Today, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it has awarded 19 grants as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. Andy Berke, NTIA’s Special Representative for Broadband, will announce the grants at an event in the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona.
The grants, totaling nearly $77 million, are being awarded in 10 states – Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington. They will fund internet use and adoption projects to improve healthcare, workforce development, education, housing, and social services in tribal communities. For example, the Gila River Indian Community grant will assist in telehealth expansion, distance learning opportunities and digital inclusion efforts.
More information on these awards is provided in the table below. NTIA has now made a total of 33 awards totaling more than $83 million in funding through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. These awards are part of the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government effort to connect everyone in America with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.
“For far too long, Tribal Communities have been cut off from the benefits of high-speed internet, as well as the associated economic benefits that come with it. From running a business to taking online classes to scheduling a doctor’s appointment, the internet is a necessary tool for participating in our modern economy, and it’s an absolute injustice that this resource has been deprived from so many Native Americans across our country,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This critical funding will bring affordable, high-speed internet service to Tribes from Alaska to Rhode Island, and many places in between, expanding access to telehealth, distance learning, and workforce development. Today’s awards reaffirm the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensuring that Tribal communities, as well as unserved and underserved communities in every state and territory, have the resources they need and deserve to thrive in our increasingly digital economy.”
“Affordable access to the Internet opens a world of life-saving technologies, economic opportunities, remote learning, and countless other essential benefits,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “Our Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is playing a crucial role in closing the digital divide and expanding internet to tribal communities across America.”
The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, which was funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, makes $980 million available for grants to eligible Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian entities for broadband deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning.
President Biden’s recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides an additional $2 billion in funding for this program, as part of a historic $65 billion investment to expand broadband in communities across the U.S. Using resources provided by the law, NTIA is preparing to launch a series of new high-speed internet grant programs that will build internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.
Additional broadband funding may be available through the Department of Treasury’s American Rescue Plan Funds. The BroadbandUSA Federal Funding Guide also compiles federal funding opportunities for expanding and improving broadband access. More information about the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program can be found on the BroadbandUSA website.
|Applicant||Location||Type of Project||Funding Amount||Brief Description|
|Alaska Federation of Natives||State of Alaska||Use & Adoption||$35,102,141.00||This project proposes a consortium consisting of 73 Alaska Native Tribal governments, Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), and tribal organizations to reduce barriers to broadband usage among Native Alaskans by providing broadband-enabled devices, subsidizing broadband service, and implementing digital skills and workforce training. It will also seek to improve health care access among tribal communities by equipping Alaska tribal health partners with the equipment and training needed to offer telehealth services.|
|Cape Fox Corporation||Ketchikan, Alaska||Use & Adoption||$1,901,262.82||This project proposes to address key challenges confronting the Cape Fox Corporation in developing programs and resources to address systemic and COVID-19 related concerns, building capacity to expand internet adoption activities, including telehealth, distance learning, telework, and digital inclusion efforts.|
|Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority||Eagle Butte, South Dakota||Use & Adoption||$2,367,685.00||This project proposes to address key challenges confronting the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority (CRSTTA). Despite offering internet service to 90% of 2.8 million acres of the Cheyenne River Reservation, CRSTTA’s broadband subscription penetration is approximately 58% and CRSTTA is unable to reduce its broadband service pricing. The implementation of this project will enable internet adoption activities, including digital inclusion efforts and affordable internet programs.|
|Cowlitz Indian Tribe||Longview, Washington||Use & Adoption||$7,580,563.59||This project proposes to increase broadband use and adoption among Native American Tribal citizens and community members in Longview, Washington through the implementation of affordable broadband services, distribution of enabled devices, digital literacy and skills training programs, and the launch of a Tribal platform for the delivery of tribal services.|
|Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians||Redwood Valley, California||Use & Adoption||$596,796.00||This project proposes to increase internet capacity and service for Tribal households as well as Tribal government facilities and other community anchor institutions. The project will strengthen internet services by purchasing and installing equipment that will enable the Tribe to provide internet service for the entire reservation. The project will also promote internet adoption activities, including distance learning, telework, and entrepreneurship.|
