FirstNet Board Approves New Budget


The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board has approved a budget package to support deployments through fiscal year 2017. The budget includes the evolution of FirstNet’s public-private partnership and the implementation of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.

The budget totals $6.585 billion, and will support the award of a Network contract in FY17 and includes $85 million for FirstNet operations.

As part of its Network contract, FirstNet will contribute 20 Megahertz of low-band spectrum and up to $6.5 billion to enable a partnership to ensure the building and operation of the Network during a 25-year term. FirstNet is in the evaluation phase of the procurement and remains on track for awarding the contract in November. FirstNet intends to pay that amount over the course of the contract as the partner achieves committed Network deployment and operational milestones.

The budget comes shortly after FirstNet approved eight grants for public safety entities that will allow them to upgrade their spectrum capability. This program provides financial assistance to eligible public safety entities for relocating their existing radios and systems from Band 14 in advance of the deployment and operation of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). The list below includes the eight awardees and their total award amounts:

— Illinois Emergency Management Agency –$14,025,249.50
— Virginia State Police – $7,304,459.00
— Arkansas State Police – $3,830,939.89
— Massachusetts State Police –$1,554,610.00
— Department of Defense, Honolulu County, Hawaii –$44,533.38
— Marshall Fire Department, Michigan –$23,500.00
— Stamford Fire Department, Connecticut –$15,870.00
— Post Falls Police Department Idaho –$13,470.00

FirstNet released the Band 14 Program Federal Funding Opportunity notice on March 16, 2016. All grant applications underwent a competitive review process for the Band 14 Program. This included a technical review by independent peer reviewers with subject matter expertise who verified whether each applicant provided a technically feasible and viable solution to relocate its communications systems from the Band 14 spectrum.