LAS VEGAS, NV - Infrastructure and capital for economic development were two reasons Native owned businesses and companies doing business in Indian Country flocked to the 2018 Reservation Economic Summit, held in Las Vegas March 4—8, 2018. RES is the largest conference focused on building and growing the Tribal economy.
One critical infrastructure is broadband.
Both the President’s FY2019 Budget and the infrastructure Improvement proposals of Congress include dedicated funding for Tribal infrastructure that will be distributed by the Departments of Transportation and Interior. How Tribes plan for and finance critical infrastructure improvements was emphasized by the panel covering “Critical
Infrastructure including Broadband.”
NPM Chairman and panelist Geoffrey Blackwell provided an overview of the Federal Communication Commission’s Universal Service Fund, encouraging Tribes to tap funds provided for connecting schools and libraries to the Internet through the E-rate Program. Blackwell also covered High Cost and Lifeline as sources of Funds that Tribes should access as capital for economic development.
“Broadband is core to everything Tribes do today in economic development. With the high need for broadband across Indian Country paired with a shortage of capital, Tribes need to implement ways to expand their economic growth through cross sector planning utilizing cross agency funding. For example, there are overlaps between housing, energy, transportation, and broadband deployment. If Tribes are already trenching for transportation, why not lay down fiber for broadband at the same time? These were the important takeaways from the session,” states, Loris Taylor, NPM President/CEO who also attended RES.