Tribes to Benefit from Priority Window for FCC Licenses

  |   December 4, 2019

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it will open a tribal priority window for tribes to acquire licenses for spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band before the licenses to to auction. The window will open on February 3, 2020, and close on August 3, 2020.

The FCC typically issues spectrum licenses in a public auction, with licenses sold to the highest bidder. This time, the FCC is allowing tribes with available and unused spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band to acquire licenses before they are auctioned off.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any federally recognized Tribe or Alaska Native Village may apply for spectrum in the Rural Tribal Window (February 3-August 3, 2020). Consortia of federally recognized Tribes and/or Native Villages, or other entities controlled and majority owned by such Tribes or consortiums, are also eligible to apply.

The FCC website at www.fcc.gov/RuralTribalWindow provides information regarding the type of licensing available in rural tribal lands. Licenses come with certain conditions and requirements. There is also a mapping tool to assist tribes in assessing their eligibility and the amount of unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum over their Rural Tribal Lands.

Start preparing now for this opportunity

According to the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University, tribes should begin preparing now to acquire licenses. Tribes should take into consideration time allotted for application processes, technical requirements, and any tribal council actions and timeframes that may impact decision-making. There are several upcoming opportunities to learn about the process in greater detail, including AIPI’s Spectrum Sovereignty Workshop on Thursday, December 19. Participants in the workshop will learn how to apply for licenses.

The FCC will also sponsor outreach at these events:

  • December 3-5, 2019 – BIA Tribal Providers Conference (Anchorage, AK)
  • December 12, 2019 – WebEx to the CIOs of the Alaska Tribal Health System
  • December 17, 2019 – Northern Pueblos Workshop (Santa Fe, NM)
  • December 19, 2019 – Tribal Spectrum Workshop (Gila River Indian Community, AZ)
  • January 14, 2020 – FCC Rural Tribal Priority Window Workshop

For more information, please see the FCC website at www.fcc.gov/RuralTribalWindow.

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