Arcadian Infracom closes additional round of funding, announces expansion of the Advisory Board and expedites fiber route construction start

Latest Funding Accelerates 2Q2021 Construction Start Date for Arcadian Fiber Routes

Arcadian Infracom today announces the closing of an additional $1.45m financing round, anchored by a select number of senior executives in the communications infrastructure industry. Arcadian also announces the expansion of its Advisory Board, along with significant capital investments to enable an accelerated construction kickoff of its first fiber backbone routes.

This round of funding, led by seasoned communications infrastructure industry executives, allows Arcadian to quickly scale and complete its final route engineering and permitting efforts. With this new funding, Arcadian is expediting construction and securing final route delivery dates for its first announced fiber routes, spanning Salt Lake City to Phoenix, and Phoenix to Denver. This highly anticipated route will be the first-ever to traverse these areas of the U.S. Southwest, providing a more direct fiber route between major data center markets.

This $1.45m investment follows a $1.35m funding round in late 2019, enabling further expansion of the Arcadian team and its operating infrastructure. Arcadian will also use the new capital to accelerate development of its pipeline of fiber route construction opportunities, including a 1,500-mile route from Los Angeles to Dallas via Flagstaff and Albuquerque. Each fiber route developed, constructed, and operated by Arcadian adds security, redundancy and resiliency for Arcadian’s cloud, content, telecom, cable company, ISP and enterprise customers.

Arcadian is also pleased to announce the expansion of its Advisory Board with the addition of Karen Puckett, former President and Chief Operating Officer of CenturyLink. Ms. Puckett has 30+ years of communications infrastructure industry experience. Most recently Ms. Puckett was President and CEO at Harte Hanks. At CenturyLink, Ms. Puckett directed all global operations, including sales, marketing, field operations, engineering, and construction. In addition to her senior management roles, Ms. Puckett has served as a director for the United States Telecom Association (USTA) and currently serves as an independent director for Entergy.

“I appreciate the continued trust and support of our investors and customers as the Arcadian teams mobilize to ‘turn the first shovel of dirt` to complete our backbone fiber routes. I look forward to collaborating with Karen again, having worked together for more than a decade at CenturyLink. We have a shared vision for Arcadian to build a scalable, flexible, sustainable commercial business interwoven with a larger purpose to close the U.S. rural digital divide,” commented Dan Davis, CEO and co-founder of Arcadian Infracom.

“I am excited to work with Dan again through Arcadian. Dan is building a world-class team of seasoned professionals and taking a clean-sheet, legacy-free approach to building out its operations. This is a great opportunity to help shape Arcadian to realize its financial, operational and purpose-oriented potential” commented Ms. Puckett.

Ms. Puckett joins Jim O’Donnell on the Arcadian Advisory Board. Mr. O’Donnell has over 35 years of experience as an investment professional in private equity, venture capital, mezzanine and leveraged buyout investments. For 20 years Jim held the position of Chairman & CEO of Capital For Business, a middle market investment firm producing $500m in revenue focused on manufacturing and value-added industrial services companies. He formerly served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Corporate Growth (ACG), the premier M&A organization for middle market deal makers, with 14,000 members internationally.

About Arcadian Infracom
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Arcadian Infracom is an internet infrastructure development, construction, and operations company. Arcadian builds diverse, lower latency fiber routes connecting major data center locations for its cloud and content customers. The Arcadian routes also provide its telecom, cable company, ISP and enterprise customers with low cost backhaul to digitally stranded rural and tribal communities.

For more information on Arcadian Infracom please contact us at info@arcadianinfra.com and visit https://arcadianinfra.com.

This article is republished from PRWeb under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Arcadian Infracom receives final regulatory authority to construct new Internet backbone routes in the U.S. Southwest

Final Regulatory Authority Enables Arcadian Fiber Route Kickoff

Arcadian Infracom, transforming lives through fiber backbone infrastructure, today announced that it has received public utility authority in the State of Arizona. With this final of four required certifications, Arcadian has started final engineering and permitting of its first 1,300 miles of fiber backbone routes in the Southwest U.S.

