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Department of Commerce Awards Nearly $1.2M to Tribes to Expand Internet Access

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
March 31, 2022

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WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today it has awarded four grants as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. These grants, part of President Biden's commitment to ensuring all Americans have access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet, total nearly $1.2 million and are being awarded in three states – California, Washington, and Wisconsin.  

These grants will fund broadband infrastructure deployment projects to expand internet access to the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians in California, Forest County Potawatomi Community in Wisconsin, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State, and the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.   

“Across the country, too many Americans don’t have access to reliable, high-speed broadband. This is especially true for those living in Tribal communities,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information.  “NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is playing a crucial role in meeting the mission and closing the digital divide by expanding internet access to tribal communities and connecting them to schools, health care services, business opportunities and more.”     

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 broadband grant programs that will build broadband infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost broadband 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
Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Indio, California Infrastructure $320,346.40 The project proposes to install fiber directly connecting 17 unserved Native American households with qualifying broadband service.
Forest County Potawatomi Community Crandon, Wisconsin Infrastructure $125,232.00 The Forest County Potawatomi Community Solar Broadband Project proposes to provide reliable broadband service to the Tribe’s critical solar arrays. This project will support economic and workforce development capacity in addition to improving the Tribe’s resilience through increased telework capabilities.
Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

Kingston, Washington

Infrastructure $443,321.16 The project proposes to construct both aerial fiber and underground Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) to 69 unserved households, in addition to 118 households that are under construction and scheduled for occupancy in early 2022. Once completed, the project will provide Internet service to the community at speeds five times greater at the same price that is currently available through commercial vendors.
St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin

Webster, Wisconsin

Infrastructure $302,032.00 The project will fund the installation of last mile fiber that is designed to bring qualifying broadband to unserved Native American households, businesses, and community anchor institutions in the rural, tribal community of Round Lake. This investment in technology will further the efforts of tribal healthcare/telehealth systems, distance learning initiatives, and small business development in areas where the current DSL has been a limiting factor.