The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is doubling the size of its Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, to $1.98 billion, NTIA said on August 9.
The additional $1 billion of funding is coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law approved by Congress in November 2021, and adds onto $980 million of funding for the program announced last year. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law targets a total of $65 billion of Federal spending to expand access to affordable Internet service across the United States.
The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program makes grants available to eligible Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian entities for high-speed internet deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning.
Demand for the program has been strong, NTIA said, with more than 300 funding applications totaling more than $5 billion. The administration increased funding for the program “given the volume of requests and the significant need to quickly expand high-speed internet service on Tribal lands,” the agency said.
NTIA said that the application window for the funding will remain open until September 1.
“The response to our Tribal high-speed internet program demonstrated a critical need for improved connectivity on Tribal lands,” commented Alan Davidson, who heads NTIA. “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.”