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Tribal Telecommunications and Broadband
There are substantial obstacles to the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure on tribal lands (including broadband), because of high build-out costs, sparsely-populated areas, right-of-way and permitting complications from federal oversight, and limited financial resources that deter competition and investment by telecommunications providers. The so-called digital divide is felt most keenly by tribal communities, where the lack of broadband deployment on tribal lands causes increased barriers to economic opportunities that are otherwise available to most Americans.

One of the Firm's attorneys represented a tribal telecommunications regulatory agency for five years, both in its own proceedings and in proceedings before state regulatory agencies and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Working with the FCC on a government-to-government basis, including with the FCC's Office of Native Affairs and Policy, he assisted the tribal agency in affirming its jurisdiction over its sovereign tribal lands. While representing the tribal agency, he helped the tribe obtain a $34 million competitive grant from the US Department of Commerce for tribal telecommunications and assisted with regulatory compliance under the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Administrative Company (the "E-Rate" program). In addition to assisting the tribal agency in developing its regulatory framework and policies for telecommunications and broadband, and its own adjudicatory rules, he helped the tribe revamp its telecommunications leasing policies and permitting forms to streamline the tribal telecommunications permitting process and to take advantage of existing federal regulations, including the service line exception to typical rights-of-way requirements for utility services to telecommunications towers.
10400 Academy Rd. N.E., Suite 310, Albuquerque, NM 87111Ph (505) 296-9400 • Fax (505) 296-9401

 



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