State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP) and the First Responder Network Authority Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, 46907-46913 [2016-17034]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 138 / Tuesday, July 19, 2016 / Notices 4412.99.3170; 4412.99.4100; 4412.99.5100; 4412.99.5105; 4412.99.5115; 4412.99.5710; 4412.99.6000; 4412.99.7000; 4412.99.8000; 4412.99.9000; 4412.99.9500; 4418.71.2000; 4418.71.9000; 4418.72.2000; 4418.72.9500; and 9801.00.2500 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (‘‘HTSUS’’). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, our written description of the scope of the order is dispositive. Analysis of Comments Received All issues raised in the case briefs by parties are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum.5 A list of the issues which parties raised is attached to this notice as an Appendix. Bona Fide Analysis For the Preliminary Rescission, the Department analyzed the bona fides of Qingdao Barry’s single sale and preliminarily found it was not a bona fide sale.6 Based on the Department’s complete analysis of all of the information and comments on the record of this review, the Department continues to find Qingdao Barry’s sale is not a bona fide sale, and it thus not reviewable pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(B)(iv) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (‘‘the Act’’). The Department reached this conclusion based on its consideration of the totality of circumstances, including: (a) The atypical nature of the sale price; (b) Qingdao Barry’s failure to demonstrate that its first unaffiliated customer resold the merchandise at a profit; (c) the nature of the relationship between Qingdao Barry and its U.S. customer; and (d) unusual circumstances concerning payment.7 For a complete discussion, see the Prelim Bona Fide Memo and the Issues and Decision Memorandum. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Rescission of New Shipper Review For the foregoing reasons, the Department continues to find that Qingdao Barry’s sale is not a bona fide sale and that this sale does not provide a reasonable or reliable basis for calculating a dumping margin. Because this sale was Qingdao Barry’s only sale of subject merchandise during the POR, the Department is rescinding this NSR. Assessment As the Department is rescinding this NSR, we have not calculated a 5 Id. 6 See 7 See Prelim Bona Fide Memo. Issues and Decision Memorandum. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:39 Jul 18, 2016 Jkt 238001 company-specific dumping margin for Qingdao Barry. Qingdao Barry remains part of the PRC-wide entity and, accordingly, its entry will be assessed at the PRC-wide rate. Cash Deposit Requirements Effective upon publication of this notice of final rescission of the NSR of Qingdao Barry, the Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to discontinue the option of posting a bond or security in lieu of a cash deposit for entries of subject merchandise from Qingdao Barry. Because we did not calculate a dumping margin for Qingdao Barry or otherwise find that Qingdao Barry is eligible for a separate rate in this review, Qingdao Barry continues to be part of the PRCwide entity. The cash deposit rate for the PRC-wide entity is 25.62 percent. These cash deposit requirements shall remain in effect until further notice. Administrative Protective Order This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to Administrative Protective Order (‘‘APO’’) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305, which continues to govern business proprietary information in these segments of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction. We are issuing and publishing this notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(2)(B) and 777(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.214. Dated: July 12, 2016. Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—Issues and Decision Memorandum Summary Background Scope of the Order Discussion of the Issues Comment 1: Whether the Department Used The Correct Time Period for Data Comparison Purposes Comment 2: Whether the Department Properly Evaluated the Price Differential Comment 3: Whether the Department Properly Considered Whether the Sale was Resold at a Profit and the ArmsLength Nature of the Sale Comment 4: Whether the Department Properly Analyzed Other Factors in Its Bona Fide Analysis PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46907 Recommendation [FR Doc. 2016–17050 Filed 7–18–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration [Docket Number: 160706588–6588–01] RIN 0660–XC027 State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP) and the First Responder Network Authority Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) publishes this Notice to provide preliminary guidance concerning how a qualified state may apply to NTIA for authority to enter into a spectrum capacity lease with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and receive a grant to construct its radio access network (RAN) should it opt to do so as allowed under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112–96, Title VI, 126 Stat. 256 (codified at 47 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.) (Act). NTIA also seeks public comment on this preliminary guidance through this Notice. DATES: Submit written comments on or before August 18, 2016. ADDRESSES: The public may submit written comments on issues addressed in this Notice. Written comments may be submitted electronically via email to: sapp-comments@ntia.doc.gov or by mail to: Office of Public Safety Communications, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 4078, Washington, DC 20230. Comments submitted by email should be machine-readable and should not be copy-protected. Commenters should include the name of the person or organization filing the comment, as well as a page number on each page of their submissions. Paper submissions should also include a CD or DVD with an electronic version of the document, which should be labeled with the name and organization of the filer. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to the NTIA Web site (http:// www.ntia.doc.gov) without change. All SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 46908 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 138 / Tuesday, July 19, 2016 / Notices personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carolyn Dunn, Office of Public Safety Communications, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 4078, Washington, DC 20230; sapp-comments@ntia.doc.gov; (202) 482–4103. Please direct media inquiries to NTIA’s Office of Public Affairs, (202) 482–7002; via email to: press@ntia.doc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES I. Introduction: Summary The Act requires FirstNet to take all actions necessary to ensure the deployment and operation of a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).1 The NPSBN will, by law, initially consist of a core network and a RAN that links to the core to ensure that a single, national network architecture delivers broadband services to first responders in each state.2 Under the Act, however, a state may assume the cost and responsibility to construct, operate, maintain, and improve the RAN in its state, provided that it successfully undertakes three significant steps. First, a state must submit its alternative plan for the construction, maintenance, operation and improvements of its RAN to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and meet specific interoperability criteria established by the FCC.3 Second, if the FCC approves the state alternative plan, that state must make five separate technical and financial demonstrations to NTIA. The state must demonstrate: (1) That it has the technical capabilities to operate and the funding to support its RAN; (2) that it has the ability to maintain ongoing interoperability with the NPSBN; (3) that it has the ability to complete the project within specified comparable timelines specific to the state; (4) the cost-effectiveness of the state alternative plan submitted to the FCC; and, (5) comparable security, coverage, and quality of service to that of the NPSBN. Third, assuming the state has successfully made such demonstrations to NTIA, the state then must negotiate and enter into a spectrum capacity lease 1 See 47 U.S.C. 1426(b). U.S.C. 1422(b). See also 47 U.S.C. 1401(31), defining the term ‘‘State’’ to include the District of Columbia and the territories and possessions. 3 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e). 2 47 VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:39 Jul 18, 2016 Jkt 238001 with FirstNet, which will be required for operation of the state RAN.4 These three steps are fundamental to achieving a core goal of the Act, which is ensuring that the NPSBN, regardless whether FirstNet or a state assumes responsibility for the RAN, will interoperate, provide seamless broadband service across the nation, and be financially and technically sustainable. The Act directs NTIA to help determine whether a state, if it decides to pursue deploying and operating the RAN, can do so in a way that delivers these essential functionalities. NTIA’s goal in reviewing state requests is to ensure that the nation has access to an interoperable, sustainable, technically sound, and cost-effective NPSBN. Accordingly, each state must ensure that its RAN functions as a fully interoperable, sustainable part of the NPSBN, and that it will do so in a manner that most effectively utilizes the limited federal fiscal resources and the spectrum allocated under the Act. Thus, for example, and as discussed more fully below, a state that proposes to utilize a ‘‘greenfield’’ build for its RAN will be unlikely to successfully demonstrate to NTIA that its alternative plan is cost-effective. This Notice provides initial guidance on NTIA’s process to review a state’s application for authority to enter into a spectrum capacity lease with FirstNet and for optional grant funds to assist in the construction of its RAN. Section II discusses applicable provisions of the Act. Section III makes clear that NTIA will treat all such requests as requests for a grant under federal law. Section III also provides general parameters of each grant request (Lease Authority or a RAN Construction Grant). Finally, Section IV specifies the manner by which each state must demonstrate compliance with the Act’s requirements in order to receive either grant. For each of the five demonstrations required of states under the Act, NTIA provides initial guidance on how to present such information and how NTIA will evaluate it. NTIA provides this preliminary guidance to better inform states and other stakeholders as several important activities continue with regard to the future NPSBN buildout and operation. We feel that this information will be of use as states continue to consult with FirstNet on the NPSBN buildout in a given state or territory. Additionally, as FirstNet’s procurement advances, we feel that other stakeholders will benefit from understanding the initial framework NTIA has developed with PO 00000 4 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)–(D). Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 regard to the demonstrations a state must make to NTIA should it desire to bear the responsibility to conduct the RAN within that state. Future notices, including but not limited to a forthcoming Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) notice, will provide more details on the application processes.5 II. Background: Relevant Statutory Provisions A. FirstNet’s Technical Network Components and Policies The Act requires the NPSBN to be composed of: (1) A core network consisting of national and regional data centers that connect to a RAN and the Internet/public switched network; and (2) a RAN consisting of cell site equipment, antennas, and backhaul equipment that is built and operated in consideration of state, local, and tribal consultation.6 Further, the Act requires FirstNet to establish policies for these components, which collectively constitute the NPSBN. Under the section of the Act entitled, ‘‘Establishment of Network Policies,’’ FirstNet must develop technical and operational NPSBN requirements, practices, procedures, and standards for NPSBN management and operation, terms of service for the use of the NPSBN, and ongoing compliance reviews and monitoring.7 B. A State’s Options on RAN Construction, Operation, Maintenance, and Improvements The Act requires FirstNet to develop and present to each state general details of the proposed buildout of the NPSBN, including its proposed plan for building the RAN in that state.8 Once FirstNet presents its state plan to the governor of a given state, a state must decide whether it authorizes FirstNet to build, operate, maintain, and improve the state RAN or if it wants to take on that responsibility itself.9 The governor has 90 days to make that decision. FirstNet has determined that a state may choose to adopt the FirstNet state plan by either: (1) Providing actual notice in writing to FirstNet within the Act’s 90-day decision period; or (2) providing no notice at all within the 905 NTIA intends to issue such an FFO notice not later than the date on which FirstNet first delivers a proposed plan for the buildout of the NPSBN in a state. 