Press release

Indigenous Connectivity Summit Brings Together Communities to Find Paths to Internet for All

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While Hawai’i is well known as a tourism hotspot, its Internet access challenges are not likely top of mind when planning a vacation. Many Native Hawaiians still don’t have access to affordable and reliable Internet, and it’s an all-too common theme among Indigenous communities throughout North America.

That’s why the Internet Society is hosting the 2019 Indigenous Connectivity Summit in Hilo, Hawai’i on Tuesday, November 12 and Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

Founded in 1992, the Internet Society is a global non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring everyone has access to the Internet and its vast potential. That means Internet service that is fast, affordable and sustainable. Previous Indigenous Connectivity Summits were held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2017 and Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada, in 2018.

The 2019 Summit is presented by the Internet Society in partnership with Pu’uhonua o Waimānalo, University of Hawai’i, ISOC Hawai’i Chapter, First Mile Connectivity Consortium, University of Alberta, MuralNet and NANOG. With the theme ‘the Internet and self-determination’, the event will feature Indigenous leaders and community members, policy makers, community network operators, researchers and Internet service providers in a series of panels, presentations and workshops focused on improving access in underserved communities.

Event speakers and participants from across North America will share their knowledge and experiences, learn from one another, and work toward Indigenous- and community-led Internet solutions.

Following the two-day summit, some participants will pursue two days of technical training to launch Hawai’i’s first community network in Pu`uhonua O Waimanalo. Community networks are Internet access solutions built by and for the communities they serve. From Canada’s Arctic to the Hawaiian Islands, these networks are connecting Indigenous communities to the Internet in a sustainable way that supports self-determination.

“This project represents the rise of a digital nation,” said Pu’uhonua D. B. K. Kanahele, Head of State for the Independent & Sovereign Nation State of Hawaii. “It’s a rare opportunity to learn and work hand-in-hand with some of the best experts and socially responsible minds in the digital world of technology. It is also showing what’s possible when we switch our mindset from consumers to producers of Internet access and service.”

“Ensuring access to affordable and reliable Internet service empowers Indigenous communities to have a say when it comes to decisions and policies that shape their future,” said Mark Buell, North America Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society. “What’s exciting is that despite the different geographic landscapes, the same community-led solutions underway to improve Internet access in the Arctic could also help Native Hawaiians carve their own path to better connectivity.”

The 2019 Indigenous Connectivity Summit is made possible with support from Google, Facebook, Baicells, Hawaiian Telcom, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, Comcast’s Internet Essentials, and Iristel.

For information on 2019 Indigenous Connectivity Summit speakers and registration, please visit

A report on the 2018 Indigenous Connectivity Summit Community Report is available at:

About the Internet Society

Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet. Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure, and advocates for policies that enable universal access. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).