The N.C. Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) First Responder Emerging Technologies (FirstTech) program is asking state government entities to apply for assistance to fund expansion of the Public Safety Broadband Network to serve state agency campuses.

The broadband network – known as FirstNet and operating under the supervision of the U.S. Commerce Department – is the first nationwide broadband network specifically built for public safety agencies. It allows first responders to maintain communication during disasters and other large-scale events that could disable or disrupt other communication channels.

NCDIT is looking to fund $2 million in projects that will have the largest impact on extending coverage or enhancing capacity for public safety. The state noted in a press release that state entities can select state campuses that they consider to be unserved or underserved for evaluation.

Funding will be based on a project plan developed by FirstNet in consultation with the applicant. Matching funds will be required from the applicant, and NCDIT’s FirstTech team will use the match rate as part of the grading scale for determining which projects to award.

Eligible entities include: all state government organizations; University of North Carolina System or individual schools, universities, or centers within the system; and N.C. Community College System or individual schools, colleges, or centers within the system.

NCDIT noted that while only one application per campus will be accepted, the project plan can involve the deployment of several solutions or infrastructure to achieve coverage enhancement on that campus.

Applications will be accepted starting Nov. 15. Evaluations of the initial submissions will be conducted in March 2024 with awarded projects announced in April 2024.

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