Over $105 Million Going to Better Internet for Native American Communities

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The Department of Commerce announced a series of new grants through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.

The Department of Commerce announced another large influx of federal funding to help bridge America’s digital divide within Native American communities, a long-standing pillar of the Biden-Harris Administration's goals. 

On Tuesday, over $105 million in grant funding was awarded via the agency’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, under the Internet for All Initiative, specifically for five tribal entities based in Arizona. Recipients of the grants include Hopi Telecommunications, Inc., Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, San Carlos Apache Tribal Council/Triplet Mountain Communications, Inc., and White Mountain Apache Tribe.

“This month the Biden-Harris Administration demonstrated that tribal communities will not be left behind in connecting their communities to affordable and reliable high-speed internet,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “Direct investment into tribal communities is a crucial step in closing the digital divide in Indian country, while protecting local customs and traditions and creating new opportunities for global engagement and growth.”

High speed internet is the main goal of the broadband deployment initiative. The latest projects will help connect over 33,300 households with fast internet.

“Our administration’s vision is to connect all Native communities with the internet and with the opportunity that comes along with access to affordable internet—the opportunity to live healthier, happier and more prosperous lives,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in earlier remarks noted in the press release. “And we will continue to fight every day to make that vision a reality.”

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program contains nearly $3 billion in grant funding opportunities. 

Other federal agencies, including the General Services Administration, have also entered into private contracts with telecommunications conglomerates like Verizon to upgrade internet connection for underserved, rural Native American communities.