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Copps Calls State of Broadband for Native Americans ‘A National Disgrace’

in Universal Service by

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2009 - The FCC's forthcoming national broadband strategy must include steps to improve services to Native Americans, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps told attendees Thursday delivering the keynote at the Practicing Law Institute's Telecommunications Policy and Regulatory Institute.

"Broadband must leave no man behind," Copps said, including "the original Americans," who often live without basic service, much less broadband services.

"I have seen first-hand the state of communications in Indian Country...It is nothing to be proud of," Copps said.

Telephone service penetration lags around 70 percent of Native American households, Copps said, calling the number "shockingly low." But Copps was more concerned about the state of broadband data in Indian Country - or lack thereof. "[W]e don’t even begin to have reliable data on the status of Internet subscribership on tribal lands, because no one has bothered to collect it," he said.

Anecdotal evidence shows broadband access on tribal lands is "minimal," he said, calling the situation "unacceptable" and "a national disgrace." Native Americans need broadband to fully participate in the 21st century economy, he said. Broadband is "critical" to the growth and possibly survival of their communities, he said. "A good broadband plan for Indian Country will make a huge difference."

Andrew Feinberg is the White House Correspondent and Managing Editor for Breakfast Media. He rejoined BroadbandBreakfast.com in late 2016 after working as a staff writer at The Hill and as a freelance writer. He worked at BroadbandBreakfast.com from its founding in 2008 to 2010, first as a Reporter and then as Deputy Editor. He also covered the White House for Russia's Sputnik News from the beginning of the Trump Administration until he was let go for refusing to use White House press briefings to promote conspiracy theories, and later documented the experience in a story which set off a chain of events leading to Sputnik being forced to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Andrew's work has appeared in such publications as The Hill, Politico, Communications Daily, Washington Internet Daily, Washington Business Journal, The Sentinel Newspapers, FastCompany.TV, Mashable, and Silicon Angle.

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