FirstNet To Begin State Consultations In July

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FirstNet, the project that aims to create a nationwide data and voice network for first responders is moving forward, albeit in fits and starts. CivSource has previously reported on the trouble with vendors, some seeking to derail the project and others just plain frustrated by the lack of guidance. Now, the managers of FirstNet have announced the plan for state consultations on local plans for the network. The news comes in the wake of a recent resignation in a top leadership post at FirstNet.

Each state has a state point of contact that will be working with FirstNet officials to manage deployment of their local piece of the puzzle. According to a recent presentation from FirstNet officials, the organization now has a process in place for handling that project. States will go through a lengthy planning process before sending a game plan to their respective governor. Part of this process includes formulating a detailed plan and engaging in a competitive RFP project.

Funding for the planning work will come through the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) being administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). That funding is divided into two parts Phase I and Phase II, Phase I funds are available now, with Phase II coming when NTIA has approved a given state plan.

In the midst of all of this, FirstNet leader Bill D’Agostino has resigned to spend more time with his family. The move didn’t come as a surprise to some sources given earlier challenges getting the project off the ground. Deputy General Manager TJ Kennedy has taken over in the interim. Final state plans are expected to come to completion over the next several months with consultation periods beginning in July.