The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe recently was awarded an $18.7 million broadband grant courtesy of The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA.)
The grant comes from NTIA’s “Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP)”. Leech Lake was one of only two Tribes to be a recipient of the program’s new grants, totaling more than $36 million. These grants focus on expanding high-speed Internet service network deployment and digital skills training to improve access to education, jobs, and healthcare on Tribal lands with funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
More on their plan…
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe plans to use the funds to install fiber and fixed wireless to directly connect 4,399 unserved Native American households with qualifying broadband service in remote areas on the Reservation that currently experience connectivity issues. The grant proposal includes 153 miles of planned fiber optic installation as well as constructing nine new wireless towers in the following communities: Noopiming, Mission, Prescott, Oak Point, Sugar Point, Inger, S. Lake and Boy Lake.
LLBO Tribal staff have been developing the grant proposal for past 18 months with assistance from the Blandin Foundation, Muralnet and Teleworx. LLBO Economic Development planner Sally Fineday, and Wireless Manager Richard Schumann say the grant will help ensure internet for all and potentially create a new source of revenue for the Tribe through leasing of unused wireless spectrum.