The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it is extending its Native Nations Communications Task Force through 2024, and is seeking nominations for people who want to serve on the task force.

“The [FCC] has long recognized that it shares a unique trust relationship with Tribal Nations,” the FCC said in a public notice. “It is this unique government-to-government relationship that guides the commission in its dealings with Tribal Nations and in the commission’s efforts to promote Tribal self-sufficiency and economic development. As part of these endeavors and its efforts to ensure that the concerns of Tribal governments are considered in all relevant commission proceedings, the commission created the Native Nations Communications Task Force.”

The task force, first created in 2011, serves as an important source of information, expertise, and guidance for the FCC. The task force also consults with FCC staff and makes recommendations on communications-related issues that affect Tribal stakeholders.

Prior to the FCC’s latest announcement, the task force was set to expire Oct. 24, 2023. Initially, the FCC has extended the task force through Dec. 31, 2023. However, it also confirmed that it will renew the task on Jan. 1, 2024, and that the task force will have a three-year lifespan.

The FCC noted that applications for task force membership are due by Nov. 30, 2023. In terms of qualifications, applicants must be elected leaders from Federally-recognized Tribal governments or governmental entities, or their designated employees. When filling task force vacancies, the FCC said it “seeks to balance the representation of different geographic regions, Task Force members’ subject-matter expertise, and the diversity among Tribal Nations in terms of culture, priorities and economic development.”

The FCC said in its public notice that it is particularly interested in applicants with diverse professional experience and backgrounds in broadband, telecommunications, broadcast and licensing, information technology, and infrastructure deployment and broadband adoption.

Task force members are asked to serve for a term of three years and the task force is expected to meet in-person twice a year. Additionally, the task force will meet remotely throughout the year. The FCC said that while full participation is expected, task force members are required to attend fifty percent of the annual meetings, including at least one in-person meeting, and at least two virtual meetings. If they are unable to meet attendance requirements, task force members may be removed and replaced.

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