Indian Country lacks broadband coverage
Published December 9, 2019
WASHINGTON — Facing pressure from members of Congress, including Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), the Federal Communications Commission has extended time for tribal priority filiing window for Educational Broadband Services (EBS) from 90 days to 182 days.
In July 2019, the Commission modernized the regulatory framework for the 2.5 GHz band to make this vital mid-band spectrum available for advanced wireless services, including 5G. A significant part of this action included establishing a Rural Tribal Priority Window that will provide federally recognized Tribal entities with an opportunity to address the communications needs of their rural communities by applying for unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum in what was formerly designated as the Educational Broadband Service (EBS). By this Public Notice, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announces that the Rural Tribal Priority Window will open on Monday, February 3, 2020, and will close on Monday, August 3, 2020. The Commission establishes this 182-day window, coupled with six months of outreach and education that will have preceded the window, to allow eligible Tribes the opportunity to assess their needs, determine if spectrum is available in their communities, and prepare to file their applications.
The Commission already has begun an extensive outreach program to ensure that all interested, eligible Tribes have the information they need to be able to apply for this spectrum during this window. We have established a dedicated website (www.fcc.gov/RuralTribalWindow) that provides access to information regarding the window, including the location and dates of outreach and education opportunities. We have also created a dedicated mapping tool (https://www.fcc.gov/25-ghz-rural-tribal-maps) to assist Tribes in assessing their eligibility and the amount of unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum over their Rural Tribal Lands.
As part of its outreach efforts, the Commission will host a workshop at its headquarters in Washington, DC, on January 14, 2020. Further information the Rural Tribal Window, including the specifics about the application filing process, and the upcoming workshop, will be announced and posted to the Rural Tribal Window website on or before January 6, 2020.
Any questions or requests for additional information regarding the Rural Tribal Window can be submitted via email at RuralTribalWindow@FCC.gov or via phone by calling Cecilia Sulhoff, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-0587.