U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) applauded recent action by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today which issued the first set of spectrum licenses to Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Standing Rock Telecommunications Inc., Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

“Better connectivity creates better opportunities,” said Senator Cramer. “It’s good to see the FCC taking steps to close the digital divide for tribes in our state. I look forward to working with the Commission to make sure these efforts are successful.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the issuance of these licenses.

“This is a major step forward in our efforts to close the digital divide on Tribal lands,” said Chairman Pai. “Few communities face the digital connectivity challenges faced by rural Tribes. By prioritizing Tribal access to this mid-band spectrum, we are ensuring that Tribes can quickly access spectrum to connect their schools, homes, hospitals, and businesses. Having visited many of these communities and met with Tribal leaders, I have seen first-hand the connectivity difficulties facing Native Nations. I am exceedingly pleased that—less than a year after we announced the timeline for the Rural Tribal Priority Window—we are now distributing 2.5 GHz band licenses to help Tribal communities bridge the digital divide.”

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau formally granted 154 applications for use of the 2.5 GHz band to close the digital divide and provide broadband and other advanced wireless services, including 5G, to tribal communities. These licenses provide for exclusive use of up to 117.5 megahertz of 2.5 GHz band spectrum to be used by tribes to connect their communities.