The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub.
112-96, Title VI, 126 Stat.
256 (codified at 47 U.S.C.
1401 et seq.)) (Act) established the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within NTIA.
The Act also
describes FirstNet’s duty and responsibility to ensure the deployment and operation of a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).
The NPSBN will, by law, initially consist of a core network, operated by FirstNet, and radio access networks (RAN) in each State that link to the core to ensure that a single, nationwide network architecture is available to deliver broadband services to public safety personnel and entities in each State, Territory, and the District of Columbia.
The Act further assigns to NTIA the obligation to determine whether a State, if it seeks the authority to deploy the RAN within its borders, will be able to seamlessly interoperate with the NPSBN, and be financially and technically sustainable.
An applicant must apply for authority to enter into a Spectrum Manager Lease Agreement (SMLA) with FirstNet (Lease Authority), and may apply for optional grant funds to assist in the construction of its RAN (RAN Construction Funds).
This NOFO addresses both the mandatory grant of the right to enter into an SMLA with FirstNet and the optional RAN Construction Funds grant under NTIA’s grant program.