The FirstNet Board on Friday approved a $6.585 billion budget package for fiscal year 2017 that it said will support “landmark developments” for the new network in the coming months.
According to FirstNet, the approved budget includes $6.5 billion for the award of a network buildout contract and $85 million for FirstNet operations.
“This mission-driven budget reflects our goals for the organization, for the Network, and for public safety,” said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson. “It will drive the achievement of major milestones along our Strategic Roadmap in what will be a pivotal year for FirstNet, including critical post-award priorities such as State plans and continued outreach to public safety.”
FirstNet said the $6.5 billion will be awarded to a winning bidder in fiscal year 2017 alongside 20 MHz of low-band spectrum for the network’s construction.
FirstNet said it is still in the process of reviewing bids for the project submitted back in May. Rivada Mercury and AT&T have both confirmed they are among the bid contenders, but Verizon – which has been floated by analysts as the favorite to complete the buildout – has declined to comment on its involvement. T-Mobile has previously said it would likely forego a bid for the FirstNet buildout to allow it to focus on the spectrum auction and its own network expansion.
FirstNet said it is on track to award a contract by November 1.
The budget news comes a week after FirstNet awarded a total of $26.8 million in grants to public safety agencies in eight states for the relocation of their radio systems from Band 14.
The FCC on Friday also took action on FirstNet last week, passing an order to facilitate the relocation of public safety narrowband incumbents currently on FirstNet’s spectrum and sending out a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for feedback on the proposed procedures for administering the state opt-out process.
FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said the move to relocate Band 14 inhabitants was a “critical step” in ensuring a smooth deployment of the new network.
Filed Under: Infrastructure