Groups Press FCC for 6-Month Tribal Window Extension

The FCC is under pressure from some legislators and a host of groups to extend the Aug. 3 window for Native Americans to apply for free 2.5 GHz spectrum for mobile wireless before the FCC auctions it off to the highest bidder. 

They want a six-month extension. 

In a letter to the FCC Thursday (July 23) the groups said that "[b]y refusing to extend the Rural Tribal Priority Window, the FCC will prevent the vast majority of eligible Tribes from accessing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity--due to circumstances wholly outside of Tribal control."  

That would be the pandemic. The FCC has already granted the Navajo Nation temporary access to 2.5 GHz spectrum, but says that will not affect the eventual availability of that spectrum for the window/auction. 

The FCC has declined comment on whether or not it will extend the window, so it has not yet said definitively "no." 

Among those signing on to the letter, dated July 23, were Common Cause, Common Sense, Public Knowledge, INCOMPAS, New America’s Open Technology Institute, The National Tribal Telecommunications Association, and the United Methodist Church. 

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.