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$17M awarded to give Native Hawaiian communities high-speed internet

Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

The federal government is awarding the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands $17.3 million dollars to bring high-speed internet to Native Hawaiian communities.

It’s part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The program aims to provide broadband equipment to Indigenous communities.

"During the pandemic, we all learned how critical access to high-speed internet is to our daily lives," said the Hawaiian Homes Commission chair William J. Ailā, Jr.

"These grant funds will provide the opportunity for broadband use and adoption activities to alleviate many connectivity issues highlighted throughout our communities during that time," he said.

The funding also plans to go towards purchasing new computers and increasing remote learning and telehealth programs.

"Our Native Hawaiian community continues to be impacted by gaps in meaningful access to the internet, as highlighted in many areas of our state during the pandemic. This grant will go a long way in helping to provide and improve broadband accessibility throughout our communities,” said Lt. Gov. Luke.

DHHL will survey Native Hawaiian households to gather data and develop a statewide broadband strategy.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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