Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M. – Tribal Nations soon will have a rare – and brief – opportunity to apply for broadband Internet access available through the Federal Communications Commission, according to Irene Flannery, director of AMERIND Critical Infrastructure.
The Rural Tribal Priority Window to apply for EBS spectrum access opened on Feb. 3, 2020, and closes on Aug.3, 2020. An Education Broadband Service or EBS spectrum license will allow a Tribe to build and operate wireless networks with speeds up to 2.5 gigahertz (GHz). The EBS spectrum is suitable for mobile coverage and fixed point-to-point uses, such as business and home Internet connectivity.
“Licensure to access the EBS spectrum will enable Tribes, especially those in rural areas, to tap into previously unavailable but valuable telecommunications services,” Flannery said. “This is an historical opportunity to close the digital divide for Indian Country. Fortunately, the information needed to complete an application is available, and Tribes are encouraged to start working on them as soon as possible.
“Many organizations are coming together to assist Tribal Nations with the process, including AMERIND. Our Critical Infrastructure Division can provide important supporting data, and we are eager to answer questions, initiate planning and partner with Tribes on their applications,” she said.
The Tribal Priority Window allows Tribes to skip the process of competing and paying for a license at an FCC auction. Instead, any federally recognized Tribe or Alaska Native village, consortia of federally recognized Tribes and/or Native villages, or Native-controlled entity is eligible to apply. More information about the Tribal Priority Window and application process is available at https://www.fcc.gov/25-ghz-rural-tribal-window.
AMERIND creates affordable and sustainable insurance products and services for Indian Country. Founded in 1986, it is the only 100 percent Tribally owned and operated insurance company. Giving back to Indian Tribes is one of AMERIND’s top priorities. The mission of its Critical Infrastructure Division is to help Tribal Nations develop and deploy high-speed broadband Internet, uniquely positioning it to provide support for this FCC opportunity.