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Thread: First Net (or the equivalent) equals more cell towers on remote summits?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Gorham NH

    First Net (or the equivalent) equals more cell towers on remote summits?

    Folks may or may not be aware of a new nationwide emergency communications system that is being deployed in all states. This is essentially a high priority (LTE radio network) cellular network running inside the existing commercial networks infrastructure. Rather than install all new equipment and a parallel network, First Net is essentially in the background routing “emergency” data and phone calls over the existing networks by “authorized users”. Authorized users will be assigned an access code that will be linked to their phone number so that when they make a call, First Net will route them as a priority.

    Everything is normal to a standard user until bandwidth gets tight in an area where an emergency is occurring. What then happens, First Net gets priority and non-priority traffic is severely limited or curtailed. (I have seen some speculate that “big brother” will use it for ominous civil control purposes but I will leave the conspiracy theories to others to flesh out). The default provider is ATT who intends to piggyback this network on their equipment and using First Net revenue as a way of subsidizing a major upgrade of their network overall. There is an option to opt out and use another provider and NH is considering opting out of the ATT solution. The fundamental problem with ATT in NH is they have a very weak network as most of their services in rural areas are from third party providers where they will lack control, this means they will build out their network which means far more towers in rural areas. The big bucks in the project are ATT ends up with RF bandwidth formerly reserved and used for emergency communications as compensation.

    In the past NH has short circuited permitting and protective easements and located "essential" radio towers on properties protected under conservation easements under the guise of public safety. I believe there was a court case between a conservation organization that had a development easement on a summit and the state which was resolved in the states favor. What normally happens is the state builds the tower and then commercial firms piggyback on it so the state gets revenue to offset the initial and ongoing tower cost.

    The opt out contractor in NH is a hedge fund, they plan to contract the services from other providers but fundamentally the rural areas are underserved so someone needs to do a build out. If NH elects to go this way and the hedge fund drops the ball it potentially costs the state significant penalties.

    The question is, will ATT or the opt out contractor selected by NH (or other states) elect to start putting in cellular facilities on remote summits bypassing standard permitting under the guise of public safety? I expect most of the whites are safe as they are under federal control except for Cannon and Moosilauke. I would expect it would be far more of an issue in Nash Stream and Pittsburg area but of course most of the hiking public rarely ventures there.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 12-06-2017 at 03:37 PM.

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