Broadband  |  2023-08-25

FirstNet Authority Board Approves FY24 Budget for Operations, Network Investmen

Source: FirstNet
Curated by: Gert Jan Wolf - Editor-in Chief for The Critical Communications Review

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) Board this week approved a $451 million budget package to fund operations in Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) and to explore opportunities for network enhancements.

“This demonstrates the FirstNet Authority’s commitment to advance FirstNet beyond the initial buildout phase,” said FirstNet Authority Board Chair Richard Carrizzo. “This budget will enable our organization to continue to engage with and advocate for the nation’s public safety community, making sure the network continues to evolve and meet their emerging needs.”

Meeting today in Tacoma, Washington, the FirstNet Authority Board unanimously approved Resolution 115, which allocates $95 million for the FirstNet Authority’s operating budget in FY24, plus an additional $95 million for reserves. The bulk of the budget — specifically, $261 million — was approved for investments in network coverage and emerging technologies.

“This budget positions the FirstNet Authority for continued growth and success as we implement our strategic goals, working closely with public safety,” said FirstNet Authority Executive Director and CEO Joe Wassel. “Our top priorities for the coming year include the development of a 10-year investment plan to advance 5G and coverage on the network, as well as strengthening our programs for public safety education, training, awareness, and oversight of the network contract.”

The FirstNet network currently serves more than 26,000 public safety agencies and organizations in every state and territory in the United States, with over 5 million connections on the network.

The FirstNet Authority has made several investments to advance and grow the network, including enhancing in-building coverage on FirstNet via small-cell technologies and expanding the fleet of deployable assets for public safety use. The FirstNet Authority also has invested in initial generational upgrades to the network core for 5G capabilities and beyond.