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. 

In The News

Health

Voting

Rural

New Study Warns of COVID-19’s Negative Impact on Rural Colleges and Communities
Education
New Study Warns of COVID-19’s Negative Impact on Rural Colleges and Communities
January 26, 2021
by Sara Wilkerson

A new study published by the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on underserved rural colleges and surrounding communities could endanger the stability of local economies, health care systems and social mobility for the foreseeable future.  The study, a research... Read More

As Patients Embrace Telemedicine, Health Insurers Must Act
Opinions
As Patients Embrace Telemedicine, Health Insurers Must Act

Virtual care is the fix for a lot of what’s broken with healthcare in America today. As patients embrace the conveniences of telehealth, medical professionals are recognizing that the pandemic model is here to stay. It’s time for the insurance industry to do the same.  While... Read More

Reps. Sewell, Reed Push Legislation to Expand New Markets Tax Credit
Rural
Reps. Sewell, Reed Push Legislation to Expand New Markets Tax Credit
December 17, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON – This week, Reps. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and Tom Reed, R-N.Y., introduced the New Markets Stabilization Act, bipartisan legislation that will preserve access to the New Markets Tax Credit for underserved communities.  “Historically underserved communities have faced tremendous economic hardship this year because of the... Read More

Rep. Finkenauer Targets Student Loan Relief to Revitalize Rural Areas
Congress
Rep. Finkenauer Targets Student Loan Relief to Revitalize Rural Areas
December 8, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON – This week, Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, introduced the Rural Revitalization Now Act to provide up to $50,000 in student loan relief for people who commit to live and work in rural communities for at least eight years. The Rural Revitalization Now Act creates a... Read More

Schrier Helps Tribes Secure First-Ever Licenses to Expand Internet Access
Congress
Schrier Helps Tribes Secure First-Ever Licenses to Expand Internet Access
November 11, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., recently helped the Nisqually and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in her district fulfill a long time dream. They are two of eight tribes in the state to receive first-of-their-kind licenses for 2.5 GHz wireless broadband services. ... Read More

COVID-19 Patients Swamp Rural Hospitals
Rural
COVID-19 Patients Swamp Rural Hospitals

The nation's pandemic hot spots have shifted to rural communities, overwhelming small hospitals that are running out of beds or lack the intensive care units for more than one or two seriously ill patients. And in much of the Midwest and Great Plains, hospital workers are... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top