[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 162 (Tuesday, August 21, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50481-50486]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20502]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

[Docket No. 120509050-2325-02]
RIN 0660-XC001


Development of Programmatic Requirements for the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program To Assist in Planning for the Nationwide 
Public Safety Broadband Network

AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 
U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
(NTIA) issues this Notice to announce requirements for the State and 
Local Implementation Grant Program authorized by section 6302 of the 
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act). The Notice 
describes the programmatic requirements under which NTIA will award 
grants to assist state, local, and tribal governments with planning for 
a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network.

DATES: The programmatic requirements for the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program become effective August 21, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The programmatic requirements for the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program will be posted to the NTIA Web site at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura M. Pettus, Program Specialist, 
Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications, National 
Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of 
Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 4812, Washington, DC 
20230; telephone: (202) 482-5802. Please direct media inquiries to 
NTIA's Office of Public Affairs, (202) 482-7002.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On February 22, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Middle 
Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act).\1\ The Act meets a 
long-standing priority of the Obama Administration to create a single, 
nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network that will, for 
the first time, allow police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical 
service professionals, and other public safety officials to communicate 
with each other across agencies and jurisdictions. Public safety 
workers have long been hindered by incompatible, and often outdated, 
communications equipment and this Act will help them to do their jobs 
more safely and effectively.
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    \1\ Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public 
Law 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012) (Act).
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    The Act establishes the First Responder Network Authority 
(FirstNet) as an independent authority within NTIA and authorizes it to 
take all actions necessary to ensure the design, construction, and 
operation of a nationwide public safety broadband network (PSBN), based 
on a single, national network architecture.\2\ FirstNet is responsible 
for, at a minimum, ensuring nationwide standards for use of and access 
to the network; issuing open, transparent, and competitive requests for 
proposals (RFPs) to build, operate, and maintain the network; 
encouraging these RFPs to leverage, to the maximum extent economically 
desirable, existing commercial wireless infrastructure to speed 
deployment of the network; and overseeing contracts with non-federal 
entities to build, operate, and maintain the network.\3\
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    \2\ 47 U.S.C. 1422 (b), 1426(b)(1).
    \3\ Id.
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    Additionally, the Act charges NTIA with establishing a grant 
program to assist state, regional, tribal, and local jurisdictions with 
identifying, planning, and implementing the most efficient and 
effective means to use and integrate the infrastructure, equipment, and 
other architecture associated with the nationwide PSBN to satisfy the 
wireless broadband and data services needs of their jurisdictions.\4\ 
Up to $135 million in grant money will be available to NTIA for the 
State and Local Implementation Grant Program.\5\
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    \4\ 47 U.S.C. 1442(a).
    \5\ 47 U.S.C. 1441(c).
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    To implement the new program, NTIA must establish requirements, in

[[Page 50482]]

consultation with FirstNet, by August 22, 2012. These requirements 
include: Determining the scope of eligible activities that the grant 
program will fund, defining eligible costs, and prioritizing grants for 
activities that ensure coverage in rural as well as urban areas.\6\ The 
U.S. Secretary of Commerce appointed the FirstNet Board of Directors on 
August 20, 2012, and NTIA initiated consultations with FirstNet on the 
requirements for the State and Local Implementation Grant Program. NTIA 
may refine further the programmatic requirements announced in this 
Notice based on these ongoing consultations.
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    \6\ 47 U.S.C. 1442(c).
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II. Overview of Public Comments