The most recent PUC authority, granted by the State of Arizona, provides Arcadian authority to construct its underground global fiber backbone routes along most public roadways in four states. Arcadian is building its fiber routes across these states to create redundant global connectivity for its cloud, content, telecom, cable, ISP and enterprise customers. These new fiber backbone facilities will also foster a digital ecosystem of economic development for the people living in communities along the Arcadian routes. This new direct global backbone fiber will support new businesses and enable massively scaled internet access backhaul to support improved local broadband.

“We appreciate all of the hard work and endless tenacity that our team has demonstrated over the past 2 ½ years to reach this important milestone. Our team includes not only our core employees but also an almost untold number of local legal teams, state advocates, utility authority staff and numerous other advisors”, commented Dan Davis, CEO and co-founder of Arcadian Infracom. “This accomplishment shows what is possible when you have a truly world-class group of people who all share the same passion for accomplishing such a worthwhile purpose. We will, of course, deliver a world class fiber network for our customers and create outstanding shareholder value. By acting with authentic purpose, we also generate transformative economic and social benefits for people living in the rural and tribal communities served by our fiber.”

The certifications in both Arizona and New Mexico will also be utilized with previously granted certifications in Texas, and anticipated certification in California, to later begin construction of Arcadian’s next diverse fiber backbone route. That second 1,500-mile route will connect Los Angeles to Dallas, via Flagstaff and Albuquerque, providing long needed East/West U.S. global internet infrastructure fiber connecting the West coast to major mid-US markets. Arcadian will again be connecting people in rural and tribal communities along this second global fiber backbone route to close the digital divide by bringing scaled internet backhaul capacity to these digitally stranded communities.

About Arcadian Infracom
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Arcadian Infracom is an internet infrastructure development, construction, and operations company. Arcadian builds diverse, lower latency fiber routes connecting major data center locations for its cloud and content customers. The Arcadian routes also provide its telecom, cable company, ISP and enterprise customers with low cost backhaul to digitally stranded rural and tribal communities.

For more information on Arcadian Infracom please contact us at info@arcadianinfra.com and visit https://arcadianinfra.com.

This article is republished from PRWeb under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

An opportunity to close Indian Country’s digital divide is expiring

A government program aimed at reversing the longstanding connectivity issues on tribal lands is complicated by the pandemic.

Under the best circumstances, Linnea Jackson’s 85-year-old grandmother would struggle to navigate a virtual doctor’s appointment, but a poor internet connection made it nearly impossible. With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting visits to medical offices, Jackson, the general manager of the Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District, ended up using her cellphone as a hotspot — a Band-Aid for her community’s longstanding connectivity problems.

“This pandemic has really shown the need for tribes, whether they’re rural or near local cities, to have access to broadband,” Jackson said. Hoopa Valley, a rural tribal community of about 3,500 in Northern California, is “vastly underserved” in terms of internet services, a decades-old problem exacerbated by the pandemic. Telecommuting, online education and access to unemployment websites all require adequate internet service, something Jackson said more than 80% of Hoopa Valley homes currently need.

In 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimated that 35% of Americans living on tribal lands lack broadband service — more than four times the country’s average. To help close the gap, the FCC opened a Rural Tribal Priority Window for tribes to apply for free 2.5GHz spectrum licenses in February. Matthew Rantanen, director of technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association and a longtime digital sovereignty activist, said the window is an unprecedented opportunity for tribes to claim this valuable asset before it becomes publicly available. Once the window closes in August, the remaining licenses will be sold at auction, and most tribes will be unable to compete with the large telecom companies bidding for them. Experts hesitate to make predictions, but spectrum licenses are likely to go for thousands, if not millions of dollars. 

The 2.5GHz spectrum frequency travels long distances and can penetrate trees and other structures, making it an ideal building block for wireless networks. Tribes could lease the spectrum out to companies like Sprint, which plans to use the licenses to support its growing 5GHz networks, and receive both broadband services and revenue in return. They could also create jobs for tribal citizens by building the networks themselves. But even as COVID-19 reveals the urgent need for increased digital and economic resources, it is also making it harder for tribes to take advantage of the opportunity.

