Department of Commerce OIG review of FirstNet request to tour AT&T GNOC
Continued FirstNet Authority Management Attention is Needed to Address Control Environment Weaknesses
FirstNet Authority disagreed that the request for a GNOC tour “constituted a request for ‘additional contract services outside the scope of the contract.’” In its response, FirstNet Authority stated, “GNOC tours are not governed or limited by the [NPSBN] contract as these kinds of tours are commonplace for AT&T to provide to outside parties.” However, we found that the contractor only offers a multi-media presentation regarding the GNOC at its Corporate Briefing Center. FirstNet Authority requested a visit and tour of the GNOC, which is neither included in the contract nor offered widely to the public. We reaffirm that the tour was not in the contract and could be viewed as exerting indirect pressure for the contractor to perform unreimbursed services outside the contract.
NOC tours seem like a very 1990's thing, that and 'datacenter tours'.
"Oh you like seeing people at computers and you can't get enough of
that at your home workplace?"
"Oh, you also like cages? me too!! sometimes we put 'racks' in them...
or heavens to gertrude! 'computers'!!"
almost all of this seems like ... really not worth the time for
external people to bother with.
which is maybe why: "Sure, you wanna visit? pay me" (Oh, now you dont'
want to visit? ok, cool!)
I'm imagining a bunch of MBA's at large carriers thinking, gee the NOC is treated as a cost center. How can we make the NOC a profit center?
I know -- Let's sell NOC tour tickets!
On the other hand, NASA (or SpaceX) I would still go on a tour of Mission Control during a launch (geek out)
> almost all of this seems like ... really not worth the time for
> external people to bother with.
> which is maybe why: "Sure, you wanna visit? pay me" (Oh, now you dont'
> want to visit? ok, cool!)
I'm imagining a bunch of MBA's at large carriers thinking, gee the NOC is
treated as a cost center. How can we make the NOC a profit center?
I know -- Let's sell NOC tour tickets!
yes, and really this ends up limiting the number of tours probably as
an outcome, so win/win.
On the other hand, NASA (or SpaceX) I would still go on a tour of Mission
Control during a launch (geek out)
once you pay a billion to send up some metal into space I figure you
paid for the tour
Cough, cough *Terremark* cough, cough *disco lights* cough cough.
Don’t dismiss and underestimate the curiousity and amazement of those who have not seen such things in person. In the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley area tourists come from around the world to see signs and parking lots of places like Google, Twitter, etc. it is easy for me to scoff at them, but I try not to.
It is not really different than most other tourist attractions. Some are amazed and curious to see the largest ball of twine and some think it is ridiculous.
The NOC tours at AT&T and Verizon are no joke. A datacenter NOC tour or a smaller carrier NOC tour, ehh
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Don’t dismiss and underestimate the curiousity and amazement of those who have not seen such things in person.
Indeed. Not too long ago I was at the headquarters of an organization
which runs some "critical infrastructure".
In the lobby there are 5 or 6 racks behind glass, all lit up with
pretty blue lights. The racks have a bunch of Dell servers, some
multi-U copper switches, a couple of older routers, etc. The switch
lights all go blinky blinky, and the cables are all suspiciously
nicely dressed -- and in the very bottom of the last rack is an
Chatted with a friend who works there, and yup, the devices don't do
anything at all, and the Ixia exists purely to make das blinkenlights
blinken. The waste of power was quite sad, and we spent some time
discussing how much work it would be to rip the insides out of all of
the gear and replace it with some arduino controlled LED blinkers...
and then we got sidetracked and had lunch instead...
IIRC it was Foundry that had a few linecards that just had blinky LEDs
for use at tradeshow? -- 'tis much lighter and cheaper to ship a
chassis filled with LEDs than actual hardware...
From: "Brandon Svec" <email@example.com>
It is not really different than most other tourist attractions. Some are amazed
and curious to see the largest ball of twine
Those would be people who *don't* do this for a living, mostly...
and some think it is ridiculous.
Those would be people who *do* this for a living, mostly.
-- jr 'Though I'll always take a tour' a
I could go "meh" about a NOC tour itself. On the other hand, I can think
of a number of providers where buying the right person a beer would be
I’m lucky enough to give hundreds of people their literal first look at “the internet” - and I can tell you, in many cases, it blows their minds.
Honestly watching people’s eyes light up when they see all this, or hold a bare glass optical fiber in their hand, has got to be one of the very best parts of this whole gig.
Lest we grow too accustomed to the technology that profoundly changed my life around age 8 or so.
Ms. Lady Benjamin PD Cannon, ASCE
6x7 Networks & 6x7 Telecom, LLC
"The only fully end-to-end encrypted global telecommunications company in the world.”
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I’d venture to say that anyone touring the facility of an industry they’re not familiar with, but intrigued by, would be fascinating to them (e.g. SpaceX mission control as previously mentioned). Likewise, touring facilities of your same industry could be boring.
I’m sure many of us have sunk HOURS into episodes of How It’s Made which is really nothing more than a virtual factory tour; but I’m sure the workers there would feel the same way about touring other factories as we do about touring NOCs/DCs.
For businessy types who trade in data centers/NOC, but don’t interact frequently, I’m sure tours can be both fascinating and informative.
About 10 years ago now, I had a client whose project enabled/required me to
go tour the big 6 or 7 colo providers in Tampa; we ended up in Park Tower at
eSolutions, now owned by WOW. (Very nicely run, though I don't know if Arrin
is still running it; they operated the carrier hotel in Tampa as well, so...)
As you imply, while the tours were nice, the more important thing was that
they were *given by exactly the guy you wanted to know better*.
And by the end of the tour, if you'd asked good questions, you'd established
both his bonafides... and your own.
I still offer them because as a small company a lot of people think unless you're $bigname that whatever a small company can possibly offer is trash.