    On May 16, 2012, NTIA issued a Request for Information (RFI) 
seeking public comment on various issues related to the development of 
the State and Local Implementation Grant Program.\7\ Specifically, the 
RFI requested comment on how FirstNet should conduct the consultation 
process with regional, state, tribal, and local jurisdictions; how to 
incorporate existing public safety governance and planning authorities 
into the development of the PSBN; how best to leverage existing 
infrastructure for use in the PSBN; what state and local actions should 
be eligible grant activities; and issues related to state funding and 
performance requirements.\8\
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    \7\ Development of the State and Local Implementation Grant 
Program for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, Request 
for Information, 77 FR 28857 (May 16, 2012) (RFI). NTIA has posted 
all comments received in response to the RFI on its Web site at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2012/comments-development-state-and-local-implementation-grant-program.
    \8\ Id. at 28858-59.
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    NTIA received approximately 70 comments from a wide range of 
stakeholders, including states, local and tribal governments, federal 
and state agencies, trade associations, private companies, consultants, 
and individuals. The majority of the comments discuss each of the 
issues identified in the RFI, and NTIA relied on the comments for 
guidance to frame the requirements of the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program, particularly to develop the overarching 
direction of the program as it relates to the collection of data and 
the consultation process with FirstNet.
    In some cases, the comments address matters not specifically 
covered in the RFI, such as the need for a web-based repository of 
information, the need for clarification on the applicability of vendor 
conflict of interest rules, the importance of developing the PSBN 
business models, and the necessary considerations for network 
sustainability.\9\ While these comments raise important issues, many of 
these matters are within the purview of FirstNet and are better left 
for its consideration as it carries out its responsibilities under the 
Act. As a result, NTIA has not incorporated these concerns into the 
requirements for the State and Local Implementation Grant Program, but 
will pass the information along to FirstNet for its consideration.
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    \9\ See, e.g., State of New York at 2, 4, and 7, available at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/state_of_new_york_response_to_ntia_grant_rfi_june_15_2012.pdf; State of Texas at 9, 14, 
available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ntia_texas_rfi_v10.1_061512.pdf; Motorola Solutions, Inc. at 2, 7-8, available at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/final_ntia_rfi_comments.pdf; 
Operator Advisory Committee (OAC) at 10-11, 13-14, available at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/psst-oac_ntia_rfi_response_finalv3.pdf; Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications 
System Authority (LA-RICS) at 4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ntia_rfi_laricscomments_final.pdf; 
Mid-Atlantic SWICs at 8-9, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/mid-atlantic_swics_comments_on_ntia_rfi_6-15-2012_final.pdf.
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A. Data Collection

    Overwhelmingly, the commenters agree that FirstNet must establish a 
standardized process before the states engage in any data collection 
activities.\10\ The state commenters, in particular, point out that it 
would not be an efficient use of their resources to begin collecting 
data that might not be useful or necessary during their consultations 
with FirstNet.\11\ Many commenters provide helpful input about the data 
the states should collect and how they could best identify the assets 
and infrastructure that FirstNet might leverage for the PSBN.\12\ 
Recommended assets to identify and evaluate include existing radio 
tower sites, fiber and microwave links, and government-owned properties 
that might be suitable for new wireless infrastructure, such as 
building rooftops and water towers.\13\ Several commenters also 
recommend that FirstNet create a standard template, along with a 
standardized database, for the states to use to collect and submit 
information on asset inventories.\14\
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    \10\ See Arizona Department of Homeland Security at 9, available 
at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/azdohs.pdf; Carlos Delatorre 
at 9, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/carlos_delatorre_comments.pdf; National States Geographic Information 
Council (NSGIC) at 4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/nsgic_response_061412.pdf; Michael A. Scales, available at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2012/comments-development-state-and-local-implementation-grant-program?page=1#comment-29357; National Governors Association at 2, 
available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/letter_to_ntia_re_state_and_local_implemenation_grant_final_signed.docx.pdf; 
National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) at 
3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/nascio_response_to_ntia_psbn_grant_program_final.pdf; FEMA Region 5 
Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group 
(RECCWG) at 6-7, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/fema_region5_reccwg_ntia_rfi_responses_june_2012_ver7.pdf; 
Ventera at 4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ntia_public_comments_sligp.pdf; Commonwealth of Kentucky at 1, 
available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/kybroadbandrfi.pdf; 
Rhode Island Broadband Program Director at 12, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ntia_rfi_response_001.pdf; State of 
Utah at 5, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/state_of_utah_ntia_rfi_response_final_6-15-12.pdf; State of North 
Dakota at 5-6, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/north_dakota_firstnet_planning_rfi_response_120509050-1050-01.pdf; Raytheon at 2, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/raytheon_rfi_response_to_ntia__15-jun-12.pdf.
    \11\ See State of California at 5, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/california_state_response.pdf; State 
of South Dakota at 1, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/national_public_safety_broadband_public_comments.pdf.
    \12\ See State of South Dakota at 1; Arizona Department of 
Homeland Security at 4-5; Carlos Delatorre at 3; State of Oregon at 
1, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/oregon_rfi_comments.pdf; NSGIC at 2; State of Georgia at 1-3, available at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/state_of_georgia_response_06-14-2012.pdf; LA-RICS at 3-5; Mid-Atlantic SWICs at 9; FEMA Region 5 
RECCWG at 2, 12-13; OAC at 3-5; BayRICS at 3-4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/bayrics_ntia_rfi_slpgp.pdf; Motorola 
Solutions at 3, 7-9; PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association at 
5-6, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ntia_state_and_local_grant_program_rfi_pcia_comments_6-15-12_final.pdf; 
Alcatel-Lucent at 5-8, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/alu_comments_on_ntia_ps_rfi.pdf; Tilson Government 
Services, LLC at 4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/tilsonrficomments.pdf; Raytheon at 6; Connected Nation at 4, 
available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/cn_letter_on_firstnet_rfi_6_15_2012_final.pdf; Northrop Grumman Information 
Systems at 2-4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/northrop_grumman_comments.pdf; North Central Regional Broadband 
Data Consortium at 2-4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ncrbdc_comments.pdf.
    \13\ See Mid-Atlantic SWICs at 8; Arizona Department of Homeland 
Security at 4-5; NSGIC at 2.
    \14\ See Mid-Atlantic SWICs at 8; State of Georgia at 5; State 
of New Jersey at 5, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/new_jersey_ntia_rfi_sligp_response_6_15_2012.pdf.
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B. The Consultation Process With FirstNet

