Washington expands internet access for Natives across 10 states, including Michigan

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi reservation is located south of Battle Creek

(Charles Krupa, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – The Biden Administration has announced that Native tribes across the United States will receive grants to extend internet access.

Nineteen grants totaling $77 million will be distributed to 10 states, including Michigan.

According to a news release, the funds will be used for internet access and projects that’ll improve services in tribal communities.

“For far too long, tribal communities have been cut off from the benefits of high-speed internet, as well as the associated economic benefits that come with it. From running a business to taking online classes to scheduling a doctor’s appointment, the internet is a necessary tool for participating in our modern economy, and it’s an absolute injustice that this resource has been deprived from so many Native Americans across our country,” state U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi reservation located out of Fulton will receive $1,205,764 in grant funding.

The funds will be put towards a “use and adoption” program, which will help upgrade the local fiber-optic infrastructure that serves the current tribes’ government offices, businesses and other institutions.

In addition to the upgrade, 35 houses on the reservation will be impacted. These upgrades will help assist tribal members and have better access for work, education, business and health.

“Affordable access to the Internet opens a world of life-saving technologies, economic opportunities, remote learning, and countless other essential benefits,” said Alan Davidson, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. “Our Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is playing a crucial role in closing the digital divide and expanding internet to tribal communities across America.”

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program has millions in grants for eligible Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian entities.

Click here to check if your tribal is eligible for extra funding.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.