Tribal Broadband Bootcamp

The Tribal Broadband Bootcamps, which have worked with 20 Tribes and more than 100 participants over the past 2 years, offering hands-on training in wireless and fiber-optic networks, will continue in 2023 with an expanded schedule and expanded curriculum:

https://muninetworks.org/content/tribal-broadband-bootcamps-announced-2023

A Foundation for the Future of Digital Equity Work – Community Broadband Bits Podcast

On the podcast, Christopher is joined by Pamela Rosales (Training and Community Engagement Manager, National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Davida Delmar (Digital Inclusion Manager, Amerind). Pamela and Davida talk about their digital inclusion work and how it differs across Tribal communities as compared to rural and urban areas. 

The Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund (LATCF) Due February 28, 2022

The Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund (LATCF) is ARPA funding that has provided $500 million for Tribal government for LATCF, specifically $250 million for Tribal governments for each of fiscal years 2022 and 2023. This program has a broad set of eligible uses (governmental purposes) . Tribes have until February 28th to submit for the funding.

For more information and to request funding please see:

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/assistance-for-state-local-and-tribal-governments/local-assistance-and-tribal-consistency-fund

How Does the Internet Work and What Are the Implications for Broadband Policy?

This fact sheet discusses the infrastructure, operations, and organizations that deliver broadband consumer service.

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2022/07/how-does-the-internet-work-and-what-are-the-implications-for-broadband-policy

Building Indigenous Future Zones: Four Tribal Broadband Case Studies

This paper offers information on Internet infrastructure development in the Native Nations across the U.S. and the rise of the movement for Spectrum Sovereignty and Network Sovereignty, which are key to meeting Internet infrastructure needs in Native Nations.

https://ilsr.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IndigenousFutureZones-0221.pdf

BROADBAND 101: THE BASICS OF BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE

For a brief easy to read overview of broadband basics see the following pdf.

https://www.calfund.org/wp-content/uploads/CCF-Digital-Equity-Broadband-101-Fact-Sheet-FINAL-2.3.22.pdf

How Broadband Infrastructure Gets Built

For a look at logistical, legal, and other requirements that govern deployment of internet equipment see the following fact sheet.

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2022/07/how-broadband-infrastructure-gets-built

Save the date: Indigenous Connectivity Summit June 2023

Register to the mailing list to hear about opportunities to join training ahead of the 2023 summit and check out past summits.

The Impact of Internet Access in Indigenous Communities in Canada and the United States: An Overview of Findings and Guidelines for Research

The Internet Society commissioned this report to provide an overview of findings to date on the impacts of the Internet in Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States. It begins by summarizing the theory of the role of information, and by extension, information services such as the Internet in the development process, followed by a review and analysis of the available research on the effects of information services for:
• Personal use
• Health care and education
• Business and commercial activities
• Non-profit organizations and local/tribal governments.
This report then examines how online and mobile software and games are being developed to preserve and promote Indigenous languages and to share knowledge of Indigenous cultures, and how Indigenous enterprises and organizations are operating communications networks and providing digital services, concluding with evaluation planning, research design and indicators that could be included in future evaluations of the impact of the Internet in Indigenous communities.

Written by:

Dr. Heather E. Hudson

Professor Emerita, University of San Francisco

Affiliate Professor and Former Director, Institute of Social and Economic Research University of Alaska Anchorage

https://www.internetsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Impact-Indigenous_Communities-EN.pdf

Tribal Broadband Bootcamp Virtual Session two Fiber and Internet Primer (1-13-2023)

This video discusses the basics of Internet access technologies, how networks transmit data, IP Addressing, and an introduction to planning fiber optic networks.

Tribal Broadband Bootcamp Virtual Intro and basics session one (1-6-2023)

This video discusses what the Bootcamp is, what we want to accomplish, and covers some basics of fiber optics, digital equity, and what the Internet.

Tribal Resource Center video series: Getting started with community needs

https://youtu.be/9eQ7WSaWfBQ

For more resources see https://tribalresourcecenter.net/

Selecting bids for RFPs advice from Shoalwater Bay

A request for proposal (RFP) is a business document that announces a project, describes it, and solicits bids from qualified contractors to complete it. Some tribes prefer to launch their projects using RFPs to assist their broadband projects. Shoalwater Bay recently went through the process of selecting a company that responded to their RFP. They have shared their experiences with the Tribal Resource Center in hopes that other tribes going through the same process will learn from their experience.

