The deadline for a federal program allowing tribes to apply for broadband spectrum access has been extended a month.
Since February, the Federal Communications Commission has been accepting applications from tribes across the country to gain access to the 2.5 GHz broadband spectrum. Under this rural tribal window, tribes would be able to access parts of the broadband spectrum that fall on their tribal land. With those licenses, tribes could have the potential to start their own broadband internet networks for their communities.
The original deadline for tribes to apply for the licenses was Monday, Aug. 1. In a statement, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai said that the extension strikes a balance between giving tribes ample time to apply in light of the pandemic, while also not delaying access for tribes who have already applied. He said, “a much longer extension would substantially delay our award of licenses to Tribal entities, and thus delay their ability to use this spectrum to connect those consumers living on Tribal lands.”
The new deadline for tribes to apply for broadband access is Tuesday, Sept. 2. After that, the licenses will be auctioned off.
To date, more than 60 tribes across Alaska have applied for 2.5 GHz broadband access with the FCC, from the Northwest Arctic village of Noorvik down to the Southeast village of Skagway.