In response to the growing need for broadband in rural Tribal communities, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) issued National Policy Memorandum (NPM-TRUS-40) on May 5, 2021, to expedite the right-of-way (ROW) application process for telecommunications projects.
The policy applies to all BIA programs, offices, regions, and agencies involved in the ROW process including the Division of Real Estate Services, which is coordinating the review of broadband ROW applications.
Increasing Access to Broadband
BIA understands how broadband access provides a direct benefit to Indian land and Native people.
Through the National Policy Memorandum, it implemented procedures to streamline ROW applications for telecommunications projects. Efforts to reduce regulatory barriers to broadband deployment include waiving certain requirement for Tribes and allowing the submission of one application for multiple contiguous tracts of land.
These changes have established a more efficient and consistent ROW application process and contributed to improved official reporting.