The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) Board today approved a $358 million budget package to fund the agency’s operations and potential network investments in Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). The board allocated the majority of the FY23 budget for enhancements and upgrades to FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network, during today’s meeting in Los Angeles.
“This action paves the way for the FirstNet Authority to continue to deliver and enhance the network that first responders across the country have come to trust and rely on for emergencies and natural disasters,” says FirstNet Authority Board Chair Stephen Benjamin. “The budget enables the FirstNet Authority to plan for future capabilities on the network, so it evolves with technology and delivers the tools public safety needs to keep themselves and their communities safe.”
During today’s quarterly board meeting, the FirstNet Authority Board unanimously approved Resolution 114, which allocates $84 million for the FirstNet Authority’s operating budget in FY23 and provides an additional $84 million in reserves for operations. Importantly, the budget also includes $190 million for investments in support of FirstNet network enhancements, such as coverage and emerging technologies.
The FirstNet Authority has a self-sustaining business model that enables it to fund agency operations and continually improve the network through the collection of fees from AT&T, its network contractor. FirstNet serves first responders in 21,800 agencies and organizations in every state and territory in the United States, with 3.7 million connections on the network.
“This budget ensures the FirstNet Authority remains a good steward of funds for public safety and supports our priorities in the areas of contract oversight, organizational health, stakeholder engagement, and future planning and investments,” said Acting FirstNet Authority CEO Lisa Casias. “It positions the FirstNet Authority to continue to invest in the network and in our organization, as we work with public safety to deliver the best possible network experience for them.”
Previously, the FirstNet Authority has directed network investments to enhance coverage on FirstNet, including improved indoor coverage 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. The FirstNet Authority Roadmap outlines the key priorities and activities for advancing and evolving the network beyond current contractual commitment.
About the First Responder Network Authority
The FirstNet Authority is an independent entity within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Created in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.