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LUBBOCK — The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas has received more than $2.6 million from the federal government to install fiber for broadband.
The grant will help bring 354 unserved Native American households and businesses online. The grant is part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program though the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The NTIA announced it awarded 23 grants totaling more than $601.6 million, bringing the program total to $1.35 billion awarded to 94 tribal entities nationwide.
The grant is the latest update from federal and state governments that have been working on connecting more Texans to broadband access. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 7 million Texans lack broadband access.
The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe, which is just south of Eagle Pass near the U.S.-Mexico border, will receive $2,623,357 in funds. The tribe has a population of 1,095 members and is one of the three federally recognized Native American tribes in Texas.
“On behalf of the tribal council and the tribe, I am so pleased that the tribe was given an award to better the tribe’s internet system,” said Juan Garza Jr., chair of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas. “This system will help the tribal members to have a good internet connection and have better communication with their schoolwork, with work, or just communicating with their friends and family.”
The funds will be used to invest in high-speed internet network deployment and digital skills training to improve access to education, jobs and health care on Tribal lands with qualifying broadband service at speeds of 120/20 Mbps.
“We are making an historic investment in tribal communities to ensure reliable, affordable high-speed internet for all,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. “These grants — made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — underscore President [Joe] Biden’s commitment to closing the digital divide in the United States, especially within tribal lands. Today’s awards will not only build high-speed internet capacity within tribal nations, but also bring digital opportunities for good-paying jobs, education and health care.”