Today, the Departments of the Interior and Commerce and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will enhance spectrum access and broadband deployment on Tribal lands. In addition, the Department of the Interior will establish an Office of Indigenous Communications and Technology which will assist in the development and implementation of new wireless services on Tribal lands. Public Knowledge applauds this announcement as a major step in closing the digital divide while supporting Tribal self-determination in the digital era.
The following can be attributed to Greg Guice, Director of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“We have known for more than a decade that Tribal communities are disproportionately lacking in access to broadband compared to urban and non-Tribal rural communities. This MOU is an important, concrete step to ensure that Tribal voices are at the table when decisions are being made on how best to promote deployment of broadband to their communities. In addition, the MOU will ensure that there is a coordinated effort by the FCC, NTIA and DOI to engage with Tribal leaders and communities to make certain they have the information they need to gain access to resources, such as E-Rate, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Fund, and other programs that assist communities in meeting their broadband needs. Finally, and significantly, these steps to coordinate greater access to spectrum over Tribal lands will aid not only in closing the deployment gaps over their lands but also enhance economic self-determination for Tribes.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.