Nambé, N.M. – Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, participated in a conversation about the importance of increasing access to broadband in Tribal communities. Joined by representatives from the American Library Association, the Santa Fe Indian School, and the Jemez Pueblo Community Library, the congressman discussed how Tribal libraries can serve as entry points for providing greater connectivity to underserved communities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare what New Mexicans already knew: Tribal communities face major barriers to accessing the high-speed broadband that is essential for staying informed about the public health crisis, accessing economic opportunities, and ensuring students can learn,” said Luján. “I was pleased to hear directly from Tribal broadband advocates and share my plans to reintroduce legislation to empower Tribal libraries to connect their communities. I look forward to continuing to work with them to close the digital divide.”
Congressman Luján plans to reintroduce the Tribal Connect Act, which amends current E-Rate eligibility requirements to allow more Tribal libraries to apply for the program and support connecting Tribal anchor institutions. E-Rate, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) schools and libraries universal service support program, provides discounts to help public schools and libraries obtain high-speed internet access and telecommunication services at affordable rates.