WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) announced five Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program grant awards totaling $146,987,149 to help Tribes deploy broadband infrastructure.
New Mexico’s Congressional Democrats fought to infuse $2 billion into this program through the Infrastructure Law. Funding is administered through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
“Improved access to reliable high-speed internet means improved access to education, health care, and economic opportunity,” said Heinrich. “Thanks to the Infrastructure Law, these major federal investments will help bridge the digital divide that Tribes have historically faced and make these services available to more Native Americans.”
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tribal communities already faced a digital divide that undermined their ability to learn, work, and access economic opportunities, and the pandemic has only exacerbated these disparities,” said Luján. “That's why today’s grant announcement represents a monumental step forward on the road to 100% connectivity. There is still more work that needs to be done, and I will continue working alongside NTIA and FCC to help bring high-speed broadband to Tribal communities in New Mexico.”
“Reliable and affordable broadband is fundamental to our economy and our kids’ education, and it is unacceptable that Tribal communities have faced disproportionate barriers to broadband access for years,” said Stansbury. “I am proud that this game-changing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for Tribes and Pueblos across New Mexico will help to bridge the digital divide to increase access to education, healthcare, and telework opportunities in Tribal communities.”
“Tribal communities continue to face disparities when accessing affordable internet and economic opportunities. Today's announcement is part of our promise to connect our rural communities and expand broadband access. I will continue to work in Congress to close the digital divide and bring broadband to Tribes," said Leger Fernández.
NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program provides federal funds for projects to which will help Tribes expand broadband access. The program seeks to address the digital divide and support equitable access to affordable internet, telehealth, telework, and remote learning.
NTIA is awarding federal funding to the following Tribes:
- $26,033,972 for the Pueblo of Isleta
- $57,298,683 for Santa Fe Indian School
- $6,935,801 for Jicarilla Apache Nation Power Authority
- $12,775,576 for the Santo Domingo (Kewa) Pueblo
- $43,943,116 for Mescalero Apache Telecom, Inc.