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FCC to tackle Native American digital divide

31 Aug 2010 | 15.17 Europe/London
The FCC has set up an office of Native Affairs and Policy to “develop and advance an agenda aimed at bringing the benefits of a modern communications infrastructure to all Native communities”.

The office will work with federally recognised native American tribes and organisations to help bring better broadband connectivity across tribal lands to communities which the FCC believes have been let down previously.

“Tribal lands and Native communities suffer unacceptably low levels of communications services, especially broadband,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

“Increasing connectivity in Native America is one of the FCC’s top priorities. With this new office, the Commission will work closely with Native leaders to develop and implement policies that ensure their communities enjoy the benefits of 21st Century communications infrastructure.”  

A 2009 report by Native Public Media identified a digital divide between Native Americans and the rest of the population which it believes disadvantages tribal communities in terms of both access to and a having a voice in shaping the development of twenty first century technology.