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Tribal Technology Assessment: The State of Internet Service on Tribal Land

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Arizona State University, American Indian Policy Institute, July 2019)

The purpose of the Tribal Technology Assessment was to create the first academic and replicable quantitative study of broadband access, device use, and uses of the internet by Tribal peoples on Tribal lands. Federal data continues to show tribal lands are the least connected areas of the country.

The survey found that residents on tribal lands are predominantly using smartphones to access the internet, while many are also accessing it through public Wi-Fi or at a friend/relative’s house. However, the authors clarify that the data should not be interpreted or used to defend “mobile only” as the singular solution to providing internet service. In the study, 50% of respondents stated that their internet use was limited because they did not have enough data in their cell phone plan. Mobile is preferred purely because there is no other choice—Indian Country has adapted to the only available option. 

The report also issues a number of policy recommendations for Congress and federal agencies. 

A Related Honorable Mention: Tribes across country push for better internet access (Associated Press, May 2019)

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