Five states—Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Ohio—were awarded a total of $13.1 million in the first phase of planning grants that can be used to support consultation and outreach activities in preparation for a nationwide broadband network for first responders, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced yesterday.

Initially, the schedule for the planning-grant program—known as the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP)—called for the first phase of grants to be distributed to all 56 states and territories on July 15. However, in discussions with state representatives, FirstNet officials learned that many states and territories would not be ready to meet all requirements associated with the SLIGP at that time, so the NTIA decided to distribute the SLIGP funds to states and territories when they are in a position to use the grants.

“The input of states, tribes and local governments will be critical as FirstNet develops its plans for this historic network,” Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for information and communications and NTIA administrator, said in a statement. “NTIA’s State and Local Implementation Grant Program will give states the resources they need to consult with FirstNet on deployment of a nationwide public-safety broadband network.”

Of the $13.1 million in SLIGP grants—all of which require a 20% matching contribution—the states have been awarded the following amounts, all of which were announced earlier this year:

  • Colorado—$2.5 million
  • Connecticut—$1.4 million
  • Delaware—$724,613
  • New York—$4.86 million
  • Ohio—$3.6 million.

This money represents the first phase of planning grants for these states. During the first phase of planning, states and territories are supposed to use the SLIGP funds to expand existing governance entities to consult with FirstNet, conduct education and outreach to relevant stakeholders, and identify potential public-safety users in their jurisdictions.

In the second phase of the planning program, states and territories can use grant money to fund work for additional consultations with FirstNet and to gather data on items such as infrastructure and partnerships that are available in a jurisdiction that may be helpful to the FirstNet initiative. NTIA officials have said that second-phase grants will not be distributed until FirstNet has determined what data it wants and the format in which it should be collected.