(credit: Free Press)

A US appeals court has blocked the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to take a broadband subsidy away from Tribal areas.

The FCC decision, originally slated to take effect later this year, would have made it difficult or impossible for Tribal residents to obtain a $25-per-month Lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service for poor people. But on Friday, a court stayed the FCC decision pending appeal, saying that Tribal organizations and small wireless carriers are likely to win their case against the commission.

 

“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,” said the stay order issued by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “In particular, petitioners contend that the Federal Communications Commission failed to account for a lack of alternative service providers for many tribal customers.”

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