6 See 47 U.S.C. 1422(b). 7 See 47 U.S.C. 1426(c)(1)(B)–(E). 8 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(1). While 47 U.S.C. 1442(e) is not specific to this, for purposes of this Notice, the reference to a ‘‘state’’ incorporates both states and territories. 9 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(2). E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 138 / Tuesday, July 19, 2016 / Notices day period.10 The process for a state to reject FirstNet’s state plan and receive authority to proceed with its own RAN plan is as follows: Upon making a decision to assume responsibility for RAN deployment in the state, the governor shall notify FirstNet, NTIA, and the FCC of this decision within the 90-day decision period.11 The governor must then develop and complete requests for proposals for the construction, maintenance, and operation of the RAN within 180 days after deciding to assume responsibility for the RAN.12 Then, in developing its alternative plan for the construction, maintenance, operation, and improvement of the RAN that it must submit to the FCC for approval, the state must demonstrate compliance with minimum technical interoperability requirements established pursuant to the Act by a board selected by the FCC.13 Additionally, the alternative state plan must demonstrate interoperability with the NPSBN.14 If the FCC disapproves the alternative state plan, FirstNet shall proceed with the construction, maintenance, operation, and improvements of the NPSBN within the state.15 Alternatively, if the FCC approves the state-developed plan, the state must then apply to NTIA for the authority to enter into a spectrum capacity lease with FirstNet to operate its RAN within the state.16 Additionally, a state receiving FCC approval of its alternative plan may, but is not required to, apply to NTIA for grant funds to assist in the construction of its RAN.17 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES C. NTIA Analysis of State Demonstrations Regarding Ongoing RAN Responsibilities If a state wishes to assume the responsibility to construct, operate, maintain, and improve its own RAN, NTIA must evaluate a state’s 10 First Responder Network Authority, Final Interpretations of Parts of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, 80 FR 63504, 63506 (Oct. 20, 2015) (FirstNet Final Interpretations on Second Notice). 11 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(A). 12 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(B). 13 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i)(I) (requiring a state alternative plan to be in compliance with minimum technical interoperability requirements established by the Technical Advisory Board for First Responder Interoperability pursuant to the Act); see also Interoperability Board, Recommended Minimum Technical Requirements to Ensure Nationwide Interoperability for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (May 22, 2012), available at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/ view?id=7021919873. 14 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i)(II). 15 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iv). 16 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(II). 17 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(I). VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:39 Jul 18, 2016 Jkt 238001 demonstrations of specific criteria set forth in the Act, which address its ability to operate the RAN on technical, financial, interoperability, programmatic, and qualitative levels. If successful, NTIA will grant the: (1) Required authorization to enter into a spectrum capacity lease from FirstNet to operate its state RAN; and (2) optional eligibility to receive grant funds from NTIA to construct its state RAN.18 Specifically, the Act requires a state to demonstrate the following: 1. The state has the technical capabilities to operate, and the funding to support, the state RAN; 2. The state has the ability to maintain ongoing RAN interoperability with the NPSBN; 3. The state has the ability to complete the RAN buildout within specified comparable timelines specific to the state; 4. The cost-effectiveness of the state alternative plan; and 5. The ability to provide RAN security, coverage, and quality of service comparable to that of the NPSBN.19 D. Utilization of FirstNet’s Statutory Interpretations FirstNet has interpreted some of the statutory provisions described above. These include the consequences of a state’s failure to meet NTIA-reviewed criteria at least with respect to a state application for authority to enter into a spectrum capacity lease with FirstNet; the consequences of a state’s failure to implement an FCC-approved alternative state plan; and any determination regarding the Act’s Section 6302(g)(2) limitation of a state’s use of revenues emanating from covered leasing agreements exclusively to RAN construction, maintenance, operations, and improvements.20 These and other interpretations may directly bear upon the issues in this Notice and any additional Notices relating to NTIA’s duties described in this Notice and pursuant to the Act. NTIA will utilize FirstNet’s relevant interpretations of provisions of the Act in carrying out its responsibilities on these matters. 18 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D). 19 Id. 20 See First Responder Network Authority, Proposed Interpretations of Parts of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, 79 FR 57058 (Sept. 24, 2014) (FirstNet First Notice); First Responder Network Authority, Final Interpretations of Parts of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, 80 FR 63523 (Oct. 20, 2015) (FirstNet Final Interpretations on First Notice); FirstNet Final Interpretations on Second Notice. PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46909 III. Overview of Applications for Grant of Authority To Enter Into a Spectrum Capacity Lease With FirstNet and RAN Construction Funding As noted above, states must submit, and NTIA must review, requests by states whose state alternative plans are approved by the FCC for: (1) Grant of authority to enter into a spectrum capacity lease from FirstNet (Lease Authority); and (2) the optional request for RAN construction grant funding (RAN Construction Grant). The Act makes clear that a qualified state must request Lease Authority from NTIA so that the state may enter into an agreement to use spectrum licensed to FirstNet to operate the state’s RAN.21 As a threshold matter, NTIA has determined that each of these requests are grant requests under federal regulations, and that approval of such requests are grants of something of value provided by NTIA. We make this determination pursuant to the Federal Grants and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, which makes clear that ‘‘[a]n executive agency shall use a grant agreement as the legal instrument reflecting a relationship between the United States Government and a State, a local government, or other recipient when—(1) the principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer a thing of value to the State or local government or other recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States instead of acquiring (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government. . . .’’ 22 NTIA will evaluate a state’s request for Lease Authority, or its request for Lease Authority plus an optional RAN Construction Grant, as a single grant application. Such applications will be processed pursuant to a forthcoming FFO notice providing specific details on the application and grant program requirements.23 NTIA expects to establish additional application requirements for the RAN Construction Grant that are commensurate with 21 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(II). In contrast, applying to NTIA for construction grant funds by such a State is optional. See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(I). 22 See Federal Grants and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, sec. 5, Public Law 95–224, 92 Stat. 3, 4 (Feb. 3, 1978) (codified at 31 U.S.C. 6304). 23 NTIA has termed the non-monetary grant of authority by NTIA to a state to enter into a spectrum capacity lease pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(II) of the Act as a ‘‘Lease Authority’’ to avoid the erroneous interpretation that grant of such authority will involve the grant of funds. E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 46910 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 138 / Tuesday, July 19, 2016 / Notices mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES application requirements for other federal construction grant programs. NTIA must evaluate either grant request on the identical demonstration criteria set forth in 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D). Below, we address procedural issues common to both types of requests and those distinct for each type of grant application pursuant to the Act. A. Grant Procedures Common to Lease Authority and a RAN Construction Grant 1. Timing of Applications to NTIA. The Act does not spell out deadlines for the submission of grant applications to NTIA. However, given the need for the NPSBN to be built in a timely manner, the upcoming FFO notice will establish deadlines by which a state must file its application. NTIA tentatively sets this deadline to be no later than 60 days after the FCC has approved a state’s alternative plan. 2. Eligible Applicants. Eligible applicants for Lease Authority or a RAN Construction Grant will be those states and territories of the United States whose alternative state plan was approved by the FCC pursuant to the Act.24 3. Discretionary Grants. Because the Act did not establish mandatory funding levels for each eligible grantee, Lease Authority and RAN Construction Grants are considered discretionary grants. Therefore, NTIA is authorized to grant or reject applications and determine final award amounts, based on an assessment against the statutory demonstration criteria and other factors that will be detailed in the FFO. 4. Common Demonstration Evaluation. NTIA will apply an identical method of evaluation of the state demonstrations pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D) to both types of grant requests. Should a state apply for both Lease Authority and a RAN Construction Grant, NTIA will conduct one review of the state’s joint submission. 5. Rolling Application Evaluation. NTIA will review and make determinations on state applications for Lease Authority or a RAN Construction Grant on a rolling basis following the FCC’s approval of a state’s alternative plan and submission of a state’s required demonstrations to NTIA. We recognize that making timely decisions on a state’s application is critical to ensuring the NPSBN is deployed and operational in every state—regardless of the party ultimately responsible for conducting a RAN in a given state. 24 See While NTIA has not fully developed specific details on the application and grant program requirements, we will review applications as expeditiously as possible to further the intent of the Act to speed NPSBN deployment. 