FirstNet chief heads for the exit - Mobile World Live

FirstNet chief heads for the exit

06 SEP 2018

FirstNet revealed CEO Mike Poth is set to leave at the end of September, leaving the US government effort to build a dedicated wireless network for public safety personnel with dwindling top tier leadership.

Poth, who led the FirstNet project since being appointed in August 2015, accepted a new position in the private sector, the organisation said.

The CEO’s departure leaves FirstNet with a shrinking bench of executive leadership. Former FirstNet president TJ Kennedy and chief counsel Jason Karp left at the end of 2017: Kennedy’s seat remains unfilled.

FirstNet said its board will soon name an acting CEO to run things while it searches for Poth’s replacement. But the board itself is similarly short staffed.

Though the Trump Administration reappointed chairman Edward Horowitz for another two-year term, six seats remain empty on the 15-member panel. FirstNet said three members whose terms expired in August agreed to stay on so the board can reach a quorum and continue operations.

In a statement, David Redl, administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (the body responsible for federal oversight of FirstNet), expressed confidence it “will continue to deliver for public safety, in coordination with AT&T, without interruption” during the leadership change.

AT&T, which won the federal contract to build and manage the FirstNet infrastructure, is continuing with its rollout of 700MHz spectrum for the network: it said more than 2,500 agencies had signed on for service by end-August, accounting for more than 150,000 connections.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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