Frequently Asked Questions

The 2.5 GHz band is exceptionally well-suited for rural deployments (most Tribal lands are considered rural), as it provides the right balance of throughput, distance, and foliage penetration.

In the summer of 2019, the FCC announced that Federally-recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages and entities they own and control could claim the 2.5 GHz spectrum over their rural Tribal lands. Over 400 applications were submitted and already hundreds have been granted by the FCC. Auctions for unclaimed spectrum  both on and off Tribal lands will be auctioned off by the county to the highest bidder.

Obtaining a license will provide each Tribe with the resource necessary to control their Internet future; Tribes will finally have a seat at the table from which to negotiate with partners for backhaul, vertical assets, and service.


Determine your eligibility

Spectrum refers to the radio frequencies that wireless signals travel over.

Types of spectrum include:

To read more on the subject of Spectrum, view the CTIA blog, What is Spectrum: A Brief Explanation

“Radio Spectrum, in general, can be categorized into two types, a) licensed—assigned exclusively to operators for independent usage, b) unlicensed—assigned to every citizen for non-exclusive usage subject to some regulatory constraints, like restrictions in transmission power etc.”

Licensed spectrum can be used more efficiently because the operator can exercise more flexibility in deploying his network to manage interference. The base stations (transmitting signals to devices) can be spaced apart, thereby optimizing network costs—making services affordable.

The disadvantage of a licensed spectrum is that no one else, other than the licensee has the right to offer services in the licensed spectrum. Hence, the user is totally dependent on the operator for using it.

The advantage of an unlicensed spectrum is that users are not dependent on any operator to use an unlicensed spectrum. It is free for all. However, managing interference between adjacent users is more difficult in unlicensed than licensed spectrum because the usage is uncoordinated with no regulatory restrictions other than a restriction in the transmission power.

Federal Funding

The federal government has allocated massive resources to support Tribes and Tribal broadband during the COVID crisis. The current state of these opportunities are:

  • CARES ACT funds spending deadline has been extended to December 31, 2021.
  • NTIA has been allocated $1B for Tribal broadband infrastructure and adoption, $300M for rural infrastructure projects, $285M for digital inclusion for minority communities
  • The FCC has $3.2B to subsidize broadband service (up to $75 per subscriber per month on Tribal lands) $1.9B for “rip and replace” telecommunications equipment from specific Chinese manufacturers, $250M for the Telehealth Grant Program and monies specifically for broadband mapping
  • The USDA has $635 for ReConnect, $60M for Distance Learning Telehealth grants. $35M for Community Connect
  • $285M for Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program for non-infrastructure projects by Tribal Colleges and Universities and other minority-serving institutions.

  • And much more!