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Biden-Harris Administration Awards Nearly $50 Million to Expand High-Speed Internet Access on Tribal Land in Mississippi, Oklahoma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
August 18, 2022

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WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced $49,112,883.26 in funds awarded from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to tribes in two states. The awards will provide funds for high-speed internet infrastructure deployment projects through the Internet for All Initiative’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians of Mississippi and the Osage Nation of Oklahoma.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will receive $8,433,633.26 to install fiber to connect 2,190 unserved Native American households, 86 businesses, and 60 community anchor institutions with fiber internet service. The Osage Nation will receive $40,679.250.00 to install infrastructure for high-speed internet deployment in unserved areas, bringing new access to 3,158 households. 

Today’s announcement is part of a $500 million package that is going to Tribal applicants this month. During a press call announcing the historic investments, Vice President Kamala Harris said, “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. And we will continue to fight every day to make that vision a reality.” Her full remarks are available here.

“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. “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.”

NTIA has now made a total of 53 awards totaling more than $339 million in funding through the TBCP. These awards are part of the Biden Administration’s commitment to nation-to-nation engagement and an effort to connect everyone in America, including American Indians and Natives, with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a nearly $3 billion grant program and part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative. The awards announced today were part of nearly $1 billion made available in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law appropriated an additional $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson recently announced that NTIA has added $1 billion of that funding to the existing funding opportunity, meaning the Administration can fund more of the projects that already submitted applications. An additional Notice of Funding Opportunity for the remaining funds will be announced later in 2022.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Brings High-Speed, Affordable Internet to Tribal Communities - The White House

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand high-speed internet in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities. 

For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed internet programs as well as quotes from the awardees, please visit InternetforAll.gov

Applicant Location Type of Project Funding Amount Brief Description
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians MS Broadband Infrastructure Deployment $8,433,633.26 The project proposes to install fiber to directly connect 2,190 unserved Native American households, 86 businesses, and 60 community anchor institutions with fiber-to-the-home 105 Mbps/105 Mbps service. The project constructs a 12.3 mile- middle mile fiber network, a 524 last-mile network, and a new Tribal Utility Department building.
Osage Nation OK Broadband Infrastructure Deployment $40,679,250.00 The broadband infrastructure deployment project proposes to install fiber and construct wireless towers to directly connect 3,158 unserved Tribal households with fiber-to-the-home and/or fixed wireless to the home at qualifying speeds.