[indian country today] Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa commended the board of directors and employees of Hopi Telecommunications Inc. and USDA Rural Development for a $3.6 million loan-grant for a broadband project that will serve Hopi and Navajo communities during a Community Appreciation Event held Nov. 17 in Polacca, Ariz.
The event featured a catered meal, activities, entertainment and an award presentation by Alan Stephens of USDA Rural Development. Stephens, along with representatives from Hopi Telecommunications Inc. and Shari Farrington, a representative from Congressman Trent Frank’s Office, R-Ariz., presented a plaque and made the announcement of the $3.6 million loan-grant combination.
According to HTI, the loan-grant combination, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be used to design, engineer and construct a fiber-optic connection between the Hopi Reservation and the world. HTI will plan to build 61 miles of fiber-optics between the communities of Jeddito and Holbrook, Ariz. This system will help connect 22 community facilities on the Hopi Reservation to the world with faster broadband speeds.
HTI reports several entities will directly benefit from this fiber connection including the Hopi Cultural Center, the Hopi Health Care Center, Hopi Police and courts, area schools and tribal offices. HTI also plans to construct facilities and install equipment to provide broadband services to subscribers that are currently not being served around the communities of Jeddito and Spider Mound. Approximately 400 residences in the Jeddito and Spider Mound communities do not have access to telephone or broadband services.
Shingoitewa is thankful to everyone involved in bringing this project to fruition.
“I appreciate the work of Hopi Telecommunications Inc., specifically for their efforts to help improve telecommunications on the Hopi Reservation and in parts of the Navajo Nation. I am very happy to know we are taking necessary steps to transitioning into the 21st century with the use of technology. We have become part of a modern world, and updated telecommunications is critical for the services we provide on the reservation.”
Frank sent a letter that was read by his representative congratulating Hopi for receipt of the loan-grant and for their work to help bring needed infrastructure enabling Hopi to be linked to the outside world.
Carroll Onsae, president and general manager of HTI, said he works to ensure that people are not left behind and said there is a need to keep up with demands with how health care is delivered, with the delivery of education and with other critical services involving technology.
According to HTI, the three-year project is slated to begin in early 2011. Currently, HTI is working on right-of-ways and preliminary engineering.
$3.6 million broadband project will benefit Hopi, Navajo communities