WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, led a roundtable discussion titled, “Promoting and Supporting Tribal Access to Spectrum and Related Benefits in Native Communities,” to hear from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Federal Communications Commission, Government Accountability Office, and Native leaders and experts on promoting and improving spectrum access for Native communities.
Schatz opened the roundtable by underscoring the critical role spectrum can play in providing broadband to Native communities.
“In January this year, the Committee held a roundtable to discuss the unique barriers to internet access in Native communities and explore how billions of dollars secured in Congress is helping Native communities invest in broadband infrastructure and close the digital divide,” said Chairman Schatz. “But missing from that conversation was how spectrum could be a key wireless technology for deploying broadband. For Native communities – many of which are remote and where wireline broadband can be challenging to install – increasing access to and use of spectrum could be a game changer.”
The following panelists participated in the roundtable discussion:
- Umair Javed, Chief Counsel, Office of the Chairwoman, U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C.
- Priscilla Delgado Argeris, Chief Legal Advisor, Office of the Chairwoman, U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C.
- Heidi Todacheene, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
- Dr. Anna Maria Ortiz, Director, Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Government Accountability Office, Washington, D.C.
- Sally Moino, Assistant Director, Physical Infrastructure, U.S. Government Accountability Office, Washington, D.C.
- Tyler Iopeka Gomes, Deputy to the Chairman, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Kapolei, HI
- The Honorable Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive Officer, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, Onamia, MN (Accompanied by Keith Modglin, Director of Information Technology, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, Onamia, MN)
- Chris Cropley, Network Architect, Tidal Network, Juneau, AK