Politics | Technology

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs reschedules telecom hearing






A building in Beaver, Alaska, receives Internet service via a satellite. Source: Government Accountability Office

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has rescheduled its upcoming telecommunications hearing.

The committee was due to consider a Government Accountability Office report that outlined numerous challenges in securing high-speed Internet service this Wednesday. But the hearing has been pushed back to April 27.

According to the GAO, the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Agriculture haven't engaged in sufficient coordination to improve broadband access in Indian Country. The FCC hasn't developed performance goals and measures either, the report said.

Tribal representatives interviewed by the GAO said high-speed Internet was crucial for improving education, economic development and other opportunities in their communities. But many said technical and bureaucratic hurdles hindered their ability to secure federal funds and participate in other federal telecommunications programs.

"Tribal officials said that tribal members do not always have the bureaucratic expertise required to apply for federal funds, which can lead to mistakes or the need to hire consultants," the report stated.

Committee Notice:
RESCHEDULED: Oversight Hearing on "The GAO Report on, "Telecommunications: Additional Coordination and Performance Measurement Needed for High-Speed Internet Access Programs on Tribal Lands." (April 27, 2016)

Government Accountability Office Report:
Additional Coordination and Performance Measurement Needed for High-Speed Internet Access Programs on Tribal Lands (January 29, 2016)