Before the Tribal Digital Village project, Jack Ward could not get online when it rained.

“The telephone lines are very old,” explained the director of the Digital Village. “In the heat of the desert it doesn’t take long for them to deteriorate.”

Things are different now. Everybody has at least a broadband DSL connection.

The Tribal Digital Village (TDV) is based in Southern California’s San Diego County. This mountainous and remote land is home to 18 native American reservations – each one a sovereign nation – with an aggregate population of 15,000.

As with other rural areas of the US, wiring Native American reservations for telephony and internet access has never been an attractive proposition for established phone companies.

The number of subscribers per mile makes recouping costs a tricky proposition. Nor has deregulation of the telecoms market changed the picture.

More here.