With indigenous communities in the US and Canada In the absence of access to fast, affordable internet, a newly formed indigenous organization will lead the push for digital justice
WASHINGTON, October 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Internet Society, in partnership with Connect Humanity, will co-host the sixth annual Indigenous Connectivity Summit, which will bring together Indigenous community members and leaders, network operators, researchers and policymakers with a common goal: connecting Indigenous communities The United States and Canada to the fast, affordable and sustainable Internet.
Indigenous communities are among the most underserved in terms of internet access in Germany North America. Less than a quarter of indigenous communities in Canada have access to broadband speeds; in the US, 18 percent of tribal reservations have no access at all. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Canadian and US federal governments have committed billions of dollars in funding to close the connectivity gap in these communities.
It is vital that tribal peoples are involved in all phases – from development to implementation – of broadband projects that directly impact their communities. For this reason, this year’s Summit represents a significant milestone as it evolves into a truly fellowship-led event under the aegis of the newly created Institute for Indigenous Connectivity.
Founded by Connect Humanity, the Indigenous Connectivity Institute was established to ensure that Indigenous communities have the capacity, support, knowledge and financial resources needed to implement digital justice solutions in their respective communities on their own terms and on their own to advance leadership. It is governed by an advisory committee made up of advocates for Indigenous connectivity from around the world The United States and Canadaincluding many former summit participants.
“The Internet Society has been organizing the Indigenous Connectivity Summit since 2017, but it has always been our goal to hand leadership of the event to the indigenous communities themselves. The partnership with Connect Humanity and the Indigenous Connectivity Institute will aim to develop community-led solutions that will bridge the digital divide for Indigenous Peoples North America,” said Sharaya LaneSenior Advisor, Community Connectivity at the Internet Society and member of the Advisory Board of the Indigenous Connectivity Institute.
The summit will be held in person October 24thth through 28th of Octoberthin Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and will feature workshops, presentations, flash lectures and panel discussions on a range of issues faced by Indigenous communities as they work to access the internet on their own terms. Topics include broadband mapping, spectrum sovereignty, roll-out of off-grid networks and capacity building, among others. An important outcome of the summit will be a set of policy recommendations developed jointly by the participants that will guide future lobbying. These recommendations will be released in the weeks following the event and, if implemented, would support Indigenous communities to advance their own connectivity solutions under their own leadership.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a harsh light on the large number of underserved communities that do not have access to, or cannot afford, reliable broadband and spurred government action. in the The United Statesearmarked for the 2020 CARES Act 1 billion dollars for broadband infrastructure improvements Indian reservations; assigned to the American Rescue Plan Act 17 billion dollars nationwide for broadband improvements; and the Infrastructure Act 2022 $2 billion for a Tribal Broadband Connectivity Fund.
Canada, but lags behind. While the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s Broadband Fund has gained weight C$750 million over five years to bring Canadians up to speed is still not enough. In the last round of applications alone, almost 600 submissions totaling over 600 were received $1.5 billion for grant applications.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the US and Canadian governments and philanthropic community are finally beginning to invest in addressing connectivity gaps that are disproportionately impacting Indigenous communities,” he said Markus Buell, Director of Indigenous Programs for Connect Humanity. “But to ensure those funds are targeted to the communities that need them most, tribal peoples must be at the heart of developing policies, funding programs and infrastructure projects that affect their communities. The Indigenous Connectivity Institute builds the knowledge, community and advocacy capacity to enable Indigenous Peoples to build a digital future on their terms. And this year’s summit will shape policies that will help turn the tide on decades of underinvestment in indigenous communities.”
enter change North America
The Internet Society, a global non-profit organization dedicated to promoting an open, globally connected, secure and trusted Internet, launched the Indigenous Connectivity Summit in 2017. Over the past six years, the Summit has evolved from a gathering of stakeholders into a powerful community-led movement focused on finding, advocating and developing practical solutions to improve access to Indigenous communities everywhere North America.
The summit has had consequences to this day:
It has trained more than 350 participants through the Pre-Summit Community Networks and Policy Advocacy training sessions. The summit also introduced new network training opportunities, including the Tribal Broadband Bootcampwhich has trained 100 indigenous leaders to build networks in their own communities.
Since 2017, the summit has issued 90 policy recommendations, along with federal and agency guidance for applicants, which have translated into reports, policies and legislation such as the 2019 Arctic Council report Improving connectivity in the Arctic, rural development strategies and eligibility criteria in state programs in Canada and The United States.
Eighteen indigenous community networks were supported in both The United States and Canadaincluding Pu’uhonua o Waimanalo in Hawaii and ongoing projects in Winnipeg’s North End and in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories.
In 2020, the Internet Society helped tribes navigate the Tribal priority window (TPW) and provides Tribes with free advice and support, including webinars and application walkthroughs. More than 400 tribes applied for a license through the TPW, and ex Aug 2021Licenses were issued to 270 tribes.
In 2019, the summit was recognized by the US House of Representatives for its “work to strengthen digital connections among Native American communities.”
Registration for the summit is open; It will be the first in-person event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be streamed live online for those unable to attend.
Learn more about the 2022 Indigenous Connectivity Summit here.
About the Indigenous Connectivity Institute
The Indigenous Connectivity Institute is a community of leaders working to close the digital divide by sharing knowledge, shaping policy, and helping people learn the skills to build and operate their own internet networks. Committed to solving the unique challenges faced by Indigenous communities Canada and The United Statesthe institute is the first organization dedicated to digital justice in First Nations, Inuit, Métis, American Indians, Alaska Native and native Hawaiian communities.
About the internet society
Founded in 1992 by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society is a global nonprofit dedicated to keeping the Internet a force for good for all. Through its membership community, advocacy groups, and more than 120 chapters around the world, the organization defends and promotes Internet policies, standards, and protocols that keep the Internet open, globally connected, and secure. For more information, please visit: Internetgesellschaft.org.
About Connect Humanity
Connect Humanity is a non-profit fund that advances digital justice by investing in community connectivity providers. It helps underserved communities find the right solutions to meet their connectivity needs and provides funding and technical support so they can build the internet infrastructure, tools and skills they need to fully participate in a digital society.
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