Tribal Broadband Resources
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB)
Updated 05/12/2021: Broadband is critical for Indian Country, but it is often unavailable. In 2019, the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) found that 18 percent of Tribal reservation residents have no Internet access, while 33 percent rely on smartphones for Internet service. Even where broadband is available, the cost can be a barrier to access. It is crucial that Tribal communities have broadband access for education, work, and healthcare, all of which will be more accessible via the Emergency Broadband Benefits program (EBB).
The FCC's Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides benefits for a single Internet connection per home and will allow eligible households to receive a monthly discount on broadband access from their Internet provider. The provider may also offer broadband devices at a discount. It is important to check with your provider to see if they are participating in the EBB program. EBB is now accepting applications, with participating providers. Also, be sure to keep checking with your Internet service provider for more information. To see a list of providers, click here.
Apply at GetEmergencyBroadband.org.
Need help filling out the application? Check EBBhelp.org.
More than 61,000 Tribal households have enrolled in the program (as of June 6th).
Tribes must exercise their sovereign right to access and utilize this natural resource. Spectrum frequencies are finite and as the internet and technology continues to permeate every life these frequencies will be obtained and held onto by industry because of its intrinsic value. The federal government, as trustee to Tribal Nations, must also understand and address the historical and present-day barriers that prevent tribal participation in spectrum auctions and the inability of tribes to access spectrum through secondary market mechanisms. Providing tribes with access to spectrum licenses provides an opportunity for tribes to construct their own wireless networks or leverage the license to attract service providers to bring telecommunications services to tribal lands for the benefit of their communities and economies.
Printable document on Spectrum Sovereignty and 2.5 GHz.
Federal Agencies and Broadband
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
NTIA manages the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, which provides grants to Tribal nations for broadband projects.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The USDA manages many loan and grant programs that Tribal nations can take advantage of to expand broadband access. One of these programs is called ReConnect. In past years, this program has given out loans and grants, but this program will only distribute grants in 2021.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The FCC is charged with expanding broadband access throughout the United States. In particular, the FCC manages spectrum, which is key to deploying wireless broadband on Tribal lands.
Federal Dollars for Broadband Infrastructure
Search all federal funding opportunities at:
Broadband USA NTIA Funding Search
Federal funding is available for Tribal broadband. The newest opportunities include:
$1 Billion from NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Fund from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
Request funds here.
$20 Billion from Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds from American Rescue Plan of 2021 for Water, Sewer, or Broadband
Request funds here.
$100 Million Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund from American Rescue Plan of 2021 for work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options
More Tribal broadband funding opportunities are available. See Congressional Research Service COVID-19 Tribal Broadband Funding Report.