Akiak Native Community Joins Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Tribal Broadband Consortium
The Akiak Native Community, a federally recognized Indian Tribe, has joined the nonprofit Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Tribal Broadband Consortium, a Tribal Organization as defined in 25 U.S.C. § 5304(l). The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) Tribal Broadband Consortium was created by Tribes for Tribes, to connect and serve YKD Tribal communities by installing and providing broadband internet services that strengthen Tribal sovereignty and increase economic independence.
“The Consortium was created specially as a nonprofit Tribal Organization to start closing the digital divide for our unserved Tribal communities by building a connected broadband internet highway for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta,” says Kevin Hamer, General Manager. “YKD Tribal ownership of our broadband installation projects and internet services will provide jobs and keep revenue in the YKD. The Akiak Native Community (ANC) is one of the first nine YKD Tribal Members of the Consortium and more are in the process of joining.”
On June 3, 2021, the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a historic Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and began accepting application for $1 billion in available grant funding under the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP). According to Hamer, the Consortium will submit a large YKD grant application that funds 100 percent of the LEO fixed wireless broadband installation projects for all Tribal Consortium members. “Because all YKD Tribes are unserved, the NTIA is required by law to prioritize our grant application,” explains Hamer. “The more YKD Tribes that join the Consortium, the higher the level of prioritization our grant application will receive. But TBCP grant applications are due by September 1, and YKD Tribes who wish to join the Consortium should do so quickly.”
“The Akiak Native Community is proud to be part of the YKD Tribal Broadband Consortium where sovereign Tribes join forces to break free from the unserved internet prison that keeps our communities left out and left behind in the digital age,” says Chief Michael P. Williams, Sr. of the Akiak Native Community. “With historic grant funding available and a YKD Tribal Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband pilot project underway, the pieces are in place and the time is now for us to own our future and install broadband in our Tribal communities.
“All YKD Tribes should join the YKD Tribal Broadband Consortium. Through the Consortium, YKD Tribes will build a connected and sustainable high speed internet highway that opens the door to opportunities long denied to our people and builds a brighter future for our children.”
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