MARKSVILLE, La. (KLFY) — The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe in Marksville, La. was awarded a grant totaling $2,499,947 for internet expansion through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

19 grants are being awarded across ten states as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. Together they total nearly $77 million. They will fund internet use and adoption projects to improve healthcare, workforce development, education, housing, and social services in tribal communities.

The NTIA’s website says that the Tunica-Biloxi grant will be used to expand access to internet services while also increasing digital literacy among Tribal Citizens.

“The implementation of the project is expected to enable internet adoption activities, including telehealth, distance learning, affordable internet programs, and digital inclusion efforts,” the website said.

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program was funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and makes $980 million available for grants to eligible Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian entities for broadband deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning.

“For far too long, Tribal Communities have been cut off from the benefits of high-speed internet, as well as the associated economic benefits that come with it. From running a business to taking online classes to scheduling a doctor’s appointment, the internet is a necessary tool for participating in our modern economy, and it’s an absolute injustice that this resource has been deprived from so many Native Americans across our country,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.