Heinrich To Host Tribal Broadband Panel On Improving Internet Access In Indian Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. MT, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) to host a panel on improving access to high-speed internet in Tribal and rural communities.

Senator Heinrich will be a featured speaker and highlight the Tribal Connect Act, a bipartisan bill he introduced with U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to improve broadband infrastructure and connectivity in Indian Country.  The bill would increase access to the Federal Communications Commission's schools and libraries universal service support program, known as E-rate, that provides discounts to assist public schools and libraries obtain high-speed internet access and telecommunications at affordable rates. While most of the nation’s public libraries have received E-rate support, only an estimated 15 percent of Tribal libraries have received critical E-rate funds. 

The panel, held during National Library Week 2018, will also feature remarks from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a long-time champion of the FCC's E-rate program, and American Library Association President Jim Neal. The panel discussion will include Irene Flannery, Director of AMERIND Critical Infrastructure in New Mexico and Cynthia Aguilar a librarian from Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico, and focus on how broadband connectivity and telecommunications infrastructure in Tribal and rural regions advances education, provides economic opportunity and can close the digital divide. A full list of panelists is below. 

***Press interested in attending should RSVP to press@heinrich.senate.govor call (202) 228-1578.*** 

WHO:

Featured speakers
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
American Library Association President Jim Neal

Panelists
Elayne Silversmith, Librarian, National Museum of the American Indian's Cultural Resources Center
Cynthia Aguilar, Librarian, Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico
Hannah Buckland, Director of Library Services, Leech Lake Tribal College (Minn.)
Irene Flannery, Director of AMERIND Critical Infrastructure, New Mexico
Kelly Wismer, Public Relations Manager at NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association

WHAT:  American Library Association Panel On Broadband Connectivity in Tribal and Rural Communities

WHEN: Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. MT

WHERE: Senate Visitor Center, Room 201, U.S. Capitol