6. Evaluation of RAN as Approved by FCC in Alternative State Plan. For purposes of either grant request, NTIA will evaluate the proposed RAN as it has been approved by the FCC. Thus, a state’s grant application and corresponding additional demonstrations should address the alternative state plan approved by the FCC. NTIA intends to review all relevant aspects of a state’s approved plan, which may include the RAN and deployable components, as well as proposed devices, applications, and services. B. General Parameters for Lease Authority If the FCC approves a state’s alternative plan, the state must request Lease Authority from NTIA to obtain from FirstNet the right to operate its RAN on the Band 14 spectrum licensed to FirstNet.25 NTIA will not award or approve any such spectrum capacity lease itself. NTIA’s role is limited to determining whether a state has demonstrated compliance with the required technical, financial, interoperability, programmatic, and qualitative criteria so that it can authorize the state to enter into a spectrum lease with FirstNet. C. General Parameters for a RAN Construction Grant 1. Spectrum Capacity Lease Condition Precedent for RAN Construction Grant Obligation. A state cannot apply for a RAN Construction Grant without also applying for Lease Authority. Accordingly, NTIA will review a single application for both a Lease Authority Grant and a RAN Construction Grant and make determinations about whether the state has sufficiently demonstrated compliance with the required criteria of 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D). If so, NTIA will award that state Lease Authority. However, NTIA will not award RAN Construction Grant funding until that state has fully executed a spectrum capacity lease agreement with FirstNet. 2. Determining RAN Construction Grant Funding Level. NTIA is developing a process for determining funding levels for each state that may apply for a RAN Construction Grant. In developing this process, NTIA may take into consideration cost increases FirstNet will incur should a state 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(ii). VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:39 Jul 18, 2016 25 47 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(II). Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 assume the responsibility to conduct its own RAN, and may reduce a final grant award accordingly. For example, FirstNet may incur increased costs to mitigate additional operational risks to the NPSBN, and losses of cost efficiencies, if a state assumes responsibility for the construction and operation of the RAN within its boundaries. Additionally, should a state conduct its own RAN, FirstNet may bear increased expenses related to interconnection of the state RAN to the NPSBN and mitigation of potential interference by the state RAN to the NPSBN operations in a bordering state. Further, the final grant award amount to a state may be impacted by financial factors, such as how efficiently FirstNet and its partner(s) can build the RAN for that state and the projected income from that state’s partnership agreement(s) and all other revenue sources. Additionally, NTIA will set forth any cost sharing requirements for the RAN Construction Grant in the forthcoming FFO. 3. Allowable costs. RAN Construction Grant allowable costs will be limited to categories of costs, such as equipment, construction, installation, contractual, and other associated costs related to construction of the state’s RAN as detailed in the state alternative plan approved by the FCC. Ongoing maintenance, operation (inclusive of all recurring costs), and improvement costs are not eligible grant expenses. A RAN Construction Grant may fund a portion of the overall cost of the construction of a state’s RAN, and any unanticipated costs beyond the RAN Construction Grant award are the responsibility of the state. Further, a state’s decision to propose to NTIA a more costly plan than what is proposed in the FirstNet state plan will be at the state’s discretion and expense; the RAN Construction Grant award will not be increased to accommodate any such proposal. 4. Partnership Valuation. Applicants will be required to disclose the value of any partnering agreement that will enable and support the state in the construction and/or operation of the state RAN. Further, a state must demonstrate how any such agreement and state policies and procedures will ensure that revenues from such an agreement will be used only for constructing, maintaining, operating, and improving the state RAN pursuant to the Act and not for any other purpose.26 5. Environmental Compliance. NTIA will require that all of a state’s RAN Construction Grant-funded activities 26 See E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 47 U.S.C. 1442(g). 19JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 138 / Tuesday, July 19, 2016 / Notices comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and other applicable federal environmental requirements.27 IV. Lease Authority and RAN Construction Grant Application Demonstrations mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Central to the Act’s provision of Lease Authority and a RAN Construction Grant is a detailed set of demonstrations a state must make to NTIA to establish eligibility for these grant opportunities.28 These demonstrations are separate and distinct from any demonstrations required of a state in its alternative state plan submitted to the FCC pursuant to the Act.29 The required demonstrations to NTIA are distinct in that they address: (1) the ability to maintain ongoing interoperability, rather than the capability of interoperability as of the time the state plan is submitted to the FCC; (2) the technical and financial viability of the proposed RAN deployment, operation, maintenance, and improvement; and (3) the state’s planned timelines, security, coverage, and quality of service as compared to that of the NPSBN.30 NTIA interprets each of the criteria in 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D) below to provide NTIA’s preliminary view on how states should make the required demonstrations and how NTIA will evaluate each criterion. The forthcoming FFO notice will provide more specific, quantifiable, and finalized criteria and application questions. 27 The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and other such federal policy directives require federal administrative agencies to factor environmental and historic preservation considerations into their discretionary decisionmaking, including federally funded actions such as grants. NEPA directs that federal agencies implement, ‘‘to the fullest extent possible,’’ methods and procedures designed to accord environmental and historic preservation factors appropriate consideration. See 42 U.S.C. 4332. Therefore, RAN Construction activities will be subject to compliance with NEPA and NHPA and such requirements will be set out in the FFO. 28 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D). 29 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i)–(ii). For the FCC review, the state alterative plan must demonstrate interoperability: a) at the technical level via compliance with the Interoperability Board Minimum Technical Requirements; and b) with the NPSBN. 30 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D) (providing the requirements that a qualified state must show to obtain grant funds and spectrum capacity leasing rights). VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:39 Jul 18, 2016 Jkt 238001 A. The Technical Capabilities To Operate, and the Funding To Support, the State RAN 31 Under this provision of the Act, a state must demonstrate: (1) That it can operate the state RAN on a technical level; and (2) that it has the financial resources to do so. We discuss how a state can effectively make each part of this demonstration below. As a primary matter, a state must be able to demonstrate with specificity that it can operate its RAN on a technical level. To make such a demonstration, it must have a technical standard against which its demonstrations may be measured. As established in the Act, all components of the NPSBN, including the core network and the RAN, must be operated under common technical network policies.32 To give meaning to the Act’s focus on ensuring technical compatibility and interoperability across each part of the NPSBN, NTIA believes that these policies must be applied to any portion of the RAN, regardless whether FirstNet or a state assumes responsibility for the building, operation, maintenance, and improvement of the RAN in a given state. Accordingly, the network policies that apply to FirstNet as it ensures the building, operation, maintenance, and improvement of the NPSBN core and any portion of the RAN also must apply to a state seeking to build, operate, maintain, and improve the RAN in its state. Applying the network policies uniformly to all parts of the RAN helps ensure the NPSBN will function uniformly and in a manner that best serves public safety, consistent with the Act’s requirement to create a single, nationwide architecture.33 Therefore, a state will need to be compliant with the RAN-specific network policies established by FirstNet as required by the Act in order to meet the demonstrations required in 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D). From a resource management perspective, NTIA will require a state to identify the proposed management capabilities and organizational structure of its RAN project team.34 Further, NTIA will require a state to provide information on its planned staff size and 31 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(I) (requiring that a qualified state has the technical capabilities to operate, and funding to support, its RAN). 32 See 47 U.S.C. 1426(b)(1). 33 See 47 U.S.C. 1422(b) (‘‘The [NPSBN] shall be based on a single, national network architecture . . . .’’). 34 NTIA may require a state to provide information on each key staff member (e.g., status as partner employee, government employee, contractor, or consultant; curriculum vitae; operational function via organizational chart). PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46911 technical operations to demonstrate how the state’s staffing plan, if properly funded, will ensure that the RAN is built, operated, and maintained in accordance with the RAN-specific network policies FirstNet establishes. A forthcoming FFO notice will provide additional details regarding the technical capabilities a state must demonstrate under 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(I). In addition to this technical showing, 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(I) requires a state to demonstrate that it has the financial resources to build, operate, maintain, and improve the RAN for the duration of the requested authorized operation. In that context, a state will be required to provide its budgeting documents and staffing plan for its operations and must disclose its sources of funding for its RAN (e.g., whether such funds are covered lease fees or other state fees, state appropriations, inkind contributions, or grants). Further, a state must disclose any partnership agreement (whether or not such an agreement constitutes a ‘‘public-private partnership’’ or ‘‘covered leasing agreement’’ under the Act) 35 it has executed, or intends to execute, with respect to its RAN. A state will also need to address funding risks and lifecycle plans in its demonstrations and how these may impact its ability to financially support the implementation of FirstNet’s RAN-specific network policies. Among other things, NTIA may require surety bonds to ensure RAN construction completion in the event of default by the state’s RFP partner. B. The Ability To Maintain Ongoing Interoperability With the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network 36 Under this requirement, a state must demonstrate that its RAN and other network attributes will be interoperable with the NPSBN on an ‘‘ongoing’’ basis. Consistent with the interoperability demonstration a state must make to the FCC in its state alternative plan, NTIA will determine interoperability with the NPSBN if a state demonstrates the ability to ensure that its RAN is capable of: 1) meeting the Interoperability Board Minimum Technical Requirements; and 2) interoperating with the NPSBN.37 To the extent FirstNet’s network policies establish interoperability requirements, NTIA will consider a state’s demonstration of adoption of and long35 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(g) (stating prohibitions which a state must adhere to in developing partnership arrangements). 36 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(II) (stating a State must show the ability to maintain ongoing interoperability with the NPSBN). 