Licenses granted to 154 Tribal applicants for Prime Mid-Band Spectrum to close digital divide and enable advanced wireless communications, including 5G.
The Federal Communications Commission this week (October 23rd, 2020) issued the first set of spectrum licenses through the agency’s first-of-its-kind Rural Tribal Priority Window to Tribal entities in Alaska and across the country. The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau formally granted 154 applications for use of the 2.5 GHz band to close the digital divide and provide broadband and other advanced wireless services, including 5G, to rural Tribal communities.
“This is a major step forward in our efforts to close the digital divide on Tribal lands,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Few communities face the digital connectivity challenges faced by rural Tribes. By prioritizing Tribal access to this mid-band spectrum, we are ensuring that Tribes can quickly access spectrum to connect their schools, homes, hospitals, and businesses. Having visited many of these communities and met with Tribal leaders, I have seen first-hand the connectivity difficulties facing Native Nations. I am exceedingly pleased that—less than a year after we announced the timeline for the Rural Tribal Priority Window—we are now distributing 2.5 GHz band licenses to help Tribal communities bridge the digital divide.”
In Alaska, there were nineteen licenses granted that will help the following Tribes provide connectivity to their rural communities: Akiak Native Community, Algaaciq Native Village, Asa’carsarmiut Tribe, Curyung Tribal Council, Metlakatla Indian Community, Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government, Native Village of Chenega, Native Village of Chignik Lagoon, Native Village of Marshall, Native Village of Nanwalek, Native Village of Paimiut, Native Village of Port Graham, Native Village of Port Heiden, Native Village of Ruby, Native Village of Tatitlek, Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council, Pilot Station Traditional Village, Village of Aniak, and Yupiit of Andreafski.
These licenses provide for exclusive use of up to 117.5 megahertz of 2.5 GHz band spectrum that can be used by Tribes to connect their communities. During the priority window, the Commission received over 400 applications to obtain overlay licenses for unassigned 2.5 GHz band spectrum to help address Tribes’ connectivity needs. FCC staff continues to review and process all applications filed in the priority window; more information on application processing and status may be found at www.fcc.gov/ruraltribalwindowupdates.