At the moment, getting a license seems less urgent than fighting a pandemic that has already strained tribes’ limited resources. Fewer than 50 tribes have applied. Rantanen said that the pandemic has also dramatically reduced his ability to spread awareness. In a statement to High Country News, the FCC said it continues to provide outreach and support to tribes but did not specify how the pandemic has impacted those efforts.

In Hoopa Valley, Jackson heard about the opportunity through a friend, but has seen little publicity about it. Even for tribes aware of it, however, the pandemic is impeding their ability to complete the application. Tribal governments accustomed to operating in person now must coordinate virtually or over the phone. “It’s been a hindrance to have to maneuver the council government process via conference call,” said Jackson.

With tribal communities hit hard by COVID-19, many governments are too occupied to apply. “The same people that would be responsible for ensuring that a network could be deployed are now worried about emergency communications and getting essential services out to individuals,” said Danae Wilson, manager of the Nez Perce Tribe Department of Technology Services and co-chair of the Native Nations Communications Task Force at the FCC. 

Rantanen stresses that broadband could also help tribal officials confront similar challenges in the future: “If you have access to broadband, you have access to resources, you have access to stay home and do all these things.” Because of the unprecedented challenges, Rantanen, Wilson and other activists are pushing the FCC for an extension until at least November. In its statement, the FCC did not mention any plans for an extension.

As word about the window slowly spreads, some temporary solutions have emerged. In April, the FCC granted the Navajo Nation a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) to broadband spectrum to help it confront the digital challenges of COVID-19. Once the STA was granted, MuralNet, a nonprofit that works with tribal communities, began buying supplies to set up temporary networks.

Darrah Blackwater, a Navajo volunteer with MuralNet, helped set up two networks on the Navajo Nation, which suffers from one of the country’s highest infection rates, as well as one of its lowest broadband connectivity rates. Earlier this month, the Congressional Native American Caucus proposed a bill that would give the temporary authorization to all tribes, along with other relief measures. Blackwater supports the bill, but said tribes need a permanent solution.

Blackwater also believes that the FCC window, which she sees as a rare chance to reverse the trend of outsiders claiming Native resources, must be extended. In the face of a pandemic, she is doing whatever she can to help tribes seize this opportunity. “If tribes don’t get control of their own spectrum, they’re only going to see the digital divide get wider and wider and wider.”

This article is republished from High Country News under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Matt Rantanen, NANOG Interview - The 'Cyber Warrior' for Tribal broadband who’s helping transform Indian Country

We clearly remember the first time hearing Matt Rantanen speak.

It was in Washington, DC on the second day of the NANOG 76 conference, and it’s fair to say our ears immediately perked up when his talk “Crossing The Technology Desert — Rural and Tribal Broadband” was announced. We got to hear Matt speak on the subject again, when he discussed the complications of Indian Country infrastructure at NANOG 77 in Austin, and how cookie-cutter solutions don’t apply when it comes to bringing this 21st century resource to North America’s first people.

The self-described 'cyber warrior for Tribal broadband,' whose work was recognized by Internet2 with the 2020 Rose-Werle Award, connected with us remotely to discuss all that he's doing at Arcadian Infracom, as well as the Tribal communities he’s worked with over the past two decades to draft policy and shape solutions for the connectivity problems faced by American Indian reservations in the United States.

How, and when, were you first introduced to NANOG?

I've known about NANOG for quite a few years, but didn't understand a lot of the contacts I have in the industry attended NANOG [conferences]. I had been working with Internet Society (ISOC), and NANOG came up as a group that could be aligned with the Indigenous Connectivity Summit. It didn’t really click for me until I saw how Ed McNair was focusing NANOG on the unconnected more than NANOG had been before. As a result, I felt it was time to tell my story about the 20 years I’ve spent working from within Indian Country.

In what ways have you since become more involved with our community?

I was fortunate to speak at NANOG 76 and NANOG 77, where I got to share the Tribal perspective, and help NANOG’s membership grasp the issues Native American communities are dealing with. I also worked with ISOC on the 3rd Indigenous Connectivity Summit, where we were able to engage and collaborate with Ed.

I'd love to hear more about the summit. What did you take away from that gathering, that our community should also know about?

