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$2.9 million grant awarded to Diné College to expand broadband services

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Diné College
Diné College was established in 1968 and currently has five branches in Arizona and New Mexico.

Earlier this month, KUNM reported on the lack of broadband access to tribal communities. Now Diné College on the Navajo Nation is among four other minority driven colleges receiving millions in federal grants to expand their internet-service programs.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced the grant will be one of the first coming from the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program.

The money will go towards providing internet access, equipment, and to hire and train technology personnel.

In a press release, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves called the country’s minority serving colleges and universities bedrock learning centers that have been left behind in access to affordable high-speed internet.

U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., said Diné College students will get access to new laptops, mobile hotspots, printing kiosks and professional training.

This program is part of President Biden’s Internet for All initiative which aims to expand affordable high-speed internet.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide $65 billion in funds to expand high-speed internet to communities across the U.S. But for many rural tribal communities, broadband access is still a problem.

Jeanette DeDios is from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2022 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism, English and Film. She’s currently a part of the Local News Fund Fellowship where she will be working with KUNM-FM and NMPBS during her 9-month fellowship where she will gain hands-on newsroom experience. Jeanette can be contacted at jeanettededios@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeanetteDeDios.
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