FirstNet board approves $6.58bn budget

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Majority of bumper budget will be awarded to winner of $6.5 billion contract to build first US responder network

FirstNet’s board has approved a $6.58 billion budget for the next financial year, although just $85 million of that is expected to be spent on operations, the company said.

FirstNet’s board has approved a $6.58 billion budget for the next financial year, although just $85 million of that is expected to be spent on operations, the company said.

The remaining $6.5 billion will be invested in to the building of FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety broadband network when deployment thresholds are met during the next several years.

 “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.”

The $6.5 billion contract will be awarded to the winner of bids to be carried out in FY17, alongside 20MHz of low-band spectrum for the network’s construction. Rivada Mercury and AT&T have both confirmed they are among the bid contenders.

FirstNet aims to award the contract by early November, with network deployment beginning early next year.

Terms outlined show the majority of the $6.5 billion will be distributed to the contractor as it meets a series of build-out targets linked to coverage and network capabilities. This process is expected to take up to five years.

FirstNet CEO Mike Poth added: “The Board’s actions today ensure we are prepared to support our partner(s) on day one and deliver for public safety. This budget also provides us with the flexibility we will need to operationalise, deliver 56 individual State plans, and enable public safety adoption of the Network.”

FirstNet is the US first federal public safety broadband network for local, state, regional, tribal and federal first responders. It was signed in to US law in February 2012 and tasked with building and maintaining a nationwide wireless broadband network for emergency services.