Federal Grants and Loans for State and Local Emergency Communications Projects: Frequently Asked Questions [June 1, 2018] [open pdf - 743KB]
"Improving emergency communications has been an area of congressional interest for many years. Before September 11, 2001, Congress provided funding through grants, which could be used to improve state and local emergency communications through purchases of police and fire radios, construction of communication towers, and disaster planning, training, and exercises. After September 11, 2001, Congress increased funding to improve interoperability between public safety agencies at all levels of government to enhance communication and coordination during response. Congress has also supported investments in broadband for public safety through several grant and loan programs, many focused on expanding broadband to rural areas. In 2012, Congress provided $6.5 billion to create the First Responder Network (FirstNet), a new nationwide public safety broadband network. While this provides public safety agencies with a common platform to communicate, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies may look to federal funding to equip responders with devices, and to enhance coverage."
CRS Report for Congress, R45213