Government and Politics
November 30, 2022
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced over $1.5 million in federal funding for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. The money will be used to install fiber to help 76 unserved Tribal households access high-speed broadband. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Murray helped pass added $2 billion to the program to help get eligible Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian entities funding for high-speed internet deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning.
“In the 21st century, access to high-speed internet is essential to daily life. Whether it’s telehealth, online learning, or remote work, access to the internet opens up new opportunities for people,” said Senator Murray. “I fought to secure this funding for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe because I know just how important connectivity is for families to be able to succeed. As the voice for Washington state’s Tribes in the Senate, I will always have the backs of our Tribes and ensure their priorities are the federal government’s priorities.”
“The Upper Skagit Tribe is excited to receive this notification for the grant award. The Tribe will begin the process for our tribal community to join the nation with Tribal Broadband availability,” said Upper Skagit Indian Tribe Chair Marilyn Scott.
A longtime advocate for expanding broadband access, Senator Murray worked to include $65 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to ensure that every family in America has access to reliable, high speed internet. Notably, this includes Senator Murray’s Digital Equity Act, which helps to close the digital divide by funding activities that provide individuals and communities with the skills and technologies necessary to take full advantage of internet connection. Senator Murray also fought to include nearly $7 billion in the American Rescue Plan to increase access to high-speed internet services and close the digital divide.
She has been particularly focused on ensuring Tribes in Washington state have access to high-speed affordable internet. Through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to date, Senator Murray has secured over $90 million for Washington state Tribes across the state to connect households, businesses, and anchor institutions to the internet. The awards in Washington state include:
Suquamish Tribe: $1.09 million to improve community anchor institutions’ digital readiness and the development of workforce training and digital literacy programs aimed to increase digital inclusion among Tribal members
Cowlitz Indian Tribe: $7.58 million to increase broadband use and adoption among Native American Tribal citizens and community members in Longview, Washington through the implementation of affordable broadband services, distribution of enabled devices, digital literacy and skills training programs, and the launch of a Tribal platform for the delivery of tribal services.
Port Gamble S’Kallam Tribe: $443,000 to construct both aerial fiber and underground fiber-to-the-home to 69 unserved households, in addition to 118 households that are under construction and scheduled for occupancy in early 2022.
Samish Indian Nation: $584,000 to address the current digital divide by conducting an analysis of internet assets, digital literacy skills, and the availability of broadband equipment and devices for Samish Tribal citizens.
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation: $48.4 million to install fiber directly connecting 2,867 unserved Native American households with upgraded broadband speeds.
Lummi Nation: $15.9 million to install fiber directly connecting 2,273 unserved Native American households, 193 Tribal businesses, and 23 anchor institutions.
Spokane Tribe of Indians: $16.8 million to install fiber directly connecting 800 unserved Native American households, 10 businesses, and 28 anchor institutions with fiber-to-the-home service.