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Sprint Asks Obama to Set Up $2 Billion First-Responder Network

Article Comments  100+  

Jan 16, 2009, 3:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jan 16, 2009, 4:08 PM

Sprint sent a letter to President-elect Barack Obama and his incoming administration requesting that $2 billion be set aside specifically for a wireless network serving the nation's first responders. According to Reuters, "Sprint's plan calls for 100 satellite-based light trucks that would respond to emergencies, and 100,000 or more mobile handsets and equipment at up to 40 pre-selected sites." The sites would be able to ship the necessary gear to disaster sites anywhere in the continental U.S. within four hours. Sprint already supplies the network technology, service and handsets used by many of the nation's emergency services agencies. A Sprint spokesperson said, "We feel that the iDEN network would certainly be a good candidate for this program." Sprint hopes to attach the $2 billion to the economic stimulus plan currently moving through congress. Sprint also asked the FCC to reevaluate the the fees for routing telephone calls and Internet services, which are mostly controlled by AT&T and Verizon Communications.

source: Sprint




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Jan 17, 2009, 2:01 AM

The funny thing is

That this discussion went exactly how I thought.

AT&T fanboys just randomly attack with little to no (and more often than not the second one) back-up. The VZW people argue that their service is comparable, but it's not for this specific use.

And all those who attack Sprint for this, or say this is like them trying to get their own little bailout are grasping for straws. If any other carrier had proposed the exact same plan, they would have been praised. But because Sprint likes to piss off other carriers with innovation, they get knocked.

So bravo, you follow your formulas.
I'm with vzw and sell vzw and i dont care what company they go with as long as they are committed to getting the job done and making sure their service doesn't turd out. i think that is the reason people are saying to go with att or vzw because they h...
"The sites would be able to ship the necessary gear to disaster sites anywhere in the continental U.S. within four hours."

Wow! You know, if I'm not mistaken, VZW just happens to be one of the more likely carriers to have service within a disaster ...
I work with Sprint Nextel, and was a top performing manager at VZW.

This solution is unlike any other in the industry as the trucks use a satellite backhaul to connect to the nationwide network. ATT and VZW simply cant do this with any track record...

Jan 20, 2009, 6:53 PM

One thing to remember

You guys need to realize that sprint already has systems in place that allow first responders to take priority on their networks - if a cell tower is saturated and a first responder gets on (govt and other high priority users) it will kick off the traffic that part of the network needs to get the higher priority person a way to communicate with the world - afaik this goes for cdma and iden but mostly iden

Jan 16, 2009, 3:46 PM

So basically...

You're either with Sprint, or you don't care about the well-being of Americans in emergency situations.

I can't wait to see how all the haters will spin this.
Here's how I view it:

Dan Hessy's crew proposes to the President that they GIVE them 2 billion dollars, disguised as funds to set up a First Responder network. Because he's driving both Sprint and Nextel into the ground.

I don't think it has as ...
Sprint is trying to help bottom line. This is not some plea to get money by any means. If they were it be a whole lot more that 2 billion dollars. Bank of america is getting 20 billion and lets not even talk about what the big 3 car makers need to sur...
Uhhhm.... Sprint is the last network I'd want to rely on during an emergency. Lol at Sprint trying to get their bailout package on the sly. We up to ya games sprint.

Jan 19, 2009, 4:23 PM

through all of the threads of this forum.....

I have yet to see one person answer a simple question about the proposition.

Does anyone think the Obama-Nation will approve the request?
BigShowJB said:
Does anyone think the Obama-Nation will approve the request?

Dems are historically not big business friendly. If they are sympathetic towards Sprint maybe they will ask for control like they have don...

Jan 16, 2009, 5:03 PM

Yo At&t and Verizon lovers

The iden network allows off network ptt. while Verizon's crappy network does not. Oh and it's a crappy ptt service in the first place. So I agree Sprint has the best network for this service. Besides it's a network that would otherwise be wasted in a couple years, might as well go for the good. Just had to educate the Verizon and At&t fan boys. 🙄
Edumacation da bes wai.
verizon rev a ptt will ONLY work if you are in a rev A area. which means the ptt goes through data... you cant use data if you are on a call, you wouldnt be able to use it if you were on the web, roaming, or even if you have perfect coverage but still...
Because PTT is the definitive feature for cell phones... [/sarcasm]
Yo, AT&T and Verizon's network is much larger, Sprint and Nextel don't even have service where I live (Mendocino County, Northwestern California), so they'd be useless to first responders here. Not to mention much of the rural west has no Nextel or S...

