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Three Nevada tribes awarded more than $11M for high-speed internet

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Three Nevada tribes awarded more than $11M for high-speed internet

Dec 01, 2022 | 10:07 am ET
By Jeniffer Solis
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Three Nevada tribes awarded more than $11M for high-speed internet
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Tribes in six states, including Nevada, will be awarded new internet infrastructure grants totaling more than $73 million. (Photo by Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images)

Three Nevada tribes will receive $11.6 million for high-speed internet in the latest round of “internet for all” grants, federal officials announced Wednesday.

The funding will directly connect more than 800 homes on tribal lands in Nevada to high-speed internet, improving access to education, jobs, and healthcare on tribal lands.

During the White House Tribal Nations Summit held at the Department of Interior in Washington, the federal office responsible for national telecommunications said tribes in six states, including Nevada, would be awarded new internet infrastructure grants totaling more than $73 million.

“The Biden administration is committed to fostering meaningful partnerships with Tribal Nations, which have been vital to our goal of connecting everyone in America, including American Indians and Natives, with affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in a statement.

So far, about $1.6 billion has been awarded to 121 tribal nations with funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year. Those funds have connected more than 3,100 unserved Native American households that previously had no connectivity to high-speed Internet as well as businesses and community institutions.

These awards are part of a series of commitments the Biden administration announced Wednesday to strengthen nation-to-nation engagement between the federal government and First Nations.

The Walker River Paiute Tribe in Mineral County will receive more than $6 million to install fiber internet directly to more than 400 households, 22 community institutions, and 10 tribal businesses. The Duckwater Shoshone Tribe in Nye County is set to receive more than $3 million to install fiber internet to nearly 80 homes and 11 tribal institutions. The Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe in Churchill County will be awarded nearly $2 million to directly connect more than 300 households.

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who has pushed for more broadband funding on tribal lands, praised the announcement Wednesday.

“Throughout my time in the Senate, I’ve worked to make sure Tribes in Nevada have access to critical broadband,” said Cortez Masto in a statement. “I made sure these funds would get to Tribes in Nevada in a timely and efficient fashion, and I’m committed to helping Nevadans in every community access the critical educational, business, health care, and cultural resources that the internet provides.”

Cortez Masto advocated for provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure law to invest in broadband, which has delivered more than $30 million in support for broadband for Nevada’s tribal communities in recent months, according to her office. In 2020, she passed bipartisan legislation that created the Commerce Department of Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG), which manages the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program or TBCP.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands. Visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to learn more.