Declan Ganley promises 6,000 jobs to Pennsylvania

Galway businessman also reveals Rivada is working on technology for driverless cars

Declan Ganley told Pennsylvania legislators Rivada could roll out a new telecommunications network for the state’s emergency services  in under four years.

Declan Ganley told Pennsylvania legislators Rivada could roll out a new telecommunications network for the state’s emergency services in under four years.

 

Galway businessman Declan Ganley has told the US state of Pennsylvania that his company, Rivada Networks, will create up to 6,000 jobs there if it wins a contract to build a new telecommunications network for its emergency services.

Mr Ganley made the promise on Thursday during his testimony to a Pennsylvania senate hearing which was discussing whether the state should opt out of the US federal government’s proposed new FirstNet network for emergency service first responders.

During the hearing, Mr Ganley also revealed that Rivada is working with Carnegie Mellon university in Pittsburgh to develop technology for driverless cars.

The businessman was invited to testify at the hearing as part of his efforts to convince Pennsylvania to award a major contract to Rivada which would involve it rolling out a new telco network by erecting 1,200 masts across the state.

Rivada previously bid to build the FirstNet across the whole of the US, but lost out on the $6.5 billion federal contract to its rival AT&T. The building of FirstNet was originally recommended by the 9/11 Commission, which highlighted communications problems faced by first responders during the attacks.

Lobbying

States have been given until December 28th to decide whether to opt out of the federal network and build their own first-responder systems. Rivada is lobbying several states to opt out and do business with it instead.

Mr Ganley told the Pennsylvania legislators that Rivada could roll out the state’s network in under four years. He said it would hire 3,000 workers directly, as well as another 3,000 via contractors.

In response to questioning, Mr Ganley committed to using union workers to build the network. He also said Rivada could eventually create more than 6,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, at which point he revealed its work on driverless cars.

The Irish businessman told the legislators that if the state opted out of the federal system it would have greater control than it would under the Washington-run FirstNet.

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

Mr Ganley suggested that Pennsylvania could claim $168 million in federal grants to go towards the cost of building the network if it selected Rivada. He also proposed that the state could receive $383 million as part of a revenue-sharing arrangement.

The businessman has also lobbied similarly for in states including Vermont and, most prominently, New Hampshire, whose governor has indicated it may opt out of FirstNet.

Rivada has an office in Galway, but it is mainly US-based. Its directors include Gen Richard Myers, former chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, and Charles Guthrie, former head of the British army.