This window is a unique opportunity for Tribes in rural areas to directly access unassigned spectrum over their Tribal lands, subject to buildout requirements. The 2.5 GHz band is suitable for both mobile coverage and fixed point-to-point uses and is currently used to provide broadband service by legacy educational licensees and commercial providers that lease the spectrum. Depending on your needs, it can play an important role in the deployment of broadband and other advanced communications services on your Tribal lands. Please find more detailed information below, including how to determine whether 2.5 GHz spectrum is available over your Tribal lands.
The Rural Tribal Priority Window will open on Monday, February 3, 2020, and will close on Monday, August 3, 2020.
Who is eligible?
Any federally recognized Tribe or Alaska Native Village may apply for spectrum in the Rural Tribal Window. 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.
Applicants in the Rural Tribal Window may designate their own desired license areas, so long as the entire area is rural Tribal land, and the applicant has a local presence in the area. “Rural” means an area that does not include an urbanized area with a population of > 50,000 people, according to Census Bureau data. "Tribal land," for this purpose, means any federally recognized Tribes’ reservation, including former reservations in Oklahoma and Alaska Native regions established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act or Indian Allotments.
What is available?
The spectrum available in this window is a portion of the 2.5 GHz band, consisting of three different channels: one 49.5 megahertz channel, one 50.5 megahertz channel, and one 17.5 megahertz channel. Tribal applicants may apply for one, two, or all three of these channels, depending on availability.
In the Rural Tribal Window, tribal applicants may apply for any of the spectrum in these channels that is not currently licensed to another entity, as long as the desired license area is rural Tribal land (see "Who is eligible?" above). Current licenses in this band cover approximately 50% of the geographic area of the United States.
In order to apply for a license in the Tribal Priority Window, there must be some spectrum on the channel and over the rural Tribal land that is not currently licensed to another licensee. If there is any unassigned spectrum, an eligible Tribal entity may choose to apply for an overlay license for the entire channel over the whole qualifying Tribal land. Once a license is issued, the Tribal licensee will immediately have the authority to operate in those areas and on those channels that are not licensed to another licensee. The Tribal licensee will not have the authority to operate in areas covered by an existing license, even if the existing licensee is not operating in that area. If the existing license is cancelled or expired, however, the Tribal licensee will automatically acquire the authority to operate on rural Tribal land in the spectrum and area previously covered by the existing license.
To see if spectrum is available in your area, use the geographic search function in the Universal Licensing System (ULS), the FCC Wireless Bureau’s online application and licensing system. If you have questions about a particular area’s eligibility, please contact the Federal Communications Commission at RuralTribalWindow@fcc.gov.