Banner of National Tribal Broadband Summit, September 23-24, 2019, Washington, DC overlaid on a blue background map of the US depicting BIA regions.

NTBS 2019

The National Tribal Broadband Summit has concluded.

September 23 - 24, 2019 | Washington, DC
Main Interior Building
1849 C ST NW

Check out 2019's agenda and slide decks!


Expanding Opportunity, Access, and Connectivity to Indian Country

This landmark National Tribal Broadband Summit will connect tribal leaders with private sector and federal decision makers to explore ways to expand broadband capacity and investment in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, schools, and libraries.

On September 23 - 24, 2019, the Department of the Interior (DOI), in collaboration with the Department of Education (ED) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), will showcase new technologies and innovative partnership solutions that are critical to bridging the connectivity divide in Indian Country. As part of the larger effort to close the digital divide in Indian Country, the National Tribal Broadband Summit will connect community leaders with information and resources to identify opportunities for public and private sector solutions to close the connectivity gap in schools and libraries on tribal lands. 

US Department of the Interior SealUS Department of Education SealInstitute for Museum and Library Services Logo

Importance of this Summit

Currently, broadband access in other rural parts of the country outpaces development on rural tribal lands. A large proportion of tribal areas are located on rough terrain in rural locations. Like most rural locations, populations are sparser than in urban areas. These factors drive up the costs for businesses to serve tribal areas, creating a barrier to broadband deployment on tribal lands. Rural broadband deployment is achievable - 73.3% of rural non-tribal locations have at least one broadband provider. However, only 46.6% of rural tribal locations have coverage

After this two-day summit, participants will leave with the tools to bridge the connectivity gap in Indian Country, unlocking the opportunities that broadband access can provide.

Bringing New and Innovative Opportunities to Indian Country

Broadband access in many parts of Indian Country is complicated by the need for federal appraisals, rights-of-way permits, and obtaining favorable environmental impact assessments. The National Tribal Broadband Summit is part of DOI’s ongoing efforts to close the connectivity gap and builds on the work of the American Broadband Initiative. Last year, DOI produced the Connectivity in Rural America Report which identified several opportunities to improve internal policies and procedures to better support broadband development in Indian Country and hosted the Rural Broadband Roundtable representatives from the telecommunications and internet service provider industries. DOI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are actively working to implement these recommendations.

With DOI and BIA working internally to make broadband development in Indian Country less burdensome, the National Tribal Broadband Summit will bring the other critical components to achieving full broadband dispersion throughout Indian Country: new technologies and innovative partnership solutions.

American Broadband Initiative Logo

Continuing efforts

See the past federal government efforts to improve Broadband Connectivity on Tribal Lands.