Gan­ley rolls out big guns for US project

Jeb Bush and Mar­tin O’Mal­ley write to US House on be­half of Ri­vada Net­works Gan­ley keen to sal­vage slice of $6.5bn US state con­tract

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS - MARK PAUL Busi­ness Af­fairs Correspondent

De­clan Gan­ley’s Ri­vada Net­works has de­ployed two US po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights, for­mer state gover­nors Jeb Bush and Mar­tin O’Mal­ley, as part of its cam­paign to sal­vage a slice of a $6.5 bil­lion US govern­ment project to build a ded­i­cated telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work for emer­gency ser­vices.

For­mer Florida gover­nor and one-time Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial hope­ful, Mr Bush, and Demo­crat and for­mer Maryland gover­nor, Mr O’Mal­ley, have jointly writ­ten to a US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­mit­tee in re­la­tion to the FirstNet project. Both men were last year ap­pointed as di­rec­tors of Mr Gan­ley’s com­pany.

Ri­vada has un­leashed a fierce lob­by­ing cam­paign in re­cent months over FirstNet, af­ter los­ing out on the fed­eral con­tract for all of the US to ri­val, AT&T.

In­di­vid­ual states have un­til De­cem­ber 28th to opt out of the fed­eral FirstNet sys­tem. De­spite los­ing the over­all con­tract, Mr Gan­ley has been po­si­tion­ing Ri­vada to pick off in­di­vid­ual states by con­vinc­ing state gover­nors to opt out.

More than 30 states have so far in­di­cated they will opt in, likely tak­ing them out of Ri­vada’s reach. How­ever, the com­pany be­lieves it still has a shot at sev­eral other ma­jor states, es­pe­cially in New Eng­land re­gions.

Among the 13 states that have so far is­sued re­quests for pro­pos­als from other op­er­a­tors – with­out say­ing if they will opt in or out of FirstNet – are North Carolina, Colorado, Con­necti­cut, Ge­or­gia, Mas­sachusetts and Mis­sis­sippi.

Some heav­ily pop­u­lated states, such as Cal­i­for­nia, New York, Florida and Illi­nois, have not said if they will opt in but also haven’t yet tapped up al­ter­na­tives. New Hamp­shire has al­ready plumped for Ri­vada should it de­cide to opt out, al­though it has not yet for­mally re­jected FirstNet.

In­ten­sify its ef­forts

Ri­vada is ex­pected to in­ten­sify its ef­forts to con­vince in­di­vid­ual gover­nors to opt out ahead of the De­cem­ber dead­line, and Mr Gan­ley has re­cently made pre­sen­ta­tions to sev­eral leg­is­la­tures. Pre­sent­ing in Penn­syl­va­nia, he promised to cre­ate 6,000 jobs. He told the as­sem­bly there that if it went with his com­pany, it would have greater con­trol than if it opted in to the AT&T built FirstNet.

“[If some­thing went wrong] you’d have a throat to choke. . . this is it right here,” said Mr Gan­ley at a hear­ing, point­ing to his own neck.

On Mon­day, Mr Bush and Mr O’Mal­ley signed a let­ter to the US House com­mit­tee on en­ergy and com­merce, a sub­com­mit­tee of which held hear­ings re­gard­ing the progress of FirstNet last week.

The two for­mer politi­cians told the com­mit­tee that Ri­vada’s ex­ec­u­tives had the “op­er­a­tional and plan­ning ex­pe­ri­ence” to build out com­mu­ni­ca­tions telco net­works for emer­gency ser­vices. Such ded­i­cated net­works were orig­i­nally pro­posed by the com­mis­sion into the 9/11 atroc­ity.

Jeb Bush (left) and Mar­tin O’Mal­ley (above) were last year ap­pointed as di­rec­tors of a De­clan Gan­ley (cen­tre) com­pany

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