Digital Divide

About this project

Despite a lack of access, higher prices for broadband and often non-existent infrastructure, leaders in some Tribal communities have developed a vision and built self-sufficient networks and community technology centers to connect and strengthen their communities. Indian Country is finding a myriad of ways to cross the Digital Divide.

Broadband is the basis and future of economic development, health, public safety, housing, energy, and educational models for the future in Indian Country. The Internet is now classified as a utility and the common carriage for all media platforms.  This new digital ecology necessitates Native inclusion. Broadband is a critical infrastructure for nation building in Indian country and tribally centric deployment models are most successful in Indian country, not individual residential service models.

Resource links

ASU has a resource at the Center for Policy Informatics that includes a portal for information on  broadband issues, data collection and broadband research:

General Broadband Research Data Repository  

FCC Report on Broadband Deployment in Indian Country, Pursuant to the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act of 2018 (May 2019)

 U.S. Senate Digital Divide Oversight Hearing (October 2018)


The links below are a collection of articles on the Digital Divide in Indian Country.

GAO: Tribes Digital Divide Larger Than FCC Estimated (October 2018)

NPR: Native Americans on Tribal Lands are the 'Least Connected' to High Speed Internet (December 2018)

ASU Works to Bridge the Digital Divide in Tribal Communities (April 2018)

The Least Connected People in America (February 2018)

The Digital Reality: E-Government and Access to Technology and Internet for American Indian and Alaska Native Populations (May 2015)

Digital Inclusion and the Role of Tribal Libraries (August 2014)

We Native Americans are 'Poster Children" for No Internet Access (August 2014)

Tribal Libraries Lack Broadband Access (August 2014)

Study: Many Tribal Libraries Lack Broadband (August 2014)

Even Wired Tribal Libraries Are laggin Behind on Tech (August 2014)

A Snapshot of Tribal Libraries: 40-89 Percent do Not Have Broadband (August 2014)

Narrowing the Digital Divide in the Navajo Nation (January 2014)

Tribal Utility Bringing Broadband Wireless to Navajo Rez with $32M Federal Grant (January 2014)

Sending Smoke Signals Digital (January 2014)

Washington Post series on the Digital Divide 2013

NCAI Webinar on Increasing Access to Commercial Airwaves for Tribal Nations (December 2012)

Mediashift: Massive Digital Divide for Native Americans is a ‘Travesty.’ (2012)

On Tribal Lands, Digital Divide Brings New Form Of Isolation (2012)

A Seat at the Table: Dissolving the Digital Divide in Indian Country (2011)

New Media, Technology and Internet Use in Indian Country: Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses (2009)

  Last updated