Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Fri, Aug. 19

Biden administration announces $2.9 million grant to Diné College to expand high-speed internet

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. and Arizona Senator Mark Kelly tour a site for future cell tower development. (Photo/Navajo Nation Council)

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. and Arizona Senator Mark Kelly tour a site for future cell tower development. (Photo/Navajo Nation Council)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced Friday it has awarded Diné College $2,925,627.00 as part of the first grants of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC).

Diné College is one of five minority-serving colleges and universities receiving grants totaling $10,642,577.03. The grants will be used to fund internet access, equipment, and to hire and train information technology personnel.

Specifically, Diné College will use the grant to improve educational and economic opportunity on the Navajo Nation by improving internet access, providing more hardware, and investing in IT staff.

“America’s minority serving college and universities are bedrock learning centers that have too often been left behind when it comes to accessing affordable high-speed internet,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program enables these institutions to be a resource for access, digital skills training, and workforce development programs for students and the community to help level the economic playing field.”

The CMC program is part of President Biden’s Internet for All initiative and specifically directs $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for expanding high-speed internet access and connectivity to eligible colleges and universities.

“Access to computers and reliable internet is crucial to students’ success in the classroom. This grant will ensure Diné College students have access to new laptops, mobile hotspots, printing kiosks, as well as professional development training,” said Senator Mark Kelly. “We’ll continue working to bridge the digital divide for the next generation of leaders and innovators on the Navajo Nation.”

“I am beyond pleased to see these program grants I worked to secure in our 2021 government funding bills awarded to Diné College to continue building out their broadband infrastructure and operations. As an advocate for TCUs since coming to Washington in 2017, I am always glad to see this multifaceted work come to fruition,” said Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01). “I’m looking forward to continued collaboration with partners like Diné College to ensure hardworking students have the resources they need to complete their studies and begin rewarding careers.”

More information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed internet programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.

Information provided by Diné College

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