FirstNet awards eight grants for public safety agencies relocating from Band 14 spectrum

In Daily News Briefs by Wireless Estimator

The largest grant of $14 million will go to Illinois Emergency Management

The largest grant of $14 million will go to Illinois Emergency Management. 

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced the funding of eight awards for its Band 14 Incumbent Spectrum Relocation Grant Program (Band 14 Program).  This program provides financial assistance to eligible public safety entities for relocating their existing radios and systems from Band 14 in advance of the deployment and operation of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).  It is expected that the agency will award a contract by November 1 for the NPSBN.

The list below includes the eight awardees and their total award amounts:

  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency –$14,025,249.50
  • Virginia State Police – $7,304,459.00
  • Arkansas State Police – $3,830,939.89
  • Massachusetts State Police – $1,554,610.00
  • Department of Defense, Honolulu County, Hawaii– $44,533.38
  • Marshall Fire Department, Michigan– $23,500.00
  • Stamford Fire Department, Connecticut –$15,870.00
  • Post Falls Police Department Idaho – $13,470.00

FirstNet released the Band 14 Program Federal Funding Opportunity notice on March 16, 2016.  All grant applications underwent a competitive review process for the Band 14 Program.  This included a technical review by independent peer reviewers with subject matter expertise who verified whether each applicant provided a technically feasible and viable solution to relocate its communications systems from the Band 14 spectrum.

“Public safety’s needs are our top priority, and we are pleased to be working hand-in-hand with these Band 14 public safety incumbents,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “The awarding of these grants will help to ensure a smooth transition for these entities while at the same time making sure the spectrum is free and clear for the deployment of public safety’s nationwide wireless broadband network.”

Awardees will have one year to complete their project plans and relocate their existing radios and systems under the Band 14 program.  FirstNet will begin tracking the progress of each grantee’s spectrum relocation efforts, providing assistance in meeting the goal of clearing the spectrum within 12 months.  Examples of activities conducted by awardees will include reprogramming,
retuning, and reconfiguring equipment to ensure effective transition out of the Band 14 spectrum.