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NTIA Announces Tribal Consultations on New Program to Increase Broadband Access Across Indian Country


The following is a cross-post from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is committed to increasing broadband Internet access across America, particularly in unserved and underserved communities. The recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provides new sources of tribal broadband funding to assist in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which is exacerbating the digital divide across Indian Country.  With the designated funding, NTIA is in the process of developing the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) that will make grants available to eligible entities as quickly as possible. In order to ensure the TBCP is as effective as possible, NTIA will be holding virtual Tribal Consultation sessions on February 5, 10, and 12, 2021.

NTIA is committed to holding Tribal Consultation sessions expeditiously to ensure that tribal input informs the new grant program prior to the application process.  Tribal leadership or their designees are invited to participate in the virtual Tribal Consultations to provide their advice and insights as NTIA staff work through the critical issues related to the program.

The $1 billion TBCP will provide funding for the following:

  • Broadband infrastructure deployment, including support for the establishment of carrier-neutral submarine cable landing stations
  • Affordable broadband programs, including:
    1. providing free or reduced-cost broadband service
    2. preventing disconnection of existing broadband service
    3. distance learning
    4. telehealth
    5. digital inclusion efforts
    6. broadband adoption activities

Registration for the virtual Tribal Consultation sessions and the agenda are available on the NTIA website. Pre-registration for the sessions is encouraged, but not required.