Phoenix • The federal government is giving the Navajo Nation temporary authority to use unassigned airwaves to provide wireless broadband service over the tribe’s sprawling reservation that includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Federal Communications Commission said its wireless telecommunications bureau on Friday granted the requested authority for 60 days to help the tribe’s emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the commission, the authority should help the tribe “during this challenging time" as reservation residents work from home and increasingly rely on telemedicine and remote learning.

Many residents in remote areas without broadband service sit in vehicles parked near local government centers, fast-food restaurants and grocery stores to connect to Wi-Fi.