Office of U.S. Representative Greg Stanton (D-AZ-09)
Representative Greg Stanton (D-AZ-09) will offer an amendment on the House floor today to improve H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act of 2019, to better ensure accessible and affordable broadband internet service on tribal land.
The amendment would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to engage with and obtain feedback and data from tribal stakeholders and providers of broadband internet to evaluate their access.
“Access to high-speed internet is essential in today’s economy—it’s a key component to our nation’s innovation infrastructure,” Stanton said. “Yet on tribal lands across this country, a digital divide exists, and we have to work to close it.”
According to an estimate from the United States Census Bureau, only 53 percent of Native Americans living on tribal lands have access to high-speed internet service compared to 82 percent of all households nationally.
A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined how the Federal Communications Commission collects, validates and uses data on broadband availability. It found that the Federal Communications Commission overstates the availability of broadband internet service on tribal lands and that the digital divide is greater than many originally thought.
The Federal Communications Commission even categorized some communities as broadband “accessible” when those areas don’t have the infrastructure needed to connect homes to a service provider’s network.
“These overstatements limit Federal Communications Commission and tribal users’ ability to target broadband funding to tribal lands,” the Government Accountability Office concludes.
Stanton is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1644.