It’s a crucial, and unique, event. There is currently no other North American gathering of Indigenous networking-minded folks, and it’s so important for our communities to see others like themselves building and operating networks. The essential sharing of knowledge, and the support systems needed to promote this kind of connectivity, is mandatory to our survival. If you’re not digitally counted, you’re digitally eliminated.

I got to help the Community of Waimanalo install their own network, thereby taking sovereignty into their own hands. Not to mention interacting with all of the others building their own networks, where I saw their successes and failures firsthand, including knowledge-sharing and devising solutions for each other, so no one has to start from scratch.

What an amazing experience. Can you tell me more about what you do in your role at Arcadian Infracom as well?

Partnering and Business Development is my title, but it's sort of a Jack-of-all-trades position. I have a wealth of experience, having worked with many different organizations over the years to align their efforts to support development in underserved areas. Through Arcadia Infracom, I’ve been instrumental in the social-impact component of our relationship with unserved Tribal and rural communities as well. I’ve worked with 20 Tribal communities for the last two decades, and now also work with the National Congress of American Indians and their 360 membership Tribes to draft policy and shape solutions for Indian Country.

What are some of the policies you've drafted, or are working on drafting, right now?

Because I work with the National Congress of American Indians, I’m involved with all of the Tribal resolutions that generate from the 360 member Tribes. Along with Geoffrey Blackwell, my co-chair for the Tech and Telecom Subcommittee, we’re frequently looped into policy-making efforts throughout DC and the country.

I’m currently working on a number of things, including an extension to the Tribal Priority window for 2.5GHz (from Aug 3, 2020 to Jan 27, 2021); expanding the California Lifeline funding mechanism to support broadband for those that qualify, funneling that money to small providers and away from the incumbents that have repeatedly failed to deploy to Indian Country; supporting folks developing legislature on emergency funding for broadband deployment specific to COVID-19, as well as broadband network planning; and fielding calls for counts of specific needs on the ground related to devices and connectivity for local Tribes, and some on the national level.

Can you expand a bit more on the initiatives you’re working on that support Indigenous connectivity?

We’re working to identify and integrate the opportunities along the fiber routes that the communities need in order to have access to the fiber — from Tribal governments and municipal operations, to their education facilities, and existing network infrastructure, or supplementing their future plans. This is the same method used when working with small-town USA to provide solutions for the same set of needs.

Another initiative I’m working on is to leverage the relationships we have with Tribes and small towns, with the relationships we have with corporations who have programs that serve community needs within the realm of training, equipment, digital literacy and engagement.

That's so great — what corporations in particular have you connected with in support of the latter?

We’ve worked with Microsoft, Google, Amazon, the San Diego Foundation, California Emerging Technology Fund, and many more.

In what ways does all of this work hit home for you?

There's a large group of people within the Tribal population that have earned degrees in higher education, many of which are technical in nature, but they need broadband to be able to support working in that field. This is such a key component of what’s on the minds of today's telecommuting professionals.

The employment base of the future is spread throughout the country, so bringing broadband connectivity to unserved areas allows those individuals to pursue a career in their field of study without having to leave their community.

In addition to providing people with the freedom to work remotely, greater broadband access would also allow for at-home education, yes?

Greater broadband access allows for continuing education, and education at all, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s so critical. In light of that, can you share something you’re hoping to accomplish this year; with work, or otherwise?

Once the first routes get into full construction phase and are on a timeline for completion, I plan to focus a key portion of my time on getting services delivered to the Tribal and rural communities we work with. These are services that can help supplement and enhance their lives, without uprooting and disrupting them. I’ll be working with these communities to identify their internal needs, and to share solutions they may not even be aware of yet, while also helping them devise their own.

This article is republished from NANOG under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Pandemic and Digital Divide Threaten Accurate Census Count of Native Populations

Every 10 years, the U.S. government undertakes the largest peace-time mobilization effort to count the nation: the U.S. census. Census data is used in a variety of ways. It determines everything from how many congressional representatives communities have, the apportioning of federal funds for community needs, the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the health of the U.S. economy.

People from marginalized communities are often undercounted and face the worst repercussions of an undercount. The Census Bureau considers American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI and AN) a hard-to-count population.

