October 24, 2020 – The Federal Communications Commission on Friday granted its first licenses in the 2.5 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum to 154 tribal applicants during the agency’s first Rural Tribal Priority Window.
The licenses provide exclusive use of up to 117.5 megahertz of 2.5GHz spectrum and will provide broadband and other advanced wireless services, including potentially 5G services, to rural tribal communities.
Chairman Ajit Pai called this a “major step forward” in the nation’s efforts to close the digital divide on tribal lands: “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,” he said. “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.”
The FCC received more than 400 applications from tribal applicants during the priority window. The agency is still reviewing and processing all the applicants filed in the priority window.