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Biden-Harris Administration Awards $29.3 Million “Internet for All” Grant to Expand High-Speed Internet Access to the Native Village of Port Lions, AK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
September 22, 2022

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WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it has awarded a $29.3 million Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program grant to the Native Village of Port Lions as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative.

This grant will fund a new fiber-optic high-speed Internet network capable of Gigabit speeds. The proposed project will directly connect 930 unserved Native American households that previously had no connectivity to high-speed Internet as well as businesses and anchor institutions.

 "High-speed internet has become an essential component of everyday life and should be accessible to all Americans, especially in Tribal communities which disproportionately lack access to affordable, reliable internet,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program grant will be transformative for the community and echoes the Biden Administration’s commitment to building infrastructure with equity at the forefront.”

“During my recent trip to Alaska I met with the community members of the Native Village of Port Lions and know this investment in their community will be life changing,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson. “Affordable and reliable high-speed Internet for these remote villages means access to jobs, health care and education. It also means keeping their community’s future alive by bringing their community members back home.”

“This grant will provide the means for our community to become self-sufficient once again,” Nancy Nelson, President & Denise May, Administrator of the Native Village of Port Lions said. “We can now build our economy to compete on a global level, partake in higher-caliber educational and professional pursuits, and provide our people with a plethora of resources that haven’t been accessible in the past. We are vehemently thankful to NTIA, the Assistant Secretary, and the rest of those that created this opportunity and made our receipt possible.”

 “Access to high-speed, reliable internet can be life-changing for a community, enhancing the delivery of health care and education, and opening doors for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “Many of our rural, Alaska Native communities for too long have found themselves without the broadband connectivity that most Americans take for granted. I’m glad to see the significant federal infrastructure dollars we secured being deployed to break down the digital divide and improve the lives and well-being of Alaskans in the Port Lions area.”

“As someone who lived in a rural village for nearly 20 years, I know the challenges of living in rural Alaska – high costs of living and everyday essentials, limited infrastructure, and oftentimes limited economic opportunities. I’m a firm believer that digital equality creates economic and educational equality. Broadband deployment will be a game-changer in rural Alaska,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Ensuring all Alaskans have access to equal economic and educational opportunities has been a priority for me as governor. We are glad to see federal infrastructure dollars used to improve the lives of Alaskans.”

NTIA has now made 70 awards totaling $755,737,402.24 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 funds are made available from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 ($980 million) and President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law ($2 billion). Additional grants will be announced on a rolling basis this fall. In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $65 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet across the country.

Last month, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson announced that NTIA has applied $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 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 in the coming months. NTIA recently held listening sessions with Tribal leaders to solicit their input.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Brings High-Speed, Affordable Internet to Tribal Communities - The White House

For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet programs please visit InternetforAll.gov

Applicant Location Type of Project Funding Amount Brief Description
Native Village of Port Lions AK Broadband Infrastructure Deployment $29,336,431.00 The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install fiber directly connecting 930 unserved Native American households, plus businesses and anchor institutions, with qualifying broadband of 1GBPS symmetrical.