In the 1990 census, 12.2 percent of AI and AN people on reservations were undercounted, according to the Census Bureau’s findings. A decade later, the census seemed to improve, with the Bureau not reporting a statistically significant undercount, but in 2010, the undercount increased to 4.9 percent. As is so often the case with AI and AN data collection, some tribal leaders believe these numbers are actually higher.

Moreover, AI and AN communities must put the name of a tribal member in the household as the first name on the census in order for the household to be counted as Native American. If a non-Indian or non-tribal member is the first person listed, then the entire household gets counted as non-Indian, which also contributes to the undercount, according to Principal Chief Chuck Hoskins Jr. of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

An inaccurate census count wreaks havoc on tribal nations and people for generations to come. For Native people, the census is crucial to state and federal recognition, the enforcement of treaties, and the economic health and overall well-being of tribal nations and their citizens and members. Face-to-face enumeration is key to an accurate AI and AN count, but has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As many AI and AN people lack reliable telecommunications and broadband access, self-response rates are significantly lower than the general population. Inaccurate census data could even exacerbate funding for potential future pandemics.

Enumeration Under Settler Colonialism

Since the census began, AI and AN people haven’t been counted accurately and this has often been purposeful. The U.S. government has used inaccurate census data to cheat Native peoples out of allotments of land, distribution of goods and money, and treaties it has failed to honor.

The first census occurred in 1790, but there wasn’t an inclusive count of AI and AN people in the census until 1900. Before the 1950 census, enumeration was conducted in person, and race was often classified based entirely upon the perception of the enumerator, leading to inaccurate counts of AI and AN people. Other factors that create barriers to an accurate count include distrust of the U.S. government, nontraditional addresses, high rates of renters and houseless people, low telecommunications access, language and literacy barriers, and weather and road access issues on more rural lands.

For example, Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico have some of the highest percentages of hard-to-count populations partially due to the rural nature of the states, weather and road access conditions. The Navajo Nation — which now has the highest per capita COVID-19 contractions rates, and death rates that are 10 times higher than that of Arizona — is the largest reservation in the U.S. and covers three states, including Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Face-to-face enumeration is essential to an accurate count throughout Indian Country and has included the use of horses, boats, bush planes and dog sleds.

In a tribal consultation report between the Census Bureau and the Navajo Nation, the Navajo responded that they prefer in-person enumeration as the primary means to count their population. They cited the low access to internet and telephones as a significant barrier to an accurate count. As of May 29, the Navajo Nation had a self-response rate of only 0.8 percent, versus that of 56.7 percent and 47.8 percent for Arizona and New Mexico, respectively.

AN people are no strangers to an undercount. Some AN communities are only accessible via ice roads, and community members will often leave their homes for traditional hunting and fishing or warm-weather jobs. As a result, the 2020 census enumeration began in Toksook Bay, Alaska, on January 21. April 1 was the beginning of the self-response enumeration for the rest of the U.S. As of May 29, Alaska’s state self-response rate was only 41 percent, ranking it 51st for national rates. However, Alaskan Native areas have a significantly lower self-response rate.

“There is no way the Census Bureau can come close to an accurate count in tribal communities without boots on the ground,” Gabe Layman, chief operating officer at the Cook Inlet Housing Authority and Chair of the Alaska Census Work Group, told Truthout. He went on to say that if the Census Bureau couldn’t complete counts in tribal communities as they planned pre-pandemic, then they should delay the census. The Census Bureau has indicated it will begin enumerating in some remote communities again. However, Layman said there’s “confusion over what the resumption of the Remote Alaska Operation will look like and when that will occur.”

The Census Bureau is resuming some update leave enumeration in some areas of the U.S., but not necessarily on tribal lands. These operations update addresses and “map feature data,” and leave census questionnaires at every household. Update leave measures occur where the majority of households don’t receive mail at their home or housing can’t be identified. Update leave measures have resumed in Montana, but not on the many tribal lands. “We’re in consultation with the tribal leaders of these lands, so when they open, we can resume operations,” said a Census Bureau spokesperson.

Layman said that the lack of trust in the U.S. government is an even larger barrier to an accurate AN count than the remoteness of the communities. Even without the added pressures of a global pandemic, census enumerators have experienced great challenges in getting AN people to positively respond to them.

