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News Release

Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has granted an emergency Special Temporary Authority request filed by the Makah Tribe to use unassigned spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band to provide wireless broadband service over its reservation as part of its emergency COVID-19 pandemic response. The Tribe is located within Washington State. The temporary grant of authority is effective for 60 days.

“Helping the Makah Tribe maintain connectivity during this pandemic is vitally important,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Providing additional wireless broadband capacity should help Tribal members stay connected during the pandemic. As is the case in communities across our country, maintaining connections to work, health care, family, and educational resources is profoundly important for Tribal communities. Even before the pandemic, far too many members were facing some of the largest connectivity gaps anywhere in the nation. I sincerely hope this action will help the Makah Tribe during these challenging times, and I remain committed to continuing to work with them to bridge the digital divide.”

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To date, the Bureau has received similar requests for emergency Special Temporary Authority involving three Tribal Nations, and all three have been quickly reviewed and granted. In addition to supporting emergency relief to meet increased broadband demands during the pandemic, the Commission continues to accept applications from eligible Tribal entities for licensed access to unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum over their rural Tribal Lands in the Rural Tribal Priority Window, which closes August 3, 2020. The grant of emergency temporary access to 2.5 GHz spectrum will not affect the availability of such spectrum to eligible Tribal applicants for purposes of the Rural Tribal Priority Window.

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