Hoeven Stresses Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Ensuring Access to High-Speed Internet on Tribal Lands

Senator Supports USDA, FCC Programs through Appropriations Committee to Enhance Rural & Tribal Broadband Service

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week stressed the importance of public-private partnerships in deploying broadband infrastructure in Indian Country to address unserved areas and provide greater opportunity and economic growth. Hoeven underscored the topic with private Native American groups and federal officials from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

“Affordable broadband services are absolutely necessary for communities to thrive in today’s world,” Hoeven said. ““The Internet helps students access more educational opportunities, improves residents’ health care options and allows businesses to participate in the modern economy. We need to empower private telecommunications providers, including local entrepreneurs, to partner with tribal governments and invest in tribal communities. We can foster those partnerships by removing legal and regulatory roadblocks to reduce cost and by ensuring our programs operate in a way that meets real-world needs.”

Hoeven has worked, both as governor and now as U.S. Senator, to help grow high-tech industries in North Dakota, in part through the deployment of high-speed internet services throughout the state. Through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the senator supports programs that help establish high-speed internet in rural and tribal regions, such as loan and grant programs through Rural Development and the Rural Utilities Service at the USDA.

Further, Hoeven has pressed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on multiple occasion to modernize the Universal Service Fund, which is designed to support investment in rural telecommunications carriers, in order to ensure that rural areas have access to affordable broadband services.