|Delaware Nation||Anadarko, Oklahoma||Use & Adoption||$7,219,710.96||This project proposes to address key challenges impeding the Delaware Nation’s ability to provide internet service and equipment for Tribal members. The project will upgrade capacity at specific community anchor institutions and provide internet equipment and service to Tribal members focused on broadband adoption activities, including telehealth, distance learning, workforce development, and digital inclusion efforts.|
|Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe||Flandreau, South Dakota||Use & Adoption||$2,477,508.60||This project proposes to provide internet access for Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal households, businesses, and community anchor institutions in Moody County, South Dakota. The project will enable internet adoption activities, including telehealth, distance learning, and digital inclusion efforts.|
|Gila River Indian Community||Gila River, Arizona||Use & Adoption||$4,477,345.00||This project proposes to improve access to and use of internet services among Pima and Maricopa Tribal members in Pinal and Maricopa counties, Arizona. Internet network expansion will assist in telehealth expansion, distance learning opportunities, affordable internet service, economic growth, and digital inclusion efforts where demands for Internet access has grown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.|
|Kotzebue IRA||Kotzebue, Alaska||Use & Adoption||$2,500,000.00||This project will address the affordability of internet services for Kotzebue IRA Tribal members via the member owned OTZ Telephone Cooperative. The project will use grant funds to improve access and use of broadband services for Tribal residents, businesses, and community anchor institutions expanding telehealth and distance learning opportunities as well as economic and workforce development.|
|Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation||Mashantucket, Connecticut||Use & Adoption||$493,008.00||This project will assist 163 Tribal households, workforce development staff, and Tribal institutions in New London County, Connecticut, in developing programs and resources to address COVID-19 challenges that have impacted Tribal members. The project intends to provide affordable internet service and equipment for Tribal members in addition to creating a workforce development center that will assist the Tribe’s workforce development program in training, readiness, and job placement.|
|Narragansett Indian Tribe||Charlestown, Rhode Island||Use & Adoption||$2,498,250.00||This project proposes to increase internet services and access for Tribal members who reside on ancestral lands in Washington County, Rhode Island. The project aims to provide distance learning capabilities and strengthen digital literacy, improve broadband speeds and affordability of services for community members, and generate workforce development and job creation.|
|Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi||Fulton, Michigan||Use & Adoption||$1,205,764.00||This project proposes to upgrade existing local fiber optic infrastructure that currently serves Tribal government offices, Tribal businesses, and community anchor institutions in addition to 35 Tribal households. These upgrades will assist Tribal members in gaining better access to telehealth, distance learning, and economic and workforce development in addition to digital inclusion efforts.|
|Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians||Pauma Valley, California||Use & Adoption||$498,380.00||This project seeks to reduce barriers to internet usage among tribal members in Pauma Valley, California by conducting a broadband adoption and use study to explore solutions and programs related to internet affordability, distance learning, telehealth, and telework. Additionally, the project will purchase laptops and tablets and distribute them to a limited number of tribal members for the use of telework, telemedicine, and remote learning. Finally, the project will host at least 20 broadband and technology use trainings for community members.|
|Samish Indian Nation||Anacortes, Washington||Use & Adoption||$584,800.00||This project proposes to address the current digital divide by conducting an analysis of internet assets, digital literacy skills, and the availability of broadband equipment and devices for Samish Tribal citizens.|
|Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation||Agency Village, South Dakota||Use & Adoption||$1,847,628.00||This project proposes to address key challenges faced by the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, which include a severe lack of access to internet service and the inability to communicate with community members and essential services due to coverage gaps. Project implementation will enable broadband adoption activities, including telehealth, distance learning, and telework.|
|Skagway Traditional Council||Skagway, Alaska||Use & Adoption||$2,044,600.00||This project proposes to create an affordable broadband program that will provide no-cost, high-speed internet service to the remote Skagway Village. The implementation of the project will enable internet adoption activities, including telehealth, distance learning, workforce development, and digital inclusion efforts.|
|Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana||Marksville, Louisiana||Use & Adoption||$2,499,947.00||This project proposes to address key challenges confronting the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe in expanding access to internet services while also increasing digital literacy among its Tribal Citizens. The implementation of the project is expected to enable internet adoption activities, including telehealth, distance learning, affordable internet programs, and digital inclusion efforts.|
|United Urban Indian Council Inc.||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||Use & Adoption||$500,000.00||This project proposes to provide internet education, awareness, training, access, and equipment for Native American communities within Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. United Urban Indian Council is targeting specific populations to include low-income families, disabled individuals, seniors, and minority-owned businesses. The implementation of this project will enable internet adoption activities, including telehealth, distance learning, and digital inclusion efforts.|
|Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians||Alpine, California||Use & Adoption||$592,110.00||This project proposes to fund five years of internet service for 215 tribal households in Alpine, California.|