Some state and local officials have chosen to criticize FirstNet, even though the board has been in place for only about six months. Many seem to have forgotten that it took us three years to get Congress to pass this law, and that this will be the single largest public-safety technology project ever.
FirstNet may need help from Congress to change government rules associated with procurement and partnership deals to make the much-anticipated nationwide broadband network for first responders a reality as quickly as possible, FirstNet Chairman Sam Ginn told a House subcommittee.
By Morgan O’Brien — FirstNet’s undertaking is fraught with risk, and most of that risk — both immediate and enduring — is primarily financial in nature. FirstNet can reduce this risk by generating revenue from public-private partnerships that utilize excess capacity on the nationwide broadband network.
States will be able to apply for $121.5 million in National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grants designed to help them conduct planning to be part of the nationwide 700 MHz public-safety broadband network that will be overseen by FirstNet.
Public-safety entities receiving federal stimulus grants as part of the Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) should learn whether they will be allowed to proceed with their halted LTE projects as early as January, according to statements made during the second FirstNet board meeting.