The First Responder Network Authority, commonly known as FirstNet, on Thursday announced the award of eight grants to public safety entities for the relocation of their radio systems from Band 14.
According to FirstNet, the grants total $26.8 million and will be distributed to public safety agencies in eight states, including Illinois, Virginia, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Michigan, Connecticut and Idaho.
“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,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said. “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.”
The largest grant, a sum of $14,025,249.50 will go to the Illinois Emergency Management agency. The Virginia State Police will also receive a substantial grant of $7.3 million, while the Arkansas State Police and Massachusetts State Police will receive grants of $3.8 million and nearly $1.6 million, respectively. Combined awards to public safety entities in the four remaining states total less than $100,000.
The grants come in advance of the anticipated deployment and launch of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).
Bidding for the project opened in January and closed at the end of May. Though FirstNet has not disclosed bidder names in accordance with its procurement rules, several bidders have outed themselves.
Rivada Mercury and AT&T have both confirmed they have submitted bids for the project. Verizon has also been floated by analysts as a contender, but CEO Lowell McAdam declined to comment on the matter during the carrier’s second quarter earnings call.
On the flip side, one carrier that almost certainly is not in the running is T-Mobile. Back in April, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said it was “doubtful” the Un-carrier would be a “significant player” in the FirstNet bidding due to timing issues and competing spectrum and network commitments.
FirstNet is currently reviewing bid proposals for construction of the NPSBN, and expects to award a contract by November 1.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)