SAN FRANCISCO -- ZeroDivide was awarded $686,157 by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to quadruple broadband adoption rates within the 19 Native American reservations that encompass the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association (SCTCA). Current broadband adoption rates for American Indians are the lowest of any ethnic group within the continental United States.
ZeroDivide, a cutting-edge public foundation which supports technology adoption and capacity-building in underserved communities, received $686,157 in NTIA funding through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.
"Tribal members must have affordable, sustainable access to broadband technology to meet basic education, health, and vocational needs," said Tessie Guillermo, President and CEO of ZeroDivide. "Geographic isolation and cultural barriers make tribal communities particularly vulnerable to disparities in broadband deployment and adoption. We are proud that the Federal Government has chosen ZeroDivide and SCTCA as its partners in addressing these critically important disparities."
Through the "Tribal Digital Village Broadband Adoption Program," ZeroDivide will work with SCTCA to implement a four-prong broadband adoption strategy which encompasses an outreach and public awareness campaign; basic digital literacy skills training; advanced content creation training; and sustainability. The proposed program is expected to raise broadband adoption among SCTCA's 8,900 Tribal community members from the current 17 percent baseline to over 70 percent. It will also augment deployment of a residential broadband network to 2,000 Tribal homes. The National Congress of American Indians estimates that only 5-8 percent of Native Americans living on reservations has residential broadband access.
According to Matthew Rantanen, Director of Technology, SCTCA/Tribal Digital Village, "Through this and other broadband stimulus initiatives, Native American residents in our community will have the ability to develop skills for high-paying jobs, engage in the democratic process, learn fading tribal languages, and have more options in determining their own futures. An opportunity for 'Self-Empowerment,' is the easiest way to describe access to such a valuable resource. It's life changing."
With more than a decade of funding successful programs, ZeroDivide will provide TDV with technical assistance and capacity building to guide the implementation in support of sustained technology usage and ongoing adoption. ZeroDivide's strategy will go beyond affordability and network access to include a revenue-generating component to create a self-sustainable enterprise capable of building a consumer market for future broadband services and applications.
SCTCA encompasses the reservations of 19 federally recognized tribes, primarily located in San Diego County, California, and reaching from southern Riverside County southward 150 miles to the US-Mexico border.
The Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association (SCTCA) is a multi-service non-profit corporation established in 1972 for a consortium of 19 federally-recognized Indian tribes in Southern California. The primary mission of SCTCA is to serve the health, welfare, safety, education, cultural, economic and employment needs of its tribal members and enrolled Indians in the San Diego County urban areas.
ZeroDivide increases technology adoption among underserved communities by providing financial support, capacity building and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations that benefit low-income, minority, immigrant, non-English speaking, LGBT, seniors, and disability communities.