Extending Tribal Broadband Priority Act of 2020
Deadline for Endorsements: Tuesday, October 13 by 6:00 PM EST
Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) and Senator Warren (D-Mass.) will be introducing a new bill called the Extending Tribal Broadband Priority Act of 2020 to require the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) to open a new 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window (Window) not later than 30 days after the bill is enacted to create additional time for Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations to apply for unassigned spectrum licenses over Tribal lands to deploy internet services, as previously requested by numerous Tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and advocacy groups across the United States. Tribes and the Federal government should never have to force a Federal agency to comply with basic tribal sovereignty principles, especially for life-saving resources located over tribal lands like electromagnetic spectrum. However, the Commission has continuously created unnecessary barriers for Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations to access spectrum rights over their lands despite the hardship tribal communities have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although numerous bipartisan members of Congress, U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and telecommunications advocacy groups have unanimously requested a 180-day Window application extension, the Commission has refused to implement the extension, instead giving Tribes a severely limited 30-day application period that expired on September 2, 2020. The Commission’s unwarranted decision lacks consistency with their recent decisions to delay off-reservation spectrum auctions (Auctions 105 and 106) until next year to allow parties additional time to prepare and participate during this pandemic and basic principles of the Federal trust responsibility to Indian Tribes.
The Congresswoman humbly asks for your support to introduce this new bill so Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations have a fair opportunity to rightfully access spectrum rights over their lands because no one should be left behind in the digital divide, especially on tribal lands where only 65 percent of Native Americans have access to wireless broadband services. If possible, please provide an endorsement and/or quote (2-3 sentences) for the press release that will be published on the day of introduction. For the legislative text, click here, in addition to, the you can provide your endorsement and/or quote here. We would be grateful for any support that you can provide by the deadline for endorsements on Tuesday, October 13 by 6:00 PM EST
If you have any media/press release questions, please contact Rep. Haaland’s Communications Director, Felicia Salazar, at Felicia.Salazar@mail.house.gov and if you have any legislative inquires, please contact Heidi.Todacheene@mail.house.gov