The idea to form a locally based telecommunications company to serve the Blackfeet Reservation originated in the early 1990s...
At that time, the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council commissioned an economic analysis of the feasibility of forming an electric and telephone utility to serve the Blackfeet Reservation. These plans were not implemented then because of the monopolistic structure of both the electric and telecommunications industries of the time.
The U.S. Congress subsequently passed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which transformed the structure of the telephone industry into a competitive business. Between 1996 and the present, the FCC has implemented a number of rule changes designed to promote competitive telecommunications services. These included making new radio spectrum available to allow alternative, competitive services to be offered.
In 1999, the FCC recognized special problems encountered by tribal communities that were hampered by inadequate telecommunication services and telephone subscribership levels often far below the national average. The FCC responded by creating the Indian Telecom Initiative, a program designed to improve telecommunications in Indian Country. One of the programs was the Tribal Lands Bidding Credit, in which substantial discounts became available for entities bidding on radio spectrum to provide improved telecommunications services on qualifying tribal lands.
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