Protecting Public Airwaves

in Protecting Public Airwaves

For too long, inmates serving time in prison have paid exorbitant rates for inmate communications services (ICS) like phone calls, text messages, and emails. High rates impact inmates communicating with loved ones and/or their attorneys. As the Prison Policy Initiative recently reported: “These high rates and fees can be disastrous for people incarcerated in local

in Increasing Internet Access, Protecting Public Airwaves

Earlier this week, a group of organizations including the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), AMERIND Risk Management Corp., the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA), and Public Knowledge filed an emergency motion for stay with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend the Rural Tribal Priority Window until February 1, 2021. Voqal recently joined

in Increasing Internet Access, Protecting Public Airwaves

Earlier this week, Voqal joined 15 organizations in a letter requesting that Congress ask the FCC to extend the 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window. The letter was delivered the same day that the House Energy and Commerce Committee hosted a hearing focused on ways Congress can help tribes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribal broadband

in Increasing Internet Access, Protecting Public Airwaves

In the latest update from Voqal’s director of telecommunications strategy, Mark Colwell assesses congressional efforts to increase broadband funding this year.  One of Voqal’s organizational goals is to improve broadband connectivity – especially among those who are unable to afford service or who have traditionally been disadvantaged based on where they live. Voqal has continually

in Protecting Public Airwaves

Late last month, we wrote about the growing concern that rural tribal nations might miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apply for Educational Broadband Spectrum (EBS) over their lands due to the impact of COVID-19. EBS is an important tool to deliver affordable wireless broadband services. On February 3, the FCC opened its first-ever Rural Tribal

in Increasing Internet Access, Protecting Public Airwaves

Throughout the two-month coronavirus stay-at-home orders, the Gigabit Libraries Network has hosted weekly presentations to discuss anchor institutions meeting the connectivity needs of their communities. Over 1,300 participants have heard from 26 speakers since the series began in late March. All of the events have been recorded and posted on the Pandemic Response page at

in Protecting Public Airwaves

Voqal is dedicated to helping solve the digital divide. Much of the focus on solving this challenge has been on providing every American with access at home. But access is only one side of the coin. As we highlighted in last week’s blog, the broadband adoption gap in America remains extremely concerning and persistent. While

in Protecting Public Airwaves

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasing amount of attention to the digital divide. Stay-at-home orders in states have forced residents online to learn, work, and safely access healthcare. But for those without access, venturing to the nearest parking lot Wi-Fi hotspot has been about the only option. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

in Protecting Public Airwaves

Last July, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made the historic decision to create an application window for rural tribal nations to apply for free EBS spectrum licenses. By offering spectrum at no cost – especially valuable Educational Broadband Service spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band – tribes can affordably build out fixed wireless networks and

in Increasing Internet Access, Protecting Public Airwaves

While the coronavirus pandemic has taught America about how entertaining puzzles and baking bread can be, it has also exposed how dependent we are on broadband and how far too many Americans – especially students – lack access at home. Two weeks ago, Congress passed historic legislation called the CARES Act to respond to the

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