Murkowski, Sullivan Applaud An Additional $124.4 Million in Broadband Investment for Western and Southwestern Alaska

WASHNGTON—U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-Alaska) applauded the announcement of an additional $124.4 million in federal broadband grants for Western and Southwestern Alaska.   

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) announced Tuesday  that the Bethel Native Corporation received a $42 million grant to build a fiber network for Bethel, Platinum, Eek, Napaskiak, and Oscarville, $52.6 million to Calista to install fiber across 10 villages in the region, and $29.5 million to Choggiung Limited to connect unserved households in the Bristol Bay region. The USDA’s Rural Utilities Service ReConnect program announced in July that GCI also received a $31 million grant to construct long-haul fiber and local fiber across communities in Western Alaska. 

“Congratulations to the Bethel Native Corporation, Calista, Choggiung, and the many communities in the YK Delta and Southwest Alaska who will benefit from these awards,” said Senator Murkowski. “Over the last two years, I worked with my colleagues to draft and enact bipartisan legislation that is translating today into long awaited investments in broadband infrastructure. Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, I was able to create and secure funding for broadband connectivity programs in Native communities. I know these investments in expanded connectivity will bring new opportunities for education, healthcare, and economic development. Thanks to all who are working to expand broadband connectivity across Alaska, especially our unserved and underserved communities.” 

“Access to high-speed, reliable internet can be life-changing for a community, enhancing the delivery of health care and education, and opening doors for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Senator Sullivan. “Many of our rural, Alaska Native communities for too long have found themselves without the broadband connectivity that most Americans take for granted. I’m glad to see the significant federal infrastructure dollars we secured being deployed to break down the digital divide and improve the lives and well-being of thousands of Alaskans across Southwestern and Western Alaska.”

After hosting the Alaska Broadband Summit and Workshop in August, Senator Sullivan led a delegation of federal officials, including NTIA Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson, USDA Assistant Administrator Laurel Leverrier, and FCC Commissioners Brendan Carr and Nathan Simington, to Bethel and other nearby communities in need of high speed, reliable internet. 

These grants were largely made possible by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that both Senators Murkowski and Sullivan played key roles in crafting. Alaska has now received more than $2.4 billion total from the IIJA, which includes broadband investments, with billions more expected to flow to the state in the months and years ahead. Previously announced grants for improving high-speed internet access include:

  • September 23, 2022: $63 million in broadband investments announced for communities in Southeast Alaska and the North Slope Borough from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service ReConnect program.
  • September 22, 2022: More than $29 million announced for the Native Village of Port Lions for their Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project to install fiber directly connecting 930 unserved households and businesses. 
  • July 28, 2022: Over $116 million announced for infrastructure funding for high-speed internet in communities across Alaska, of which $31 million was announced to construct long-haul fiber and local fiber in the Y-K Delta communities of Atmautluak, Kasigluk, Nunapitchuk, Quinhagak, and Tuntutuliak.