Complete Story


There's $2 Billion for Broadband on Reservations

Why this won't be enough

The nationwide shift to remote learning last year left many students stranded in the “homework gap,” unable to attend class online because they lack internet access. The gap was particularly wide in rural areas, and perhaps widest for Native peoples on tribal lands and reservations, who were left to face the homework gap, the pandemic, and generations of federal neglect.

Last month, the Biden administration began disbursing $2 billion in funds extending broadband access to reservations and tribal lands, part of the recent $1.3 trillion infrastructure law. But that’s far short of the need. So far, 280 tribes have submitted requests totaling $5 billion for Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program funds.

“If you look at the fiber grid in the United States, there are some large communication deserts, and it just so happens that most of the tribes are in those spaces,” says Matthew Rantanen, director of technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairman's Association, a coalition of 24 federally recognized tribes outside San Diego. He estimates closing the digital divide for Native peoples will cost close to $8 billion.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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