As ubiquitous as “The Internet” is, more than 40 million Americans can’t access it from home. And rural Indigenous communities (at least 628,000 households) are some of the most disconnected. They’ve been forced to come up with their own solutions, and in many ways, they’re succeeding.
This year, COVID-19 has shown the true severity of this digital divide for all. Limited internet access has impacted work-from-home opportunities and alternative income sources for communities whose businesses have been severely impacted. It’s complicated telehealth options, and, as schools moved online, placed homes without reliable internet at a severe disadvantage. With more than 50% of Native households without a computer, high-speed internet access, or both, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, Indigenous communities were hit even harder.