Tribal Broadband: Status of Deployment and Federal Funding Programs
Because the presence of robust broadband and improved digital connectivity in tribal areas could play a significant role in revitalizing many tribal communities, the federal government continues to provide some financial assistance to tribal lands for broadband deployment. Tribal entities and projects in tribal areas are eligible for virtually all federal broadband programs. With a few exceptions, however, there are no carve-outs or dedicated funding streams specifically for tribal applicants or nontribal entities proposing to serve tribal lands. Thus, annual amounts of federal financial assistance vary, depending on the number and quality of tribal-related applications received, and the number of tribal-related broadband awards subsequently made by the funding agencies. Debate has centered on whether federal funding for tribal broadband is sufficient, and the extent to which portions of federal funds available for broadband should be specifically targeted for tribal broadband. In the 115th Congress, bills were introduced to direct federal funding specifically for tribal broadband. Notwithstanding whether federal broadband funding programs target tribal lands, whether or not tribal lands will receive additional funding for broadband in the 116th Congress will likely be determined by the ongoing trajectory of overall federal funding for broadband.
Tribal Broadband: Status of Deployment and Federal Funding Programs See also: Tribal Broadband: Status of Deployment and Federal Funding Programs March 10, 2016 – January 9, 2019