NTIA closes FirstNet grant program
The grant program helped to lay the groundwork for the success of the first nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).
In 2013, NTIA awarded $116.5 million in grants to 54 US states and territories under the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP). The funding helped prepare recipients for consultation with FirstNet, and allowed recipients to conduct stakeholder outreach to better understand the needs of public safety stakeholders.
In less than five years, SLIGP grant recipients engaged more than 350,000 stakeholders, facilitated more than 2700 governance and planning meetings, and distributed more than six million resources, including guides, pamphlets, briefing sheets and e-newsletters.
Tennessee used its SLIGP funding to develop a ‘scorecard’ website to motivate stakeholders to complete training that would prepare them for optimal participation in the NPSBN. Texas created informational videos and an e-learning portal for public safety broadband, which helped keep stakeholders informed and engaged.
Funding was also used to collect data that helped contribute to final design and build-out plans for the network. Idaho, for example, conducted a listening tour to gather input from first responders across the state, and Michigan collected data using electronic surveys, direct outreach and regional workshops. Among other uses for the data, state governors used this information to inform their decision about participating in FirstNet.
Every state and territory ultimately decided to ‘opt in’ to FirstNet.
In May, NTIA announced that it had made 46 grant awards under a second round of funding called SLIGP 2.0, which used leftover funds from the first round of funding. These funds will support continued planning for FirstNet as it is implemented across the nation, with activities including the development of data-sharing agreements, helping with the transition of public safety applications to the NPSBN, analysing coverage gaps and convening stakeholder meetings.
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