Tlingit & Haida was one of 23 tribes selected to receive a National Tribal Broadband Grant (NTBG) from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Indian Affairs Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED).
Tlingit & Haida is among tribes awarded funds within “Opportunity Zones”, which is an economically distressed community where new investments, including investments in broadband systems, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment under certain conditions.
“Increased availability of high-speed broadband services throughout Southeast Alaska improves access to quality education, healthcare, public safety, governance and economic development,” shared President Richard J. Peterson.”
The funds awarded to Tlingit & Haida will be used to retain a qualified consultant, Magellan Advisors, to conduct a feasibility study to assess developing or extending broadband services in Southeast Alaska.
In July 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a Tribal Priority Window to accept applications from federally recognized tribes for unassigned 2.5 GHz Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum in rural areas. In Alaska, all of the 2.5 GHz spectrum is unassigned and available to tribes which is the full bandwidth of 117.5 MHz. As reported by the FCC, this band is the single largest band of contiguous spectrum below 3 GHz and is suitable for both mobile coverage, fixed point-to-point uses and, depending on a tribe’s needs, can play an important role in the deployment of 4G/5G applications and services in villages.
In response to the Tribal Priority Window, Tlingit & Haida, in partnership with the Denali Commission and State of Alaska, co-hosted a conference earlier this year to bring Southeast Alaska tribes together to discuss the mid-band spectrum opportunity and how best to ensure the 2.5 GHz spectrum allocation applications from Southeast Alaska tribes do not overlap.
Tlingit & Haida will soon submit its application for all areas of Southeast Alaska that have not been applied for by another tribe. Tlingit & Haida will work with Southeast Alaska IRA tribes to ensure the spectrum licenses are available to all communities and develop deployment and operations & maintenance plans.