FORT THOMPSON, S.D., Aug. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the Oceti Sakowin Tribal Utility Authority announced today that they are "very pleased" with the decision today by U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit preventing the FCC Lifeline Order from going into effect that would have effectively ended Lifeline service on many Tribal lands. The Court's decision is available online at http://bit.ly/LifelineOrderStay.
"Our people have long suffered from flawed federal government policies and actions, so the Court's decision today is an important step in righting past injustices and allowing residents of Tribal lands to obtain critical Lifeline services," said Joe RedCloud, executive director, Oceti Sakowin Tribal Utility Authority.
"Residents of Tribal lands, like many low-income consumers, rely on Lifeline service from wireless resellers, who are the primary, and sometimes only, providers of Lifeline service," said Gene DeJordy, attorney for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. "The victory today is for the people -- Tribal members who cannot afford many of the basic necessities of life and rely on Lifeline service for their telephone and broadband needs."
In the stay order, the Court ruled: "Petitioners have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their arguments that the facilities-based and rural areas limitations contained in the Order are arbitrary and capricious. In particular, petitioners contend that the Federal Communications Commission failed to account for a lack of alternative service providers for many tribal customers."
The court action freezes implementation of a December 1, 2017 FCC rule, "Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers," that limits eligibility for the Tribal Lifeline enhanced Lifeline subsidy to "facilities-based" service providers, as opposed to the "resellers" that actually provide Lifeline services in the vast majority of tribal areas.
SOURCE Oceti Sakowin Tribal Utility Authority and Crow Creek Sioux Tribe