Coalition Makes Final Push to Extend Rural Tribal Priority Window

Photo of Steel Telecommunications Tower

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 47 groups in a letter urging the FCC to grant this extension.

As we’ve written about previously, the FCC created the Rural Tribal Priority Window to assign unused Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum licenses to tribes at no cost. These spectrum licenses can be used to affordably deploy fixed or mobile broadband systems.

The Rural Tribal Priority Window opened on February 3 and is set to close on August 3. If tribes do not apply for spectrum, the opportunity to acquire a license will be lost. Several tribes have requested that the FCC extend the window. The primary reason for the request is that many tribes have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. As tribes address the health crisis, it has limited many of their ability to complete the application. We previously highlighted comments from tribes in an earlier post on the #makingairwaves blog.

As part of the final push to get the window extended, several of the groups involved with this effort, including Voqal, are taking part in a National #ConnectTribes Day of Action tomorrow (Thursday, July 23). Interested in participating? You can find some helpful resources here.

You can also learn more about this issue, including how to contact Congress in support of the extension, in this blog post from Public Knowledge.