State and Local Implementation Grant Program: Closeout Report
The Department of Commerce (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) created the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act). SLIGP provides resources that help regional, state, local, and tribal government entities plan for the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) being developed by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority).
Across the four-and-a-half year period of performance, SLIGP recipients engaged over 350,000 stakeholders, facilitated over 2,700 governance and planning meetings, and distributed over 6 million outreach resources. SLIGP recipients provided employment to over 189 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions. Additionally, recipients conducted data collection activities that informed the FirstNet Authority of state- and territory-specific needs regarding the design and build-out of the NPSBN.
In 2013, states and territoires applied to the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) to recieve finacial assistace through SLIGP. Using a formula that accounted for population and landmass, NTIA awarded $116.5 million to 54 U.S. States and territories, in amounts ranging from $500,000 to just under $6 million and required most recipients to contribute matching funds at a rate of 20%. Of the initial 56 eligible applicants, one territory did not apply and another State opted to not execute its award.
In June 2016, NTIA determined that SLIGP recipeints were spending grant funds at rates lower than anticiapted. A projected 40% of the toal award amount would remain unspent. Twentytwo recipients voluntarily deobligated a total of $18.4 million from their SLIGP grants in 2017. After the grant closeout period concluded on May 29, 2018, NTIA reviewed closeout reports and deobligated an additional $23.4 million in unexpended funds. NTIA will reobligate all deobligated funds - totaling $41.8 million - to SLIGP 2.0.
As part of its programmatic monitoring efforts, NTIA required award recipients to submit quarterly program performance reports (PPRs). The PPRs included both quantitative data related to key metrics and narrative highlights of recipients' activities.
In support of NTIA program priorities, grant award recipients conducted activities under the following categories:
- Stakeholder Engagement: SLIGP recipients engaged stakeholders through a variety of activities, including conference presentations, in-person and virtual meetings, and regional listening sessions.
- Governance: NTIA required each grant recipient to create or expand an existing governance structure to better consult with the FirstNet Authority. Recipients provided updates on the NPSBN planning process, discussed State Plan review processes, and developed policies for public safety broadband in their jurisdictions at governing body meetings.
- Education and Outreach: Education and outreach was a key component of SLIGP, and many recipients chose multipronged strategies to conduct related activities - distributing hard-copy materials at events, sending newsletters, developing websites, executing social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, and producing videos.
- Data Collection: All award recipients participated in some form of data collection during Phase II of the grant period. The FirstNet Authority requested data in five areas: coverage, user and operional areas, capacity planning, current providers, and state plan process.
Best Practices and Lessons Learned:
As part of the SLIGP closeout process, NTIA requested that recipients compile lessons learned from the grant program. Three themes emerged: the value of outreach and stakeholder engagement, the significance of governance structures, and the importance of dedicating SLIGP-funded staff to NPSBN planning.
NTIA also requested that recipients respond to questions about the impact and usefulness of SLIGP in their closeout reports. NTIA designed these questions to assess the program's value to recipients and inform future program design. A significant majority of recipients (96%) indicated in their responses that SLIGP funds proved useful in preparing for FirstNet. Likewise, all recipients agreed or strongly agreed that SLIGP funds were helpful in planning for the FirstNet Authority consultation.