FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a late June letter, informed a group of 38 U.S. Senators that their request for a 180-day extension of the 2.5GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window was under serious consideration. The original window opened on February 3, 2020, with the intent of providing a 180-day application period for 2.5GHz spectrum auctions to those serving rural tribal lands.
The Senators based their request on, “the continuing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and to ensure Indian tribes in rural areas enjoy the same access to the Internet as the rest of the United States.”
Chairman Pai’s letter of response assured them that, “One of my top priorities…has been to bring digital opportunity to all Americans, particularly in rural and Tribal communities…As the current August 3 deadline for applications approaches, we are sensitive to the interests of both current applicants and potential ones, particularly given the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He ended with a promise that, “The FCC takes seriously its trust relationship with federally recognized Tribal Nations, and I look forward to continuing our work to provide greater digital opportunity to everyone in Indian Country, both in the near term and beyond.”
This sounds to us like a promise to provide the requested extension, even before an official decision is announced. And that is a very good thing.