The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded $51 million in a pair of grants as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
NTIA received more than 300 applications for the program during the application window, which closed on Sept. 1, 2021. The program, 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 various projects, including broadband deployment, digital inclusion, telehealth and distance learning.
So far, NTIA has made a total of 46 awards totaling more than $143 million. Awards are being announced on a rolling basis as they move through NTIA’s review process.
The most recent awards went to Doyon, Limited and Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission in Alaska. The grants are designed to fund broadband connections to 581 unserved Alaska Native households across numerous villages in the Doyon region of Alaska and enable high-speed internet adoption in eight Tribal governments of the Ahtna region. The communities will now have better access for a wide variety of activities, including telehealth, distance learning, telework and workforce development.
“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 Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), in a prepared statement about the NTIA tribal broadband awards. “Many of our rural, Alaska Native communities for too long have found themselves without the broadband connectivity that most Americans take for granted. I applaud NTIA for awarding these significant grants to help break down the digital divide in our state, and improve the lives and well-being of Alaskans.”