A building in
Beaver, Alaska, receives Internet service via a satellite. Source: Government
The Senate Committee on Indian
Affairs is holding a hearing on Wednesday to focus on telecommunications issues in Indian Country.
The committee will look into a Government Accountability Office report that outlined numerous challenges faced by tribes in securing high-speed
Internet service. The audit identified a lack of coordination between the Federal Communications
Commission and the Department of Agriculture and a lack of performance measures at the FCC.
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.
The hearing takes place immediately following a business meeting at 2:15pm in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senatet Office Building. The witness list follows:
Mr. Brandon McBride
Administrator for the Rural Utility Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Gigi B. Sohn
Counselor to the Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Mark Goldstein
Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Julie Kitka
President, Alaska Federation of Natives, Anchorage, AK
Mr. Godfrey Enjady
President, National Tribal Telecommunications Association, Mescalero, NM
Meeting (April 27, 2016)
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:
and Performance Measurement Needed for High-Speed Internet Access Programs on
Tribal Lands (January 29, 2016)
Senate Committee on Indian
Affairs reschedules telecom hearing (03/14)