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NTIA Announces Federal Funding Opportunity for the State and Local Implementation Grant Program

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced yesterday the much awaited Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO ) for the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP).  With this, NTIA commences the key state-level planning process that will support the construction of a national public safety mobile broadband network (PSBN). The program was created by Congress in 2012 under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 to assist state, local, and tribal governments with planning for a nationwide interoperable PSBN.  This grant will allow states to undertake the necessary planning for them to work with the FirstNet authority, housed within the NTIA and created by the Act to construct and manage this network. NTIA is making available $121.5 million for the planning program over a three year period.  Funding availability by jurisdiction was determined on a formula basis by NTIA and is included in the FFO.  Maximum funding eligibility by jurisdiction ranges from $515,000 for American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, to $6,000,000 for the state of Texas. 

The SLIGP program will include two funding phases.  Under the first phase, which commences with this FFO, the SLIGP will focus on planning, consulting, and development activities in preparation for consultations between state, local, and tribal governments with FirstNet, including strategy and timeline development, governance planning, and outreach efforts.  The second phase, which is currently unscheduled, will primarily address states' needs in preparing for additional consultation with FirstNet and planning to undertake data collection activities.  Data collection activities may be included in this second phase, provided FirstNet determines that it needs states to undertake the data collection needed to build plans for the PSBN.

Applications for funding from each of the 56 states and territories are due no later than March 19, 2013.  Grants are expected to be awarded by July 15, 2013.

With this funding opportunity the NTIA puts in motion the partnership between FirstNet and state, local, and tribal governments essential to ensure success of the venture.  At the end of this process, first responders across the nation will be able to rely on a robust, interoperable nationwide network that will serve their communications needs, ensuring faster and more effective response at times of emergency.  In short, they will be able to save more lives and make our country a safer place.  Connected Nation commends the NTIA for its dedication to this effort and its very rapid release of this FFO.  We stand ready to work with states, local, and tribal governments, as well as with the NTIA and FirstNet to ensure that this venture is a success.

This month, Connected Nation is hosting public safety month, focusing on how high-speed Internet can benefit public safety institutions including police departments, hospitals, and fire departments. Also, we invite you to explore our past memos on Firstnet here.