    Many commenters believe that preparing to consult effectively with 
FirstNet will require states to dedicate their already limited 
resources, specifically funds and personnel, to this task.\15\ The 
comments emphasize that effective consultations with FirstNet will 
require a significant amount of

[[Page 50483]]

planning and preparation for all stakeholders that could span several 
months, if not years.\16\ The states, in particular, observe that 
without grant funds to hire staff, conduct meetings with the various 
stakeholders, and develop the necessary governance structures, the 
states cannot consult with FirstNet in a meaningful way.\17\ Many 
commenters agree that state, local, and tribal jurisdictions lack the 
staff and/or technical ability to manage a project of this size without 
federal support.\18\
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    \15\ See State of Colorado Governor's Office of Information 
Technology at 2, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/colorado_office_of_information_technology_comments.pdf (stating 
that the collection of relevant data ``will take significant effort 
in both human and capital resources'').
    \16\ See California Emergency Management Agency at 3, available 
at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/california_state_response.pdf.
    \17\ See State of Nevada at 3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/state_of_nevada_ntia_docket_no_120509050-1050-01.pdf (``Implementation and planning grants must be 
used to fund that data collection and assessment effort in addition 
to the other tasks required to establish the State's network 
requirements.''); State of Mississippi at 3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/state_of_ms_response_to_ntia_rfi_final_6_15_12.pdf (``Grant funding should also be used to provide 
the support for dedicated state staff and consultants to develop 
essential data for FirstNet as well as funding to support outreach 
and education efforts directly related to the PSBN.'').
    \18\ See State of Georgia at 1 (``Very few, if any, States or 
locals have the staff and technical expertise to manage a project of 
this size, complexity and importance on a full time basis.''); State 
of New York at 2 (``Many states lack the state and local resources 
to collect this data.''); State of North Dakota at 1-2 (grant funds 
should be available for staffing requirements and planning 
activities).
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    NTIA agrees that FirstNet is in the best position to develop 
standards for the collection of data on assets and infrastructure that 
might be used or incorporated into the PSBN.\19\ As a result, NTIA 
believes that it would not be a prudent use of grant funds to allow the 
states to undertake data gathering and collection activities, such as 
asset inventories, before FirstNet has developed guidance on the 
information it will need. Additionally, NTIA understands that 
coordination with FirstNet will involve a substantial amount of time 
and planning and many states face significant resource constraints, 
particularly with staffing levels, to participate effectively in this 
effort.\20\
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    \19\ See Commonwealth of Massachusetts at 4, available athttp://
www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/mass_eopss_final_june_14_2012-2.pdf; State of Oregon at 5-6; State of Georgia at 5; APCO 
International at 5, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/apco_comments_on_ntia_rfi.pdf; LA-RICS at 9; State of Montana at 
3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/montana_response_ntia_npsbn_rfi_061412.pdf; OAC at 10; State of Nevada 
at 2-3; State of Colorado Governor's Office of Information 
Technology at 2.
    \20\ See South Dakota Bureau of Information & Telecommunications 
at 1, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/national_public_safety_broadband_public_comments.pdf.
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    Based in large part on this feedback, and in keeping with the 
intent of the Act, NTIA believes that, given the funds available and 
the need for FirstNet to make initial decisions on the data collection 
process, it can make the most efficient and effective use of grant 
dollars by focusing the State and Local Implementation Grant Program on 
planning and development activities in preparation for consultations 
with FirstNet.\21\
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    \21\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(a).
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III. Establishment of Programmatic Requirements for the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program

