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A Net (Fiber Optic) Positive for Navajo Nation

A Net (Fiber Optic) Positive for Navajo Nation
February 16
23:35 2021

A Net Positive for Navajo Nation

By John Christian Hopkins

Good news!

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer have announced pleased to announce that the Navajo Nation has secured $53 million in funding through the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate Program.

The funds will be used to install more than 600 miles of fiber optic lines that will expand internet capacity for 90 chapter houses and 53 Head Start facilities on the Navajo Nation.

“We are elated… This is a historic achievement that took years of coordination and planning as our administration works toward expanding and increasing internet capability and capacity within our communities,” Nez said. “Through the coordination and persistence of many partners, we resolved longstanding issues that stemmed from previous administrations that stood in the way of progress.”

Those issues have been resolved, paving the way dozens of chapter houses and Head Start facilities to get fiber optic lines that will provide enhanced internet service for officials and local residents who visit the chapter houses, Nez added.

Students and others will soon be able to use the internet service for schoolwork and other tasks, he said.

Much of the physical work applying for the E-Rate funding was provided by the Nation’s E-Rate consultant, Infinity Communications & Consulting Inc.

“This was truly a collaborative effort,” said Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Office Executive Director Christopher Becenti.

“We are very thankful to everyone who worked together to advance this monumental task,” Nez said.

When the Nez-Lizer Administration took office in 2019, Nez and Lizer developed a four-year strategy known as the “Nahata” plan, which is a document that tasked Becenti with resolving past issues to ensure compliance with FCC policies to move the E-Rate initiative forward.

A second application for funding will be submitted in the next month to connect the remaining chapter houses and Head Start facilities that were not awarded in last year’s application.

“The Navajo Nation will increase its overall internet capacity that will benefit our communities and create new opportunities for our Navajo people,” Lizer said. “Internet service is a great tool for entrepreneurs, students, first responders, and many others. With so many businesses being created and expanded through online services and sales, this will serve as another tool for our Navajo people to empower themselves.”

A Net (Fiber Optic) Positive for Navajo Nation - overview

Summary: A Net (Fiber Optic) Positive for Navajo Nation

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