The Day – Mashantuckets Receives $493,000 Grant to Expand Internet Access

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration awarded the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe a $493,000 grant to expand Internet access.

U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both D-Conn., and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, announced the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program grant award in a joint press release. this week.

“It’s just a reality that high-speed internet access is as necessary to modern life as electricity,” Murphy said. “It is unacceptable that tribal communities are often the most affected by the digital divide, and this federal funding will help provide affordable international service to households in the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

Blumenthal said the funding will ensure Mashantucket Pequot households are connected to affordable high-speed internet, “an important and indispensable necessity these days.”

Broadband internet is a critical part of modern infrastructure, and we have several tribal and rural communities here in eastern Connecticut that have been waiting years for serious investment to make their internet speeds and bandwidth competitive with the others,” Courtney said. “Now, as we continue to work at full speed after the pandemic, hundreds of households, workforce skills training personnel, small businesses and others from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation will see increased internet access and speeds.”

The funding will help 163 tribal households, workforce development staff and tribal institutions address COVID-19 challenges that have impacted tribal members, according to the lawmakers’ press release. The project aims to provide internet service and affordable equipment to tribal members in addition to creating a workforce development center.

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity program is a $980 million initiative.

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