ASU works to bridge the digital divide in tribal communities

Photo courtesy of alistairmcintyre on commons

By Jose Ivan Cazares | 04/11/18 7:36pm

Despite the ubiquity of the internet in contemporary life, 11 percent of U.S. adults still don’t go online, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center from 2000 to 2018.

The study also outlines that many of these individuals reside in minority communities. According to experts, this digital divide can be detrimental to the academic and professional advancements of these individuals. As former President Barack Obama put it in a 2015 speech: “The internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

Tribal communities are some of the most severely affected when it comes to internet dry-zones, said Robert Miller, a professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and an expert on American Indian economic development.


These communities are not only extremely rural in many cases, but they must also contend with the complex relationships between tribal nations, state governments, the federal government and the private sector.

“It’s hard to believe that so many people don’t have a home internet connection in this day in age, but there are a lot,” he said.


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