(Photo by Tony Webster/Creative Commons)
(Photo by Tony Webster/Creative Commons)

Department of Commerce announces $146 million in awards through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, with another $1 billion in funding now available.

On Aug. 11, the Biden administration announced that more tribal communities would receive affordable WiFi. More than 30 percent of the population on Tribal lands do not have access to broadband infrastructure that provides minimally adequate speeds—the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program will change that.

RELATED: Nearly One in Four Arizonans Qualify for an Internet Discount. Here’s How to Apply.

Biden secured a historic $65 billion investment to expand internet access through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and has mobilized additional resources across the federal government, including programs created by the American Rescue Plan.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced more than $146 million in funds from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, to tribal entities in New Mexico.

Throughout August, NTIA will announce more than $500 million in additional awards. Funding will serve Tribes across the country, including in Alaska, Nebraska, South Dakota, Arizona, California, and more states, in addition to New Mexico.

Tribal governments are ready to lead this work: 470 Tribes in 28 states – over 80 percent of federally-recognized Tribes – have indicated that they would like to participate in the Digital Equity Planning Grant program, the first phase of the digital equity programs. In the coming months, the Department of Commerce will work with Tribes to submit applications and award funds to Tribes to develop digital equity plans to help their communities adopt and use high-speed internet.

RELATED: Broadband In Arizona’s Rural Areas Could Soon Get A Boost Thanks To The USDA

In July, the Department of Agriculture announced nearly $117 million in rural broadband awards to serve Native communities or Tribal lands. These funds through the ReConnect Program will bring fiber broadband infrastructure and affordable internet service to 200 people in Arizona.

Additionally, more than 185,000 households on Tribal lands are saving up to $75 per month on their internet bills through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

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