AIPI Attends FCC Listening Session at the Chickasaw Nation
On June 12-13, 2019, AIPI staff including Dr. Traci Morris and Brian Howard attended a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) workshop for Tribal governments, Tribal employees, and Tribal members. This robust two-day event hosted by the Chickasaw Nation was designed to provide information for Tribal Nations and others to identify and evaluate opportunities to develop more robust broadband, telecommunications, and broadcast infrastructure and services in Tribal communities.
FCC staff provided presentations on a broad range of important programs and policies that support the deployment of communications infrastructure and services in Tribal communities that supports Tribal economic development, Tribal schools and libraries, low-income families, and health care clinics, as well as Tribal radio stations, public safety departments, and Tribal government administration. Representatives of the US Department of Agriculture shared information on the relevant programs they manage. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) provided hands-on training on the application process for the FCC’s E-rate Program, which provides discounts to qualifying schools and libraries for broadband equipment and services.
In an example of excellence, the Chickasaw Nation's Trace Fiber Networks Company presented an overview of a robust fiber network being installed that will connect a ring around Chickasaw Nation locations throughout Oklahoma. Additional workshops included information on the Universal Service Fund programs, the related Tribal engagement obligation for high-cost fund recipients, and an open discussion with Tribal leaders and officials sharing their experiences with broadband deployment. The workshop also provided significant information on new spectrum opportunities the FCC is considering that may promote expanded broadband access on Tribal lands. Finally, the workshop included presentations on the Commission’s Tribal radio priority, as well as on public safety issues of concern to Tribal Nations.