Broadband Blog Posts

On November 18, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the pre-production draft of its new broadband availability map. This map gives an initial look into broadband availability nationwide. While this map is an improvement of earlier maps, there are still inaccuracies on Tribal lands. U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband explained at a December, 2022 hearing that prior maps were so insufficient that they omitted entire communities. At the same hearing, there was concern that although the new map is an improvement, it is still missing critical Tribal information. Therefore, the FCC’s new map challenge...

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now accepting applications for the Tribal Libraries E-Rate Pilot Program. This pilot program is designed to help new Tribal applicants apply for E-Rate support through one-on-one assistance, and also with ongoing support during invoicing and other post-commitment processes. Applications to apply to this program are due by Friday, November 18, 2022

This past year, Tribes and Tribal allies were successful in their advocacy to include Tribal libraries in E-Rate eligibility. The FCC adopted new rules on January 27, 2022 to clarify that Tribal libraries would be eligible for E-Rate support. Now that Tribal libraries are eligible for the E-rate Program, the FCC...

AIPI congratulates the Arizona Tribes and Tribal entities who were awarded with new Broadband funding over the last few weeks. On August 30, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced $105,846,128.07 in grants to five Tribal entities in Arizona. The NTIA awarded grants to Hopi Telecommunications, Inc., Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, San Carlos Apache Tribal Council/Triplet Mountain Communications, Inc., and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. NTIA estimates that these projects combined will connect 33,300 homes to broadband internet. AIPI and the U.S. Government Accountability Office has found that 18% of residents on Tribal lands...

So much change. There’s been so much change in such a short period of time. In late 2019, AIPI had just published the Tribal Technology Assessment and moved from The College to Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.  By early 2020, we had our first real grants supporting our work and we were so optimistic. Then it changed.  

The changes brought on and accelerated by the pandemic were unprecedented. There were some unexpected and frankly unbelievable gains in 2020 and 2021 as COVID shined the light on things; as Tribes have always been the canary in a coal mine. However, now the policy pendulum is swinging a different way,...

The National Congress of the American Indians (NCAI) Mid-Year conference is taking place in person next week, June 12th-16th, in Anchorage, Alaska. This year’s theme, “Thinking Beyond Self-Determination”, will bring tribal leaders, NCAI members, Native youth, and partners from across Indian Country together to engage in establishing a new era of tribal governance and highlighting issues that are important to Indian communities. The Mid Year Conference Marketplace never disappoints with an average of 800 visitors and vendors from across the country. 

In conjunction with this year’s theme, our Executive Director, Traci Morris PhD. will introduce and moderate the Beyond Tribal Self-Determination Panel at the First General Assembly on Tuesday, June 14th....

On January 21, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopting the final rule for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program. The final rules include notes on benefits for covered services and devices, household eligibility requirements, the program’s budget and reimbursement, among other regulatory aspects of the ACP.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford necessary broadband for everyday life. The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per...

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) will use a $10 million grant to support a national digital equity program, with a focus on rural and Tribal communities.

 

At the 2022 Net Inclusion conference in Portland, Oregon, NDIA announced that they had received a $10 million grant to create a National Digital Navigator Corps. A portion of the funding will also go to AMERIND to support a digital navigator program on Tribal lands.

The National Digital Navigator Corps is a program long in the making. Digital navigators are people who offer one-on-one support to community members accessing the Internet or using devices like phones or laptops. They offer on-the-ground support for...

At long last, Tribal libraries fully qualify for E-Rate broadband internet subsidies.

Tribal libraries are often located in remote areas and can serve as community institutions expanding broadband access. Only about 21 percent of people on Tribal lands have broadband access.

Tribal libraries vary across the U.S. and are often defined by the communities in which they reside. In its most basic definition, a Tribal library is a space on a reservation, in which a concept of a library exists and Tribal members acknowledge and recognize it exists. Tribal libraries function to support the unique needs of the community. It can range from a small shelf of books in a...

**UPDATE** As of February 17, 2022, the USDA has extended the deadline for ReConnect Program Funding to March 9, 2022.

The Rural Utilities Service, through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement to announce that it is accepting applications for the Rural eConnectivity Program (the ReConnect Program) in the fiscal year of 2022. 

The ReConnect Program, established under the 2018 Appropriations Act, provides grants, loans and grant/loan combinations for funds involving construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible Tribal governments and socially vulnerable communities. 

For this funding cycle in the fiscal year of 2022: 

  • Applications will be accepted until

  • ...

This update summarizes the very busy last two months of the year. November and December saw AIPI participating in multiple events with our expertise in broadband and digital equity with EJ a panelist at the 39th Annual Institute on Telecommunications Policy and Regulation and H a panelist at the NASIG Virtual 2021 Conference. Dr. Morris represented AIPI at the Aspen Data as Infrastructure Roundtable, National Academy of Public Administration 2021 conference, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Center for Indian Country Development Research Summit as well as participated in a funder retreat with the Ford Foundation. 

Additionally, much of the heavy-lift was done by Kristen Talbert in the last...

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