Thursday, March 25, 2010

Navajo Nation Wins $32.2 Million in Largest Native American Federal Broadband Stimulus Award 03/25/2010 San Francisco - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the award of a $32.2 million grant to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) as part of the Obama Administration's broadband stimulus program.

The award marks the largest single award to date, from the overall $7.2 in federal broadband stimulus appropriations, to a Native American governmental or operating entity. 

The Authority will match the $32.2 million in federal funds with $13.8 in locally provided monies to deploy "550 miles of new aerial fiber-optic cable and 59 new or modified microwave towers covering 15,000 square miles," according to a Commerce Department press release of today.

The new high capacity network facilities will be constructed in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.  The 3 states comprise the 27,000 square mile land area of the Navajo Nation (Dine Bikeyah), the largest single reservation in Indian Country.  The project was proposed to connect  49 Chapter Houses, which serve as community centers for the Navajo population, at speeds from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps.   Today's award was issued by the Broadband Technology Opportunities program (BTOP), part of the broadband stimulus initiative administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of Commerce.

Today's award marks the continuing efforts of the Obama Administration to bring a level of economic developmental resources to Native American communities previously not delivered by federal agencies.  Several estimates, including today's press release from Secretary Locke's office, state that the Navajo Nation as a whole has less than 40% of its households served by basic telephone networks and services.

Another Broadband Stimulus Win for Atlantic Tele-Network
Last-mile wireless services will be offered at speeds between 1 and 3 Mbps through the project’s wireless partner, Commnet Wireless.  Commnet is a division of the Salem, MA based Atlantic Tele-Network (NASDAQ: ATNI).

Today's award is the second announced broadband stimulus grant to benefit ATNI.  On the first day, December 17, 2009, of project award announcements the firm's subsidiary ION Hold LLC received a $39.724 million award. Also a grant issued by NTIA's BTOP program, the funding is for a large middle mile optical fiber network in upstate New York, with spurs into Pennsylvania and Vermont. 
The Broadband Stimulus PipelineSM – Award # 129
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