During a recent trip to Alaska, members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Native Affairs and Policy and the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau had an opportunity to see the challenges of getting broadband Internet access to Interior Alaska.
During the FCC’s brief stop in Fairbanks, Chief Victor Joseph and a few TCC staff members, along with a DRS manager, brought those FCC employees to Circle for a day trip.
Hosting the guests to the Circle community was Chief Jessica Fields and Community Health Aide employee, Eva Schrader.
While in the community, the visitors had an opportunity to visit the clinic and see how health is delivered through telemedicine and the disparity of available resources towards the provisioning of healthcare.
They also visited Chief Fields in the Circle tribal office to get a firsthand account of the poor satellite Internet connectivity that interferes in daily operation of tribal business.
The trip highlighted how challenging the logistics of broadband internet deployment is in Interior Alaska compared to the rest of the country. To address those short- comings would require additional assistance from the federal agencies, which is essential for providing quality healthcare and economic growth in our rural communities.
TCC continues to engage with the FCC to close the gap of the digital divide in the TCC region.