Interior Department to Convene Summit to Improve Tribal Broadband Access

August 29, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Interior Department, in collaboration with the U.S. Education Department and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will host the first-ever National Tribal Broadband Summit, Sept. 23 and 24 in Washington, D.C.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, only 46.6% of tribal lands currently have broadcast access, compared to 73.3 percent of other rural parts of the country.

The summit is intended to equip participants with the tools needed to bridge the connectivity gap on tribal lands and unlock the opportunities that broadband access can provide.

“There are communities across the United States that are still waiting to catch up with 21st century technology,” said Tara Katuk MacLean Sweeney, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, at the Interior Department.

“The Department is committed to improving economic opportunity and quality of life for American Indians and Alaska Natives. This Summit is a key opportunity to engage the private sector and make the business case for investing in Indian Country,” Sweeney said.

One of the  primary goals of the event is to lay a foundation for building capacity among tribal communities to support broadband deployment and adoption, and identify new opportunities for private sector investment in broadband.

Jim Blew, assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development, at the Department of Education, said broadband “is especially important in rural and Tribal communities where the growing digital divide could exacerbate persistent achievement gaps.” 

“All students need affordable broadband, at school and at home … the Department remains committed to working with our federal, state, tribal, and local colleagues to ensure that all students, including American Indian and Alaska Native students, have access to the tools that will enable them to find their pathway to success,” Blew said.

Registration is open to Tribal leaders, representatives of tribal organizations, representatives of schools and school districts serving under-connected native students, Tribal libraries, museums, and cultural centers, private sector, and federal program managers and policymakers. 

Rural

Senators Say After Pandemic, Extending Broadband to Underserved Areas a Must
Technology
Senators Say After Pandemic, Extending Broadband to Underserved Areas a Must
August 4, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan trio of senators urged their colleagues Tuesday to create a $10 billion fund to extend broadband cable access into underserved rural communities. The Governors' Broadband Development Fund bill was introduced by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and his co-sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,... Read More

Rural Hospitals Hang on as Pandemic Reaches Smaller Communities
Health
Rural Hospitals Hang on as Pandemic Reaches Smaller Communities

WASHINGTON — As the COVID-19 pandemic battered large, metropolitan areas this spring, rural hospitals prepared to be next on the front lines. But in order to ready their facilities for a potential surge in patients, those small hospitals had to forgo many of their most profitable... Read More

Left Out: Ways and Means Committee Releases Report Exploring Health System Inequities
In The News
Left Out: Ways and Means Committee Releases Report Exploring Health System Inequities
July 15, 2020
by Reece Nations

Challenges faced by residents of rural and underserved communities regarding barriers to health care were analyzed in a report released by the House Ways and Means Committee. The report, entitled “Left Out: Barriers to Health Equity for Rural and Underserved Communities”, examined many cross-sector and historically... Read More

Rural Destinations ‘Ready to Reopen’ but Fear Virus
Travel
Rural Destinations ‘Ready to Reopen’ but Fear Virus

When the first coronavirus shutdowns were announced in March, hoteliers in the Appalachian town of Gadsden, Ala., said they did not want to host visitors from other states. So, Hugh Stump, executive director of Greater Gadsden Area Tourism, told them that as private businesses, they could... Read More

Pockets of Rural America Are Less Vulnerable to Pandemic’s Economic Fallout — For Now
Rural
Pockets of Rural America Are Less Vulnerable to Pandemic’s Economic Fallout — For Now

Every part of the country will feel the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis. But the small and isolated rural areas that lagged during the economic boom may fare better, relatively speaking, in the aftermath of the pandemic. Those places tend to be less tied to... Read More

Coronavirus Threatens Strained Rural Health Care System
Rural
Coronavirus Threatens Strained Rural Health Care System

WASHINGTON — If you’re exhibiting coronavirus symptoms and meet the criteria, you should get tested. But if you live in rural Presidio County, on the western end of the Texas-Mexico border, be prepared to travel. County residents who are severely ill are being told to go... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top