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FCC proposal could boost broadband internet on tribal lands

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 19:45:51-04

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The Federal Communications Commission has proposed giving rural Native American tribes a priority filing window for licenses that could expand internet access on their land.

The FCC has been working to revamp the way it issues licenses for the 2.5 GHz-band Educational Broadband Services spectrum.

It recently proposed eliminating the educational use requirement and letting tribes apply for licenses before they're auctioned.

The FCC will vote on the proposal July 10.

The spectrum largely is unassigned in the U.S. West and is seen as key to expanding 5G access.

The FCC says granting licenses to rural, federally recognized tribes would help establish or boost broadband coverage in underserved areas. Tribally owned entities, including tribal colleges and universities, also would be given priority for licenses.

The proposal won't affect existing license holders.