All 56 states and territories will be receiving with funding, with a 20% matching requirement, for the planning and building of the nationwide Public Safety Broadband network (NPSBN).
Monies will be released in two phases: the first intended to help states establish governance, consult with FirstNet, engage all relevant stakeholders in education and outreach, as well as identify potential users of the NPSBN; and the second will focus on collecting data requested by FirstNet in preparation for the network buildout, as well as continuing to perform activities undertaken during the first phase of funding. Whether they opt in or opt out, states will not be permitted to use the funding for "activities related to site preparation, broadband deployment, installation, construction, lobbying costs, contingency fees, or the acquisition of equipment used to provide wireless broadband services," according to NTIA.
NTIA is making awards on a rolling basis, and the award amounts are as follows: $2.5 million in Colorado, $1.4 million in Connecticut, $724,613 in Delaware, $4.86 million in New York, and $3.6 million in Ohio.
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FirstNet has been embroiled in controversy these past months, even before Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald's shocking allegations at the April 23rd board meeting, wherein he aired concerns of lack of transparency and Public Safety input, among other issues. His motion and statement spurred an (internal) Special Review Committee, which is responsible for addressing his concerns, but is still out conducting the investigation (of its own practices). Many were disatisfied with this remedy and posed that an objective, independent review committee would have been more appropriate, however it is a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, NTIA and FirstNet have continued on with their assuaging outreach message, but no actions have been taken to visibly include the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), or to address the concerns over transparency.
“The input of states, tribes, and local governments will be critical as FirstNet develops its plans for this historic network,” said Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Information and Communications and NTIA Administrator. “NTIA’s State and Local Implementation Grant Program will give states the resources they need to consult with FirstNet on deployment of a nationwide public safety broadband network.”
Still have some questions about FirstNet funding? EMR created a visual interpretation for you of where the money will come from and where it's going according to the law, here. Please note the $135 million that was promised has been reduced to $121.5 million, and may further be reduced due to sequestration.
Contact EMR Consulting today to find out how we work to keep politics out of the equation, and how we can assist your Public Safety agency, or your state, in preparing for FirstNet.