Federal Grant Kickstarts Broadband Internet for Tribal Housing

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians was recently awarded a grant for nearly half a million dollars to help jumpstart broadband internet access for Tribal members in rural Douglas County.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded $482,325 to the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.

The grant will go toward developing shovel-ready projects around Canyonville that will in the future provide broadband access to the Wilí Tribal Housing neighborhood in Myrtle Creek. The projects will also improve general connectivity across the area, which will aid emergency services and telecommunications access in some areas that currently have none.

Umpqua Indian Development Corporation’s Chief Technology Officer Richard Rader estimates the projects will take about 18-24 months to complete, calling this Phase 1 of the entire scope of the plan.

“The projects will be the basis for future investments in the Tribal membership,” says Rader, “bringing into reality reaching all Tribal members in the region at their homes and providing them a pathway to digital engagement.”

Other Pacific Northwest Tribes such as Nez Perce, Swinomish and Makah also received similar broadband grants in a previous round of funding that totaled nearly $4 million for Tribal communities.