The Lack of Internet Services on Reservations due to ISP’s Refusal to incur an extra Cost due to Legal Differences between State and Reservation Laws

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Internet has become essential for people in the current world because it is a good source or information and also an agent of communication. Access to internet is therefore vital for everyone irrespective of their skin color, gender, ethnicity or race because all people need to be informed and also have access to agents of communication that they can use in real time. Latest data from the FCC indicates that over two-thirds of people living in rural tribal lands, commonly referred to as reserves do not have access to the internet. This is 30 percentage and shows that this group is affected more than the others in all other parts of rural America. This difference paints a dark picture that would seem to be unfair to the occupants of the rural tribal lands. So what really causes such a great difference?  One of the reasons has been given as internet service providers not wanting to spend the extra cost due to legal differences between state and reservation laws. However, as much as we may want to justify this fact, the suffering goes to the natives. Some of them have to travel for more than thirty miles to get access to the internet.

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Sonny Clark, a 59-year-old man who lives in crystal, a remote town of Navajo, says that he must travel for 5 miles to Chuska Mountains, for the sole purpose of making a phone call (Meeker, 2014). He travels for another 30miles to window rock, where he is an official for the tribal administration, to get online. He has to do this for the sake of communicating with hiss children, who do not live with him. This shows us just how serious the connectivity problem in these reserves is. Even some third world countries in Africa and the rest of the developing world would be surprised by such news. They have far much better internet connections than Navajo and other reserve regions. It is such a pity that this is happening in America, in the 21st century. In 2016, New York started constructing equipment for the 5G internet connectivity dream. At the same time, a young student in Navajo cannot complete his assignments simply because he does not have access tothe web. Some Americans might not even be aware of the situation in the reserves because it feels like traveling back to long ago ages. In this era, if you are not connected to the internet, you are simply away from the entire world, away from development (Meeker, 2014). Most health care providers in the reserves lack internet connectivity. This creates room for making life-threatening mistakes. Health practitioners cannot look into medical records of patient’s online, hence giving the patients wrong medication.

This whole situation has been as a result of internet provider service companies expressing lack of interest in connecting the areas with theweb. Many reasons can be attributed to this. For one, connecting the areas proofs to have a high cost and less return. This is because the number of potential customers is minuscule. These reserves are some of the most sparsely populated areas in the whole of America, with as little as six people per square mile. This is so little, as compared to 27,000 people for each square mile in New York City. Internet service providers also refrain from investing in these areas because of the colliding laws of the national government and the tribal governments.

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The native tribes are sovereign lands, with their own set of rules and legislation. For the companies to operate in the regions and install internet infrastructure, they must attain the ‘right of way.’ This is an approval from the bureau of Indian affairs, a state agency that is responsible for managing tribal lands. This whole process takes a rough two years at least. Internet provider services do not want to waste their money on all these long processes.

In areas with little connectivity, the tribes claim that they often deal with small internet service providers, since the larger companies are not willing to invest in the reserves. The small service providers tend to charge very high rates, and this becomes a problem for the mostly poor natives. Some of these small internet service providers have very strict data caps. This means that customers should pay overage fees for putting the service to use more than economically. The servers also have a tendency of cutting off services from anan\y person who has outstanding bills.

To solve these connectivity problems, the government should try and subsidize internet provider companies with loans and grants. And encourage them to invest in these areas. This way, some of the tribes would even form companies and become their own internet providers. This would be a great solution.  However, it brings a challenge with it. Most of the population in the reserves is destitute. Some may ask that if the internet is brought to them, who will buy computers and laptops for them? The government cannot promise to bring computers for all of them, but cheap computers can be taken to them and sold in hire purchase. The government should also take up the responsibility of bringing the internet to institutions such as schools and hospitals. This would ensure that the internet is more accessible to the people.

The government should consider this suggestion, if not; America will turn into a laughing stock. These native Indians have the right to partake the national cake of development and live the American dream too (Gubbi et al. 2013). Children need to be enlightened for the brighter future of their tribes. Approving this solution would turn America into a better place. The Indian Americans would be proud to be associated with America. They would be opened up to the rest of the world and developments would come. This is actually one of the most important steps in ensuring that development in the reserves is guaranteed. Information is power, and in the world of today, information is basically the internet.

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  1. Gubbi, J., Buyya, R., Marusic, S., & Palaniswami, M. (2013). Internet of Things (IoT): A vision, architectural elements, and future directions. Future generation computer systems29(7), 1645-1660.
  2. Meeker, M. (2014). Internet trends 2014-code conference. Retrieved May28, 2014.
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