Tribe receives FCC approval on 2.5GHz broadband


The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has officially been awarded the 2.5GHz spectrum across the Southern Ute Reservation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) per the Rural Tribal Priority Window. 

“Tribal Council granted Shared Services permission to make the application through resolution 202-069, and per the resolution, we still do have work to do over the next five years to meet the requirements to keep the spectrum,” explained Justin Roller, Vice President Applications Development with Southern Ute Shared Services. “This is a very important step in improving broadband access throughout the reservation and should be an asset to the Tribe for years to come.”

The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The FCC granted its first licenses in the 2.5 GHz rural tribal priority window; licenses were granted to 154 tribal applicants for prime mid-band spectrum to help close the digital divide and enable advanced wireless communications across tribal lands, including 5G.

“The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau this week issued the first set of spectrum licenses through the agency’s first-of-its-kind Rural Tribal Priority Window to Tribal entities across the country,” according to a recent press release from the FCC.

Access to broadband infrastructure and internet service has been a challenge across Indian Country in recent years, a situation which has been greatly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The lack of reliable internet has affected remote learning for both teachers and students, as well as those who need to access Wi-Fi for work.

“I would also like to recognize Delbert Cuthair for his role in coordinating the application process and following up with third parties and the FCC throughout the process to get this done,” Roller emphasized. Cuthair is a Project Manager with Southern Ute Shared Services and a member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. “Thank you, Delbert.”

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