June is in full swing and so is the much anticipated Salmon and Pollock B season. We are also welcoming visitors back to our region. This year we have the protection of some of the highest vaccination rates in the state and the partnership of a fishing industry that is building on its many successes from 2020. That is very good news as our summer fisheries are so critically important to our communities from Kodiak to Adak, and all points in-between. We are hoping for a successful and safe summer for everyone, residents and visitors alike.
The Alaska DOT has recently started designing the Alaska Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan & Freight Plan, a long-term plan meant to guide transportation policy, the STIP process, investment, and projects for the next thirty years. It is an attempt to tie the different elements of the transportation of people and goods together to strengthen and support our many communities that are not on a road system, so it is very important that they hear from the SWAMC region if we are to be successfully incorporated into the larger statewide plan. We ask you to take the survey, to call into Legislative hearings, and to email our state representatives on a regular basis, because what you think matters! Southwest Alaska needs to be heard as this new long-term plan is developed, or we risk not being relevant in the process. This short survey will only take a few minutes to complete.
New movement on the Broadband front! The Department of Commerce's NTIA (National Telecommunications & Information Administration) announced nearly $1 Billion in funding to expand broadband on tribal land through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Program is out now and applications are due September 1, 2021. Funding can cover deployment of broadband infrastructure on tribal lands, including support for the establishment of carrier-neutral submarine cable landing stations; such infrastructure deployment projects may involve the construction of middle-mile or last-mile networks as well as interconnection. Applicants may propose projects that deploy new broadband infrastructure, replace antiquated infrastructure, or upgrade or extend existing infrastructure. For example, applicants may propose projects that utilize 2.5 GHz licenses or other licensed spectrum received from the FCC.
NTIA requires construction of networks that use commercial grade equipment that will meet current needs and be scalable to meet future needs. Infrastructure can include, but is not limited to, cable, fiber, wireless, fixed wireless, and satellite. Applicants may propose the technology or technologies that best meets tribal needs; however, NTIA encourages the submission of project proposals that deploy future-proof infrastructure to the extent feasible, e.g. fiber. If an applicant is not at the stage where it can submit a broadband construction project proposal, NTIA will accept project proposals to conduct planning, engineering, feasibility, or sustainability studies as part of the necessary steps to develop a technological solution for broadband deployment. Tribal Governments, Tribal Organizations, and Native Corporations are eligible entities and may apply individually or as a member of a Consortium which may be a simpler and more timely way to proceed.
This is an amazing opportunity for Southwest Alaska and the September 1 application deadline is going to come up quick. Have questions? Need help with the application process? Interested in joining the Alaska Tribal Spectrum Consortium? Let us know! Call (907) 562-7380 or (907) 242-4077 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shirley and Laura