The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded $49,112,883.26 in grants to tribes in two states. The awards to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians of Mississippi and the Osage Nation of Oklahoma will provide funds for high-speed internet infrastructure deployment projects through the Internet for All Initiative’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
NTIA has now awarded more than $339 million in 53 grants through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, which is a nearly $3 billion program. The awards announced today were part of nearly $1 billion made available in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The initial program, with just under $1 billion in funding, proved to be quite popular. During the application process, NTIA received more than 300 applications for over $5 billion in funding requests.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law appropriated an additional $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. More recently, NTIA added $1 billion of that funding to the current funding round.
Combined with funds announced earlier, the most recent two awards are part of a $500 million package that is going to Tribal applicants this month.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will receive nearly $8,5 million to install fiber to connect nearly 2,200 Native American households, 86 businesses, and 60 community anchor institutions with fiber broadband, while the Osage Nation will receive nearly $40, million to install infrastructure for broadband deployment for 3,158 households.
“High-speed internet helps people stay connected, allows businesses to thrive, and gives communities the opportunity to stay informed,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, in a prepared statement about the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program funds. “Closing the digital divide in Indian country is a crucial step for protecting local customs and traditions while invigorating the opportunities for global engagement and growth. The announcements we’re making over the next month are an exciting step on the journey.”