The Department of the Interior recently announced that a coalition of federal agencies will work together to increase internet access and close the digital divide In U.S. Indian Country. The Interior Department and the Institute of Museum and Library Services will join Agriculture’s Rural Development Service and Commerce’s NTIA for the 2021 National Tribal Broadband Summit.
This summit will offer the opportunity for leaders across the broadband development spectrum to share information, new ideas, best practices and lessons learned from bringing high speed internet to governments, businesses, schools and homes on Tribal lands.
According to an announcing press release, “As the pandemic has forced students to shift their learning on-line and numerous people into telework, the need for home broadband access has become increasingly apparent and critical…Tribal are some of the most digitally disconnected areas in the United States, where 1.5 million people lack basic broadband and wireless services.”
With about 35 percent of people living on Tribal lands lacking broadband access, this approach seems to be a very good step toward closing the digital divide in a very specific and identifiable portion of our country.
We hope this effort is successful in bringing together the right combination of service providers, engineers, researchers, regulators, and a variety of other broadband experts to solve a very serious problem.