A. Funding Distribution

    Consistent with the statutory framework, NTIA plans to design the 
State and Local Implementation Grant Program as a formula-based, 
matching grant program to assist states, in collaboration with 
regional, tribal, and local jurisdictions, with activities related to 
planning for the establishment of a nationwide public safety broadband 
network.\22\ NTIA is not announcing procedures for the submission of 
grant applications in this Notice nor is it accepting applications at 
this time. NTIA intends to release a Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) 
notice that will provide information on topics including: The amount of 
funding available for award and how NTIA will allocate funds to 
applicants, instructions on the application process, and the evaluation 
criteria for application review. Subject to activities of FirstNet, 
NTIA expects to issue a FFO and open the application window during the 
first quarter of calendar year 2013. This time frame will allow NTIA to 
complete the administrative functions it must undertake to prepare to 
award grants under this program.
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    \22\ See id.
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    NTIA plans to distribute the funding available under this grant 
program in two phases, and will consider the input solicited through 
the RFI to develop a methodology to distribute the available funds.\23\ 
The commenters suggest numerous factors as relevant to allocating these 
funds, including: Population; \24\ population density; \25\ land mass; 
\26\ geography and topography; \27\ risk, threat, and vulnerability; 
\28\ probability of disaster; \29\ expected level of effort required 
for completion; \30\ existing critical infrastructure; \31\ number of 
highway miles; \32\ demand and marketing components; \33\ number of 
regional/local/tribal governmental entities using the network; \34\ 
number of first responders using the network; \35\ effective signal 
propagation; \36\ amount of uncovered rural broadband customers; \37\ 
prioritization of rural areas; \38\ areas with backhaul deficiencies; 
\39\ length of international borders; \40\ and amount of tribal 
lands.\41\ Additionally, some commenters propose that NTIA provide each 
state with an initial, equal distribution of funds to enable the states 
to accomplish certain planning tasks.\42\ NTIA will take this input 
into account and consider those factors that can be quantified in 
developing the formula it will use to allocate the available grant 
funds among eligible applicants. NTIA will announce this formula when 
it issues the FFO.
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    \23\ See RFI, 77 FR at 28859.
    \24\  See State of Georgia at 12; LA-RICS at 20; State of New 
York at 10.
    \25\  See Commonwealth of Massachusetts at 12; USDA-Rural 
Utilities Service (USDA-RUS), available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2012/comments-development-state-and-local-implementation-grant-program#comment-29426.
    \26\  See State of South Dakota at 5.
    \27\ See State of Oregon at 16; State of Montana at 8; State of 
Maine at 3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/firstnetrfiresponse.pdf; Florida at 18, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/florida_response_to_ntia_rfi_state_and_local_implementation_grant.pdf; Tilson Government 
Services, LLC at 11.
    \28\  See Arizona Department of Homeland Security at 15; State 
of Georgia at 12; BayRICS at 12-13.
    \29\  See State of Texas at 13.
    \30\ See Carlos Delatorre at 18-19; Florida at 18; State of 
North Dakota at 13; Washington State Interoperability Executive 
Committee at 4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/wa_siec_response_to_ntia_rfi_06152012.pdf.
    \31\ See State of Georgia at 12; State of Maine at 3; FEMA 
Region 5 RECCWG at 15; North Central Regional Broadband Data 
Consortium at 13-14.
    \32\ See State of Nevada at 6-7; State of Utah at 14; State of 
Mississippi at 20.
    \33\ See APCO International at 7.
    \34\ See Mid-Atlantic SWICs at 11; Florida at 18; OAC at 22.
    \35\ See FEMA Region 5 RECCWG at 15; OAC at 22.
    \36\ See State of Maine at 3.
    \37\ See State of Nevada at 7; State of Mississippi at 20.
    \38\ See Mendocino County, California at 3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/mendocinocommentsonntiafirstnetrfi.pdf.
    \39\ See State of Utah at 14.
    \40\ See State of Texas at 14; State of North Dakota at 13; 
Washington State Interoperability Executive Committee at 3.
    \41\ See State of North Dakota at 13.
    \42\ See, e.g., Commonwealth of Massachusetts at 2, 4 (proposing 
that NTIA give each state $500,000 to establish and operate a Public 
Safety Broadband office).
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B. Eligible Applicants

