broadband Internet

Nestled among turquoise blue waterfalls and cottonwood trees, the tiny Havasupai reservation is accessible only by foot, by mule or by helicopter. It's a five-minute flight from the rim of the Grand Canyon to Supai Village on the canyon floor, where 450 tribal members live in small homes made of panel siding and materials that can be easily hauled or lifted in.

It's no wonder Internet access has been a challenge. But recently, the Havasupai have had some help from the Oakland-based nonprofit MuralNet.

Berlin's flourishing tech scene attracts talent from across the globe. At a startup incubator in the western part of the city, an international team recently launched an app called SPRT, which connects sports enthusiasts.

Amy Cooper, a 20-year-old SPRT employee who moved to Germany from Britain last June, complains that Berlin's Internet speed is so slow, it feels like the old dial-up days she has heard her parents reminisce about.

Just over half of Native Americans living on American Indian reservations or other tribal lands with a computer have access to high-speed Internet service, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The low rate of subscription to a high-speed Internet service — 53 percent — in these often rugged, rural areas underscores the depth of the digital divide between Indian Country and the rest of the U.S. Between 2013 and 2017, 82 percent of households nationally with a computer reported having a subscription to a broadband Internet service.

Cuba's state telephone company will allow mobile phone customers to use the Internet via a new 3G network, starting on Thursday. But as with previous tech advances in the island nation, only those who can afford it will be able to take advantage of the access — which remains under the control of the autocratic government.

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Report: Most schools now have high-speed internet access

40.7 million students have gained access to high-speed Internet over the last five years. That's according to EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit dedicated to closing the digital divide in American classrooms. There are still 2.3 million students unconnected, according to the group's most recent annual report.

The city of Fort Collins, Colo., will build a system to deliver "high speed next-generation broadband to the entire community," after its City Council enacted a ballot initiative that voters approved in November. The move comes despite resistance from cable and telecom companies.

Microsoft is announcing a new effort to connect more people to the Internet. Not people far away, in the so-called emerging markets — where other American tech giants have built Internet balloons and drones. Instead, Microsoft is focusing right here at home, on the 23.4 million people in rural America without broadband access.

When Julian Castro assumed the post of Housing and Urban Development secretary in 2014, the U.S. government already had a few programs aimed at expanding Americans' access to the Internet. It's the sort of thing that is paramount to success in the modern economy, long advocated by President Obama and other government officials.

Pointing out America's inadequacies is a common tactic in U.S. presidential campaigns, but sometimes the jabs backfire. That happened this week to Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders when he took on Internet speeds in the U.S.

His observation Wednesday drew a flurry of annoyed responses on both sides of the Atlantic. Many Romanians rejected what they viewed as an implication their country — one of the poorest in the European Union — did not deserve having better internet than the United States.

And Claudia Ciobanu, a Romanian freelance journalist based in Poland, tweeted:

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Millions of American students don’t have access to high speed internet at home, putting them at an educational disadvantage. On Wednesday, president Barack Obama began his two-day visit to Oklahoma by unveiling a new plan to bring internet service into low income households.

The president was met with applause and introduced himself with the Choctaw greeting “Halito” at Durant High School in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Obama checked off some of the accomplishments under his administration --- like private sector job growth, a stronger housing market and more insured Americans. That, he said, is the good news.

“But I also made it clear when I came into office, even as we’re trying to make sure the entire economy recovers, we also have to pay attention to those communities that all too often have been neglected and fallen behind,” Obama said. “And as part of that, I said, ‘We’re going to do better by our First Americans. We’re going to do better.’”

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