The Department of the Interior (DOI), in collaboration with the Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, the Federal Communications Commission, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the White House Council for Native American Affairs will convene tribal broadband industry experts to discuss how to make the most use of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant funds, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and other federal funding opportunities for broadband, and how to plan for the future of Tribal broadband networks and digital economies.
The 2021 National Tribal Broadband Summit will provide a platform for leaders across the broadband deployment ecosystem to share best practices, new ideas, and lessons learned from their real-world experience bringing broadband service to Native American communities. The Summit, taking place September 17, 24, and October 1, 2021, will focus on:
- Implementing the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant
- Planning for Long Term Success
- Technical Solutions, Middle Mile, Connectivity Solutions
- Broadband Use and Adoption
Importance of this Summit
The U.S. is the wealthiest country in the world, yet ranks 13th when it comes to the overall quality of infrastructure. Too many lack access to affordable, broadband service. Reliable high-speed internet has become a staple of twenty-first century life for Americans across the country. Healthcare, education, entertainment, public safety, entrepreneurship, agriculture, and many other industries are all increasingly dependent on broadband.
According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data from mid-2020, while over 98 percent of the population in urban areas has access to wired broadband service, only 65 percent of the population on Tribal lands is estimated to have the same access, and there are many tribal areas without any broadband service. Insufficient or non-existent service on Tribal lands inhibits individuals' access to education, healthcare, and economic resources and impedes Tribes' efforts to achieve self-governance and self-determination.
After this Summit, participants will leave with new insights into how to close the digital divide in Indian Country, unlocking opportunities that broadband access can provide.