Over the weekend Legislators enacted the 2017/18 Budget.
On Friday, April 7th Governor Cuomo announced a $153 billion dollar budget deal. The Assembly worked through the night on Friday to pass the remaining budget items that included State Operations and the final article seven bill - Revenue. The Senate concluded their work Sunday night. The Revenue bill included many of the major items such as ridesharing, raise the age, tuition free college as well as Federal Response Funding Plan in case of any many actions taken on the federal level.
The Senate and Assembly will reconvene again on Monday, April 24th, following the Passover and Easter holidays.
Phase 3 of the New NY Broadband Program
On Thursday, March 30th the New NY Broadband Program Office (BPO) released the Phase 3 Request for Proposal Guidelines. Round III will consist of two separate, simultaneous auction processes, which together will target all remaining unserved and underserved areas in the state:
- The majority of the locations in Round III will be addressed through the "New York Auction," which is modeled after the two previous rounds and will consist solely of state funding
- Additionally, the "New York CAF Auction," will focus on the remaining areas, which are eligible for $170 million in Connect America Funds (CAF) recently allocated to New York State by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The BPO will begin accepting applications for broadband funding on the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) portal starting on June 6, 2017. Applications must be submitted by August 15, 2017. More information can be found here: https://nysbroadband.ny.gov/new-ny-broadband-program/phase-3
State Interoperable Communications Grants
In December of 2016 the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communications, announced the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program where funding is distributed by formula. New formula grant program continues to aid county public safety organizations in enhancing emergency response and improving capability and performance results from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), improvements in governance structures, operating procedures, infrastructure development, and addressing SAFECOM guidance from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications (OEC).
On Wednesday, March 29th Governor Cuomo announced $45 million in funding for counties to provide upgrades to technology and improve emergency communications systems. The funding is part of the State Interoperable Communications Grant funding, which is administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. The 2016 State Interoperable Communications grant awards list is available here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-45-million-emergency-communications-grants-awarded-across-new-york
On Thursday, March 30 the Department of Commerce and First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced the selection of AT&T to build the first nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to America's first responders.
The broad terms of this 25-year agreement between FirstNet and AT&T are:
The ability to communicate seamlessly across jurisdictions is critical for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) when securing large events or responding to emergencies and disasters. In those instances, networks can become overloaded and inaccessible, limiting responders' use of vital communication technologies, such as smartphones and applications dedicated to public safety services. The program will allow for a high-speed network built specifically for the millions of public safety users in all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including those serving rural communities and tribal lands. The Network will modernize first responders' communications and deliver specialized features that are not available to them on wireless networks today.
- FirstNet will provide 20 MHz of high-value, telecommunications spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the Network buildout - FirstNet's funding was raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions;
- AT&T will spend about $40 billion over the life of the contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring robust coverage for public safety;
- Additionally, AT&T will connect FirstNet users to the company's telecommunications network assets, valued at more than $180 billion.