Both the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe and Quinault Indian Nation will receive funding to expand broadband access across tribal lands.
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced recently it has awarded additional grants totaling $8,394,947.57 to 17 Tribes as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP).
Included among the recently announced funding was $500,000 for the Quinault Indian Nation to assist with broadband infrastructure deployment to purchase conduit reels that will be used for the installation of a future fiber network that will provide service to 475 unserved Tribal households, 11 businesses, and 25 community anchor institutions.
This funding follows an announcement in May of approximately $500,000 for the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe to help them deploy a 1.8-mile fiber connection to connect unserved Tribal government buildings and 46 Tribal homes, and purchase equipment to assist with Phase II of that project to improve access for all Tribal members with additional funding.
With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these new grants bring the total of the program to over $1.77 billion awarded to 183 Tribal entities.
Record investments in high-speed internet deployment are a key part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a nearly $3 billion grant program and part of the Internet for All Initiative. The funds are made available from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law ($2 billion) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 ($980 million).
This funding from President Biden’s Internet for All initiative is intended to help reduce monthly Internet service costs, plan for future Internet infrastructure investments, upgrade network equipment, and purchase devices.
“President Biden has been clear that everyone in the country deserves the opportunities that come with a quality, affordable Internet connection, and that includes Indian country. These investments will help expand Internet access and close the digital divide on Tribal lands across the country,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion in funding to connect everyone in America.
These grants are part of the TBCP’s process intended to ensure that program funding is available to all eligible federally recognized Tribal governments who had a qualifying application.
The grants allow for Tribal communities to move forward in planning for future high-speed Internet infrastructure projects or promoting Internet use and adoption.
In the next few months, NTIA will release a second Notice of Funding Opportunity for an additional round of funding from the TBCP program.