    The 56 states and territories are eligible for grants under the 
State and Local Implementation Grant Program. The Act directs NTIA to 
make grants to states; thus, each state and territory choosing to apply 
for a grant should

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submit an individual application during the application window. An 
applicant may decide, however, to collaborate or coordinate with other 
states and regions in preparing application submissions, as is 
contemplated in the statute.\43\
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    \43\ 47 U.S.C. 1442(a).
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    NTIA will specify in the FFO the exact contents of the application 
package that applicants must submit during the application window. 
There are several items, however, that NTIA will likely require, and 
applicants may prepare to address them in advance of the FFO's 
publication. First, the Act directs each state to certify in its 
application for grant funds that the state has designated a single 
officer or governmental body to serve as the coordinator of the grant 
funds.\44\ This designated officer or governmental body will also be 
responsible for determining the method of consultation between FirstNet 
and the state.\45\ Multiple commenters urge NTIA to give the states 
flexibility in making this decision.\46\ Commenters point out that 
states are best equipped to identify the most appropriate office or 
governmental body suited to this task, which may vary from state to 
state, as well as the personnel qualified to act in this capacity.\47\ 
Accordingly, NTIA will give states flexibility in determining which 
state officer or governmental body to designate as the coordinator of 
the grant funds.
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    \44\ 47 U.S.C. 1442(d).
    \45\ 47 U.S.C. 1426(c)(2)(B).
    \46\ See State of Oregon at 2; State of California at 3; 
Nebraska at 2, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/1399_001.pdf; Florida at 4.
    \47\ See Minnesota at 4, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ecn_ntia_rfi_grant_filing_06_15_2012_d4_final.pdf; State of New York at 3; State of Hawaii at 5-6, available 
at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/state_of_hawaii_sligp_rfi_response.pdf; State of Georgia at 3; State of Texas at 2-3.
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    Second, in response to concerns expressed by some commenters and 
consistent with the intent of the statute, NTIA will likely ask 
applicants to describe how they plan to collect input from local and 
tribal jurisdictions to ensure that their public safety needs are 
adequately represented during the consultation process with FirstNet 
and in the coordination of the grant funds.\48\
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    \48\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(a); see also National Congress of 
American Indians at 2-3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ncai_comments_on_sligp_06152012f.pdf (NTIA and FirstNet 
must ``institute rules and reporting requirements to ensure that 
tribal governments are included in the planning and implementation 
process''); NASCIO at 2-3 (``The State and Local Implementation 
grant program should encourage states to leverage all pre-existing 
relationships to ensure coordination and input into the planning 
process.''); State of Alaska at 1, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/state_of_alaska_response_to_ntia_rfi.pdf (``Any mechanisms that mandate involvement of federal, 
local, and tribal users would not be unreasonable to the degree that 
involvement levels could be determined by the states.''); New Mexico 
Department of Information Technology at 3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/rfi_response_final_15jun12.pdf 
(suggesting each state ``provide a plan for ensuring inclusion of 
local and tribal entities via aggregate structure''); LA-RICS at 6 
(``NTIA should allow each State to determine the best method for 
undertaking [involving tribal entities] and include a description 
and plan in its grant application.''); Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
at 2-3 (saying that it should be a stipulation for funding that 
``the responsible state governing body ensures that local and tribal 
(if applicable) participation in the planning process is present''); 
APCO International at 1 (``[S]tates must place the highest priority 
on establishing or enhancing governance structures that ensure 
adequate representation of local jurisdictions in their respective 
[S]tates.'').
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    Third, NTIA requested comment on how the existing public safety 
governance and planning authorities in each state might be incorporated 
into the consultations with FirstNet about the PSBN.\49\ While each 
state may be at different stages in their development of their public 
safety governance structures, the commenters generally agree that the 
states should use established governing bodies in the PSBN 
consultations.\50\ Because the governance structures tend to vary from 
state to state, NTIA will likely ask the states to discuss how they 
will leverage their existing governance structures in the PSBN 
consultations. Finally, because these public safety governance 
structures have traditionally focused solely on interoperable Land 
Mobile Radio (LMR) voice communications, NTIA anticipates asking 
applicants to describe how they intend to expand the expertise of their 
governance structures to include representatives with an understanding 
of broadband and Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to facilitate 
their consultations with FirstNet.
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    \49\ RFI, 77 FR at 28858-59.
    \50\ See State of Montana at 3-4 (``[T]o facilitate the planning 
and deployment [of the PSBN,] an already established governing body 
and governance structure in each individual [S]tate should be 
utilized.''); FEMA Region 5 RECCWG at 3 (``[T]here is no need to 
establish a new governance structure, even though there is now a new 
technology to govern,'' since the governance structures in place or 
being developed should already include representatives of multiple 
disciplines as well as local and tribal responders.); Florida at 7-8 
(finding that even though the underlying technology is changing, the 
mission of the Interoperability Governing Bodies (IGBs) remains, and 
therefore, ``existing IGBs should continue to have principle [sic] 
responsibility for interoperability within the NPSBN''); Minnesota 
at 8 (``[E]xisting IGBs should continue to have principle [sic] 
responsibility for interoperability within the NPSBN.''); New Mexico 
Department of Information Technology at 5-6 (stating that the 
current governance structures can and should be considered for use 
with the PSBN); Montgomery County, Maryland at 6, available at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/comments-montgomerycountymd.pdf 
(emphasizing that existing public safety governance and planning 
authorities' voices must be heard in the program).
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C. Allowable Grant Activities

