U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced on September 29, 2023, that the Klamath Tribes have secured a $500,000 federal grant to improve broadband service for its Tribal members in southern Oregon. This investment comes as a crucial step in bridging the digital divide and ensuring that Tribal communities have access to reliable and modern broadband.
Senator Wyden, who had earlier fought to correct inaccuracies in the National Broadband Map, expressed his satisfaction with the federal investment. He stated that Tribal communities in Oregon and nationwide need and deserve reliable broadband for various purposes, including educational and job opportunities, small business growth, and telehealth services. He emphasized his commitment to ensuring that all of Oregon’s Tribal communities receive the necessary support for robust broadband in their communities.
Senator Merkley echoed the importance of reliable and affordable broadband in today’s world, especially for Tribal communities. He highlighted that investments in improving access to high-speed internet would greatly support the economy, education, and quality of life for the Klamath Tribes. He pledged to continue securing resources that support Oregon’s Tribes.
The $500,000 federal grant, provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, will fund environmental technical studies, compliance documents, network design, and engineering. These efforts will support the future deployment of a fixed wireless backhaul and last-mile fiber-optic network. The Tribal Broadband Connectivity program aims to offer grants to eligible Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian entities for high-speed internet deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning.
This investment is a significant step toward improving broadband access for Tribal communities in southern Oregon. It will greatly enhance opportunities for education, economic growth, and overall well-being. The efforts of Senators Wyden and Merkley in securing this grant demonstrate their commitment to ensuring equitable access to essential resources for all communities, including Tribal communities.