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Biden administration pledges nearly $1 billion to expand broadband on tribal lands

The Department of Commerce will award nearly $1 billion in grants to infrastructure projects that put a priority on expanding broadband access.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday announced nearly $1 billion in new federal grant funding, all of it aimed at expanding access to broadband internet speeds on tribal lands.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced the new funding at the White House, accompanied by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary, spoke remotely at the event.

"For generations, a lack of infrastructure investment in Indian Country has left Tribes further behind in the digital divide than most areas of the country," Haaland said. "We have a responsibility as a country to build infrastructure that will fuel economic development, keep communities safe, and ensure everyone has opportunities to succeed."

Locating local internet providers

Originally included as part of this year's Consolidated Appropriations Act, the grant money comes by way of the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and will seek infrastructure projects that prioritize the delivery of broadband speeds to underserved households on tribal lands.

"These investments will help many Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian communities gain long overdue access to life-saving technologies, economic opportunities, remote learning and countless other benefits," said Raimondo.

Locating local internet providers

The grants will join other efforts to expand broadband access throughout America, including the recently launched Emergency Broadband Benefit, which includes a $75 monthly internet credit for qualified customers on tribal lands.

More information about the grants can be found online via the NTIA's Notice of Funding Opportunity

See also: Here's how fast your internet connection really is

Watch this: Millions lack broadband at a time when they must have it. Now what?