Alaska is the largest state in the U.S., but with the nation’s lowest population density of only 1.2 persons per square mile. About 15 percent of the population are Alaska Natives. Approximately two-thirds of this indigenous population live in more than 200 villages, most of which are remote settlements without road access.
In the 1970s, the State committed to ensuring that all permanent Alaska communities had telephone service, primarily by satellite. Today, broadband is gradually being extended in rural Alaska. National studies on rural communications do not have an adequate sample for analysis of rural Alaska. A Stimulus-funded infrastructure project to provide broadband in 65 communities of rural southwest Alaska provides an opportunity to gather reliable data on Internet use and perceived demand as well as barriers to adoption for broadband among Alaska Natives.
This paper presents an analytical framework for broadband adoption that takes into consideration the geographical and cultural environments in indigenous communities of rural Alaska. It then reports on results of an evaluation of Internet use and potential adoption and impacts of broadband in southwest Alaska.
The first phase of the evaluation included a telephone survey of approximately 360 households of the region to gain information on current ownership of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and Internet use. Interviews were also conducted with key informants from Native corporations and tribal organizations, economic development organizations, local businesses, and major sources of income such as fisheries, social services, and tourism to provide insights on potential benefits of broadband for rural development.
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|Fri Oct 18, 2013 12pm – 1pm Alaska Time|
|Rasmuson Hall, Room 303 (map)|