Jan 18, 2009, 9:40 PM

Corporate Welfare

Everyone has their hand out now. "If the banks can get 700 billion, why not us?"
actually, i'd call this a combination of that (since they're trying to add it to the bailout package) and smart marketing/salesmanship by hesse and company

Jan 16, 2009, 6:22 PM

The Reason for Nextel vs others

All cell phones calls are dependent on land lines. so if there is a major catastrophe and the land lines are down you wont have cell service either. this doesnt apply to nextel direct connect. Nextel DC is supported by SMR radios at each site. this can be a tower or, in the case of an emergency, a mobile tower with smr radios. during 9/11 the only phones that worked at ground zero was nextel. also nextel's can DC without a signal to each other within a short distance. so when it comes down to it would you rather have the nations largest network which is pretty much useless if land lines are down or a network that will work and has been proven to work in an emergency? i think the answer is simple.
verizon was the only carrier working during the NYC Blackout lol
but it's funny as all hell be that sprint is already crying poor-mouth poor-mouth, hook a brother up! 🤣 🤣 🤣
actually you are wrong. calls mobile to mobile (as in vzw to vzw or att to att) do not pass thru a landline terminal. only wireless to landline or wireless to a diff wireless carrier pass thru a landline terminal.

so you are not entirely correct. i...
I want a network that has coverage where I live, and Nextel and Sprint are no shows up here (Mendocino County, Northwestern California), give me the network please 🙂
I think the biggest reason to go with Nextel as opposed to the others is the 700 MHZ footprint. That wavelength can penetrate into a lot of places that Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile can't. Places like buildings that are on fire, or underneath ...
I work with Sprint Nextel, and was a top performing manager at VZW.

This solution is unlike any other in the industry as the trucks use a satellite backhaul to connect to the nationwide network. This means that in the affected area, this vehicle is...

Jan 18, 2009, 1:31 PM

Why don't you ask the Firefighters?

While almost all of the discussion here has concentrated on the "Big 3" networks and who's the best and who's the worst the real issue is fallen by the wayside.

I'm a firefighter. I use 2-way radio communications everyday. We also use Nextel phones as NON-emergency communications. More because it's a paradigm we're used to than anything else. IMHO

The true issue is that there are so many different frequencies that we use (VHF & UHF) that we actually have to carry 2 radios on many calls. And that doesn't even allow us to communicate with the police.

I was lucky enough to respond to the aftermath of Katrina as part of the mutual aid response from Illinois. Do you know how many different radio systems were used there? It was a nightma...
the Congress where all the firefighters ran the government would get it done instantly!

Using their Sprint/Nextel Direct connect of course

Jan 18, 2009, 3:56 AM

That's why they use radios now

Most Police, fire, and other agencies that would be first-responders already rely on hand held two-way radios for their primary communication devices. A majority of them also use Nextel as a secondary line of communications because it offers instant walkie-talkie communication (hands-free for receivers)and Direct-talk if network coverage is not there. I think this is a good idea but will probably be at the bottom of the list for any money the president will have left to play with.

Jan 16, 2009, 9:17 PM

All 'carrier pride' arguments aside.....

Please..... In the event of a big disaster, I want emergency crews to have devices that DO NOT NEED the network in order to function. Maybe in these times of consumers wanting flash over function, Nextel can find a niche....
I don't want Notel, they don't even have service in this area (Mendocino County, Northwestern California), nor does Sprint, I'll take "the network" thanks 🙂

Jan 18, 2009, 2:58 AM

Haters need not respond.

Please do not respond if you

A.) Think Verizon, or AT&T would be a better choice because they are more 'reliable and have more customers....

B.) Think that Sprint is using this as a bailout for it's other projects...(IDEN/WIMAX) and that 2 billion is a lot of money..

C.) Think any ptt service is really comparable to IDEN

Here's why you should not reply...

If you think A... then you are wrong because, the reason the gov't wants a dedicated EMERGENCY service is that it is dedicated to just that. They do not want to SHARE services with everyday users. You may ask why not, AT&T and Verizon have such big great networks. That's part of the problem, in an emergency, their networks would be clogged with all of their customers tryin...
BTW, while it's not exactly as I predicted I actually mentioned a situation similar this this way back in May.

