PHOENIX – Arizona Senators Mark Kelly (D) and Kyrsten Sinema (D) announced nearly $1 billion in National Telecommunications and Information Administration grants to expand broadband access on Tribal lands. The senators secured these funds in December’s coronavirus response bill.
“This is a much-needed investment in tribal broadband, ensuring that more small businesses, schools, and families on tribal lands can access reliable broadband and key economic and educational opportunities as our economy continues to recover from this pandemic,” Kelly said.
“Today’s grant funding expands broadband access on Tribal lands, boosting jobs and educational opportunities, by making critical investments to close the digital divide,” Sinema said.
Through this investment, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program will deploy broadband infrastructure, establish affordable broadband programs, and support digital inclusion across Indian Country to lessen the digital divide. Before launching the program, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration conducted Nation-to-Nation tribal consultation with Native American Tribes to learn issues surrounding the digital divide and the impacts of COVID-19 on tribal communities.
Senator Kelly has continued to focus on expanding broadband access for communities on Tribal lands and across Arizona. Recently, Kelly announced the opening of the Emergency Broadband Benefit for qualifying households including those on Tribal lands, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program passed as part of the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Kelly also introduced the bipartisan Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act to increase access to existing infrastructure that will allow easier and faster installation of broadband services.