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Internet Society Brainstorms Indigenous Peoples Broadband Solutions

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(Image credit: Carlos. E. Serrano/Getty Images)

The Internet Society's fifth annual Indigenous Connectivity Summit will be held this week (Oct. 12-15), for the second time as a virtual conference.

In attendance will be "indigenous leaders, community network managers and operators, indigenous-owned internet service providers, community members, researchers and policymakers." 

According to the FCC, over a half million tribal households lack access to high-speed broadband, which is more than four times the rate of the population at large, the society points out. In Canada, the Internet Society says more than two-thirds do not have high-speed internet.

The goal of the conference is to brainstorm ways to provide "fast, affordable and sustainable internet to indigenous communities in the U.S. and Canada, including by identifying funding sources, engaging in "next-level" advocacy, and hearing about others' creative solutions, like the Inuvik Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Canada.

Helping jumpstart those workshop conversations will be research from the University of Hawai'i, the University of Alberta and the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University.

The summit also provides two training opportunities, one technical, focusing on building and operating sustainable networks, the other policy and advocacy training

That second training track will come in handy since at the end of the two-day summit, the stakeholders will come up with 2021 policy recommendations for narrowing the digital divide, including by boosting indigenous peoples' disaster preparedness and access to infrastructure, spectrum and backhaul.