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.