    The State and Local Implementation Grant Program will support 
activities related to planning for the establishment of the nationwide 
PSBN. NTIA received detailed input from the majority of commenters 
regarding the types of activities that it should allow under the grant 
program to accomplish this objective.\51\ Some of the activities that 
commenters identify include ensuring that states have an appropriate 
framework in place to consult with FirstNet,\52\ developing and 
managing personnel/administrative positions,\53\ conducting 
meetings,\54\ arranging travel,\55\ and providing public outreach and 
education as well as internal training.\56\ Commenters further note 
that some states may need to work with their legal teams to evaluate 
any potential local legal barriers, negotiate necessary agreements, and 
develop standard Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to govern access to 
assets and infrastructure that may used in the PSBN.\57\
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    \51\ See RFI, 77 Fed. Reg. at 28859.
    \52\ Section 6206(c)(2)(A) of the Act directs FirstNet to 
consult with regional, state, tribal, and local jurisdictions about 
the distribution and expenditure of any amounts required to carry 
out the network policies that it is charged with establishing, 
including (i) construction of a core network and any radio access 
network build-out; (ii) placement of towers; (iii) coverage areas of 
the network, whether at the regional, state, tribal, or local level; 
(iv) adequacy of hardware, security, reliability, and resiliency 
requirements; (v) assignment of priority to local users; (vi) 
assignment of priority and selection of entities seeking access to 
or use of the nationwide public safety interoperable broadband 
network; and (vii) training needs of local users. 47 U.S.C. 
1426(c)(2)(A).
    \53\ See State of South Dakota at 4; Arizona Department of 
Homeland Security at 13; State of Oregon at 12; State of California 
at 8; APCO International at 6; LA-RICS at 17; Anjee Toothaker at 2, 
available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/june_15_2012_ltr_to_natl_telecomm_and_info_admin.pdf; FEMA Region 5 RECCWG 
at 12; Florida at 14; State of North Carolina at 5, available at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ntia_rfi_comments_by_north_carolina.pdf; Dr. Michael Myers at 14, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/meyers_rfi_response.pdf.
    \54\ See LA-RICS at 17; Mid-Atlantic SWICs at 10-11; State of 
Montana at 6; Commonwealth of Kentucky at 2; State of New York at 7; 
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe 911 at 3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/ntia_rfi_comments_from_crst_911_corp_v2.pdf; State of Texas at 11.
    \55\ See Carlos Delatorre at 15; Michael A. Scales; State of 
Utah at 11; State of Mississippi at 16; National Congress of 
American Indians at 6.
    \56\ See State of Oregon at 12; State of California at 8; 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts at 9; State of Georgia at 9; Florida 
at 15.
    \57\ See NACo, NLC, USCM & NATOA at 3, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/response_to_rfi_on_grant_structure_final.pdf; State of South Dakota at 3; State of 
California at 1-2; LA-RICS at 5; State of New Jersey at 4; State of 
Nevada at 4; State of Texas at 12.

