Nine additional grants totaling approximately $7.7 million have been awarded to tribal groups in six states as part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
NTIA received more than 300 applications during the application window, which closed on Sept. 1, 2021. The awards are being announced on a rolling basis as they move through NTIA’s review process.
The grants are to be used to fund projects facilitating broadband internet use and adoption, providing access to education, healthcare, employment and other sources. Among permitted uses of the funds are planning, engineering, feasibility, and sustainability projects and to expand digital inclusion, workforce and digital skills development.
Among the most recent NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program grants will be one for the Pawnee Nation College in Oklahoma, which will be establishing a student technology grant and computer lab on its campus. This computer lab is expected to increase campus-wide internet services and equipment and expand the digital communications curriculum.
With one of the other awards, the Suquamish Tribe of Port Madison Reservation in Washington will develop workforce training and digital literacy programs aimed at increasing digital inclusion among Tribal members.
“The pandemic demonstrated just how difficult it is to participate in our modern economy without access to reliable high-speed internet. These grants will provide crucial resources to tribal communities working to ensure everyone can use the internet to attend classes, visit a doctor or run a business,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, in a prepared statement about the NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program awards. “We look forward to supporting these Tribal Nations in building capacity and expanding their communities’ access to the internet.”
NTIA has now made a total of 43 awards totaling more than $91 million in funding through the program.