FCC’s Report on Broadband

FCC’s https://www.fcc.gov “Report on Broadband Deployment in Indian Country “prepared by the agency’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, was just submitted to Senate and House Committees. As the report shows, while deployment to Tribal lands has increased in recent years, additional work remains to increase broadband deployment to certain Tribal areas in order to close the digital divide for all Americans.

One of the goals is to ensure the timely availability of mobile voice and broadband services on tribal lands. In order to increase mobile voice and broadband services, the FCC adopted a dedicated funding mechanism referred to as the Mobility Fund.

Coverage by Mobile LTE is 96 percent of the population on Tribal lands while the population living on non-Tribal areas are covered 99.8 percent of the time by mobile LTE service. Generally, individuals living on tribal lands covered have access to fewer carriers providing 4G LTE coverage.

To help find solutions for the problem, Mobility Fund Phase I was established. The FCC set aside $50 million in a one-time support for unserved Tribal land areas to be awarded through a separate, Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I auction. Five winning bidders submitted $49.8 million in winning bids covering a population of 56,932 in biddable areas.

Eighteen biddable areas are located on five reservations or Tribal lands in Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, and Utah plus 62 biddable areas in 49 Alaska Native Village Statistical Areas and 13 bidding areas in Alaska Native regions.

An example of winners in the Mobility Fund Phase I auction, included GCI Communication Corp which is authorized to receive up to 2.3 million and Standing Rock Telecommunications, Inc., authorized to receive up to $3.3 million.

As reported, the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) auction will make up to $4.53 billion available over ten years to primarily rural areas that lack unsubsidized 4G LTE service. At least $340 million is expected to be set-side for funding services to Tribal lands to be disbursed in the Mobility Phase II auction.

Go to https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-357269A1.pdf for the May 2019 report on broadband deployment in Indian Country.

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