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Soo Tribe gets grant to expand internet access

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SAULT STE. MARIE, MI— The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is getting nearly $25 million to provide high-speed internet to rural areas.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect program. It will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,217 people and 26 businesses to high-speed internet in Chippewa and Mackinac counties.

The tribe will make high-speed internet affordable by requiring its service provider to participate in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program. The program provides low-income consumers with discounts on high-speed internet services.

The project will serve Sault Ste. Marie Off-Reservation Trust Land, the Sault Sainte Marie Reservation, and socially vulnerable communities in Chippewa and Mackinac counties. 

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.