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Idaho tribe receives $12.3 million in stimulus broadband funds

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has been awarded $12.3 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to construct a broadband network that will provide high-speed Internet access for the rural communities and surrounding areas on the reservation.

The fiber-to-the-home project calls for miles of fiber optic lines to be installed in Plummer, Worley, Tensed and DeSmet.

“This is awesome news for everyone living on the reservation,” Coeur d’Alene Tribe Chairman Chief James Allan told Indian Country Today. “The broadband project will have a profound impact on all residents of the Coeur d’Alene reservation.”

The project will provide services to anchor institutions and critical community facilities and roughly 3,800 un-served and underserved households on the reservation – both tribal and non-tribal member alike, said Valerie Fast Horse, the tribe’s information and technology director.

“We have a rare opportunity to build one of the first fiber-to-the-home networks of this scale in the region. True economic development must involve revitalizing the human spirit of our communities. It is our hope that by lighting up the reservation with a fiber optic network we will spark our most creative minds and encourage the knowledge-based economy we’ve been striving to develop.”

The tribe expects to start work on installing fiber optic lines in the coming months.

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