The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has added $1 billion to the current Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) funding period, which closes at the beginning of next month.
The initial program, with just under a $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 sheer volume of requests and the significant need to quickly expand high-speed internet service on Tribal lands prompted the NTIA to allocate this additional $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law toward the initial Notice of Funding Opportunity announced in June 2021.
With the additional NTIA Tribal Broadband funds, the total available for high-speed internet grants as part of that notice is now $1.98 billion. The grants themselves are being awarded on a rolling basis as NTIA completes reviews of applications and announces the ones that are receiving awards.
There are plans for an additional NTIA Tribal Broadband program NOFO to be released this fall to solicit applications for the remaining TBCP Internet for All funding. The new NOFO will provide Tribes who missed out on the first application process a second chance to get involved.
“The response to our Tribal high-speed internet program demonstrated a critical need for improved connectivity on Tribal lands,” Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Alan Davidson said in a prepared statement. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’ll be able to award an additional billion dollars in grants in the very near future.”
NTIA plans to schedule Tribal consultations to hear from Tribes directly prior to releasing the next funding opportunity, with dates for those sessions to be announced in the near future.