While considering the bids offered to Shoalwater Bay Jim Schaeffer, project lead, said: "Cost was the top factor.  Our selection came in cheapest. They also responded with all information requested and we believe their level of expertise is very high.  All 5 respondents did seem good so the choice was tough. 4 of the 5 were under the $40K threshold, although 1 of the 4 was close and could have exceeded the limit.  We eliminated the one that was over $40K immediately."

Jamie Judkins, Shoalwater Bay broadband project lead, shared her process for elimination. "I did some reference checking on one that stood out. Not necessarily red flag status, but not professional. Here is my comparison of the proposals."

*Company names have been altered*

CompanyAmountNative Owned?Woman Owned?Native ExperienceSuccessful Surveys?LocationComments
Company A$ 32,500NJSo far, I have been unable to reach any of the references with 2 of them going to the wrong individuals. The first “Key Person” on their task list isn't listed in their Key Personnel area.
Company B$ 38,820x   ME
Company C$ 38,000xWANot to exceed $41k?
Company D$ 32,000xxOKLike the idea of ending up with a turnkey solution. Read the last half of page 3 carefully.

For more information on RFPs click here.

For RFP Response Evaluation & Vendor Selection click here.

For How to Evaluate Responses to a Project Request for Proposal click here.

Tribal Resource Center video series: Partners

https://youtu.be/dLrmd9LpFFc

Workforce development and technician certification with the Fiber Broadband Association

The Fiber Broadband Association offers classes and certification for broadband technicians in several areas around the United States. These certifications fufill some obligations required for many grants.
The classes cover the following topics:

• Applications and Advantages of Fiber
• Fiber Theory, Types, Geometry
• Safety and tools
• Cables and Cable Structures
• Architectures & Topologies
• Connectors, Splicing, and Splitters
• Cable and Fiber Management
• Test Equipment and Testing
• Outdoor and Premise Installation
Overview
• Systems Overview
• Optical Network Terminals
• Troubleshooting

For more information on hosting classes near you please see the presentation or visit https://www.fiberbroadband.org

Tribal Resource Center video series: Feasibility studies

https://youtu.be/HvPaUdGLMKw

Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program

The ReConnect Loan and Grant Program offers loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. For more information please see:

https://www.usda.gov/reconnect

Tribal Resource Center video series: Tools for organizing your tribal broadband needs

https://youtu.be/Vwl025j--UE

Community Connect Grants

Rural areas that lack broadband service as defined in the most recent funding announcement are eligible.

The grants can be used for:

• The construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land or buildings used to deploy broadband service for:
° all residential and business
customers located within the Proposed Funded Service Area
° all participating essential
community facilities (such as public schools, fire stations, public libraries, and public safety stations)
• The cost of providing broadband service free of charge to the essential community facilities for 2 years
• Up to 10 percent of the grant may be used for the improvement, expansion, construction, or acquisition of a community center that provides online access to the public

For more information see:

https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/fact-sheet/508_RD_FS_RUS_CommunityConnect.pdf

For additional details see:

https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-7/subtitle-B/chapter-XVII/part-1739

Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act

This resource provides important information about BABA Act requirements, guidance documents on the waiver and comment process, and the full list of USDA waiver requests.

If you use USDA funds to purchase goods, products, and materials for any form of construction, alteration, maintenance or repair of infrastructure, you must follow the BABA Act’s provisions. When necessary, award recipients may apply for a waiver from these requirements. USDA may waive the application of the domestic content procurement preference in the case of one of three exceptions:

  1. Public interest.
  2. Nonavailability.
  3. Unreasonable cost.

Proposed waivers must be approved internally before being sent to ffac@usda.gov, with the subject “Agency Name Buy America Waiver Request.”

More information on the requirements can be found here: TITLE IX—BUILD AMERICA, BUY AMERICAN

https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/GC/documents/Build%20America,%20Buy%20America%20Act%20Provisions.pdf