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FCC Allocates $20 Million for Broadband on Arizona Tribal Lands

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Federal Communications Commission has allocated more than $20 million to expand broadband internet on tribal lands in Arizona. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The FCC says over the next decade the funds will bring high-speed internet to almost 5,000 homes and businesses mostly on the Navajo Nation in Apache, Coconino and Navajo counties.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority will install the infrastructure and has six years to complete the project.

According to Census Bureau data, about a quarter of the Navajo Nation’s 45,000 households have broadband. On Hopi tribal lands it’s less than 30 percent, compared to more than three-quarters of the total U.S. population.

The tribal broadband project is part of a larger push by the FCC to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas across the U.S. It’ll spend $1.488 billion over the next decade to connect more than 700,000 unserved homes and small businesses.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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