Safety Interoperable Communications Grant Program:
Q1. What is the purpose of the Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) Grant Program?
A1. The PSIC Grant Program will provide funding to States and Territories starting in Fiscal Year 2007 to enable and enhance public safety agencies’ interoperable communications capabilities. The PSIC Grant Program is a one-time grant opportunity to enhance interoperable capabilities with respect to voice, data, and/or video and encourage the use of innovative cost- and spectrum-efficient technology solutions.
Q2. What is the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)?
A2. NTIA, an agency within the Department of Commerce, is responsible for the development of domestic and international telecommunications and information policy for the Executive Branch, for ensuring the efficient and effective use of the federal radio spectrum, and for performing state-of-the-art telecommunications research, engineering, and planning.
Q3. Why is the PSIC Grant Program managed by NTIA?
A3. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L. No. 109-171) established a firm deadline to complete the transition of broadcasters from analog to digital transmissions. This digital television transition returns analog television spectrum, of which 24 megahertz has been reallocated for public safety use. The remaining portion of the returned spectrum will be auctioned for commercial use. With the anticipated auction proceeds, NTIA was given authority to expend $1 billion in grants to public safety agencies to improve interoperable communications.
Q4. What is the role of Department of Homeland Security?
A4. On February 16, 2007, NTIA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Grants and Training (G&T) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through which NTIA will acquire grants-related administrative services and expertise from DHS. NTIA retains the approval authority on the program guidance, all grant awards, and grant applications.
Q5. How do the PSIC grants relate to the forthcoming public safety spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band?
A5. The PSIC Grant Program will assist public safety agencies in the acquisition of, deployment of, or training for the use of interoperable communications systems that utilize -- or enable interoperability with communications systems that utilize -– reallocated public safety spectrum in the 764-776 MHz and 794-806 MHz bands. The PSIC Grant Program will assist public safety agencies in exploring and encouraging the use of all available technologies to advance overall public safety interoperability, so long as those frequencies will enable first responders to interoperate with the 700 MHz bands in the future.
Q6. How does the PSIC Grant Program relate to the DHS requirement to submit Statewide Plans?
A6. DHS has developed a comprehensive statewide planning approach, which each State will be required to implement this year. Statewide Plans will be used as part of the grant application process to ensure that investment justifications and applications are in line with broader, regional interoperability goals. Additionally, disbursement of the State’s allocated funding will be contingent upon submission of the Statewide Plan as required by DHS. A qualitative peer evaluation will be used for review of both the Statewide Plans and grant applications to ensure consistency.
Up to five percent of the total available funds will be disbursed at award to grantees in FY 2007 to ensure that Statewide Plans include consideration of PSIC grant requirements.
Q7. When are the Statewide Plans due to the DHS? Will the States receive help developing the plans?
A7. SAFECOM released the Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan development guidance for the March 21–23, 2007 symposium in Los Angeles, CA. The criteria set forth will serve as a basis for an eventual peer review process to approve the Statewide Plans. The criteria emphasize a regional approach to interoperability, including but not limited to—
DHS will deploy technical assistance to help States draft their Statewide Plans, and preliminary plans will be due to DHS by September 30, 2007. Final plans must be submitted by November 1, 2007 in order to ensure that peer reviews and the release of PSIC grant funding are expedited.
Q8. How will existing Tactical Interoperable Communication Plans (TICPs) be leveraged within the PSIC Grant Program?
A8. The PSIC Grant Program builds upon the planning efforts underway across State and local jurisdictions. Urban and metropolitan areas with existing TICPs received recommendations (from the AARs, IPs, and Tactical Interoperable Communications Scorecards) on how to improve regional interoperability. These plans, the recommendations, and the needs identified by the TICP participants should serve as the basis for developing Statewide Plans and investment justifications for PSIC grants.
Q9. What are the key dates associated with the PSIC Grant Program?
A9. The dates below represent key milestones associated with the PSIC Grant Program:
Q10. What if I have additional questions?
A10. For more information on the PSIC Grant Program, please contact the Centralized Scheduling and Information Desk (CSID) at 1-800-368-6498 or email@example.com.
PSIC Grant Program updates will be posted on the NTIA
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