Indigenous Digital Divide

The 2020 census is the first to offer an online response form. However, it appears to have little impact in increasing AI and AN participation because of existing telecommunications barriers.

According to the written testimony of Geoffrey Blackwell, chief strategy officer and general counsel for AMERIND Risk Management Corporation, the deployment of fixed terrestrial internet at benchmark speeds deemed the acceptable standard for online streaming measures are significantly lower on tribal lands. This makes it difficult — if not impossible — to connect to many websites or use phone service.

In 2016, only 63.9 percent of total tribal lands had these services, but the numbers vary based on location, with rural areas suffering the worst. Only 36.2 percent of rural Alaskan Villages, 43.5 percent of Native Hawaiian homelands and 31.6 percent of rural tribal areas in the continental U.S. had telecommunication services at these speeds. Even telephone access is low, at only 68 percent on rural reservations versus 95.5 percent for the U.S.

High rates of poverty also create barriers to census enumeration. In 2016, 26.2 percent of Native people were living in poverty, so even if the internet is available nearby, they often can’t afford internet service or devices. These numbers can often vary across tribal nations. The Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, which is currently embroiled with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem over health checkpoints on tribal lands, has significantly higher poverty rates than the rest of the U.S. Ninety-seven percent of Pine Ridge residents live below the U.S. federal poverty line. The median household income on the reservation ranges between $2,600 and $3,500 per year with a 90 percent unemployment rate. As of May 29, Pine Ridge only had a census self-response rate of 4.5 percent, versus that of South Dakota at 59.9 percent.

Even when surrounded by wealth, tribal nations are still suffering a digital divide. Vice Chairman Lance Gumbs of the Shinnecock Indian Nation told Truthout that 60 percent of his tribal members live in poverty while surrounded by one of the wealthiest areas in the U.S.: the Hamptons on Long Island, New York. There’s only one internet provider for Shinnecock lands. “The fact that we’re being serviced by only one entity — there’s a premium that they’re able to charge so it’s a cost consideration,” said Gumbs.

Access to telecommunications infrastructure isn’t the only barrier to answering the census via the internet or phone. Brian Howard, a research and policy analyst for the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University, told Truthout that for a 2019 study on internet service on tribal lands, researchers had to include flip phones as an option for phone access, as one elder they spoke with still used this older model of phone.

Given that 71 percent of AI and AN people live in urban areas, enumeration of urban communities is key to an accurate census count. Matthew Rantanen, director of technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association, told Truthout that there are no reliable numbers for broadband access for urban Natives. Even if the telecommunications infrastructure is in place, the high rates of poverty mean many have to use free resources at libraries and community centers — which are now closed for social distancing measures — or access the internet at a friend or family member’s home.

Andrea Delgado-Olson (Ione Band of Miwok Indians), founder and chair of Native American Women in Computing and the program manager for Systers and GHC Communities at AnitaB.org, has a goal to “connect tradition with technology.” When speaking with Truthout, Delgado-Olson spoke of how the internet is allowing AI and AN people to practice traditions like talking circles. Delgado-Olson was “longing for connection” when she created the online talking circle for Native women. It brought the women together to discuss their feelings and community issues. It became so popular that Delgado-Olson said participants were meeting four times a week, sometimes up to two hours. However, many in her tribal nation lack high-speed, reliable broadband and the devices to connect.

The Ione Band of Miwok Indians, located in northern California, is small, with only 750 people. Delgado-Olson said that before the pandemic, students would search for places with the internet and do their homework in parking lots. With social distancing measures, though, this has stopped. Not too far from the Miwok, “smartbuses” are serving the Sacramento area with internet by serving as Wi-Fi hotspots.

With the threat of extinction under the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the Indigenous digital divide, AI and AN self-response rates for the 2020 census will likely remain low. As we’re seeing now, the dire living conditions of many Native people, and the lack of resources allocated and released to tribal nations, is creating a higher rate of COVID-19 contraction rates and deaths. A lack of accurate census data could continue the cycle of poverty and genocide many Native people experience and even lead tribes to remain underprepared for future pandemics.

