NCAI Seek Expense Relief for Tribal Land Carriers

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The National Congress of American Indians is urging the FCC to vote on a draft order giving carriers serving Tribal lands more flexibility in recovering operating expenses for deploying broadband; the order has sat for more than four months, according to NCAI President Brian Cladoosby.

The delay is jeopardizing the financial viability of a number of carriers seeking to serve Tribal lands, the least-served in the country, writes Cladoosby in a letter filed this week. “We need to take this initial step to remove the harm that is being caused by the operating expense limitation rule.”  

Specifically, the group seeks to exempt carriers primarily serving Tribal lands from the operating expense limitation rule. “A number of carriers submitted evidence of higher operating expenses associated with deploying broadband on Tribal lands,” he tells the agency. “Not a single commenter” filed to oppose the change, he adds.

“In fact, a number of carriers filed in support of not only providing an exemption to the operating expense limitation rule, but in favor of providing all carriers serving Tribal lands additional support, through a Tribal Broadband Factor, to promote deployment to Tribal lands,” says Cladoosby. For more than two decades, the FCC has acknowledged that carriers serving Tribal lands face higher operating costs to serve very sparsely populated service areas compared to carriers serving other parts of the country.

June 29, 2017     

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