How to Remedy Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Setbacks in Bridging the Digital Divide

How Congress, the federal Executive Branch, state and local governments, and carriers can forestall likely, measurable declines in broadband geographical penetration and subscription rates achieved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, a look at the reforms needed to make ongoing universal service subsidy programs sustainable and more effective in achieving additional progress in bridging the Digital Divide as emergency grant programs wind down.

AT&T Touts Tribal Advances

AT&T increased coverage on tribal lands by more than 40 percent between 2020 and 2022, according to Rachel Salinas, president of ICAE, the Inter-Tribal Council of AT&T Employees. The company also expanded the FirstNet mobile broadband public safety network to move than 70 tribal nations. Telecompetitor reports that a recent AT&T collaboration with the Cherokee Nation brought a cellsite to Kenwood (OK) that supports FirstNet connectivity, as well as general connectivity for the tribe.

Shaping the Future of Digital Equity: Communicating Your Feedback

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act Programs are critical for communities in need of access to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet. Recently, NTIA requested input from our stakeholders through a Request for Comment (RFC).

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over $74.4 Million in Internet for All Grants to Tribal Lands

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded 28 grants totaling $74,424,986.73 to 28 Tribal entities as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP). Grants were made to tribes in Alaska, Arizona, California, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

TCC Awarded $35 Million Grant to Bring Broadband to Rural Alaskan Villages

The Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) was awarded a $35 million grant to install affordable, reliable high-speed fiber broadband in the three underserved TCC village communities of Venetie, Chalkyitsik, and Circle (AK). The project is part of the Alaska FiberOptic Project, which is a larger collaboration between Calista Corporation; Doyon, Limited; Gana-A ‘Yoo Limited; Tanana Chiefs Conference; and Alaska Communications to connect more than 20 communities in the Yukon and Kuskokwim regions, beginning in Fairbanks and extending to the

Washington State Broadband Office awards $14.5 million to provide one-on-one technical support, devices, and subscriptions to facilitate internet use and adoption

The Washington State Department of Commerce committed $14.5 million in grants to continue expanding access to the internet through digital navigator services. These grants were awarded to three organizations:

FCC Announces 2nd Round of ACP Tribal Outreach Grant Program Awards

The Federal Communications Commission made final funding allocations for the Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program (ACP Outreach Grant Program), and Tribal Competitive Outreach Program (TCOP) Round 2.

The $53,000 Connection: The High Cost of High-Speed Internet for Everyone

The cost of connecting Nebraska’s Winnebago Tribe reservation with fiber-optic cable could average $53,000 for each household and workplace connected. That amount exceeds the assessed value of some of the homes getting hookups, property records show.

Cox leases co-op fiber to connect rural Oklahoma

Fairfax (OK) will be the first town to be connected to the internet by Cox Communications on a fiber network leased from a local power provider. Indian Electric Cooperative (IEC) CEO Todd Schroeder said service should be available by the end of 2023. In addition to multi-gigabit, symmetrical broadband, Cox will offer its Contour TV product, as well as mobile phone service through Cox Mobile.

Finding Federal Funds for Tribal Digital Inclusion

Tribes are using digital equity funds to do amazing work toward closing the digital divide. Every time we talk to Tribes about digital equity, they have great ideas about how to incorporate digital inclusion in their communities, but they always ask the same question – “Where’s the money for that?” To prepare Tribes for upcoming funding, here’s an overview of existing and forthcoming funding that can help Tribes fund similar programs in their community: