Broadband funding for Native communities could finally connect some of America’s most isolated places

The rolls of fiber-optic cable currently unwinding in a remote corner of northwest Montana represent a vital, long-overdue change for the region.

Rural and Native communities in the US have long had lower rates of cellular and broadband connectivity than urban areas, where four out of every five Americans live. Outside the cities and suburbs, which occupy barely 3% of US land, reliable internet service can still be hard to come by. For decades, people who live in places like the Blackfeet Indian Reservation have made do with low bandwidth delivered through obsolete copper wires, or simply gone without.

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