This article is republished from Truthout under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Matt Rantanen, Internet2 - Winner of the 2020 Rose-Werle Award

Rantanen to be recognized for his contributions to leadership in extending high-speed broadband services and advanced technology to community anchor institutions on tribal lands
 
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 2020 – Internet2 announced that Matthew Rantanen, director of technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association (SCTCA), director of the Tribal Digital Village Network (TDVnet) Initiative, and partnering and business development for Arcadian Infracom, is this year’s winner of the Rose-Werle Award. The award honors extraordinary individual contributions that have made demonstrable impacts on the formal and informal education community by extending advanced networking, content, and services to community anchors nationwide. Rantanen will receive his award at the Internet2 Community Anchor Program virtual meeting on May 7, 2020.
 
Rantanen leads the technology programs of SCTCA, a multi-service non-profit corporation supporting 20 federally recognized Indian tribes in Southern California, and is addressing the lack of Internet access for its tribal communities, to extend high-speed broadband services and advanced technology to community anchor institutions and homes on tribal lands. Rantanen is known across the Internet community as a cyber warrior for tribal broadband. 
 
Under Rantanen’s leadership, TDVnet has resulted in more than 650 miles of point-to-point and point-to-multipoint links supporting 105 key tribal community buildings, including tribal administration buildings, Environmental Protection Agency departments, fire stations, law enforcement facilities, utility departments, libraries, schools, Head Start programs, and tribal homes.
 
Most recently, Rantanen helped facilitate the connection of 14 Native American tribes in Southern California to the state-of-the-art research and education international Internet exchange, Pacific Wave, via CENIC. This new connection enables their tribal libraries, scientific research facilities, and cultural preservation institutions to collaborate with partners across the state, the nation, and the world.

“It truly is an honor to receive the Rose-Werle Award from Internet2. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work directly with James Werle on several projects, including Tribal libraries over the years and feel that I am in very distinguished company,” said Rantanen. “I am delighted to have the work that I have been engaged in, for the last two decades, recognized by this organization. I feel that the fact that I am being given this award, indicates that the issues facing Indigenous communities are finally getting focused on outside of its base-level operating circles and becoming apparent to innovative institutions like Internet2, which should help us continue to find solutions to solve these inequalities. Thank you!”
 
CENIC President and CEO Louis Fox outlines Rantanen’s impact. “Matt Rantanen is a tribal leader known across indigenous communities around the world. His work has impacted all 574 federally recognized tribes, by creating new models of tribal digital engagement, working with federal and state agencies and providing leadership to ensure that tribal schools, libraries, cultural and scientific organizations, health care, and government are now among the most ‘connected’ institutions. He is a national treasure.”
 
Rantanen has been appointed to and served in influential roles advocating for Native American technological advancement, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Native Nations Broadband Task Force; co-chair of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Technology and Telecommunications Subcommittee and the Technology Task Force at NCAI; chairman of the board of Native Public Media; board member of Arizona State University’s American Indian Policy Institute (API); member of the Tribal Advisory Council to the State of California for the Broadband Council and the Cal Office of Emergency Services; and as an honorary mentor for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Global Indigenous Ambassador Program.
 
The Quilt President and CEO Jennifer Leasure describes Rantanen’s influence on tribal, state, and national broadband policy initiatives. “Under Matt’s leadership, TDVnet has been a national leader among tribally owned and operated broadband service providers and is a model for communities with little or no access to broadband in the U.S. and throughout the world. His voice at the local and national policy tables had made a difference to bring innovative solutions and support partnerships between tribal, state, and national leaders that improve broadband services on tribal lands, and create thriving, self-sufficient communities to help tribal communities get ahead in life.”
 
“Matt’s remarkably successful work on the incredibly difficult challenge of providing digital equity, including achieving connectivity in geographically and economically nearly impossible conditions, for native Americans and others, deserves the strongest degrees of recognition,” added Ron Johnson, CEO of Pacific NorthWest Gigapop and professor at the University of Washington. “Most recently, his work with CENIC has provided a model that I believe is scalable across the U.S., ensuring that all tribal anchor institutions are connected to the research and education community and to the global Internet.”
 
