WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is lauding the momentum of the Bridging the Tribal Digital Divide Act after it passed out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs yesterday. The legislation would expedite the deployment of affordable broadband service on tribal lands by coordinating and improving the effectiveness of federal resources.
“Access to high-speed internet is increasingly essential to daily life and brings unprecedented economic opportunities for users, especially for people living in rural areas,” said Heinrich. “Unfortunately, too many tribal communities in New Mexico lack access to broadband internet, which means less access to educational, health, and career-related resources. I applaud Senator Udall’s efforts to get this legislation through committee and will continue fighting to strengthen broadband access for tribes and rural New Mexico communities.”
Senator Heinrich also recently introduced the Internet Development for Tribes Act, legislation that removes regulatory barriers for tribes to access the internet and invests in infrastructure necessary to access high-speed broadband in rural communities.
Heinrich is also the Democratic Senate lead on the Tribal Connect Act, legislation to improve broadband connectivity in Indian Country. The bicameral, bipartisan bill would increase access to the Federal Communications Commission's schools and libraries universal service support program. The $4 billion program, known as E-rate, provides discounts to assist public schools and libraries obtain high-speed internet access and telecommunications at affordable rates.