Fifth Annual Indigenous Connectivity Summit to Address Sustainable Solutions to Achieve Digital Equity

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WASHINGTON, October 11, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The Internet Society will host its fifth annual Indigenous Connectivity Summit, bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders around a common goal: to connect Indigenous communities in North America to a fast, affordable and sustainable Internet.

Indigenous communities are among the most underserved in terms of Internet access in Canada and United States. In Canada, the majority of homes on reserve – over two-thirds – do not have high-speed Internet. In United StatesAccording to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), nearly 630,000 tribal households do not have access to standard broadband, a rate more than four times that of the general population.

This year’s Summit will take place October 12-15, and is the second to be held virtually. Indigenous leaders, community network managers and operators, Indigenous-owned Internet service providers, community members, researchers and policy makers will join in community-led discussions to share the latest connectivity solutions, sources of funding, senior level advocacy and Indigenous success stories. community networks in Canada and United States.

Each year, the Indigenous Connectivity Summit focuses on what can be done collectively to bridge the digital divide and builds on efforts from previous events. At the center of the discussions are the pressing issues facing Indigenous communities in North America face as they work to access the internet on their own terms, including disaster preparedness and recovery; access to resources, such as infrastructure, spectrum and backhaul; and capacity building.

Highlights of this year’s program include:

  • Workshops on Indigenous digital equity, access to state, federal and private funding and digital sovereignty, as well as lightning discussions on community networks in Hawai’i and Winnipeg; sustainable networks; and the Inuvik Internet Exchange Point (IXP);
  • Research presentations from the University of Hawai’i, the University of Alberta and the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University; and
  • Case studies highlighting indigenous communities seeking innovative and independent ways to connect to the internet and their unique connectivity challenges, including Pu’uhonua o Waimanalo in Hawaii.

The summit will conclude with the presentation of the 2021 policy recommendations to help policymakers to United States and Canada make more inclusive decisions.

Five-year impact
The Internet Society, a global nonprofit organization working to promote an open, globally connected, secure and trustworthy Internet, has worked with Indigenous communities to find and implement solutions to ‘sustainable access that meets their needs. The organization officially created the Indigenous Connectivity Summit in 2017 and it remains the only community event of its kind.

The Internet Society offers two training courses for Summit participants. The first is technical training, which focuses on building and operating sustainable and secure community networks.

Policy and Advocacy Training offers introductory sessions on broadband policy and advocacy, as well as hands-on courses on government consultations and funding opportunities. Participants lead the Summit session on developing policy recommendations, which will guide advocacy efforts throughout the coming year.

For five years :

  • The Summit trained nearly 300 participants through both pre-Summit community networks and policy and advocacy trainings.
  • The Summit issued a total of 47 policy recommendations from 2017 to 2020. These recommendations have been reflected in reports, policies and laws such as the 2019 Arctic Council Report. Improve connectivity in the Arctic, rural development strategies and funding criteria in government programs in Canada and the USA
  • Seventeen indigenous community networks were supported in the two United States and Canada, including Pu’uhonua o Waimanalo in Hawaii and Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, among others. As part of this year’s Summit, a team will be recruited to help set up a second community network in Pu’uhonua o Waianae in Hawaii.
  • In 2020, the Internet Society helped tribes navigate the Tribal Priority Window (TPW), providing free tribal advice and support, including webinars and app presentations. More than 400 tribes have applied for a license through the TPW, and since August 2021, 270 tribes received licenses.
  • In 2019, the Summit was recognized by the United States House of Representatives for “working to strengthen digital connections between Indigenous communities in America.”

“The internet is essential to the way we learn, work and access essential services, but too often indigenous communities find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said Mark Buell, regional vice-president for North America at the Internet Society. “An open and trustworthy Internet, available in a manner and in methods that meet the needs of users, is essential to ensure that indigenous communities are able to fully participate in this global resource. It is vital that we help cultivate policies, both technical and legislative, that ensure Indigenous communities have affordable, high-quality and sustainable Internet access. ”

Learn more about the 2021 Indigenous Connectivity Summit here.

About the Internet Society
Founded in 1992 by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC) is a global, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that the Internet remains a force for good for all. Through its community of members, special interest groups and more than 130 chapters around the world, the organization champions and promotes Internet policies, standards and protocols that keep the Internet open, globally connected and secure. . For more information, please visit: internetsociety.org.

SOURCE The Internet Society

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