Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of being an Alaska Tribal Spectrum member?
- As an ATS member, your Tribe will earn income for the use of the spectrum in your community.
As an ATS member, you earn revenue while your community spectrum it is under management by ATS. As data moves over the 2.5 GHz spectrum in your community it earns revenue for your tribe.
- As an ATS member, FCC requirements are met for your village.
Alaska Tribal Spectrum represents a large group consortium as one large tribally controlled area (not individual areas) allowing maximum flexibility and much more time for your individual tribal network buildout versus being an individual applicant.
- ATS is working tirelessly to raise funding to provide affordable broadband for your community
Alaska Tribal Spectrum is seeking broadband middle and last mile funding opportunities on your behalf. With a strong collective tribal voice – Alaska Tribal Spectrum will apply as a tribally owned and controlled nonprofit for potential large grant awards and subsidies for its members. For example, Alaska Tribal Spectrum has applied via a USDA Community Connect Grant to enable 5 tribes in Bristol Bay with a wireless solution if awarded.
ATS is also applying for an NTIA Tribal grant to provide wireless infrastructure across all of Alaska that will bring affordable broadband access to rural Alaska. As an ATS member you will benefit from this grant.
- Other Tribal Revenue Opportunities
Alaska Tribal Spectrum will enable income opportunities for voice and video providers to use the network for the benefit of your communities. Alaska Tribal Spectrum is a tribally managed non-profit that will negotiate with potential vendors to maximize tribal income opportunities.
- Alaska Tribal Spectrum will work to enable capable Service Providers to offer Affordable High Quality Broadband Service for members
- Alaska Tribal Spectrum will offer to provide infrastructure and assistance to ISPs to use the granted last mile 5G capable networks to provide affordable broadband.
- Alaska Tribal Spectrum will monitor the ISP vendor Quality of Service for its members benefit to ensure high quality in exchange for use of the tribal network.
- Alaska Tribal Spectrum will seek to find additional operational subsidies to drive pricing down to make broadband access as inexpensive as possible.
- The last mile network will connect to lower priced middle mile options as they become available.
- No Tribal Requirements for Broadband Network Management
- All Alaska Tribal Spectrum provided network equipment upkeep and management will be maintained by ISPS that will be allowed to use the networks contingent on an acceptable quality of service to you. The tribe need not provide any expertise or be responsible for any upkeep.
- Technical training/job skill training opportunities with local ISPs for tribal members may be offered by the ISPs.
- Network design and operations will be standardized for greater sustainability and operational efficiency across all Alaska Tribal Spectrum areas.
- FCC required reporting and compliance is done by Alaska Tribal Spectrum. The tribe has any reporting requirements or compliance activities of any kind.
- We are responsive and aware of time sensitive broadband opportunities even when you can’t be.
We are always looking for new grant opportunities and supplying a consistent tribal voice to ensure your broadband issues and needs are addressed in meetings where they are to be discussed and that you are kept up to date.
- Membership Requirements
You do not have to accept the benefits of membership.
- At any time, any member can choose not to receive free infrastructure or network equipment.
- There are no fees to be a member of any kind.
- Current ATS members have the ability to opt out of Alaska Tribal Spectrum membership and manage their own spectrum.
What is the mission of the Alaska Tribal Spectrum Consortium?
Enable as many eligible Alaska Tribal entities as possible to reserve future use of a license for 2.5 GHz spectrum over their Tribal lands before the FCC application window closes—otherwise these valuable internet broadband rights go up for auction for anyone else to buy.
Alaska Tribal Spectrum (ATS) was formed as a non-profit with the intent to admit up to 229 possible Alaska Tribal Organizations (ATOs) as listed on the FCC website to enable a unified single consortium application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for 2.5 GHz spectrum pursuant to the Rural Tribal Priority Window established by WT Docket No. 18-120, FCC 19-62 (“Rural Tribal Priority Window”); and members who are join the consortium are authorizing the consortium to act as their representative to submit a unified application to the FCC Rural Tribal Priority Window application.
