Nisqually Tribe receives funding for expanded internet access


The Nisqually Tribe is one of three recipients awarded grants from the Washington State Department of Commerce to expand access to the internet through digital navigator services.

The tribe will receive $430,958 of the $14.5 million in grants announced by the department on Monday, Sept. 11.

The Nisqually Tribal Council’s consortium will collaborate with the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, Timberland Regional Library, the Thurston Economic Development Council and Thurston Thrives to ensure all individuals have access to digital navigation services for individuals and business, a variety of digital skills classes, devices, Wi-Fi connectivity and discounted or free internet services.

“The Nisqually Tribe is excited to be able to add digital navigation instruction to the community with this award from the state Department of Commerce,” said Willie Frank III, chairman of the Nisqually Tribal Council, in a press release. “This will allow us to add critical education to tribal and non-tribal members that will focus on introductory technology help, educational apps and skill training with devices that access the internet, such as smartphones, personal computers, e-readers and more. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to expand the services we can offer as part of our internet infrastructure work.”

Nearly 240,000 Washington households do not have access to high-speed internet, and 4% do not have access to a computing device. These grants, also awarded to Equity in Education Coalition and Community Health Network of Washington, will provide resources to support individuals seeking work, families with students, English language learners, Medicaid clients, people experiencing poverty and seniors.