Federal Legislation Aims To Increase High-Speed Internet Access In Indian Country

Sep 11, 2020

New legislation aimed at narrowing the digital divide in Indian Country was introduced last month.

Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin is part of the bipartisan effort to increase tribal access to high-speed internet. It's part of the Federal Communications Commission's $4 billion E-Rate Program.

The Tribal Connect Act would establish a $100 million pilot program to provide access to tribal communities that don't have libraries.

"More than half of individuals living on rural Tribal land don’t have access to high-speed internet," said Mullin. "The unfortunate result is Tribal students and community members find themselves significantly behind the digital curve."

Mullin and other sponsors of the legislation say it's a way to address disparities at a time when tribes need broadband access for online learning and telehealth visits.

Legislation has been sent to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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