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[[Page 50485]]

    NTIA anticipates structuring the State and Local Implementation 
Grant Program into two phases of funding for planning activities. The 
first phase will focus on initial planning and consultation activities, 
including strategy and timeline development, meetings, governance 
planning, and outreach and education efforts. The second phase will not 
begin until FirstNet has consulted with the state-designated contact 
about the matters listed in the Act, including defining coverage needs, 
user requirements, and network hardening and resiliency 
requirements.\58\ The second funding phase will address states' needs 
in preparing for additional consultation with FirstNet and planning to 
undertake data collection activities.
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    \58\ 47 U.S.C. 1426(c)(2)(A).
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    NTIA will detail the full scope of allowable activities under the 
grant program in the FFO; however, NTIA will likely require recipients 
to show that they have accomplished the following activities by the end 
of the grant period of performance: (1) Established a governance 
structure, or expanded existing structures, to consult with FirstNet; 
(2) developed procedures to ensure local and tribal representation and 
participation in the consultation process with FirstNet; (3) created a 
process for education and outreach, through program development or 
through other efforts, among local and tribal officials, public safety 
users, and other stakeholders about the nationwide public safety 
broadband network; (4) identified potential public safety users of the 
public safety broadband network; (5) developed standard MOUs to 
facilitate the use of existing infrastructure, or identified the legal 
barriers to creating standard MOUs and described potential remedies; 
and (6) developed staffing plans that include local and tribal 
representation to participate in the public safety governance structure 
and to prepare for data collection activities in consultation with 
FirstNet. NTIA also will consider having grant recipients prepare a 
comprehensive plan, similar in concept to their existing Statewide 
Interoperability Communications Plans (SICPs), describing the public 
safety needs that they expect FirstNet to address in its design of the 
nationwide PSBN, as well as how they intend to satisfy each of the 
elements enumerated above, including milestones that demonstrate their 
progress.
    If sufficient funds are available, NTIA may permit grant recipients 
that have satisfactorily completed the milestones associated with these 
initial planning requirements to use funds for supplemental activities 
related to preparing for any FirstNet data collections, such as 
determining staffing levels to dedicate to these tasks, designating a 
state point of contact for data collection, where appropriate, and 
evaluating the feasibility of using public/private partnerships. At 
present, NTIA does not expect to include the compiling of asset and 
infrastructure inventories as an allowable activity until FirstNet has 
developed a standardized process to govern data collection activities.

