On August 21, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the general outline of requirements for the State and Local Implementation Grant Program in connection with the 700 MHz nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (FirstNet). This program was authorized by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. The $135 million in matching-grant funds will be divided among states and territories to help with planning for the public safety network. The following is a tentative outline of the program:
Application Requirements. Specific application procedures will probably be released in first quarter 2013, and will likely include the following requirements:
- Certification that the state has designated a single officer or governmental body to serve as coordinator of grant funds.
- Description of how each state plans to collect input from local and tribal jurisdictions.
- Description of how each state plans to leverage existing governance structures in the consultation process, include representatives with expertise in Long Term Evolution (LTE).
Use of Grant Funds. NTIA will probably ask grant recipients to demonstrate that they have completed the following activities by the end of the grant performance period:
- Established a governance structure to consult with FirstNet.
- Developed procedures to ensure local and tribal representation.
- Created a process for education and outreach among local and tribal officials, public safety users, and other stakeholders about the network.
- Identified potential public safety users.
- Developed standard MOUs to facilitate use of existing infrastructure.
- Developed staffing plans to prepare for data collection activities in consultation with FirstNet.
NTIA will have further discussions with the recently-formed FirstNet Board over the next few months before finalizing the grant application requirements.