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Yurok tribe receives $61 million to improve internet access

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The Yurok team standing with special representative for broadband Andy Berke.

On Thursday, the Yurok Tribe received a $61 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to bring high speed internet to nearly 1,000 homes and 110 businesses on the far northern California coast.

With these federal funds, The Yurok Tribe will install more than 62 miles of fiber optic cable and construct seven telecommunication towers. Yurok Chairman Joe James says the project is expected to create up to 200 local jobs.

“We’re on the receiving end of this great project, but again, we also want to be on the manufacturing side of it," James said.

The grant is part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, which delivers $65 billion to help ensure all Americans have access to high-speed internet. $14 billion of the law goes to making internet more affordable for underserved populations. Those living on tribal lands can get a $75 voucher for internet services if they make less than 200% of the poverty line.

The Hoopa tribe received a $66 million grant from the federal law for a similar project.

With the major increase in internet access, both tribes expects to see improvements in areas such as public health, economic development and education.

Noah is a broadcast journalist and podcast producer who was born and raised in Salem, Oregon. He came to Jefferson Public Radio through the Charles Snowden Program of Excellence after graduating with a BS in journalism from the University of Oregon. In his spare time, Noah enjoys backpacking, scuba diving and writing music.