D. Funding Restrictions--Eligible and Ineligible Costs

    Grantees may only use funds awarded under the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program to pay eligible costs. Eligible costs are 
consistent with the cost principles identified in the applicable Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars \59\ and in the grant 
program's authorizing legislation.
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    \59\ Allowable costs are determined in accordance with the cost 
principles applicable to the entity incurring the costs. For 
example, the allowability of costs incurred by State, local or 
federally-recognized Indian tribal governments is determined in 
accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A-87, ``Cost 
Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments,'' 2 CFR 
Part 225.
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    Based on input received from multiple commenters, eligible costs 
under the planning grant program will likely include the following 
categories of expenses:
    1. Hiring staff and consultants required for the planning process 
(such as project managers, program directors, engineers, grant 
administrators, financial analysts, accountants, and attorneys);
    2. Holding planning meetings with state agencies, local and tribal 
stakeholders, and regional partners;
    3. Covering travel costs for state, local, and tribal 
representatives to attend planning meetings (such as preparing for 
FirstNet consultations and attending state, regional, and national 
meetings that address public safety broadband issues);
    4. Developing, modifying, or enhancing state plans and governance 
structures, including efforts to adapt existing public safety 
governance authorities, such as the Statewide Interoperability 
Coordinators (SWIC), Statewide Interoperability Executive Committees 
(SIEC), and Statewide Interoperability Governing Bodies (SIGB), to 
include public safety broadband stakeholders and expertise, and 
determining the role of the state Chief Information Officers (CIO), 
Chief Technology Officers (CTO), or Chief Budget Officers (CBO);
    5. Conducting communications, education, and outreach activities 
with state, local, tribal, and regional stakeholders;
    6. Developing standardized MOUs and other types of agreements to 
facilitate access to and use of existing infrastructure;
    7. Identifying potential public safety users for the public safety 
broadband network;
    8. Administrative services and supplies necessary to prepare for 
and manage the grant program;
    9. Legal services related to the planning process; and
    10. Training costs related to the planning process.
    NTIA does not envision allowing funds awarded under the State and 
Local Implementation Grant Program to be used for activities related to 
site preparation, broadband deployment, installation, construction, or 
the acquisition of equipment used to provide wireless broadband 
services, including LTE-related activities.

E. Rural Coverage Prioritization

    The Act provides that the State and Local Implementation Grant 
Program shall include requirements to prioritize grants for activities 
that ensure coverage in rural as well as urban areas.\60\ Some 
commenters note that states with a higher percentage of rural areas may 
face unique challenges; thus, designing a one-size-fits-all approach to 
ensuring rural coverage may not be appropriate for all 
circumstances.\61\
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    \60\ 47 U.S.C. 1442(c).
    \61\ See State of South Dakota at 4; State of Georgia at 10; 
Arizona Department of Homeland Security at 13-14.
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    In designing the formula that it will use to allocate funds under 
the grant program, NTIA intends to avoid a solely population-based 
approach and will consider additional factors that affect rural 
coverage. Additionally, NTIA agrees that the states will need 
flexibility in determining the most effective means by which FirstNet 
can provide adequate rural coverage. While the FFO will describe in 
detail the exact contents of the application package, NTIA anticipates 
having the states address how they will prioritize their grant 
activities to ensure coverage in rural areas, including providing 
specific plans and metrics to demonstrate how they will achieve these 
requirements.\62\
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    \62\ See State of Mississippi at 17; OAC at 20-21.

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[[Page 50486]]

F. NTIA Consultations With FirstNet on the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program Requirements

    As previously discussed, the Act directs NTIA to consult with 
FirstNet to establish the requirements of the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program not later than 6 months after the date of 
the Act's enactment, or by August 22, 2012. The Act also required that 
FirstNet be established no later than August 20, 2012. The Act's 
framework, which essentially placed the creation of FirstNet and the 
development of the grant program requirements on parallel tracks, 
proved challenging for NTIA as it attempted to fulfill the statutory 
mandate to consult with FirstNet in establishing the State and Local 
Implementation Grant Program. As noted, NTIA has only started to 
consult with the newly-formed FirstNet Board on the grant program 
requirements outlined in this Notice. NTIA expects these consultations 
to proceed over the next few months as NTIA continues to prepare the 
FFO in which the State and Local Implementation Grant Program 
requirements will be described more fully.

    Dated: August 16, 2012.
Lawrence E. Strickling,
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.
[FR Doc. 2012-20502 Filed 8-20-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-60-P