Broadband Blog Posts

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...

Program Overview

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB) is now the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP replaced the EBB on December 31, 2021. An additional $14.2 billion was appropriated to the ACP to continue offering broadband service discounts and device reimbursements for qualifying households. The main changes to the program are:

  • The benefit amount will change from $50 to $30 a month on non-Tribal Lands

  • Households on qualifying Tribal Lands will still receive a monthly benefit of $75 a month

  • Changes in eligibility criteria: Loss of income and eligibility through their provider’s COVID-19 program will no longer be considered

New enrollments for the ACP will began on December 31, 2021. However, there...

As the Federal government transitions to the Affordable Connectivity Program, it is worth analyzing the impact of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program (EBB), established under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, began accepting applications on May 12, 2021. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the program to establish greater accessibility to broadband internet by providing discounted broadband service as well as discounts on broadband enabled devices to qualifying low-income households. Broadband access arose as a top priority in the last two years and accessibility inequities across the nation were especially highlighted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This update will offer insight into...

 It was a whirlwind of a month at AIPI. It is exciting when we’re able to fulfill our mission of service to Indian Country as an Indigenous-led and staffed non-teaching research institute. It is exciting to be a part of the solution.  

As subject matter experts on Tribal Digital Equity and Broadband in Indian Country, we are leading the dialogue and discourse in many arenas. My staff has been busy representing AIPI well. Our Policy Analyst EJ John and Policy Research Assistant Sadie Vermillion, lent a supportive hand to NCAI on broadband issues and participated in the Telecommunications and Technology Sub-Committee at the Annual Convention. They participated in conferences and were interviewed...

After years of advocacy, the FCC is finally taking action to make needed improvements to the The Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries, also known as E-rate. On October 14, 2021, the FCC published a notice in the Federal Register of a proposed rule to make Tribal libraries eligible to participate in the E-rate program. The program was established under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This program uses funding from the Universal Service Fund to increase internet access to qualifying schools and libraries by assisting with discounted telecommunication service. Internet access in schools and libraries is a crucial service offered...

This is an important reminder that the deadline for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) is coming up tomorrow, September 1 at 11:59 PM PDT. This is a statutory deadline and cannot be modified. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) held a TBCP webinar on August 24, 2021, in which they highlighted the following points:

  • Make sure that applications uploaded to grants.gov are submitted. You must go into the system and hit the submit button.

  • There may be a possibility for other forms of submission, but you must contact NTIA ASAP.

  • Applications that may not be perfect but still contain all of the required information should still be submitted. Applications can

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