Choctaw tribe gets $22 million government grant for high-speed internet service

 

Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation headquartered in LeFlore County is getting a $22 million USDA grant to help provide high-speed internet.

The grant was announced this week at the National center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Reservation Economic Summit held in Las Vegas. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the grant among $57,817,354 in grant awards.

Rural Development Oklahoma State Director Kenneth Corn credited President Bush with the grant, saying the President is continuing to deliver on his promise to Oklahoma tribal leaders to ensure all native persons have the right to live fulfilling an prosperous lives on their tribal homeland.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be here with Secretary Vilsack today to reaffirm the President’s commitment to rebuild our economy from the middle out and bottom-up by bringing high-speed internet, clean water, and critical infrastructure to people in communities everywhere, especially in places like rural Oklahoma that have been underserved for far too long.”

 

The $22 million for the Choctaw Nation will be used to deploy a fiber-tothe-premises network to provide high-speed internet. This network will benefit 1,988 people, 12 businesses and 100 farms in Le Flore County. Choctaw Nation will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program. This project will serve Choctaw Tribl aStatistical Area and socially vulnerable¬†communities in Le Flore County, according to the USDA announcement.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced at the summit that the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota would receive a nearly $35 million grant investment for high-speed internet and the Yomba Shoshone Tribe in Nevada would get a $772,000 grant investment for improvements to bring clean drinking water to the tribe.

The projects are being financed through the ReConnect Program and the Water and Waste Facility Loans and Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands Program.