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More than $634 million awarded to 25 Tribal Entities in August
WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced $105,846,128.07 in grants awarded from the Internet for All initiative to five Tribal entities in Arizona. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the grants at an event at the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona in Arizona.
The grants will fund high-speed internet infrastructure deployment projects through the Internet for All Initiative’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program for Hopi Telecommunications, Inc., Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, San Carlos Apache Tribal Council/Triplet Mountain Communications, Inc., and White Mountain Apache Tribe. In all, the projects will connect more than 33,300 homes with the high-speed internet connectivity necessary for learning, work, and telehealth.
Today’s awards are the last of the more than $500 million package that Vice President Kamala Harris pledged to deliver before the end of August. In total NTIA awarded $634,702,609.57 to 25 Tribal entities in August.
During a press call on August 11, Vice President Harris said, “Our administration’s vision is to connect all Native communities with the Internet and with the opportunity that comes along with access to affordable Internet — the opportunity to live healthier, happier, and more prosperous lives. And we will continue to fight every day to make that vision a reality.” Her full remarks are available here.
“This month the Biden-Harris Administration demonstrated that Tribal communities will not be left behind in connecting their communities to affordable and reliable high-speed internet,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Direct investment into Tribal communities is a crucial step in closing the digital divide in Indian country while protecting local customs and traditions and creating new opportunities for global engagement and growth.”
“Reliable internet is necessary today for everything from running a business to doing homework. These grants will bring high-speed internet access to tens of thousands of tribal homes, businesses, schools, and libraries,” said Senator Mark Kelly. “That’s going to help create jobs and bring new opportunities to Arizona’s tribal communities, and even more help is on the way, thanks to our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“For too long, a lack of internet connection has widened the digital divide and contributed to systemic inequalities for underserved areas and tribal nations. Access to quality and high-speed internet services will provide critical digital resources for schools, businesses, hospitals, and many other services on Indigenous lands,” said Representative Raúl Grijalva. “I’m proud to support this rollout of broadband and increased access to internet infrastructure for the Pascua Yaqui Nation that will enable future economic development and boost tribal sovereignty.”
“As an advocate in Congress for the twelve tribes of Arizona’s First Congressional District for the past five years, I know just how critical broadband expansion is to improved health care, education, economic development, and quality of life,” said Representative Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01). “These grants will make a huge difference for Indian Country; I was proud to vote in favor of both the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and our FY2021 appropriations that created and secured funding for this important program, and look forward to further collaboration with tribal leaders on their broadband needs.”
"This important Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program Award will empower the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to carry out critical capital projects that directly support work, education, and health monitoring on the Reservation utilizing remote options in response to the Coronavirus public health emergency. This funding also will improve the quality of life, spur economic development activity, and create opportunities for remote employment by expanding broadband access to Tribal members in the various Pascua Yaqui communities,” said Pascua Yaqui Tribal Chairman, Peter Yucupicio. “Furthermore, this infusion of funds will provide vital telecom service to the Tribe’s 69 government buildings and nine (9) businesses; run fiber optic cable from the Tribe’s Data Center to its new housing developments, as well as to the Tortuga Ranch, Guadalupe, and Old Pascua communities; and ultimately furnish broadband to underserved Tribal members on the Reservation and outlying communities of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe."
NTIA has now made a total of 69 awards totaling more than $726 million in funding through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. These awards are part of the Biden Administration’s commitment to nation-to-nation engagement and an effort to connect everyone in America, including American Indians and Natives, with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.
The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a nearly $3 billion grant program and part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative. The awards announced today were part of nearly $1 billion made available in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law appropriated an additional $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson recently announced that NTIA has added $1 billion of that funding to the existing funding opportunity, meaning the Administration can fund more of the projects that already submitted applications. An additional Notice of Funding Opportunity for the remaining funds will be announced later in 2022, and NTIA will hold consultations with Tribal leaders in September to solicit their input.
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand high-speed internet in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.