Members of N.M. Delegation Welcome $3.2 Million Broadband Investments to Navajo Nation
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) welcomed a total of $3.2 million from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the Pine Hill School of the Ramah Navajo Chapter of the Navajo Nation. The ECF provides funding for schools and libraries to purchase technology equipment and broadband connections for off-campus use and remote learning.
The ECF was created and funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was supported by Luján. This program specifically directs $7.17 billion to eligible schools and libraries, including Tribal libraries. The ECF helps provide relief to students, staff, and libraries to help close the education gap.
“Connecting more families from the Ramah Chapter on the Navajo Nation to high-speed internet is exactly what investing in the American people looks like. I’m pleased to welcome this funding as we continue the work of growing our economy by growing our middle class,” said Heinrich. “Access to reliable, high-speed internet is a necessity for students working on their homework assignments, families who need access to telehealth services, and so much more. Expanding broadband access to all of our communities is one of the surest ways to boost our economy, improve education outcomes, and strengthen public safety.”
“In this digital age, students need access to internet connectivity inside and outside the classroom,” said Luján. “As Chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, bridging the digital divide for rural and Tribal communities is a top priority. My staff and I have worked extensively with Pine Hill and other schools around New Mexico to close the homework gap and provide connectivity wherever students learn. This significant investment will help ensure students and teachers are connected to the tools needed to succeed.”
“Fast and reliable internet connections are a public utility. Students and teachers rely on high quality broadband more than ever to learn and work,” said Leger Fernández. “This funding will help make sure that Navajo Nation will not be left behind in the age of online learning. When we invest in our bright young students, we invest in our future.”