US Department of Agriculture Funding Broadband to St. Paul Island via Native Corporation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending more than half-a-million taxpayer dollars to bring broadband Internet service to the 481 mostly indigenous people of St. Paul, Alaska – a community located 300 miles off the mainland.

“Without broadband, rural communities and business owners face a substantial challenge,” said Dallas Tonsager, Agricultural Undersecretary for Rural Development, in announcing the $554,140 grant. “In Alaska, this grant will bring the benefits of broadband, including new educational, business and public health and safety opportunities to rural residents living in a remote area.”

The taxpayer funds will go directly to Tanadgusix Corporation, the company that will build the broadband network.

The grant is administered through the “Community Connect” program, which is run by USDA’s Rural Development agency.

Community Connect provides grants to poor, rural communities with populations under 20,000 “where broadband service is least likely to be available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for citizens,” according to the program’s description.

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