Press Release Rural Broadband Access

Public Knowledge Applauds Bill Giving Tribes A Second Chance at Spectrum to Connect Their Communities

October 15, 2020 , , , , ,

Yesterday, Rep. Debra Haaland (D-NM) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the “Extending Tribal Broadband Priority Act of 2020” to open a second 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window at the Federal Communications Commission with the goal of helping more Tribes apply for spectrum to connect their communities. Public Knowledge commends Rep. Haaland and Sen. Warren for their efforts to end the digital divide by ensuring that everyone has broadband access everywhere.

The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Broadband is essential. We would like to thank Rep. Haaland and Sen. Warren for introducing this bill to help close the disproportionately large Tribal digital divide by enabling Tribes to offer residents broadband using the spectrum above their lands. 

“In September, the FCC shut out a number of Tribes who were focused on dealing with the pandemic impacting their Tribal members and were unable to dedicate their already limited resources to apply for a license when it extended the window for just 30 days — despite nearly everyone in the record requesting a 180-day extension. The new window proposed in this legislation will allow those Tribes who were shut out a chance to apply for this much needed opportunity to bring broadband to their lands. 

“Our nation cannot afford to keep letting Tribal connectivity lag. We can do better, and this window will help. We thank the members of Congress for introducing this important legislation, and look forward to seeing Tribes utilize this spectrum to ensure connectivity for their communities.”