Reliable broadband internet allows Tribes to access critical education, healthcare, economic and public safety resources.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) statistics show that American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities have less access to broadband than the general U.S. population. This digital divide in Indian Country will continue to grow without federal assistance.
The National Tribal Broadband Strategy, which was developed in collaboration with several federal departments and offices, highlights the actions needed to spur investment within AI/AN communities and address the broadband disparities facing Tribal communities.
The Division of Real Estate Services (DRES) and our partners at other federal agencies are committed to improving and maintaining the infrastructure necessary for broadband development in AI/AN communities.
Rights-of-Way for Broadband
DRES works with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to review broadband infrastructure projects, which often require federal funding, permits, or other authorizations and adhere to federal laws and regulations.
BIA possesses the jurisdiction to approve rights-of-ways (ROW) and leases for broadband development on Indian trust land and individual restricted lands, ensuring that the legal minimum consent is received from AI/AN Tribes and/or individuals.
With the unique nature of the ownership of Indian trust property, BIA must follow all laws and regulations for ROW and leases across Indian land. There are some exceptions which do not require BIA approval, and DRES can help to identify those cases.
Streamlined Rights-of-Way Broadband Application Process
In response to the need for broadband in rural Native communities, BIA issued a National Policy Memorandum (NPM-TRUS-40) on May 5, 2021 to expedite the ROW application process for telecommunications projects.
This policy applies to all BIA programs, offices, regions, and agencies involved in the ROW process.
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Albuquerque, NM 87104