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Havasupai secures license to retain, expand internet access

Havasupai Tribal Council member says she believes her visits to Washington, D.C., helped to win federal approval.
Credit: Amy Martin/AP
Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, a member of the Havasupai Tribal Council, at Red Butte, a site that the Havasupai consider sacred about 15 miles south of Tusayan, Ariz. Native American tribes are pushing the federal government to give them priority when it issues licenses that could expand internet coverage in their communities.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Native American tribe has plans to expand internet access on its northern Arizona reservation now that it has a permanent license from the U.S. government.

The Havasupai Tribe had temporary permission to use broadband spectrum that wasn't assigned.

The Federal Communications Commission granted the tribe's application for a permanent license Thursday.

Meanwhile, the agency is considering changes to the way it licenses Educational Broadband Services spectrum, including giving tribes the first right to file applications. The FCC hasn't issued new licenses in more than 20 years.

Havasupai Tribal Council member Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss says she believes her visits to Washington, D.C., helped to win federal approval.

She says she stressed the need for more reliable and faster internet on the remote reservation, which is accessible only by foot, mule or helicopter.