37 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i). E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 46912 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 138 / Tuesday, July 19, 2016 / Notices term capability of compliance with those requirements, including potential changes in policies, as strong evidence of a state RAN’s interoperability with the NPSBN from a technical perspective. However, the 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(II) demonstration must include a state’s ability to ensure ongoing interoperability with the NPSBN. Thus, a state must demonstrate that its entire operation as authorized by the FCC, insofar as it engages any RAN or core elements of the NPSBN, will be interoperable on an ongoing basis. For this reason, a state’s demonstration must also show how, for example, any deployable RAN components and related applications the state intends to use will be interoperable with the NPSBN. This demonstration must include technical attributes and a plan for ensuring, through staffing and resources, the ability to meet those technical imperatives. Additionally, NTIA may require that a state demonstrate the ability to maintain ongoing interoperability with the NPSBN from a non-technical standpoint and require information on planned RAN governance models, standard operating procedures, training and exercises, and usage. As a state must show capability of ‘‘ongoing’’ interoperability with the NPSBN, a state’s demonstration must be forward looking and illustrate how its RAN and other network attributes will be interoperable with the NPSBN over time. Recognizing that the ongoing aspect of interoperability will largely be facilitated by a state’s partner charged with constructing, operating, maintaining, and improving the RAN, NTIA will require that any state partnership agreement ensures the RAN will be interoperable with the NPSBN from deployment onward. Such a requirement may include demonstration of a partner’s commitment to complying with FirstNet’s evolving interoperability-based network policies. Further, a state’s RAN must be capable of interoperability with the NPSBN as it evolves and improves throughout the duration of the proposed RAN operation by the state, including compliance with new or evolving network policies. Such demonstrations should also include evidence that the state has the funding to fulfill these necessary elements for maintaining ongoing interoperability as detailed in Section IV. B. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:39 Jul 18, 2016 Jkt 238001 C. The Ability To Complete the Project Within Specified Comparable Timelines Specific to the State 38 E. Comparable Security, Coverage, and Quality of Service to That of the NPSBN 41 FirstNet currently anticipates that its state plans will include timelines for NPSBN buildout as ‘‘minimum legally required contents of a FirstNet plan for a State’’ against which a state may present project completion time frames for comparison in its demonstration to NTIA.39 Accordingly, we require that a state’s demonstration to NTIA contain specified timelines for the completion of its project as authorized by the FCC. These timelines must be of the same number, nature, and type as those presented to the state by FirstNet in its proposed state plan so that identical benchmark topics and timeframes may be readily compared and assessed. FirstNet anticipates including specific details on security, coverage, and quality of service in its proposed plan for the buildout of the NPSBN in a given state.42 This will form the basis around which a state should build its demonstration pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(iii). NTIA will compare the security, coverage, and quality of service aspects of a state’s demonstration to the equivalent elements and for the equivalent duration in FirstNet’s proposed plan for the buildout of the NPSBN in that state. With respect to coverage, we note that the Act requires the NPSBN to include ‘‘substantial rural coverage milestones as part of each phase of the construction and deployment of the network.’’ 43 As a result, any state with significant rural areas should include substantial rural coverage milestones as part of its overall demonstration to enable NTIA to make an appropriate rural buildout plan comparison between the two plans. D. The Cost-Effectiveness of the State Plan Submitted to the FCC NTIA will require that a state alternative plan, as submitted by a state to and approved by the FCC pursuant to the Act, is the plan at issue in this required demonstration. We believe every aspect of that plan as itemized in the Act—RAN construction, maintenance, operation, and improvement 40—must be assessed for cost-effectiveness for the duration of the requested authorized operation. In determining cost-effectiveness, NTIA may assess areas, including but not limited to, the proposed federal and state partner share of the RAN cost; the value, use, and revenue return of spectrum and other assets; and overall financial value of the proposed plan. For example, a state plan that proposes a ‘‘greenfield’’ build (one that does not leverage existing infrastructure and/or a public-private partnership and deploys a network solely consisting of new components) is not likely to demonstrate cost effectiveness. Additionally, the Act makes clear that a nationwide buildout can provide significant economies of scale across state boundaries that can leverage existing infrastructure when feasible and reduce the cost of NPSBN RAN construction in any given state or territory. NTIA will take these crossborder economies into account in the context of a state opt-out plan’s cost effectiveness. 38 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(III) (providing that states must demonstrate the ability to complete projects with specified timelines). 39 FirstNet Second Notice, 80 FR at 13342. 40 See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i). PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 V. Request for Public Comment and Ex Parte Communications NTIA invites public comment on any and all issues identified in this Notice. Any non-public oral presentation to NTIA regarding the substance of this Notice will be considered an ex parte presentation, and the substance of the meeting will be placed on the public record and become part of this docket. No later than two (2) business days after an oral presentation or meeting, an interested party must submit a memorandum to NTIA summarizing the substance of the communication. NTIA reserves the right to supplement the memorandum with additional information as necessary, or to request that the party making the filing do so, if NTIA believes that important information was omitted or characterized incorrectly. Any written presentation provided in support of the oral communication or meeting will also be placed on the public record and become part of this docket. Such ex parte communications must be submitted to this docket as provided in the ADDRESSES section above and clearly labeled as an ex parte presentation. Federal entities are not subject to these procedures. 41 See § 1442(e)(3)(D)(iii). FirstNet Second Notice, 80 FR at 13342. 43 47 U.S.C. 1426(b)(3). 42 See E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 138 / Tuesday, July 19, 2016 / Notices Dated: July 14, 2016. Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information. [FR Doc. 2016–17034 Filed 7–18–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–60–P CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request Corporation for National and Community Service. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, CNCS is soliciting comments concerning its proposed new application instructions for AmeriCorps Affiliate. Brief description: Applicants for the AmeriCorps Affiliate program will submit an application following the application instructions. Completion of the information collection is required to be considered for Education Awards. No grant funding is available through AmeriCorps Affiliate. Copies of the information collection request can be obtained by contacting the office listed in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice. DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the individual and office listed in the ADDRESSES section by September 19, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection activity, by any of the following methods: (1) By mail sent to: Corporation for National and Community Service, CPO Office; Attention Patti Stengel, Senior Program Officer for Grants and Initiatives, Room 3208B; 250 E St. SW., Washington, DC 20525. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:39 Jul 18, 2016 Jkt 238001 (2) By hand delivery or by courier to the CNCS mailroom at Room 4200 at the mail address given in paragraph (1) above, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. (3) Electronically through www.regulations.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY–TDD) may call 1–800–833–3722 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patti Stengel, 202–606–6745, or by email at pstengel@cns.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: CNCS is particularly interested in comments that: • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of CNCS, including whether the information will have practical utility; • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are expected to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses). Background Applicants for the AmeriCorps Affiliate program provide information through the use of the application instructions. Applicants use these application instructions to submit their application for Education Awards. This program provides only designations of positions as approved national service positions. CNCS may not award financial resources to applicants under this authority. The application information is collected electronically through the CNCS eGrants system. Current Action This is a new information collection request. This new information collection would allow for an open competition to be an AmeriCorps Affiliate sponsor. There are no current approved application instructions for the AmeriCorps Affiliate program. Type of Review: New. PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46913 Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service. Title: AmeriCorps Affiliate Application Instructions. OMB Number: None. Agency Number: None. Affected Public: The public affected are applicant organizations for AmeriCorps Affiliate. Total Respondents: An estimated 20 organizations will respond each year. Frequency: At most, the frequency is annual. Applications will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis up to three times each year. The AmeriCorps Affiliate competition will result in three year agreements. Applicants selected will also use these instructions to apply annually for continuation Education Awards. Average Time per Response: Averages 10 hours. Estimated Total Burden Hours: 200 hours. Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): None. Total Burden Cost (operating/ maintenance): None. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record. Dated: July 14, 2016. Kim Mansaray, Chief of Program Operations. [FR Doc. 2016–17048 Filed 7–18–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050–28–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Board on Coastal Engineering Research Department of the Army, DoD. Notice of Advisory Committee meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: The Department of the Army is publishing this notice to announce the following Federal advisory committee meeting of the Board on Coastal Engineering Research. This meeting is open to the public. DATES: The Board on Coastal Engineering Research will meet from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on August 9, 2016, and reconvene from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on August 10, 2016. The Executive Session of the Board will convene from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on August 11, 2016. ADDRESSES: All sessions will be held at the Caribe Hilton San Cristobal Jr. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 138 (Tuesday, July 19, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46907-46913]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-17034]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

