WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced it will be releasing the second phase of previously-awarded grant funding for states and territories to begin collecting data necessary to plan for the nationwide public safety broadband network being developed by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).
The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 authorized the creation of FirstNet, which is developing a nationwide network to enable first responders to better communicate and save lives. The law also directed NTIA to develop a grant program, the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP), to assist states and territories in planning, education and outreach as they consult with FirstNet on the deployment of the broadband network.
In 2013, NTIA awarded grants to 54 states and territories. The first phase of funding, totaling about $58 million, has helped states conduct outreach with public safety and state and local officials to determine their needs, gaps and priorities for public safety wireless broadband and to prepare for formal consultations with FirstNet, which is an independent authority within NTIA.
This second phase of SLIGP funding ($58 million) will allow states to collect data identifying and prioritizing where public safety broadband coverage is needed, identifying potential users and their capacity needs, and detailing current providers and procurement mechanisms.
“So far, states and territories are making good progress planning for FirstNet,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “This second phase of funding will help states and territories ensure the network meets their most pressing needs for coverage.”
NTIA also announced that states and territories will be able to use some funding from phase one on data collection in order to help the grantees meet a July 31 target date set by FirstNet to provide initial data related to states’ coverage needs.