WASHINGTON, March 3, 2010 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Tuesday announced a new initiative to remedy the low penetration and adoption rate for broadband among Native Americans. In previous remarks on the subject Genachowski had characterized the status of broadband in Indian Country as a “disgrace” and vowed to include a fix in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.
Most evidence shows Indian reservations with broadband adoption rates at less than 10 percent, compared to a national average of 65 percent.
New broadband links to Indian reservations could provide much needed jobs an economic growth, the Chairman said. “Broadband has the potential to help tribal communities advance farther, faster, than any new technology in our lifetime,” he said while speaking to a group at the National Congress of American Indians.
“We have to develop a meaningful plan…to unleash new waves of innovation and investment, and to improve education, health care, energy efficiency, public safety, and self-governance in Tribal lands,” he added.
Most evidence shows Indian reservations lagging in broadband access with rates at less than ten percent, compared to a national average of 65 percent. Genachowski was adamant in developing solutions to overcome years of neglect to infrastructure by the Federal government.
“When we talk about bringing the technology of the future to Tribal lands, I recognize the tremendous challenges we’ve faced in the past, and understand that we must approach these issues through their own unique lens.”