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NCAI Presses for More Time for 2.5 GHz Applications

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is not happy with the FCC's decision Friday to give Tribal communities an extra 30 days to apply for free 2.5 GHz spectrum before the FCC auctions it. 

The Tribal Priority Window (TPW) was to have closed Aug. 3, but FCC chair Ajit Pai, citing the pandemic, said it would be extended to Sept. 2, but no more, saying that was unnecessary and would delay the process of getting the spectrum to the folks who had already applied by that date. 

In response the NCAI, which had sought a 180-day stay, said the FCC had created "needless and harmful division between tribal nations." 

It said the Tribal Nations that had already applied would not be harmed by the longer extension because the FCC could grant special temporary authorities to use the spectrum, as it already has for several Tribal Nations. 

"The FCC must uphold its trust responsibility to Indian Country, especially during this unique time of need," NCAI said. "Failure to do so is unacceptable. NCAI will continue to advocate for an extension of the TPW – to enable all tribal nations the ability to access this critical resource – and calls upon Congress to pass legislation to ensure Indian Country has access to spectrum on tribal lands.