Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2013

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 38 of 100

COMMUNITY BROADBAND Mohawk Tribe Brings Fiber to the Home A community afected by economic decline now has new infrastructure – and new hope for the future. By Jef Beekhoo / Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe I n 2009, the U.S. government acknowledged that access to high-quality broadband was vital for rural communities. Tis led to the development of the broadband program in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which provided the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) with more than $2 billion to expand service to rural communities. One recipient was the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe of Akwesasne, N.Y., which is using Recovery Act funding to build a fber-to-the-home network with the hope of bringing businesses to the community. Tis article, the frst of a series, will examine the efects of the new network on economic development of the tribe. Te Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) territory is in New York State. Part of the tribe's ancestral territory straddles the Canadian border, and parts of the community are located in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Te territory adjoins a major border crossing and the St. Lawrence Seaway, a major shipping highway. When the economy was booming, a General Motors plant and an Alcoa Primary Metals facility were located close enough to the territory to provide employment to many Mohawks. Neighboring communities, such as Massena, were dependent on these plants for their economic development. At the present time, the only plants still operating are Alcoa facilities. In 2010, the Tribal Council was approached about the broadband project. Because it saw 32 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | the investment as a way to create new jobs and ultimately bring new businesses to the territory, the council decided to take the necessary steps to clear the project. Native preference plans were put into place to ensure that outside contractors hired local help to perform the required duties. Currently, tribe members are being trained to perform fber splicing, install optical network terminals (ONTs), use computer-aided design (CAD) software, perform site surveys and do a multitude of other jobs required for a broadband project. Te Tribal Council's goal is to reinvest the profts from the broadband initiative back into the community. As part of the award process, specialty contractors are required to hire and train locals. Tribal Chief Ron La France stated, "We are investing in our community and our children. I want this network owned and operated by Mohawks in the near future." Te Saint Regis Mohawk Network will begin activating test customers in June 2013 and plans to start customer installations in August 2013. Since February 2012, when the project was given the green light and the community was made aware of it, more than 1,100 households have signed up for service. In a community of only 1,600 households, this indicates a huge interest in the program. OUTSIDE-PlANT CHAllENgES After resolving some hurdles with pole permits with the help of the Tribal Council, the tribal | May/June 2013

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Broadband Communities - MAY-JUN 2013