Brand new Opportunities in New Mexico’s Native indian Country

Author:  

Tom Wheeler

FCC Chairman

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of visiting the Pueblo of Acoma within central New Mexico along with Senator Tom Udall, my second trip to Indian Country in 2014.   I saw buildings carved out of the earth by hand in the 17th Century, as well as met with community leaders centered on unlocking the digital opportunities of the 21st Century.

I had enlightening discussions with Tribal leaders at the economic development opportunities that come with enhanced communications access.   The discussions brought home the heightened importance intended for Tribal communities of so many issues before the FCC.

Acoma illustrates the power of communications technology in order to overcome geographic isolation and put a global of information and economic opportunity in the fingertips of citizens in however, most remote communities.

It also demonstrates how we still have an electronic divide in this country, with non-urban communities, and especially Native Americans, disproportionately at the wrong side, getting bypassed by Internet revolution.

Acoma is located in Cibola County, where nearly half of residents (45%) don’ big t even have access to 3 Mbps broadband, which is less than what’ s recommended to stream HD video without problems. Barely 10 % have access to 10 Mbps broadband. We must do better.

Within communities like Acoma with low broadband access rates, the local library is often a digital lifeline for area residents. That’ s certainly genuine of Acoma.

I actually visited the Acoma Learning Middle – the town library, which has a computer lab with 10 desktops. Region adults rely on the Learning Center’ ersus computer lab to look up information on everything from jobs to health care, and children use these computers intended for help with their homework after college.

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