Think you can complete your BEAD application in 90 days? Think again.
January 18, 2024
If you're waiting for your state's application, you'll be too late.
Lodging a challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s national broadband map means submitting a great deal of data. And while the FCC won’t force anyone to submit challenges, stakeholders – from state governments on down to individual citizens – know the twin challenge processes are the best mechanisms to ensure each state get its fair share of Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment funding.
This process is more complicated for Tribal governments, which are independent nations with corresponding rights to data sovereignty. Providing granular challenge data to the FCC, data the agency would legally own, raises concerns for some Tribal leaders.
Many Tribal lands lack reliable, affordable service, and BEAD funds could be a game changer. Also, since the FCC’s data is reportedly quite inaccurate on Tribal lands, Tribal challenges are likely to be highly impactful on BEAD allocations.
This slide deck from the American Indian Health Commission provides a helpful brush-up on the principles of Tribal data sovereignty.
The deck outlines four key principles:
The deck also notes a few barriers:
The deck lists known violations of Tribal data sovereignty as well. A couple examples:
Tribal governments, which, again, are sovereign nations, must be dealt with as such by Washington. The FCC seems to have neglected data sovereignty when planning its mapping process, but certainly should reevaluate its policies to mitigate harms going forward.
See also these principles of Tribal Data Sovereignty.