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FirstNet Making Progress Towards Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) took another step closer to the implementation of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) with the approval of a budget package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.

The FirstNet Board approved a $6.585 billion budget to support the award of a Network contract and associated task orders in FY17, including $85 million for FirstNet operations. The $6.5 billion will be paid over the course of the contract as development and operational milestones are achieved.

Created under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, FirstNet is an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration responsible for creating and maintaining the first nationwide public safety broadband network for law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service professionals and other public safety entities.

“This mission-driven budget reflects our goals for the organization, for the Network, and for public safety,” said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson. “It will drive the achievement of major milestones along our Strategic Roadmap in what will be a pivotal year for FirstNet, including critical post-award priorities such as State plans and continued outreach to public safety.”

In addition, FirstNet announced on August 26 that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted to release a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on the process it will use for states that choose to conduct their own Radio Access Network deployment.

“We’re pleased that the FCC has moved forward in unanimously voting out the NPRM on the FCC processes for a state that chooses to conduct its own Radio Access Network deployment,” said Poth. “We appreciate the FCC’s diligent work on this issue and look forward to getting this important network deployed.”

The FCC also issued an Order on the relocation of Band 14 public safety incumbents. FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a statement that the order, coupled with FirstNet’s Band 14 Incumbent Spectrum Relocation Grant Program (Band 14 Program) will help smooth the transition for public safety stakeholders.

Last month, FirstNet announced the funding of eight awards for its Band 14 Program, which 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 NPSBN.

Under the Band 14 program, awardees will have one year to complete their project plans and relocate their existing radios and systems. FirstNet will their progress and provide assistance in meeting the goal of clearing the spectrum within 12 months.

“Public safety’s needs are our top priority, and we are pleased to be working hand-in-hand with these Band 14 public safety incumbents,” said Poth. “The awarding of these grants will help to ensure a smooth transition for these entities while at the same time making sure the spectrum is free and clear for the deployment of public safety’s nationwide wireless broadband network.”

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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