Call to Action: National Spectrum Strategy Tribal Consultations

EJ John

Sr. Policy Analyst

Tribal Nations have long advocated for their sovereign interests in natural resources like land and water. Tribes have also advocated for their sovereign interest in the air space above Tribal lands. Specifically, Tribes have long advocated for the use of key radio wave frequencies to use technologies like broadcast TV/radio, 2-way radio, cell phones, and wireless broadband. AIPI published a detailed policy overview of Tribal wireless spectrum in 2019. However, the recent national effort to expand broadband access across the country has brought new focus on the importance of Tribal Spectrum Sovereignty. 

Wireless spectrum in the U.S. is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). On March 15, 2023, the NTIA published a request for public comments on developing the National Spectrum Strategy (NSS). The NTIA is preparing for the development of a national strategy to better coordinate the use of wireless spectrum for all users, including Tribes. Therefore, Tribes must participate in upcoming listening sessions and submit comments to ensure that critical Tribal interests are included in the development of the National Spectrum Strategy.

There will be two Tribal Consultations on the National Spectrum Strategy, please click the following registration links for more information on how to participate:

The NTIA seeks Tribal input on the following questions related to wireless spectrum:

  • How could transparency and communications related to spectrum allocation decisions be improved to increase Tribal Nations’ trust in the process?

  • What actions or recommendations would promote the deployment and availability of next-generation products and services to Tribal lands?

  • What initiatives on Tribal lands (e.g., testbeds) or partnership with Tribal governments should be considered that would enable more robust and quicker implementation of spectrum sharing to meet spectrum access needs?

  • What, if anything, can NTIA do to develop, strengthen, and diversify the spectrum workforce within Tribal Nations to ensure an enduring, capable, and inclusive workforce?

  • Any other questions raised by our Request for Comments (attached) which are of interest to Tribal Nations.

Responses to these questions can be given during the consultations or emailed to with the subject line, “NTIA National Spectrum Strategy Tribal Consultation”. Written responses must be sent by Friday, April 21, 2023 at 5:00 PM EDT. Please continue to follow AIPI for updates on this and other Tribal broadband developments.