February 4, 2020 / Modified feb 4, 2020 10:33 a.m.

Window opens for tribes to seek licenses for internet access

Tribes had pushed to be first in line for the licenses that once were reserved for education institutions.

The Federal Communications Commission is giving tribes priority access to licenses that could help establish or boost internet service in rural communities.

Federally recognized tribes could start applying Monday.

The licenses are for a mid-band of spectrum, or channels of electromagnetic waves, that largely is unassigned across the western United States. Tribes had pushed to be first in line for the licenses that once were reserved for educational institutions.

The FCC has estimated that about one-third of people living on tribal lands don't have access to high-speed internet. Others say the figure is twice as high.

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