Alan Davidson, assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information for NTIA, kicked off the next round of funding in the tribal broadband program in a pre-briefing with reporters yesterday.
NTIA has $980 million available for the next round, and applicants that applied for funding in the previous round but did not receive an award will receive priority, Davidson said. Applications are due January 23, 2024.
“Internet access can help preserve traditional languages,” said Davidson on the call. “It can increase economic opportunity. It can bring home family members who left for careers but [who] will now be able to work remotely with high-speed internet access.”
Additionally, he said, high-speed internet can “serve as a platform for tribes to share their knowledge . . . with the internet community.”
Funding will be available for high-speed internet infrastructure deployment projects and for high-speed internet adoption and use projects.
Projects in the first category can receive between $1 million and $50 million for projects proposed by a single applicant, and projects in the second category can receive between $100,000 and $2.5 million.
NTIA already has awarded $1.78 billion in tribal broadband funding to 191 tribal entities since the program began in 2021.
According to Davidson, there is some money left to make awards in the current funding round. Almost all of the funding will go for equitable distribution awards in the among of $500,000 per single tribe or consortium.
An NTIA spokesperson told Telecompetitor that the agency will begin accepting awards in the next round once the notice of funding opportunity available on Grants.Gov. That is scheduled to happen today, the spokesperson said.