The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded just over $74.4 million in grant funds to 28 Tribal entities as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP).
A total of 28 grants went to Tribal entities in Alaska, California, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
The largest single grant was for $29.5 million for a broadband infrastructure deployment project that serves 59 Alaska Native Villages. The grant proposal is for installation of a wireless network using Tribally-controlled 2.5 Ghz spectrum and/or subsidized satellite broadband service as an interim solution to directly connect a total of 2,569 unserved Tribal households, 125 unserved Tribal businesses, and 89 Tribal community anchor institutions with qualified broadband speeds.
These new grants bring the total awarded to date through the program to more than $1.86 billion to 226 Tribal entities, with the funding coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The money is designed to help Tribal households and businesses gain access to high-speed Internet service, plan for future Internet infrastructure investments, and upgrade network equipment.
The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a nearly $3 billion grant program and part of the Internet for All Initiative. The funds are made available from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law ($2 billion) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 ($980 million).
NTIA awarded $3.5 million in Tribal funds in August.
More funding is planned, In July NTIA announced a second Notice of Funding Opportunity for an additional $970 million in funding from the TBCP program. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 23, 2024.
“Internet access allows us to attend medical appointments, sell products and services across the globe, and further our education. But too many members of Tribal communities are cut off from this essential service,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a prepared statement.
“These grants will bring us closer to closing the digital divide and ensure that Tribal communities are connected to the Internet and everything it has to offer.”