States and territories can use $58 million in planning grants from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to gather data in their jurisdictions regarding their first responders’ needs for coverage, capacity and other key functionalities from FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety broadband network, NTIA and FirstNet announced this week.

NTIA yesterday announced that it would release the second phase of funding from the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP). The first phase—also totaling about $58 million—was released in 2013 to help states fund outreach initiatives and other efforts to prepare for initial consultations with FirstNet.

With the second phase of SLIGP money, states and territories can fund efforts to collect data to identify potential users of the FirstNet system, coverage needs, data-capacity needs and other items identified by FirstNet.

“So far, states and territories are making good progress planning for FirstNet,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling said in a prepared statement. “This second phase of funding will help states and territories ensure the network meets their most pressing needs for coverage.”

FirstNet yesterday shared the data-collection items with the single points of contact (SPOCs) for the 56 states and territories during a joint webinar with NTIA, according to FirstNet spokesman Ryan Oremland. Documents detailing the data to be collected will be posted on the FirstNet web site, but the items address the following five topics included in a FirstNet factsheet:

  • Coverage: Identify desired coverage within the state or territory and proposed buildout phases.
  • Users and Operational Areas: Gather information on the eligible user base and their respective operational areas.
  • Capacity Planning: Estimate current data usage today from typical users with indicators of potential growth.
  • Current Providers/Procurement: Identify current service providers and plans, procurement vehicles, and barriers to adoption.
  • State Plan Decision Process: Document the final state plan review process prior to submission to the governor and any potential barriers/issues FirstNet should be aware of.”

FirstNet requests an initial response to the first four topics by July 31, information that will be used as FirstNet formulates its final request for proposal (RFP). States and territories also will be asked to submit updated information on these items as FirstNet prepares its state plans, according to the factsheet. A written response on the state-plan decision process will be due on Dec. 31.