When Congress called for the creation of a nationwide broadband network for public safety in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, lawmakers knew it was important that states play a key role in ensuring that the network meets the needs of local first responders. To implement this goal, the law directed NTIA to establish the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) to support states as they prepare for the launch of the network.
Since awarding grants to 54 states and territories in 2013, NTIA staff has been busy working with our SLIGP grantees on how to make the most of this opportunity. The $116 million in grants are helping states as they conduct outreach with public safety and state and local officials to determine their needs, gaps and priorities for public safety wireless broadband and to prepare for formal consultations with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which is developing the public safety broadband network.
As we continue to monitor the progress of these efforts, NTIA’s SLIGP federal program officers are conducting site visits to its state grantees. We are gaining valuable information from these visits about how different states are using their grants to plan for FirstNet and have begun sharing some of this information by developing best practices documents.