[Docket Number: 160706588-6588-01]
RIN 0660-XC027


State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP) and the First Responder 
Network Authority Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 
U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
(NTIA) publishes this Notice to provide preliminary guidance concerning 
how a qualified state may apply to NTIA for authority to enter into a 
spectrum capacity lease with the First Responder Network Authority 
(FirstNet) and receive a grant to construct its radio access network 
(RAN) should it opt to do so as allowed under the Middle Class Tax 
Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-96, Title VI, 126 
Stat. 256 (codified at 47 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.) (Act). NTIA also seeks 
public comment on this preliminary guidance through this Notice.

DATES: Submit written comments on or before August 18, 2016.

ADDRESSES: The public may submit written comments on issues addressed 
in this Notice. Written comments may be submitted electronically via 
email to: sapp-comments@ntia.doc.gov or by mail to: Office of Public 
Safety Communications, National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue 
NW., Room 4078, Washington, DC 20230. Comments submitted by email 
should be machine-readable and should not be copy-protected. Commenters 
should include the name of the person or organization filing the 
comment, as well as a page number on each page of their submissions. 
Paper submissions should also include a CD or DVD with an electronic 
version of the document, which should be labeled with the name and 
organization of the filer. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted to the NTIA Web site (http://www.ntia.doc.gov) without change. All

[[Page 46908]]

personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily 
submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carolyn Dunn, Office of Public Safety 
Communications, National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue 
NW., Room 4078, Washington, DC 20230; sapp-comments@ntia.doc.gov; (202) 
482-4103. Please direct media inquiries to NTIA's Office of Public 
Affairs, (202) 482-7002; via email to: press@ntia.doc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Introduction: Summary

    The Act requires FirstNet to take all actions necessary to ensure 
the deployment and operation of a nationwide public safety broadband 
network (NPSBN).\1\ The NPSBN will, by law, initially consist of a core 
network and a RAN that links to the core to ensure that a single, 
national network architecture delivers broadband services to first 
responders in each state.\2\ Under the Act, however, a state may assume 
the cost and responsibility to construct, operate, maintain, and 
improve the RAN in its state, provided that it successfully undertakes 
three significant steps.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See 47 U.S.C. 1426(b).
    \2\ 47 U.S.C. 1422(b). See also 47 U.S.C. 1401(31), defining the 
term ``State'' to include the District of Columbia and the 
territories and possessions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    First, a state must submit its alternative plan for the 
construction, maintenance, operation and improvements of its RAN to the 
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and meet specific 
interoperability criteria established by the FCC.\3\ Second, if the FCC 
approves the state alternative plan, that state must make five separate 
technical and financial demonstrations to NTIA. The state must 
demonstrate: (1) That it has the technical capabilities to operate and 
the funding to support its RAN; (2) that it has the ability to maintain 
ongoing interoperability with the NPSBN; (3) that it has the ability to 
complete the project within specified comparable timelines specific to 
the state; (4) the cost-effectiveness of the state alternative plan 
submitted to the FCC; and, (5) comparable security, coverage, and 
quality of service to that of the NPSBN. Third, assuming the state has 
successfully made such demonstrations to NTIA, the state then must 
negotiate and enter into a spectrum capacity lease with FirstNet, which 
will be required for operation of the state RAN.\4\
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    \3\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e).
    \4\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)-(D).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These three steps are fundamental to achieving a core goal of the 
Act, which is ensuring that the NPSBN, regardless whether FirstNet or a 
state assumes responsibility for the RAN, will interoperate, provide 
seamless broadband service across the nation, and be financially and 
technically sustainable. The Act directs NTIA to help determine whether 
a state, if it decides to pursue deploying and operating the RAN, can 
do so in a way that delivers these essential functionalities. NTIA's 
goal in reviewing state requests is to ensure that the nation has 
access to an interoperable, sustainable, technically sound, and cost-
effective NPSBN. Accordingly, each state must ensure that its RAN 
functions as a fully interoperable, sustainable part of the NPSBN, and 
that it will do so in a manner that most effectively utilizes the 
limited federal fiscal resources and the spectrum allocated under the 
Act. Thus, for example, and as discussed more fully below, a state that 
proposes to utilize a ``greenfield'' build for its RAN will be unlikely 
to successfully demonstrate to NTIA that its alternative plan is cost-
effective.
    This Notice provides initial guidance on NTIA's process to review a 
state's application for authority to enter into a spectrum capacity 
lease with FirstNet and for optional grant funds to assist in the 
construction of its RAN. Section II discusses applicable provisions of 
the Act. Section III makes clear that NTIA will treat all such requests 
as requests for a grant under federal law. Section III also provides 
general parameters of each grant request (Lease Authority or a RAN 
Construction Grant). Finally, Section IV specifies the manner by which 
each state must demonstrate compliance with the Act's requirements in 
order to receive either grant. For each of the five demonstrations 
required of states under the Act, NTIA provides initial guidance on how 
to present such information and how NTIA will evaluate it.
    NTIA provides this preliminary guidance to better inform states and 
other stakeholders as several important activities continue with regard 
to the future NPSBN buildout and operation. We feel that this 
information will be of use as states continue to consult with FirstNet 
on the NPSBN buildout in a given state or territory. Additionally, as 
FirstNet's procurement advances, we feel that other stakeholders will 
benefit from understanding the initial framework NTIA has developed 
with regard to the demonstrations a state must make to NTIA should it 
desire to bear the responsibility to conduct the RAN within that state. 
Future notices, including but not limited to a forthcoming Federal 
Funding Opportunity (FFO) notice, will provide more details on the 
application processes.\5\
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    \5\ NTIA intends to issue such an FFO notice not later than the 
date on which FirstNet first delivers a proposed plan for the 
buildout of the NPSBN in a state.
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II. Background: Relevant Statutory Provisions

A. FirstNet's Technical Network Components and Policies

    The Act requires the NPSBN to be composed of: (1) A core network 
consisting of national and regional data centers that connect to a RAN 
and the Internet/public switched network; and (2) a RAN consisting of 
cell site equipment, antennas, and backhaul equipment that is built and 
operated in consideration of state, local, and tribal consultation.\6\ 
Further, the Act requires FirstNet to establish policies for these 
components, which collectively constitute the NPSBN. Under the section 
of the Act entitled, ``Establishment of Network Policies,'' FirstNet 
must develop technical and operational NPSBN requirements, practices, 
procedures, and standards for NPSBN management and operation, terms of 
service for the use of the NPSBN, and ongoing compliance reviews and 
monitoring.\7\
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    \6\ See 47 U.S.C. 1422(b).
    \7\ See 47 U.S.C. 1426(c)(1)(B)-(E).
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B. A State's Options on RAN Construction, Operation, Maintenance, and 
Improvements

