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$7M infrastructure grant to expand broadband access for Havasupai Tribe

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Alden Woods/The Arizona Republic via AP
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In this Feb. 17, 2018, photo, a fence surrounds Havasupai Elementary School in Havasupai, Ariz.

The Havasupai Tribe will receive more than $7 million in federal funding to boost high-speed Internet access. Like many rural Indigenous communities, the remote reservation in the Grand Canyon has long struggled with connectivity.

The funds from last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will connect more than 100 homes and other locations on the reservation to broadband. The project will deploy a wireless network with three access sites and a fiber route across nearly 90 miles.

Havasupai Vice Chairman Edmond Tilousi says increasing high-speed internet is especially important for children in school and for tribal members accessing telemedicine.

The grant is one of 18 recently awarded by the Biden administration for broadband in Indian Country. The Cocopah Indian Tribe near Yuma will also receive funds to connect more than 200 households. It’s all part of the $3 billion Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, which is designed to confront digital inequity issues.

Last month, more than $33 million from the program went to the Dilkon Chapter on the Navajo Nation to connect almost 3,700 homes.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers 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 frequent contributor to NPR.