WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it has awarded seven grants totaling over $118.8 million as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. The announcement was made from the Oglala Sioux Tribe reservation in Pine Ridge, SD. The grants are being awarded to the Shoshone Bannock Tribes (Idaho), the Chippewa Cree Tribe (Montana), Nebraska Indian Community College (Nebraska), Omaha Tribe of Nebraska (Nebraska), Oglala Sioux Tribe (South Dakota), Rosebud Sioux Tribe (South Dakota), and Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Wisconsin).
These grants will fund high-speed internet infrastructure deployment, use, and adoption projects to improve connectivity across Tribal lands. The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, makes funding available for grants to eligible Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian entities for high-speed internet deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning.
Today’s announcement is part of a $500 million total that is going Tribal applicants this month. During a press call announcing the historic investments, Vice President Kamala 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.
“High-speed internet helps people stay connected, allows businesses to thrive, and gives communities the opportunity to stay informed,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Closing the digital divide in Indian country is a crucial step for protecting local customs and traditions while invigorating the opportunities for global engagement and growth. The announcements we’re making over the next month are an exciting step on the journey.”
“The Oglala Sioux Tribe is excited to be receiving an NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program Award,” said Kevin Killer, President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “Our Tribe is in desperate need of affordable broadband on our vast, remote Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. We have lagged behind the rest of America for too long, and the COVID-19 public health emergency made the importance of broadband to our daily lives abundantly clear. The NTIA’s TBCP award will provide the necessary resources and infrastructure for our Tribal Citizens to engage in remote education, telemedicine, remote work, and other activities. It will allow our Tribal Nation and our Citizens to thrive in the evolving digital economy and spur much-needed economic development overall on our Reservation. We are grateful to this Administration for making this award.”
NTIA has now made 60 awards totaling more than $457 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 listening sessions with Tribal leaders in September to solicit their input.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed internet programs as well as quotes from the awardees, please visit InternetforAll.gov.
|Applicant||Location||Type of Project||Funding Amount||Brief Description|
|Shoshone Bannock Tribes||ID||Broadband Infrastructure Deployment||$22,485,260.71||The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install mile and last mile fiber and last mile fixed wireless directly connecting 408 unserved Native American households with fiber-to-the-home 100 Mbps/100 Mbps service.|
|Chippewa Cree Tribe||MT||Broadband Infrastructure Deployment||$15,300,356.84||The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install fiber and fixed wireless infrastructure to directly connect 770 unserved Native American households with fiber-to-the-home with 1 Gbps/ 1Gbps and/or fixed wireless to the home with 100 Mbps/20 Mbps service.|
|Nebraska Indian Community College||NE||Broadband Infrastructure Deployment||$1,243,000.00||The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install fiber directly connecting 1,272 unserved Native American Households with fixed wireless to the home service of at least 25 Mbps/3Mbps.|
|Omaha Tribe of Nebraska||NE||Broadband Infrastructure Deployment||$3,753,450.75||The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install fiber to directly connect 19 unserved community anchor institutions, deploy a wireless network to connect 710 unserved Native American households and 12 Native American businesses with fixed wireless to the home 25 Mbps/3 Mbps service, and construct a data server building to house IT equipment.|
|Oglala Sioux Tribe||SD||Broadband Infrastructure Deployment||$19,620,766.00||The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to construct a last mile broadband network and install fiber directly connecting 1,821 unserved Native American households with fixed wireless to the home service of up to 50 Mbps/10Mbps.|
|Rosebud Sioux Tribe||SD||Broadband Infrastructure Deployment||$48,352,973.57||The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install fiber and LTE network directly connecting 1,526 unserved Native American households with fiber-to-the-home and/or fixed wireless to the home 602 Mbps/102 Mbps.|
|Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa||WI||Broadband Infrastructure Deployment||$8,047,002.00||The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install fiber to directly connecting 705 unserved Native American households, 18 unserved Native American businesses, and 4 Native American community anchor institutions with fiber-to-the-home 940 Mbps/30Mbps service.|