Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over $50 Million in Internet All Grants to Two Alaska Native Entities

Assistant Secretary Davidson announced the awards during an official visit to Alaska

At an Internet for All roundtable today in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it has awarded two grants under the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. These grants, totaling approximately $51 million, are awarded to the Doyon, Limited and Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission in Alaska.

These grants will fund high-speed Internet connections to 581 unserved Alaska Native families in numerous villages in Alaska’s Doyon region and enable high-speed Internet adoption in eight tribal governments in the Ahtna region for activities including telehealth, distance learning, teleworking and workforce development. The grants are part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to provide reliable, convenient, high-speed Internet to all Americans.

“The digital divide in our tribal lands, especially in remote Alaska, is stark,” the Commerce secretary said Gina Raymond. “The much-needed investment through the Biden-Harris Internet for All initiative provides real change for these communities to participate in the digital economy, whether it’s education, health or employment.”

“Alaska’s geography, terrain, climate and sheer size have created significant barriers to the development of broadband infrastructure. But rural Alaska is no less deserving of connectivity. For the first time, some of Alaska’s underserved communities will receive high-speed Internet access made possible by the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 created this program and made $980 million available in grants to eligible native entities to implement broadband. In the run-up to its passage, I made sure the program met Alaska’s unique needs, with broad eligibility for Native entities. I applaud the successful applicants’ partnership and coordination to secure this grant, which will be transformative,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

“High-speed, reliable Internet access can change the life of a community, improve the delivery of health care and education, and open doors for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Sen. Dan Sulvan (R-Alaska). “Many of our rural Alaska Native communities have for too long found themselves without the broadband connectivity that most Americans take for granted. I applaud the NTIA for awarding these significant grants to help bridge the digital divide in our state and improve the lives and well-being of Alaskans.”

Assistant Secretary Davidson is visiting Alaska this week to see firsthand the unique challenges and opportunities Alaska faces as it implements the expansion of high-speed Internet service permitted by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

“It is humbling to see firsthand how these grants will positively impact the daily lives of Alaska Natives who have been disconnected for too long,” he said Alan Davidson, Undersecretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “Affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access for these remote villages means the ability to keep customs and traditions alive while providing the opportunity to live in the village and work remotely in high-paying jobs.”

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, provides $980 million in grants to eligible Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian entities for broadband deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth and distance learning.

“This is a huge milestone for our communities and opens the door to opportunities for education, health, safety and economic development in the Doyon region,” said Doyon’s president and chief executive officer. Aaron Schutt. “This grant will provide Beaver, Fort Yukon, Rampart, Stevens Village and Tanana for the first time with affordable high-speed internet. Doyon is committed to moving forward and creating those middle and end-mile connections for schools, clinics, families and businesses. This is a life changing project for many rural residents and we are proud to be a part of it.”

NTIA has now won a total of 46 awards totaling more than $143.066 million in funding through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. These tribal awards are part of the Biden administration’s commitment to nation-to-nation engagement and an effort to connect everyone in America, including American Indians and Alaska Natives, with affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet .

NTIA received more than 300 applications during the nomination period, which closed on September 1, 2021. The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program will continue to announce additional awards on an ongoing basis as they move through NTIA’s review process.

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, calls for a historic $65 billion investment to expand high-speed Internet in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new Internet grant programs high-speed Internet services funded by the Act that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the needs for digital equity and inclusion in our communities.

For more information on the Biden-Harris administration’s high-speed Internet programs, visit the siteInternetforAll.gov.