FCC Grants Navajo Nation Emergency Access to Spectrum

The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has granted special temporary authority (STA) to the Navajo Nation (located in portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) to tap into more wireless broadband. 

The FCC will allow use of unassigned spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band to provide wireless broadband to its reservation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant extends for the next 60 days. 

Related: FCC Lends Spectrum to Pueblos in New Mexico 

The emergency relief STA is separate from the FCC's current application process for tribal entities to seek licensed access to unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum. That window closes Aug. 3, 2020. 

“Tribal communities are having to adjust to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic while already facing some of the greatest challenges caused by the digital divide that we see anywhere in the nation," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "As with any community—rural or urban—Tribal members are having to work from home and to rely increasingly on telemedicine and remote learning as they practice social distancing to minimize the spread of the virus on their reservations. This additional spectrum should help the leaders of the Navajo Nation meet the needs of its people during this challenging time."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.