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FCC Moves to Enhance Native Communications Capabilities

lj5The Federal Communications Commission announced yesterday it has established an Office of Native Affairs and Policy to advance its mission of bringing a modern communications infrastructure to Native communities across the nation.

The new office will carry out government-to-government objectives with tribal governments and increased coordination with native organizations and work to promote the implementation of communication technologies in tribal lands.

“Tribal lands and Native communities suffer unacceptably low levels of communications services, especially broadband,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “Increasing connectivity in Native America is one of the FCC’s top priorities. With this new office, the Commission will work closely with Native leaders to develop and implement policies that ensure their communities enjoy the benefits of 21st Century communications infrastructure.”

According to FCC, the Office of Native Affairs and Policy will coordinate with American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, Native Hawaiian organizations, and other Native and tribal entities.

“This is a day I have long hoped and worked for,” said Commissioner Michael J. Copps. “Now is the time to redeem those promises, building a trust relationship and using the revolutionary state-of-the-art technologies available to us to make all Americans the beneficiaries of twenty-first-century opportunity and a more fullyshared democracy.

Geoffrey Blackwell will assume leadership of the office and will be part of FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.

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