The Rose-Werle Award is named in honor of Richard Rose (1947-2007) and James Werle (1971-2018), early contributors to and leaders in the national Internet2 K20 Initiative, now part of the Internet2 Community Anchor Program (CAP). Rose and Werle embodied the true spirit of the Internet2 community, tirelessly advocating for extending the Internet2 Network and advanced technologies to students at all levels, libraries and community institutions—to broaden and deepen opportunities in learning, scholarship and science. The Award is given annually based on criteria such as commitment to the mission and vision of the Internet2 Community Anchor Program, recognized innovation in the community, and leadership and mentoring qualities.
 
About Internet2
Internet2® is a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 serves 320 U.S. universities, 60 government agencies, 43 regional and state education networks and through them supports more than 100,000 community anchor institutions, close to 1,000 InCommon participants, and 54 leading corporations working with our community, and 70 national research and education network partners that represent more than 100 countries.
 
Internet2 delivers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions that leverages, integrates, and amplifies the strengths of its members and helps support their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2’s core infrastructure components include the nation’s largest and fastest research and education network that was built to deliver advanced, customized services that are accessed and secured by the community-developed trust and identity framework.

This article is republished from Internet2 under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Matt Rantanen, Virtual SXSW Panel - How Internet Access Can Preserve Native Cultures

The Internet Society North America Bureau hosts a Virtual SXSW panel 'How Internet Access Can Preserve Native Cultures'.

This video is republished from Vimeo - Livestream under a Creative Commons license. Watch the original video here.

Matt Rantanen, 2019 Technology Exchange - Featured Speaker

SESSION ABSTRACT

After a welcome message by Dr. Dan Layzel, Executive VP and CFO, Louisiana State University (LSU) on behalf of local hosts LONI, LSU and University of New Orleans, you will hear from our featured speaker Matthew R. Rantanen, followed by community members' lightning talks.

Featured Speaker Matthew R. Rantanen, 'Cyber Warrior for Community Networking'

Matthew R. Rantanen, the Director of Technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association (SCTCA) and Director of the Tribal Digital Village Network (TDVNet) Initiative, is the featured speaker at the 2019 Technology Exchange.

Matthew, of Cree (First Nations, Canada), Finnish, and Norwegian decent, is an advocate for net neutrality, broadband for everyone, and opening more spectrum for public consumption — always looking out for the unconnected.

The TDVNet was created in 2001 to design and deploy wireless networking to support the tribal communities of Southern California. Matthew is also the lead in Partnering and Business Development at Arcadian Infracom, a fiber infrastructure company, building long-haul fiber assets to serve the needs of the companies driving the demand, dragging that fiber path through small-town USA and Indian Country, providing opportunity to the unserved and underserved in rural America.

This article is republished from Internet2 2019 Technology Exchange under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Matt Rantanen, Community Networks Broadband Bits Podcast - Indigenous Community Launches First Community Broadband Network in Hawai’i

For the third year, the Internet Society worked with locals to hold an annual Indigenous Connectivity Summit as a way to teach and share information. In November, participants collaborated to deploy a fixed wireless community broadband network in a small village in Hawai'i and Christopher had the chance to participate.

While he was there, he interviewed Matt Rantanen, Director of Technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairman's Association, and Brandon Makaawaawa, Deputy Head of State for Nation of Hawai‘i. Christopher, Matt, and Brandon discuss the summit and the need for connectivity in Pu‘uhonua o Waimānalo, the village where summit participants worked with local indigenous folks to build the network in just a few days.

Brandon talked about some of the obstacles that have faced the people of the Nation of Hawai'i and how those obstacles have put them on the wrong side of the digital divide. Without sovereign nation status, like many other indigenous people in the U.S., Brandon's people don't have access to funding. When the opportunity to work with the Internet Society to establish a community network arose, the village jumped at the chance as a way to learn and teach others in Hawai'i.

This article is republished from Community Networks under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Matt Rantanen, NANOG 77 - Solving the Complications of Infrastructure in Indian Country

Matt Rantanen - Solving the Complications of Infrastructure in Indian Country

Link: https://youtu.be/J6CRy85inno?t=16630