December 6, 2016 — Before the First Responder Network Authority even had a chance to name a winning bid to build out the FirstNet nationwide broadband network, Rivida Mercury Networks filed a lawsuit claiming that it was wrongfully excluded from the procurement process. In other words, it was going to lose the bid, presumably to AT&T.
The lawsuit will delay the contract award until at least March 1, 2017. It was originally supposed to occur last Nov. 1. It is hardly a surprise, however. Early in November, after being disqualified from bidding for Mexico’s nationwide wireless network, Rivada took the Mexican government to court.
The U.S. government also has a history of being sued by companies that lost comparative hearings for spectrum licenses. In some ways the request for proposals for FirstNet was like a comparative hearing. It required the government to choose a winner, which would get access to 20 megahertz of spectrum. While not surprising, the court case will slow the process of building out FirstNet, which will only add fuel to the fire for the FirstNet naysayers.