Alaska Federation of Natives
Today, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTAI) announced its latest round of Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) awards. Leading the list of awardees, in terms of grant amount and consortium size, was the Alaska Federation of Natives, who secured a $35.1 million use and adoption Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program award for its 74 consortium members.
“The size of this award reflects Alaska’s broadband needs,” said Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka. “This isn’t about Alaska Federation of Natives. It’s about the tribes, village corporations, and regional non-profit tribal organizations, including housing entities, who trusted us to explain the breadth and width of their digital divide to National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).”
“In the midst of a global health pandemic, Alaska Federation of Natives created the largest Native consortium to date to bring this tremendous award back to Alaska,” said Alaska Federation of Natives Co-Chair Ana Hoffman. “The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is an incredibly complex and competitive program. Alaska Federation of Natives knew that an award of this magnitude could only be achieved by leveraging resources.”
Alaska Federation of Natives consortium member MTNT, Ltd., a village corporation representing four Interior communities, echoed this sentiment. “We explored the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program last year, and we wanted to apply, but we didn’t have the manpower or money to make it happen,” said MTNT, Ltd. CEO Michele Christiansen. "Alaska Federation of Natives’ invitation to join its broadband consortium was not just our only option — it was also our best option.”
“Today’s announcement illustrates how the Alaska Native community thinks and works,’ said Alaska Federation of Natives Co-Chair Joe Nelson. “We’re masters of inclusivity. The digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning opportunities that Alaska Federation of Natives’ broadband consortium will bring about over the next year will serve all Alaskans, Native and non-Native alike, for decades to come.”
Governor Mike Dunleavy said, “This is precisely the ‘all-of-Alaska-approach’ that I had in mind when I funded Alaska Federation of Natives’ Navigator Program through a state CARES grant last year. It’s a statewide success story. I look forward to the Legislature building on this landmark moment and approving an additional round of funding through my FY23 operating budget to keep the Navigator Program going.”
The Alaska Federation of Natives Navigator Program was established to help the Native community recover from COVID-19 by securing federal resources and preventing and mitigating the spread of the virus. It is funded through September 2022 thanks to Chugach Alaska Corporation.
“Chugach was proud to provide gap funding for Alaska Federation of Natives’ Navigator Program when the state funds lapsed last year,” said Chugach Chair Sheri Buretta. “We fully support the mission. Congratulations to Julie and her team, as well as Alaska Federation of Natives’ broadband consortium, on this history making announcement.”
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