Get help applying for federal funding through the Just Transition Fund’s Federal Access Center! Learn More.

As the year comes to a close, there are several upcoming federal broadband funding opportunities that are worth exploring. In this 3-part blog series, we’re sharing details about the steps you can take to ensure that your community is taking advantage of available federal funding to increase access to high speed internet.

In Part 1, we explored USDA’s ReConnect Program, which is providing funding to expand broadband access in rural areas. In Part 2, we’re diving into the details of NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant. Stay tuned for future posts about other opportunities!

NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is now open! Applications are due January 23, 2024. This funding is available to Tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on Tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.

There are two tracks for this program, and there is no match requirement for either! The two tracks are:

  1. Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Projects, which can fund up to $50M for infrastructure projects that expand access to high speed internet on Tribal lands.
  2. Broadband Adoption and Use Projects, which can fund up to $2.5M for projects that ensure more Tribal households can afford service and have the necessary devices and skills to take full advantage of the internet once it’s available.

Read more about both program tracks here, and read on for step-by-step guidance about how to access funding from this program.

How to Access Funding

Step 1: Check eligibility.

Your Tribe is eligible to apply to NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant if according to this list of past recipients to date:

  • It has not yet received any funding from this program;
  • It has received a planning grant (usually $500,000 or less) but not an implementation grant (usually above $500,000 and up to $50M); or
  • It it has received a planning grant and/or an implementation grant but not a grant focused on increasing internet adoption and use; o
  • NOTE: If your Tribe has received implementation funding from NTIA before and you have capacity needs to be able to manage and administer your grant, please read more about our new pilot here.

Eligible entities are:

  • Tribal Governments
  • Tribal College or Universities
  • Department of Hawaiian Home Lands on behalf of the Native Hawaiian Community, including
  • Native Hawaiian Education Programs
  • Tribal organizations (as defined here)
  • Alaska Native Corporations

If your organization is another type of entity, such as a Native-led nonprofit organization, consider reaching out to form partnerships with an eligible entity to apply as part of a coalition!

Step 2: Determine which grant program track is the right fit.

  • If you are interested in planning for or constructing new internet infrastructure (fiber, wireless, etc), your project aligns with the Broadband Infrastructure Deployment track.
  • If you are interested in helping Tribal households afford internet service, and have the necessary devices and skills to take full advantage of the internet once it’s available, your project aligns with the Broadband Adoption and Use track. Under this track, funding can support outreach efforts to help enroll more Tribal households in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a monthly internet subsidy of up to $75/month.

Step 3: Reach out to Just Transition Fund.

Through our Federal Access Center, we offer grants and technical assistance to help coal-impacted communities and Tribes access federal funds. Reach out here if:

  • You are interested in applying for the NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant and:
    • You need funding to cover application development costs such as grant writing or preliminary engineering. We offer grants up to $100,000 that can support things like contracting with a grant writing or conducting low-level designs to include with your application as well as staff time pulling together the application; and/or
    • You want an expert to review your application draft before submission. We offer free grant reviews who can provide you feedback on draft applications.
  • You are interested in learning more about the ACP program and how to sign up more Tribal households. We can connect you with our partners who can walk you through the process of enrolling people in ACP and connect you with other organizations who are leveraging this important subsidy on Tribal Lands.
  • You have already received NTIA funding and need additional support to manage and administer your current grant. Read here for more information.