April 04, 2008

No Internet for Navajos

Thousands of Navajos to be left without InternetA Utah-based company that provides public Internet access to the Navajo Nation plans to shut off the tribe's service Monday, leaving thousands of Navajos without online access to do school work, post community announcements or communicate with others across the 27,000 square-mile reservation.

"It's going to be a sad day," said Ernest Franklin, director of the tribe's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.

The shutdown stems from a decision by Universal Service Administration Company--which administers the E-rate program under the Federal Communications Commission--to withhold $2.1 million in reimbursement funds to OnSat Network Communications Inc. over concerns about a federal audit of the Utah-based company.
The consequences:Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. said Navajo people have come to rely on Internet access provided through E-rate to improve their educational standards and professional lives.

"It would be a very sad day for the children and people of the Navajo Nation if the dark clouds descend, the lights go out, and access is denied to the chapter houses (libraries) on the reservation, in large part, because USAC has failed to timely fund our application," Shirley said in a Dec. 10, 2007 letter to Mel Blackwell, vice president of USAC's Schools and Libraries Division.
Comment:  Oh, no. Navajo schoolkids won't be able to visit BlueCornComics.com or get their daily dose of Newspaper Rock. Won't someone think of the children?!


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Wow. The Bushies finally have done it, closed off Bill Clinton's efforts intended to end 'the digital divide.' But that's what they do, and when John McClain defeats Barak HUSSEIN Obama for President of the US of A, THAT will not change. Wait and see...
All Best Russ Bates

dmarks said...

Combine this with the other post: this is a perfect opportunity for a Navajo business.

Rob said...

Navajos also could build social networking websites a la One Heart or trade carbon credits with polluters. I covered both possibilities in recent postings.

P.S. Watch your spelling, Russ. The names are John McCain and Barack Obama.