Tribal Land Bidding Credit Waiver Facilitates New Service to Osage Nation

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The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has granted a waiver to Cross Telephone Company, L.L.C. (Cross) allowing Cross to obtain a Tribal Land Bidding Credit (TLBC) discount for Cross’s 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Priority Access Licenses (PALs) covering Osage Nation lands. Cross requested the waiver because the FCC’s current TLBC rules limit credits to certain Tribal lands with a wireline telephone subscription rate of 85% or less based on the most recently available U.S. Census data in order to be considered “qualified.” In this case, the most recently available U.S. Census data regarding wireline telephone subscription rates was from 2000 and indicated that the Osage Nation had over 95% wireline telephone penetration, therefore rendering the area unqualified for the credit. However, Cross and the Osage Nation had evidence that this 20-year-old data was no longer accurate as mobile wireless telephone services gradually supplanted wireline telephone service. In support of its waiver request, Cross provided various alternate and up-to-date Census data as well as data from the FCC and the Osage Nation to demonstrate that the Osage Nation lands covered by the Cross PALs have a wireline telephone subscription rate below 85% and should be considered “qualified.” The FCC agreed with the alternate data and found a waiver of the FCC’s TLBC rules to be in the public interest. The TLBC discount will enhance and boost Cross’s efforts to deploy wireless broadband services to the Osage Nation using CBRS spectrum.

 

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