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NTIA Outlines Process and Funding for States Seeking to Opt-out of FirstNet

Drew Clark

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: In a significant new development, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration outlines a process for how states will be able to receive funding to build their own public safety wireless networks that are separate and apart from FirstNet. The far, approximately 35 of the 50 states have opted-in to FirstNet. Colorado and New Hampshire have issued an RFP and announced a vendor for a radio access network.

SAPP Notice of Funding Opportunity Information, from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) provides states with guidance on the FirstNet opt-out application process.  The SAPP NOFO can be accessed at www.grants.gov using the Funding Opportunity Number 2018-NTIA-SAPP-01, and is also available below.

If a state wants to assume responsibility for the construction, operation, maintenance, and improvement of its Radio Access Network (RAN) to interoperate with Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), and has received approval of its alternative plan from the FCC, the state must apply to NTIA for the authority to enter into a spectrum manager lease from FirstNet. The state may also apply for RAN construction grant funding.

The SAPP NOFO lays out the application requirements necessary to meet 5 key statutory demonstrations focused on ongoing interoperability, financial stability, technical ability, and comparable security, coverage, quality of service, and timelines. Taken together, the demonstrations will establish whether a state is prepared to provide public safety with interoperable and reliable broadband service over time consistent with the rest of the NPSBN.

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Source: SAPP Notice of Funding Opportunity Information | NTIA

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected. A prior version said that Colorado and New Hampshire have opted-out of First Net, but they have only issued an RFP and announced a vendor for a radio access network.

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