    The Act requires FirstNet to develop and present to each state 
general details of the proposed buildout of the NPSBN, including its 
proposed plan for building the RAN in that state.\8\ Once FirstNet 
presents its state plan to the governor of a given state, a state must 
decide whether it authorizes FirstNet to build, operate, maintain, and 
improve the state RAN or if it wants to take on that responsibility 
itself.\9\ The governor has 90 days to make that decision.
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    \8\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(1). While 47 U.S.C. 1442(e) is not 
specific to this, for purposes of this Notice, the reference to a 
``state'' incorporates both states and territories.
    \9\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(2).
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    FirstNet has determined that a state may choose to adopt the 
FirstNet state plan by either: (1) Providing actual notice in writing 
to FirstNet within the Act's 90-day decision period; or (2) providing 
no notice at all within the 90-

[[Page 46909]]

day period.\10\ The process for a state to reject FirstNet's state plan 
and receive authority to proceed with its own RAN plan is as follows: 
Upon making a decision to assume responsibility for RAN deployment in 
the state, the governor shall notify FirstNet, NTIA, and the FCC of 
this decision within the 90-day decision period.\11\ The governor must 
then develop and complete requests for proposals for the construction, 
maintenance, and operation of the RAN within 180 days after deciding to 
assume responsibility for the RAN.\12\ Then, in developing its 
alternative plan for the construction, maintenance, operation, and 
improvement of the RAN that it must submit to the FCC for approval, the 
state must demonstrate compliance with minimum technical 
interoperability requirements established pursuant to the Act by a 
board selected by the FCC.\13\ Additionally, the alternative state plan 
must demonstrate interoperability with the NPSBN.\14\ If the FCC 
disapproves the alternative state plan, FirstNet shall proceed with the 
construction, maintenance, operation, and improvements of the NPSBN 
within the state.\15\ Alternatively, if the FCC approves the state-
developed plan, the state must then apply to NTIA for the authority to 
enter into a spectrum capacity lease with FirstNet to operate its RAN 
within the state.\16\ Additionally, a state receiving FCC approval of 
its alternative plan may, but is not required to, apply to NTIA for 
grant funds to assist in the construction of its RAN.\17\
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    \10\ First Responder Network Authority, Final Interpretations of 
Parts of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, 
80 FR 63504, 63506 (Oct. 20, 2015) (FirstNet Final Interpretations 
on Second Notice).
    \11\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(A).
    \12\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(B).
    \13\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i)(I) (requiring a state 
alternative plan to be in compliance with minimum technical 
interoperability requirements established by the Technical Advisory 
Board for First Responder Interoperability pursuant to the Act); see 
also Interoperability Board, Recommended Minimum Technical 
Requirements to Ensure Nationwide Interoperability for the 
Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (May 22, 2012), available 
at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7021919873.
    \14\ 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i)(II).
    \15\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iv).
    \16\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(II).
    \17\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(I).
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C. NTIA Analysis of State Demonstrations Regarding Ongoing RAN 
Responsibilities

    If a state wishes to assume the responsibility to construct, 
operate, maintain, and improve its own RAN, NTIA must evaluate a 
state's demonstrations of specific criteria set forth in the Act, which 
address its ability to operate the RAN on technical, financial, 
interoperability, programmatic, and qualitative levels. If successful, 
NTIA will grant the: (1) Required authorization to enter into a 
spectrum capacity lease from FirstNet to operate its state RAN; and (2) 
optional eligibility to receive grant funds from NTIA to construct its 
state RAN.\18\ Specifically, the Act requires a state to demonstrate 
the following:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. The state has the technical capabilities to operate, and the 
funding to support, the state RAN;
    2. The state has the ability to maintain ongoing RAN 
interoperability with the NPSBN;
    3. The state has the ability to complete the RAN buildout within 
specified comparable timelines specific to the state;
    4. The cost-effectiveness of the state alternative plan; and
    5. The ability to provide RAN security, coverage, and quality of 
service comparable to that of the NPSBN.\19\
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    \19\ Id.
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D. Utilization of FirstNet's Statutory Interpretations

    FirstNet has interpreted some of the statutory provisions described 
above. These include the consequences of a state's failure to meet 
NTIA-reviewed criteria at least with respect to a state application for 
authority to enter into a spectrum capacity lease with FirstNet; the 
consequences of a state's failure to implement an FCC-approved 
alternative state plan; and any determination regarding the Act's 
Section 6302(g)(2) limitation of a state's use of revenues emanating 
from covered leasing agreements exclusively to RAN construction, 
maintenance, operations, and improvements.\20\ These and other 
interpretations may directly bear upon the issues in this Notice and 
any additional Notices relating to NTIA's duties described in this 
Notice and pursuant to the Act. NTIA will utilize FirstNet's relevant 
interpretations of provisions of the Act in carrying out its 
responsibilities on these matters.
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    \20\ See First Responder Network Authority, Proposed 
Interpretations of Parts of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job 
Creation Act of 2012, 79 FR 57058 (Sept. 24, 2014) (FirstNet First 
Notice); First Responder Network Authority, Final Interpretations of 
Parts of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, 
80 FR 63523 (Oct. 20, 2015) (FirstNet Final Interpretations on First 
Notice); FirstNet Final Interpretations on Second Notice.
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III. Overview of Applications for Grant of Authority To Enter Into a 
Spectrum Capacity Lease With FirstNet and RAN Construction Funding

    As noted above, states must submit, and NTIA must review, requests 
by states whose state alternative plans are approved by the FCC for: 
(1) Grant of authority to enter into a spectrum capacity lease from 
FirstNet (Lease Authority); and (2) the optional request for RAN 
construction grant funding (RAN Construction Grant). The Act makes 
clear that a qualified state must request Lease Authority from NTIA so 
that the state may enter into an agreement to use spectrum licensed to 
FirstNet to operate the state's RAN.\21\
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    \21\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(II). In contrast, applying 
to NTIA for construction grant funds by such a State is optional. 
See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(I).
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    As a threshold matter, NTIA has determined that each of these 
requests are grant requests under federal regulations, and that 
approval of such requests are grants of something of value provided by 
NTIA. We make this determination pursuant to the Federal Grants and 
Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, which makes clear that ``[a]n 
executive agency shall use a grant agreement as the legal instrument 
reflecting a relationship between the United States Government and a 
State, a local government, or other recipient when--(1) the principal 
purpose of the relationship is to transfer a thing of value to the 
State or local government or other recipient to carry out a public 
purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United 
States instead of acquiring (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or 
services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government. 
. . .'' \22\ NTIA will evaluate a state's request for Lease Authority, 
or its request for Lease Authority plus an optional RAN Construction 
Grant, as a single grant application.
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    \22\ See Federal Grants and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, 
sec. 5, Public Law 95-224, 92 Stat. 3, 4 (Feb. 3, 1978) (codified at 
31 U.S.C. 6304).
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    Such applications will be processed pursuant to a forthcoming FFO 
notice providing specific details on the application and grant program 
requirements.\23\ NTIA expects to establish additional application 
requirements for the RAN Construction Grant that are commensurate with

[[Page 46910]]

application requirements for other federal construction grant programs.
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    \23\ NTIA has termed the non-monetary grant of authority by NTIA 
to a state to enter into a spectrum capacity lease pursuant to 47 
U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(II) of the Act as a ``Lease Authority'' to 
avoid the erroneous interpretation that grant of such authority will 
involve the grant of funds.
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    NTIA must evaluate either grant request on the identical 
demonstration criteria set forth in 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D). Below, we 
address procedural issues common to both types of requests and those 
distinct for each type of grant application pursuant to the Act.

