FirstNet Authority Board Authorizes Funds for Initial Core Upgrade
Monday, December 14, 2020 | Comments

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board authorized funds for an initial generational upgrade to the FirstNet network core at its Dec. 9 meeting.

The resolution approved by the board authorizes FirstNet authority staff to “take all actions necessary, including the obligation of funds from the Reinvestment in Network Enhancement Fund, for operation and maintenance expenses associated with the initial core generational upgrade through calendar year 2021.”

In the resolution, the board also resolved to authorize staff to obligate more funds toward the core upgrade after 2021 through the annual budget process.

The resolution does not specify specific amounts for the investment toward the core, but in August, the FirstNet board approved a budget for fiscal year 2021 that included $46 million for FirstNet network enhancements, including the upgrading the network core for 5G capabilities.

The FirstNet Authority approved the first network upgrades during its June meeting. At that time, the board approved $218 million for transitioning network core to 5G technology and adding to FirstNet’s fleet of 72 deployables.

The recently approved resolution will help build on that initial investment by allowing the authority to obligate more funds to supporting the transition of the core to 5G, said FirstNet CEO Edward Parkinson.

The legislation that created FirstNet requires the board to maintain a sustainable business model that enables the organization to continually improve and advance the FirstNet network for public safety.

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