reject a contract with Rivada to build a critical statewide public safety communications platform.

In a letter hand-delivered to councilors Wednesday morning, the BIA urged defeat of the contract and for NH to opt back into the federal First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). BIA says pulling out of the plan and instead contracting with Ireland-based Rivada may result in inadequate coverage and leave the state on the hook for potentially millions of dollars.

“Rivada has never built a wireless or radio access network in the United States,” wrote BIA President Jim Roche. “The company bid on the nationwide contract with FirstNet, but was disqualified from the bidding process for failing to demonstrate its ability to finance, construct or maintain a wireless system, especially one as extensive and important as FirstNet.”

The statewide public safety communications platform will allow NH first responders from various agencies to communicate with one another during an emergency. Governor Sununu announced last week NH would not take part in the public/private partnership between the federal government and AT&T which provides states $6.5 billion and dedicated radio spectrum space for emergency use. Instead, the governor decided to contract with Rivada to build and maintain the platform.

On Tuesday, Colorado, the only other state to consider opting-out of FirstNet, announced it had dropped its provisional contract with Rivada and chose to opt-in to the program. This makes Colorado the 38th state to sign on to FirstNet.    

 “We do not believe there is a justifiable reason for taking on such risk when the other choice, opting into the program, is available,” continues Roche. “Expanding coverage through FirstNet and AT&T means that mobility and connectivity will no longer be an issue for technology and data intensive businesses. Most importantly, public safety and our state’s first responders will have a superior communications system that protects their lives as they protect the lives of the citizens of our state.”

New Hampshire still has until Dec. 28 to change course and opt-in to FirstNet.


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