Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today congratulated the Tohono O’odham Nation for receiving more than $7.1 million in grants and loans through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the expansion of broadband Internet access. The money comes from a Department of Agriculture program designed to improve rural communities’ economic and educational opportunities.
“The Recovery Act has been extending a hand to communities for more than a year now, and we’re still seeing exciting progress,” Grijalva said. “This is a textbook definition of a shovel-ready project that will both create good jobs in the short term and lay the groundwork for a permanently stronger local economy in the future.”
The tribe will receive a $3,565,900 loan and a $3,565,900 grant, which together will be used to design, engineer and construct a digital network to replace dial-up service. The installation of fiber-optic cable will generate jobs, and the infrastructure put in place will improve educational quality and make the Nation more attractive for future business.
The Tohono O’odham Utility Authority (TOUA) has already committed to offer 1,000 free computers and six months of free high-speed Internet service to residents in need who can demonstrate an economic development or educational benefit.
Broadband will come to the tribe in two ways: high-speed DSL services throughout the reservation with “Fiber-to-the-Premises” technology, and fixed-site wireless access in certain areas. The dual track will make it easier for Tribal members to enjoy the benefits wherever they live and work.
“The Tribe won this competitive grant because the benefits will be immediate, obvious and widespread,” Grijalva said. “I congratulate them for pursuing this opportunity successfully, and I join them in looking forward to the future of this project.”
For more information, call the TOUA at (520) 383-5800.