Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians among recipients of high speed internet grant

Funding will provide high-speed internet access to people and businesses in rural and remote areas across 20 States; additional funding will come from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law in coming months
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians logo. (Sault Tribe Graphic)
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians logo. (Sault Tribe Graphic)(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 7:51 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON D.C. (WLUC) - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday, that the Department is awarding $502 million in loans and grants to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in 20 states. The funding is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to investing in rural infrastructure and providing reliable, affordable, high-speed internet for all. USDA is making investments through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. The Department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet in the coming months, including funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.

“President Biden’s commitment to high-speed internet in rural communities is foundational to ensuring that the nation’s economy continues to expand from the bottom up and the middle out,” Vilsack said. “High-speed internet will improve the rural economy. It will help rural businesses grow and get access to new markets. It will help rural residents get access to more and better health care and educational opportunities. USDA knows rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for all.”

USDA is making 32 awards in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. Many of the awards will help rural people and businesses on Tribal lands and people in socially vulnerable communities.

As part of the announcement:

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is receiving a $25 million grant to connect 1,217 people and 26 businesses to high-speed internet in Chippewa and Mackinac counties. The Tribe will make high-speed internet affordable by requiring its service provider to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a discount of up to $30 per month – or $75 per month for households on Tribal lands – on household’s internet bills, as well as the FCC’s Lifeline Program. This project will serve Sault Ste. Marie Off-Reservation Trust Land, the Sault Ste. Marie Reservation as well as socially vulnerable communities in Chippewa and Mackinac counties.