A. Grant Procedures Common to Lease Authority and a RAN Construction 
Grant

    1. Timing of Applications to NTIA. The Act does not spell out 
deadlines for the submission of grant applications to NTIA. However, 
given the need for the NPSBN to be built in a timely manner, the 
upcoming FFO notice will establish deadlines by which a state must file 
its application. NTIA tentatively sets this deadline to be no later 
than 60 days after the FCC has approved a state's alternative plan.
    2. Eligible Applicants. Eligible applicants for Lease Authority or 
a RAN Construction Grant will be those states and territories of the 
United States whose alternative state plan was approved by the FCC 
pursuant to the Act.\24\
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    \24\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(ii).
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    3. Discretionary Grants. Because the Act did not establish 
mandatory funding levels for each eligible grantee, Lease Authority and 
RAN Construction Grants are considered discretionary grants. Therefore, 
NTIA is authorized to grant or reject applications and determine final 
award amounts, based on an assessment against the statutory 
demonstration criteria and other factors that will be detailed in the 
FFO.
    4. Common Demonstration Evaluation. NTIA will apply an identical 
method of evaluation of the state demonstrations pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 
1442(e)(3)(D) to both types of grant requests. Should a state apply for 
both Lease Authority and a RAN Construction Grant, NTIA will conduct 
one review of the state's joint submission.
    5. Rolling Application Evaluation. NTIA will review and make 
determinations on state applications for Lease Authority or a RAN 
Construction Grant on a rolling basis following the FCC's approval of a 
state's alternative plan and submission of a state's required 
demonstrations to NTIA. We recognize that making timely decisions on a 
state's application is critical to ensuring the NPSBN is deployed and 
operational in every state--regardless of the party ultimately 
responsible for conducting a RAN in a given state. While NTIA has not 
fully developed specific details on the application and grant program 
requirements, we will review applications as expeditiously as possible 
to further the intent of the Act to speed NPSBN deployment.
    6. Evaluation of RAN as Approved by FCC in Alternative State Plan. 
For purposes of either grant request, NTIA will evaluate the proposed 
RAN as it has been approved by the FCC. Thus, a state's grant 
application and corresponding additional demonstrations should address 
the alternative state plan approved by the FCC. NTIA intends to review 
all relevant aspects of a state's approved plan, which may include the 
RAN and deployable components, as well as proposed devices, 
applications, and services.

B. General Parameters for Lease Authority

    If the FCC approves a state's alternative plan, the state must 
request Lease Authority from NTIA to obtain from FirstNet the right to 
operate its RAN on the Band 14 spectrum licensed to FirstNet.\25\ NTIA 
will not award or approve any such spectrum capacity lease itself. 
NTIA's role is limited to determining whether a state has demonstrated 
compliance with the required technical, financial, interoperability, 
programmatic, and qualitative criteria so that it can authorize the 
state to enter into a spectrum lease with FirstNet.
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    \25\ 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(iii)(II).
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C. General Parameters for a RAN Construction Grant

    1. Spectrum Capacity Lease Condition Precedent for RAN Construction 
Grant Obligation. A state cannot apply for a RAN Construction Grant 
without also applying for Lease Authority. Accordingly, NTIA will 
review a single application for both a Lease Authority Grant and a RAN 
Construction Grant and make determinations about whether the state has 
sufficiently demonstrated compliance with the required criteria of 47 
U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D). If so, NTIA will award that state Lease 
Authority. However, NTIA will not award RAN Construction Grant funding 
until that state has fully executed a spectrum capacity lease agreement 
with FirstNet.
    2. Determining RAN Construction Grant Funding Level. NTIA is 
developing a process for determining funding levels for each state that 
may apply for a RAN Construction Grant. In developing this process, 
NTIA may take into consideration cost increases FirstNet will incur 
should a state assume the responsibility to conduct its own RAN, and 
may reduce a final grant award accordingly. For example, FirstNet may 
incur increased costs to mitigate additional operational risks to the 
NPSBN, and losses of cost efficiencies, if a state assumes 
responsibility for the construction and operation of the RAN within its 
boundaries. Additionally, should a state conduct its own RAN, FirstNet 
may bear increased expenses related to interconnection of the state RAN 
to the NPSBN and mitigation of potential interference by the state RAN 
to the NPSBN operations in a bordering state. Further, the final grant 
award amount to a state may be impacted by financial factors, such as 
how efficiently FirstNet and its partner(s) can build the RAN for that 
state and the projected income from that state's partnership 
agreement(s) and all other revenue sources. Additionally, NTIA will set 
forth any cost sharing requirements for the RAN Construction Grant in 
the forthcoming FFO.
    3. Allowable costs. RAN Construction Grant allowable costs will be 
limited to categories of costs, such as equipment, construction, 
installation, contractual, and other associated costs related to 
construction of the state's RAN as detailed in the state alternative 
plan approved by the FCC. Ongoing maintenance, operation (inclusive of 
all recurring costs), and improvement costs are not eligible grant 
expenses. A RAN Construction Grant may fund a portion of the overall 
cost of the construction of a state's RAN, and any unanticipated costs 
beyond the RAN Construction Grant award are the responsibility of the 
state. Further, a state's decision to propose to NTIA a more costly 
plan than what is proposed in the FirstNet state plan will be at the 
state's discretion and expense; the RAN Construction Grant award will 
not be increased to accommodate any such proposal.
    4. Partnership Valuation. Applicants will be required to disclose 
the value of any partnering agreement that will enable and support the 
state in the construction and/or operation of the state RAN. Further, a 
state must demonstrate how any such agreement and state policies and 
procedures will ensure that revenues from such an agreement will be 
used only for constructing, maintaining, operating, and improving the 
state RAN pursuant to the Act and not for any other purpose.\26\
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    \26\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(g).
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    5. Environmental Compliance. NTIA will require that all of a 
state's RAN Construction Grant-funded activities

[[Page 46911]]

comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National 
Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and other applicable federal 
environmental requirements.\27\
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    \27\ The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National 
Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and other such federal policy 
directives require federal administrative agencies to factor 
environmental and historic preservation considerations into their 
discretionary decision-making, including federally funded actions 
such as grants. NEPA directs that federal agencies implement, ``to 
the fullest extent possible,'' methods and procedures designed to 
accord environmental and historic preservation factors appropriate 
consideration. See 42 U.S.C. 4332. Therefore, RAN Construction 
activities will be subject to compliance with NEPA and NHPA and such 
requirements will be set out in the FFO.
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IV. Lease Authority and RAN Construction Grant Application 
Demonstrations

    Central to the Act's provision of Lease Authority and a RAN 
Construction Grant is a detailed set of demonstrations a state must 
make to NTIA to establish eligibility for these grant 
opportunities.\28\ These demonstrations are separate and distinct from 
any demonstrations required of a state in its alternative state plan 
submitted to the FCC pursuant to the Act.\29\ The required 
demonstrations to NTIA are distinct in that they address: (1) the 
ability to maintain ongoing interoperability, rather than the 
capability of interoperability as of the time the state plan is 
submitted to the FCC; (2) the technical and financial viability of the 
proposed RAN deployment, operation, maintenance, and improvement; and 
(3) the state's planned timelines, security, coverage, and quality of 
service as compared to that of the NPSBN.\30\
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    \28\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D).
    \29\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i)-(ii). For the FCC review, 
the state alterative plan must demonstrate interoperability: a) at 
the technical level via compliance with the Interoperability Board 
Minimum Technical Requirements; and b) with the NPSBN.
    \30\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D) (providing the requirements 
that a qualified state must show to obtain grant funds and spectrum 
capacity leasing rights).
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    NTIA interprets each of the criteria in 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D) 
below to provide NTIA's preliminary view on how states should make the 
required demonstrations and how NTIA will evaluate each criterion. The 
forthcoming FFO notice will provide more specific, quantifiable, and 
finalized criteria and application questions.

