Broadband Breakfast on March 20, 2024 - Tribal Broadband: A Status Update

What's the status of tribal broadband connectivity in anticipation of the NTIA's second funding round?

Broadband Breakfast on March 20, 2024 - Tribal Broadband: A Status Update

As the NTIA prepares to dole out most of the remaining funds for its Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, totaling over $900 million for the second round, now is the time for a status update on tribal broadband connectivity. Are the funds being channeled to the areas most in need? What lessons can be drawn from the first funding round? How does the program tie in with other initiatives such as the Middle Mile and Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment programs? What comes after this final round?

Tribal Broadband Faces Unique Challenges, Opportunities, Experts Say
Issues include the high costs of building infrastructure, the need for tribal sovereignty, and the importance of partnering with tribes.


  • Matthew Rantanen, Director of Technology, Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association, Tribal Digital Village
  • Linnea Jackson, General Manager, Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District (HVPUD)
  • Melissa M. Kookesh, Tribal Liaison, Alaska Broadband Office
  • Lisa Youvella, Telecom Services Coordinator, Hopi Telecom
  • Adam Geisler, President and Chief Operating Officer, Tribal Ready
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

NTIA Extends Tribal Broadband Application Window
Tribal governments can now submit proposals through March 22, 2024, rather than January 23.
Tribal Providers Say They Rely on ACP to Connect Communities
The fund is set to run dry in 2024.
GAO Wants NTIA Feedback to Tribes Receiving Smaller Broadband Grants
Feedback could help Tribes improve future funding applications and expand broadband infrastructure.
Tribes Must Be Ready to Challenge State Broadband Maps: Tribal Ready
Tribes needs to be prepared to approach states on what coverage data is not included in state maps.
Tribal Nations Face Challenges in Accessing and Maximizing Funding: Connected America Conference
The lengthy grant application process can be a barrier for Tribes with limited resources.
Rural Assembly Paints Dire Picture About Lack of Broadband, Impact of Coronavirus in Indian Country
April 24, 2020—A host of guests at the Rural Assembly webinar on Wednesday painted a grim picture of the state of broadband in rural and tribal life. The webinar, titled “Has the government’s response been accurate?” attempted to answer that question related these often- forgotten communities. “The connectivity is not where it needs to be […]

Matthew Rantanen is director of technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association, Tribal Digital Village for the last 23 years, working with 109 Tribes in CA aligning them with the CA state Middle Mile Broadband Initiative, Co-Founder of the Tribal Broadband Bootcamps. Matthew, of Cree (First Nations, Canada), Finnish, and Norwegian descent, has been described by his peers as a "cyber warrior for Tribal community networking."

Linnea Jackson is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in Northern California. For over 4 years, she has served as General Manager for the Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District (HVPUD). HVPUD’s mission is to provide utility services that advance tribal strategies to grow economic development, build a strong foundation of utility infrastructure, and ensure a framework for quality growth and expansion on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation and aboriginal territory. HVPUD manages the Tribe’s domestic and irrigation water systems, solid waste management, utility construction services, broadband and energy initiatives. Linnea’s goal is to help the tribe meet its resiliency goals, help strengthen tribal energy sovereignty and help our region meet climate adaptation goals and to help protect ourenvironment and cultural resources for generations to come.

Melissa M. Kookesh serves as the Tribal Liaison for the Alaska Broadband Office which is housed under the State of Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Melissa was brought on to serve as the Tribal Liaison between the Alaska Broadband Office and Alaska’s 400 plus Native entities including the 229 federally recognized Tribes, Alaska Native Regional Non-Profit Organizations and the ANCSA Village and Regional Corporations. In her role she is also responsible for continuity of collaboration with Tribal partners regarding Digital Equity and the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment. 

Lisa Youvella has been working in telecommunications going on 15 years next month. She has a broad understanding in bringing phone and internet to very rural tribal lands and what knowing our tribal people need the services. She works hand in hand with customers, the community and organizations to see how this all can be possible.

Adam Geisler is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Tribal Ready Inc., a Tribally owned and governed Public Benefit Corporation. He worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce for 8 years and formally served as the Division Chief for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, deploying nearly 2 billion in funding to connect 158,000 tribal households. Tribal Ready’s mission is advancing Tribal Sovereignty to unleash the full power and potential of Native communities.

Breakfast Media LLC CEO Drew Clark has led the Broadband Breakfast community since 2008. An early proponent of better broadband, better lives, he initially founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for broadband data. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over the leading media company advocating for higher-capacity internet everywhere through topical, timely and intelligent coverage. Clark also served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative.

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