Swinomish and Makah Tribes Each Receive $500K Grants to Secure High Speed, Affordable Internet

Tribes in WA have received more than $95 million from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program; program funding secured by Cantwell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, announced that the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and the Makah Indian Tribe have each been awarded $500,000 grants through the Department of Commerce’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.

“Tribes throughout the State of Washington are working to ensure that their community’s homes, schools, and businesses have reliable and affordable internet access,” said Senator Cantwell. “This award will help the Swinomish and Makah Tribes plan out and build broadband infrastructure so that over 300 more tribal households can access telehealth appointments, remote learning, and other online services that require high-speed internet. This includes future middle mile deployment and upgrades to expand internet networks closer to tribal families in the hardest to reach areas.

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community received $500,000 for a dual Broadband Use and Adoption and Planning, Engineering, Feasibility, and Sustainability project. The project will provide broadband subsidies for eligible Tribal households and fund pre-construction activities to provide future broadband service to 289 Tribal households, 9 Tribally owned businesses, and 31 Tribal community anchor institutions. This project is also expected to enable broadband adoption activities, including telehealth and remote learning, and prepare the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community for the future deployment of a ~47.5-mile middle- and last-mile fiber network that will be deployed both aerially and underground.?

The Makah Indian Tribe received $500,000 for a Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project to connect 59 unserved households and one community anchor institution to qualifying broadband service ranging from 25/3 Mbps to 50/10 Mbps via a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and fixed wireless network, and to upgrade an existing microwave middle-mile network.

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a nearly $3 billion grant program and part of President Biden’s Internet for All Initiative. This program is funded through $980 million made available from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and $2 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Grants are directed to Tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on Tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.

Throughout her time in the Senate, Sen. Cantwell has been a champion for increasing access to broadband connectivity. Sen. Cantwell helped secure $65 billion in grant funding in the BIL to increase broadband access in rural and underserved communities, including $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.

So far, more than $95 million has been awarded to 14 Tribes in the State of Washington from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. A map of all Washington state award recipients can be found here