U.S.D.A. Looking To Help Tribes Supply Broadband
A U.S.D.A. spokesperson says they're ready to help Native American tribes gear up to fulfill high-speed internet needs.
Representatives of the state's tribes met last week in Mole Lake with the U.S.D.A's Leslie Wheelock, who directs the Office of Tribal Relations in the nation's capitol.
She noted much of rural America is in need of high-speed internet access, especially on native lands. She says progress has been slow...
"....there are programs right now for broadband access through the(Federal Communications Commission). There are special funding arrangements that are setup so tribes can get access to the broadband over tribal lands. A lot of tribes don't have the funding for it. they have to go find a partner to help them..."
Wheelock says they want the tribes to know about the USDA programs...
"....one of the programs we have is we fund broadband facilities. We fund broadband, we fund infrastructure, water, electricity, in some cases, roads. That's part of the mission of U.S.D.A. in rural America...."
Lac du Flambeau band of Lake Superior Chippewa this past year formed Ogema Communications to supply broadband to the reservation and to neighboring communities. They had applied to federal agencies for grant money to help get the service underway.