After the license is awarded, the Alaska Tribal Spectrum will manage the spectrum with the input, and to the collective benefit, of all of its tribal members.
The highly successful Alaska Tribal Spectrum application resulted in the reservation of spectrum coverage for 85 tribes throughout Alaska. The on-going mission of the Alaska Tribal Spectrum is to seek funding to supply middle and 5G capable last mile network infrastructure to leverage those acquired radio frequencies to enable access to affordable broadband in their villages and surrounding areas where they have presence.
What are the licenses for?
This window was a unique opportunity for Tribal Organizations across Alaska in rural areas to directly access unassigned spectrum over their Tribal lands, subject to buildout requirements. The 2.5 GHz band is suitable for both mobile coverage and fixed point-to-point uses to enable state of the art broadband services, including 5G, when connections become available as an important ingredient in the deployment of broadband and other advanced communications services on your Tribal lands.
The spectrum available in this window is a portion of the 2.5 GHz band, consisting of three different channels: one 49.5 megahertz channel, one 50.5 megahertz channel, and one 17.5 megahertz channel. As a consortium member we will be applying for all available spectrum across all three channels where available.
You can learn more about the FCC application window here.
You can also watch this short video on how 2.5GHz broadband works from the FCC.
Why is this valuable for the Tribal entities?
Normally, Spectrum frequencies are put up for auction by the FCC and bought by Telecommunication companies. These companies will use the license to provide broadband services at a cost to the areas that the license covers. The license, once obtained, can be used to sell services, or it can be leased for a fee to other carriers. The FCC is very interested in adding broadband capabilities to rural areas and under-served communities, so they have offered this valuable asset to ALL rural Alaska Tribal entities—as per the eligible list provided by the FCC, AT NO CHARGE, but only until the offer window ends. All the eligible Alaskan Tribal entities need to do was apply for it before the window closes. (Note: the window for accepting applications has now closed.)
The Alaska Tribal Spectrum Consortium was created to make it a very simple process to claim these rights to the airwaves over Tribal lands, because we want to maximize participation and benefit for as many Alaskan Tribal communities as possible. If not claimed, the frequencies will go to auction. If the Tribal entity wants to bid at auction they could do so, but getting it for free now is a much less expensive option thanks to this generous offer from the FCC. Having control of the spectrum will allow the Tribal entities in Alaska to control their own broadband futures.
Is there any cost to our Tribal Organization to join the Alaska Tribal Spectrum Consortium or make this application for 2.5 GHz licenses?
No, there is no cost for the application.
Is there any risk to joining the Consortium? Can our Tribal Organization change our mind?
At any time, the Tribal Organization may withdraw from the ATS Consortium per the direction as written in the membership agreement and a disaggregation of spectrum will be apportioned as outlined in the agreement. Any Tribal Organization may also apply for the spectrum on their own during the tribal application window.
How can I learn more about the FCC application window?
Is there a difference between Alaska Tribal Spectrum and the Alaska Tribal Spectrum Consortium?
No, the two terms refer to the same entity. When we refer to the members of the “consortium”, we are referring to the Tribal entities that have already completed the member application process with the non-profit Alaska Tribal Spectrum.
What will Alaska Tribal Spectrum do with the license?
Alaska Tribal Spectrum will manage the spectrum with the input, and to the collective benefit, of all of its tribal members. How the spectrum is applied for use by each member tribe will be controlled by the member tribal leadership.
How does the combined multi-member ATS consortium application coordinate with individual Tribal applications?
The Alaska Tribal Spectrum Consortium only intended to apply for spectrum that is not already claimed in an application by an individual Tribal Organization that has shown a local presence. Any inadvertent conflicts can and will be resolved following the license application.
We understand that there was some unintentional overlap with other non-Alaska Tribal Spectrum tribal applications, and we are working to resolve them by deferring to the tribal leadership in the affected areas.