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  6.  | Tlingit & Haida’s Tribal Network Brings Broadband to Kake

Tlingit & Haida’s Tribal Network Brings Broadband to Kake

Oct 11, 2023 | Alaska Native, News, Telecom & Tech

SundryPhotography | Envato

Tidal Network, the broadband enterprise of the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida), signed a partnership agreement with Kake Tribal Corporation’s subsidiary Kwaan Wireless, Inc. to bring affordable high-speed internet to the Southeast village.

Net Rolls In with the Tide

Kwaan Wireless has been at the forefront of providing internet service to Kake, with about twenty-five current users of unlicensed fixed wireless. As demand for faster and more reliable internet has increased, a collaborative effort became essential.

Through phased implementation, Kwaan Wireless is transferring all current customers to Tidal Network, formed by Tlingit & Haida in 2021 to connect unserved and underserved communities in Southeast.

“This groundbreaking partnership is a significant milestone in our mission to bridge the digital divide in underserved communities,” says Tidal Network Director Chris Cropley. “By working hand in hand, leveraging our knowledge, resources, and unwavering commitment to community empowerment, we are demonstrating the power of collaboration and how tribes and tribal corporations can unite to bring about positive change and revolutionize the internet landscape in Alaska both now and in the future.”

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Cropley credits Kake Tribal Corporation office manager Ashley Padgett with making the partnership possible. “Ashley played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between our organizations, fostering open communication, and ensuring the needs and aspirations of the community are at the forefront of this partnership,” Cropley says. “We want to thank Ashley for her invaluable contributions and making broadband a priority for people in her community. Kake Tribal Corporation’s deep understanding of the community’s unique challenges and unwavering advocacy for enhanced broadband access have been indispensable in driving this initiative forward.”

Cropley says it’s exciting to see more tribal partnerships that provide important infrastructure for Southeast communities. It’s a sentiment echoed by Tlingit & Haida President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson.

“Access to broadband internet is a necessity and no community should be left behind in this digital era,” Peterson says. “By working together and embracing the power of technology, we can empower our people, create economic opportunities and enhance the overall quality of life for our tribal citizens. This partnership is an expression of our unified determination and commitment to the welfare and prosperity of our communities and tribal citizens.”

Once the transition of Kwaan Wireless customers is complete, Tidal Network will install fixed wireless equipment on towers as needed with grant funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Association.

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Welcome to the June 2024 issue, which features our annual Transportation Special Section. We've paired it this year with a focus on the Pacific Northwest and Hawai'i, as Alaska has close ties to both that reach far beyond lines of transportation. Even further out past our Pacific Ocean compatriots and our Canadian neighbors to the east, Alaska's reach extends to India and Singapore. Enjoy this issue that explores many of Alaska's far-flung business dealings.
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