Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week announced that the Burns Paiute Tribe will receive nearly $500,000 from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to build a resilient communications tower that will help with rural broadband connection.

“The future for rural Oregon depends on access to high-speed internet, and that blueprint for modern connections must include Tribal communities,” said Wyden, who last month with colleagues pushed the FCC to ensure rural, tribal communities receive a fair share of federal broadband grants. “As the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has now invested in getting more communities connected to reliable, quality broadband, I am gratified to see members of the Burns Paiute Tribe benefit from these federal resources to continue building a resilient, reliable broadband network that will help on everything from homework to telehealth.”

“In today’s connected world, every rural and tribal community across Oregon and America needs and deserves access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband,” Merkley said. “This important infrastructure will support access to crucial broadband for the Burns Paiute Tribe and will be a strong investment into the future success of the community.” 

The Burns Paiute Tribe will use these funds to build a 195-foot, self-sustaining communications tower, replacing outdated infrastructure. The new tower will be resilient against extreme weather, serve 20 tribal anchor institutions, bring internet to the roughly 60 Tribal homes that have lacked access, and maintain lower broadband costs for the Tribal government.

“Without this NTIA funding, there is a real chance of critical failure in our current infrastructure as well as no way that we could extend high speed internet to Tribal membership. This project will help ensure that the Burns Paiute Tribe has reliable access to high-speed internet for the next twenty years. It opens opportunities to the Tribe that would otherwise be closed off due to a wide range of reasons and most importantly it will give the Tribe the tools they need to move forward in a society that is becoming more and more connected,” said Burns Paiute Tribe Technology Director Jonathon Mocan.