A. The Technical Capabilities To Operate, and the Funding To Support, 
the State RAN 31
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    \31\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(I) (requiring that a 
qualified state has the technical capabilities to operate, and 
funding to support, its RAN).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under this provision of the Act, a state must demonstrate: (1) That 
it can operate the state RAN on a technical level; and (2) that it has 
the financial resources to do so. We discuss how a state can 
effectively make each part of this demonstration below.
    As a primary matter, a state must be able to demonstrate with 
specificity that it can operate its RAN on a technical level. To make 
such a demonstration, it must have a technical standard against which 
its demonstrations may be measured. As established in the Act, all 
components of the NPSBN, including the core network and the RAN, must 
be operated under common technical network policies.\32\ To give 
meaning to the Act's focus on ensuring technical compatibility and 
interoperability across each part of the NPSBN, NTIA believes that 
these policies must be applied to any portion of the RAN, regardless 
whether FirstNet or a state assumes responsibility for the building, 
operation, maintenance, and improvement of the RAN in a given state. 
Accordingly, the network policies that apply to FirstNet as it ensures 
the building, operation, maintenance, and improvement of the NPSBN core 
and any portion of the RAN also must apply to a state seeking to build, 
operate, maintain, and improve the RAN in its state. Applying the 
network policies uniformly to all parts of the RAN helps ensure the 
NPSBN will function uniformly and in a manner that best serves public 
safety, consistent with the Act's requirement to create a single, 
nationwide architecture.\33\ Therefore, a state will need to be 
compliant with the RAN-specific network policies established by 
FirstNet as required by the Act in order to meet the demonstrations 
required in 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ See 47 U.S.C. 1426(b)(1).
    \33\ See 47 U.S.C. 1422(b) (``The [NPSBN] shall be based on a 
single, national network architecture . . . .'').
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    From a resource management perspective, NTIA will require a state 
to identify the proposed management capabilities and organizational 
structure of its RAN project team.\34\ Further, NTIA will require a 
state to provide information on its planned staff size and technical 
operations to demonstrate how the state's staffing plan, if properly 
funded, will ensure that the RAN is built, operated, and maintained in 
accordance with the RAN-specific network policies FirstNet establishes. 
A forthcoming FFO notice will provide additional details regarding the 
technical capabilities a state must demonstrate under 47 U.S.C. 
1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(I).
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    \34\ NTIA may require a state to provide information on each key 
staff member (e.g., status as partner employee, government employee, 
contractor, or consultant; curriculum vitae; operational function 
via organizational chart).
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    In addition to this technical showing, 47 U.S.C. 
1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(I) requires a state to demonstrate that it has the 
financial resources to build, operate, maintain, and improve the RAN 
for the duration of the requested authorized operation. In that 
context, a state will be required to provide its budgeting documents 
and staffing plan for its operations and must disclose its sources of 
funding for its RAN (e.g., whether such funds are covered lease fees or 
other state fees, state appropriations, in-kind contributions, or 
grants). Further, a state must disclose any partnership agreement 
(whether or not such an agreement constitutes a ``public-private 
partnership'' or ``covered leasing agreement'' under the Act) \35\ it 
has executed, or intends to execute, with respect to its RAN. A state 
will also need to address funding risks and lifecycle plans in its 
demonstrations and how these may impact its ability to financially 
support the implementation of FirstNet's RAN-specific network policies. 
Among other things, NTIA may require surety bonds to ensure RAN 
construction completion in the event of default by the state's RFP 
partner.
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    \35\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(g) (stating prohibitions which a state 
must adhere to in developing partnership arrangements).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. The Ability To Maintain Ongoing Interoperability With the Nationwide 
Public Safety Broadband Network 36
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \36\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(II) (stating a State must 
show the ability to maintain ongoing interoperability with the 
NPSBN).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under this requirement, a state must demonstrate that its RAN and 
other network attributes will be interoperable with the NPSBN on an 
``ongoing'' basis. Consistent with the interoperability demonstration a 
state must make to the FCC in its state alternative plan, NTIA will 
determine interoperability with the NPSBN if a state demonstrates the 
ability to ensure that its RAN is capable of: 1) meeting the 
Interoperability Board Minimum Technical Requirements; and 2) 
interoperating with the NPSBN.\37\ To the extent FirstNet's network 
policies establish interoperability requirements, NTIA will consider a 
state's demonstration of adoption of and long-

[[Page 46912]]

term capability of compliance with those requirements, including 
potential changes in policies, as strong evidence of a state RAN's 
interoperability with the NPSBN from a technical perspective.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \37\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    However, the 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(II) demonstration must 
include a state's ability to ensure ongoing interoperability with the 
NPSBN. Thus, a state must demonstrate that its entire operation as 
authorized by the FCC, insofar as it engages any RAN or core elements 
of the NPSBN, will be interoperable on an ongoing basis. For this 
reason, a state's demonstration must also show how, for example, any 
deployable RAN components and related applications the state intends to 
use will be interoperable with the NPSBN. This demonstration must 
include technical attributes and a plan for ensuring, through staffing 
and resources, the ability to meet those technical imperatives. 
Additionally, NTIA may require that a state demonstrate the ability to 
maintain ongoing interoperability with the NPSBN from a non-technical 
standpoint and require information on planned RAN governance models, 
standard operating procedures, training and exercises, and usage.
    As a state must show capability of ``ongoing'' interoperability 
with the NPSBN, a state's demonstration must be forward looking and 
illustrate how its RAN and other network attributes will be 
interoperable with the NPSBN over time. Recognizing that the ongoing 
aspect of interoperability will largely be facilitated by a state's 
partner charged with constructing, operating, maintaining, and 
improving the RAN, NTIA will require that any state partnership 
agreement ensures the RAN will be interoperable with the NPSBN from 
deployment onward. Such a requirement may include demonstration of a 
partner's commitment to complying with FirstNet's evolving 
interoperability-based network policies.
    Further, a state's RAN must be capable of interoperability with the 
NPSBN as it evolves and improves throughout the duration of the 
proposed RAN operation by the state, including compliance with new or 
evolving network policies. Such demonstrations should also include 
evidence that the state has the funding to fulfill these necessary 
elements for maintaining ongoing interoperability as detailed in 
Section IV. B.

C. The Ability To Complete the Project Within Specified Comparable 
Timelines Specific to the State 38
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    \38\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(D)(i)(III) (providing that states 
must demonstrate the ability to complete projects with specified 
timelines).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    FirstNet currently anticipates that its state plans will include 
timelines for NPSBN buildout as ``minimum legally required contents of 
a FirstNet plan for a State'' against which a state may present project 
completion time frames for comparison in its demonstration to NTIA.\39\ 
Accordingly, we require that a state's demonstration to NTIA contain 
specified timelines for the completion of its project as authorized by 
the FCC. These timelines must be of the same number, nature, and type 
as those presented to the state by FirstNet in its proposed state plan 
so that identical benchmark topics and timeframes may be readily 
compared and assessed.
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    \39\ FirstNet Second Notice, 80 FR at 13342.
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D. The Cost-Effectiveness of the State Plan Submitted to the FCC

    NTIA will require that a state alternative plan, as submitted by a 
state to and approved by the FCC pursuant to the Act, is the plan at 
issue in this required demonstration. We believe every aspect of that 
plan as itemized in the Act--RAN construction, maintenance, operation, 
and improvement \40\--must be assessed for cost-effectiveness for the 
duration of the requested authorized operation.
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    \40\ See 47 U.S.C. 1442(e)(3)(C)(i).
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    In determining cost-effectiveness, NTIA may assess areas, including 
but not limited to, the proposed federal and state partner share of the 
RAN cost; the value, use, and revenue return of spectrum and other 
assets; and overall financial value of the proposed plan. For example, 
a state plan that proposes a ``greenfield'' build (one that does not 
leverage existing infrastructure and/or a public-private partnership 
and deploys a network solely consisting of new components) is not 
likely to demonstrate cost effectiveness. Additionally, the Act makes 
clear that a nationwide buildout can provide significant economies of 
scale across state boundaries that can leverage existing infrastructure 
when feasible and reduce the cost of NPSBN RAN construction in any 
given state or territory. NTIA will take these cross-border economies 
into account in the context of a state opt-out plan's cost 
effectiveness.

E. Comparable Security, Coverage, and Quality of Service to That of the 
NPSBN 41
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    \41\ See Sec.  1442(e)(3)(D)(iii).
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    FirstNet anticipates including specific details on security, 
coverage, and quality of service in its proposed plan for the buildout 
of the NPSBN in a given state.\42\ This will form the basis around 
which a state should build its demonstration pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 
1442(e)(3)(D)(iii). NTIA will compare the security, coverage, and 
quality of service aspects of a state's demonstration to the equivalent 
elements and for the equivalent duration in FirstNet's proposed plan 
for the buildout of the NPSBN in that state.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \42\ See FirstNet Second Notice, 80 FR at 13342.
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    With respect to coverage, we note that the Act requires the NPSBN 
to include ``substantial rural coverage milestones as part of each 
phase of the construction and deployment of the network.'' \43\ As a 
result, any state with significant rural areas should include 
substantial rural coverage milestones as part of its overall 
demonstration to enable NTIA to make an appropriate rural buildout plan 
comparison between the two plans.
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    \43\ 47 U.S.C. 1426(b)(3).
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V. Request for Public Comment and Ex Parte Communications

    NTIA invites public comment on any and all issues identified in 
this Notice. Any non-public oral presentation to NTIA regarding the 
substance of this Notice will be considered an ex parte presentation, 
and the substance of the meeting will be placed on the public record 
and become part of this docket. No later than two (2) business days 
after an oral presentation or meeting, an interested party must submit 
a memorandum to NTIA summarizing the substance of the communication. 
NTIA reserves the right to supplement the memorandum with additional 
information as necessary, or to request that the party making the 
filing do so, if NTIA believes that important information was omitted 
or characterized incorrectly. Any written presentation provided in 
support of the oral communication or meeting will also be placed on the 
public record and become part of this docket. Such ex parte 
communications must be submitted to this docket as provided in the 
ADDRESSES section above and clearly labeled as an ex parte 
presentation. Federal entities are not subject to these procedures.


[[Page 46913]]


    Dated: July 14, 2016.
Lawrence E. Strickling,
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.
[FR Doc. 2016-17034 Filed 7-18-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-60-P