Broadband Blog Posts

 It was a whirlwind of a month at AIPI. It is exciting when we’re able to fulfill our mission of service to Indian Country as an Indigenous-led and staffed non-teaching research institute. It is exciting to be a part of the solution.  

As subject matter experts on Tribal Digital Equity and Broadband in Indian Country, we are leading the dialogue and discourse in many arenas. My staff has been busy representing AIPI well. Our Policy Analyst EJ John and Policy Research Assistant Sadie Vermillion, lent a supportive hand to NCAI on broadband issues and participated in the Telecommunications and Technology Sub-Committee at the Annual Convention. They participated in conferences and were interviewed...

After years of advocacy, the FCC is finally taking action to make needed improvements to the The Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries, also known as E-rate. On October 14, 2021, the FCC published a notice in the Federal Register of a proposed rule to make Tribal libraries eligible to participate in the E-rate program. The program was established under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This program uses funding from the Universal Service Fund to increase internet access to qualifying schools and libraries by assisting with discounted telecommunication service. Internet access in schools and libraries is a crucial service offered...

This is an important reminder that the deadline for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) is coming up tomorrow, September 1 at 11:59 PM PDT. This is a statutory deadline and cannot be modified. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) held a TBCP webinar on August 24, 2021, in which they highlighted the following points:

  • Make sure that applications uploaded to grants.gov are submitted. You must go into the system and hit the submit button.

  • There may be a possibility for other forms of submission, but you must contact NTIA ASAP.

  • Applications that may not be perfect but still contain all of the required information should still be submitted. Applications can

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Image Credit: Christopher Mitchell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, for the Internet Society

Knowing how technology works on the ground is key to successful broadband policy and research. To increase my own knowledge to better serve Tribal Nations through AIPI’s work, I spent the July 4th weekend at the Tribal Wireless Bootcamp at Rantanen Ranch in Southern California. The bootcamp was a chance to learn firsthand how Tribes can deploy their own wireless internet networks.

The Tribal Wireless Bootcamp was funded by the Internet Society, and my role was to determine the replicability of the bootcamp. To gather more information and insight, AIPI is surveying...

On Monday, June 7, 2021, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the launch of a new data dashboard which tracks the progress of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB). The EBB Data Dashboard was established to monitor the number of claims made to the EBB Program and sorts the claims into categories by state and Tribes. The dashboard will also provide information on the amount of money spent throughout the duration of the EBB program. 

As of June 6, 2021, the dashboard shows 61,442 claims made from households on Tribal Lands. Unfortunately, the data does not specify which areas these claims...

This past weekend (June 5th - 7th) I went to the White Earth Nation in Northern Minnesota to witness the Treaty People Gathering on Treaty rights and Tribal sovereignty. This event brought together more than 1,000 people from across the country to learn about Tribal sovereignty, Treaty rights, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) surrounding the Line 3 Pipeline. 

Line 3 is a pipeline that runs through North Dakota and Minnesota through to Wisconsin. It is called a replacement pipeline project because it takes an older pipeline out of commission and replaces it with a new pipeline. This replacement project, however, runs along a new route, which crosses over 200...

Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland, and Secretary Gina Raimondo announced the launch of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. The program consists of $1 billion in grants from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and will be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration(NTIA). Grants under this program can be used for broadband deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth and distance learning.

  • .Applications are due September 1, 2021 at 11:59pm PDT.
  • Eligible entities must submit a single application by the application deadline to be eligible for program funding.

  • The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is not a formula or block grant program and a single application for

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Congress ordered the FCC to create a broadband mapping system that empowers community members to challenge insufficient broadband access. They have not done so in “Establishing the Digital Opportunity Data Collection: Modernizing the FCC Form 477 Data Program” (April 2021).

The current system is a map made by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which reports where their service territory is or could easily be. ISPs report their fastest service tier that they offer in any particular area. This information is not verified by the FCC before publication, and the FCC maps have been picked apart a number of times. They offer us a best-case scenario of what Internet access in the...

Wow! Broadband is a “thing.” I know, I know, it has been for a while now, but the fact that it still is a thing a year later is remarkable. It may sound silly, but it used to be that broadband was such an esoteric topic only discussed in the realm of computer science and IT. Now, broadband is in the top three topics that are important to Tribal communities, Tribal leaders, and pretty much everyone else. After the pandemic and the lockdown, everything has changed. And as someone who specializes in broadband research, it’s still surprising. But then, the world has changed. I am thankful that AIPI was in a...

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a temporary program offered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide affordable access to internet service. The program works with participating internet providers to offer a monthly discount of up to $50 for a single internet connection to qualifying households. This discount may be up to $75 per month for a qualifying household on Tribal lands. Participating internet providers may also offer up to a $100 one-time discount on a laptop computer, desktop computer, or tablet through the program.

In order to promote the EBB program, the FCC created the EBB Outreach Toolkit with many helpful resources to assist Tribal organizations, community...

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