TUCSON, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today announced $9,957,228 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Tohono O’odham Utility Authority as part of a $759 million federal effort to bring high-speed internet access to people living and working in the U.S. This Rural Development investment will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,624 people, 123 farms, 11 businesses and four educational facilities in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties in Arizona.
The Tohono O’odham Utility Authority will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the Federal Communication Commission’s Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity programs. This project will serve socially vulnerable communities in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties as well as the Tohono O’odham Nation Reservation and Tohono O’odham Nation Off-Reservation Trust Land.
“I’ve made it a priority to bridge the digital divide and increase high-speed internet access for communities across my district,” said Rep. Grijalva. “I’m happy to see that this federal funding is going to make a difference and further connect the Tohono O’odham Nation and surrounding southern Arizona communities. We must ensure that affordable and accessible internet services are available for everyone.”
“The Tohono O’odham Utility Authority is very excited to have received $9.9 million in grant funds from the USDA. These funds will help provide the infrastructural requirements to start closing the digital divide on the Tohono O’odham Nation,” said Brian Fickett, General Manager and the board of directors of the Tohono O’odham Utility Authority. “With high-speed internet, the members of the Tohono O’odham Nation will be able to access the same services that are readily available in the metropolitan areas at a reasonable cost. On behalf of the Tohono O’odham Nation, we wish to thank President Biden, Vice President Harris, Members of Congress and the Senate for providing the funds needed to provide Tribal Nations a bright and prosperous future.”
The investments include funding from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supported by Rep. Grijalva, which provided a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. More information on the USDA announcement can be found here.