Re: Will Nextel end up with 1900 MHz spectrum?
by Mektah May 6, 2008, 7:04 AM

I doubt it. Sprint will take the 1900 MHz and run w...
psycho dramatic7

Jan 18, 2009, 1:18 AM

Bail - Out....

If they get paid to build a first responder network all that's gonna do is get them paid for even more services they can't do right. Which is a good idea to find new ways to get paid but, do you really want Sprint who have next to no american call centers so you talk to these jerks who sound like they're in guam or something and they could care less about your problems. You get ripped off with these bogus fees. Fix your lack of american call centers/employees, get better service and lower your prices and fix your sad excuse for a billing system and revive the Nextel network then sell it because you guys should have never bought it. Worst corporate marriage since Daimler Chrysler.
DE 2 Philly

Jan 17, 2009, 7:35 PM

sprints the best choice

sprints cdma network was ranked 2nd behind verizon (only by 2% pts) for reliability. Its ranked #1 in value, data (best 3g and years ahead with 4g). Sprint built its network from the ground up & with its free roaming capabilities it has the largest calling area. Now nextel does not have roaming and it doesnt have the data; however for emergencys (ptt, DC walkie talkie) nobody can compete.. if your lofe was on the line and you had a verizon ptt & a Nextel ptt, which one would you choose? NEXTEL.

Jan 17, 2009, 2:25 AM

Srpint needs a BOOST?

So basically sprint is asking for $2 Billion to subsidize them undercutting the rest of the market? Maybe they should make their product marketable and profitable iinstead of selling it at a loss and asking for a handout from the taxpayers...
Or maybe they actually want to do some good, and in this world, nothing is free!

This concludes our Intro to Capitalism.

Jan 17, 2009, 8:47 PM

FYI - AT&T's Network Disaster Recovery team

Very impressive. This is why I am a little dissapointed in Sprints tactics for asking for the money.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I can't find anything that says AT&T did that.

Jan 17, 2009, 9:39 AM

What people are forgetting....

1.) The government more or less has already decided to use this technology for it's emergency response. Many of you seem to forget that Sprint is already being forced to evacuate (Iden ) spectrum that interfers with current government emergency response systems.

2.) Either way taxpayers are gonna lose out. If the government has to completely set up an entirely new system, which is what they plan to do anyway, it'll cost a lot more than 2 billion.

3.) Yes, this is a ploy by Sprint, however it is a very good one all things considered. Since they already have to switch over the iden spectrum, they may as well offer the entire service over to the government. it solves 2 problems. One, the mistake of partnering with Nextel's incompat...
I just finished posting my take on this. While I was eluding to the same thing, I like yours better. More percise! 🙂
Mektah said:
1.) The government more or less has already decided to use this technology for it's emergency response. Many of you seem to forget that Sprint is already being forced to evacuate (Iden ) spectrum that interfers with c

Jan 17, 2009, 10:09 AM

This situation is unique.

In one hand you have a struggling carrier making a shallow request for 2 Bil from taxpayers(which is never a good thing). But in the other hand you have the same carrier that owns IDEN(the most respected and perfected network which has proven to be indispensible in crisis's like this). Government and Emergency facilities around the country rely on it. Now we also have to look at Motorola that has provided the handsets for this unique technology. They are now taking a nose dive. This now creates a unique and touchy situation as well.

Verizon and ATT can not provide the connectivity demanded under these circumstances with their respective current technology. Nor can T-mobile or Sprint's CDMA side for that matter. IDEN is unique in this abil...

Jan 16, 2009, 6:03 PM


This is TWO BILLION dollars!

Of OUR money.

The government gets enough of this already, why should we just keep pumping money into something that would not really ever be used?

This equipment would just sit around and become outdated. And with all the liberals already making it rain (with money) to all the businesses who "need" it, yet can't even have ANYONE account for where its going?!

This is an absurd plan. The idea in itself is positive, but is just way too much for something that wouldn't be that effective, or even useful.

Sprint probably saw the opportunity of having its own little bailout and decided to throw this out there in hopes that Obama will pull another TWO BILLION out of his a$$...which is both mine and your ...
Amen! Also the FCC needs to clean up the 700 Mhz D Block that it wants to use for a public safety network before it shells out billions on iDen.
I do have to agree with you, that is an absurd amount of money. I will say that I don't know how much all that equipment would cost. I would assume you probably only need enough on hand to cover 2 zones, with maybe a 20 mile radius.

I do have a f...
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