Akiak Is First Village in YK Delta to Install Broadband Internet
The Akiak Native Community, a federally recognized Indian Tribe, announced today it will become the first village in the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta to have broadband internet through an ambitious installation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite rebroadcast wirelessly throughout Akiak using the Tribe’s FCC-licensed 2.5GHz spectrum. The Akiak Native Community was granted the FCC license in September 2020 under the 2.5GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window. LEO broadband satellite service is scheduled to be offered for the first time in Alaska starting this fall.
The Akiak Native Community (ANC) is one of 56 federally recognized tribes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) that are currently “unserved” by broadband. That is, they do not have access to the internet at minimum download/upload speeds of 25Mbps/3Mbps. The Yukon-Kuskokwim delta is the second largest unserved area in America and the people who live there are the largest unserved general and indigenous populations in the State of Alaska. They have been left out and left behind far too long by the digital divide in America.
All that is about to change as the ANC kicked off its 100 percent grant funded Akiak LEO Broadband Project to deliver affordable broadband connectivity for the Tribal Community. The LEO 2.5GHz fixed wireless broadband solution to be installed in Akiak was recommended as the most feasible and affordable broadband option for the ANC and all YKD Tribes in the recently completed Akiak Broadband Feasibility Study. The ANC’s Akiak Technology LLC, an SBA Certified Tribal owned 8(a) business, completed the Feasibility Study with subcontractor Ventera Corporation (Reston, Virginia). Akiak Technology will lead the Akiak LEO Broadband Project with major support from Alaska Tribal Broadband.
“Access to broadband connectivity will dramatically increase educational, economic, health, and job opportunities for the Akiak Native Community,” says Tribal Chief, Michael P. Williams, Sr. “Training and certifications for the ever-increasing number of digital economy jobs and the ability to remotely work for those jobs requires broadband connectivity.” He continues, “Without access, far too many tribal citizens are forced to choose between continuing their way of life in their communities and culture or leaving for better opportunities. Broadband access provides a way to maintain healthy and growing rural Tribal Communities like the Akiak Native Community and a level playing field to participate in the digital economy.”
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