Cherokee Nation case study

  • Case
    • The Cherokee Nation, based in Tahlequah in eastern Oklahoma, has been working for years on connectivity and learned during the pandemic last year that nearly three dozen communities lacked service. 
    • The tribe set up hot spots in those areas to give people WiFi access and issued 11,000 hot spots to school children and other tribal members who needed them. 
      • The goal is to make connectivity permanent for those who currently lack WiFi services
  •  Funding/ Support
    • 2021: Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. told President Joe Biden on Wednesday that the broadband portion of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill will help the tribe continue connecting its youth, elders, and other members to the internet.
      • Oklahoma would get an estimated $100 million from the bill for broadband expansion. Separately, Hoskin said, the bill includes $2 billion and extends for four years as a federal grant program for tribes across the country.
    • Cherokee Connect –  the tribe’s universal connectivity initiative, is focused on serving as a broadband resource and deploying connectivity that fills the gap for Cherokee households currently lacking internet access.
      • provides access to affordable, reliable broadband for the Cherokee Nation citizens.
      • Cherokee Connect is a place where citizens can provide information about their connectivity needs, learn tips and tricks when using the Internet, and ways we are working to bring access throughout the Cherokee Nation.
      • Providing temporary subsidy during COVID-19 Emergency or Funding Expended – $75 subsidy on tribal land.
        • In response to the pandemic, the Cherokee Nation launched the Respond, Recover, Rebuild Mobile Hotspot Connectivity Assistance Program that provided a mobile hotspot device to thousands of Cherokee households lacking internet
    • Pursuing the funding from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant Program through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
    • Cherokee Nation recently partnered with Starlink on a pilot project to provide Cherokee speakers access to reliable broadband. 
      • The $11 billion investment in the Indian Country infrastructure package was to address needs from repairing our roads, updating water systems, to broadband deployment. 
  • Strategies for success for this project
    • Acknowledge benefits for multiple age groups
      • Cherokee children need a high-speed internet for school/ elders need access to telemedicine that can not currently be gained because they live outside connectivity.
    • Have a step by step plan in place that allows for points of internet access that grows at different points of development
      • Building with Cherokee Connect provides drive-up Wi-Fi zones at 35 locations throughout the Cherokee Nation as they build broadband efforts and federal broadband subsidies for low-income households on tribal lands.
      • Respond, Recover and Rebuild Mobile Hotspot Connectivity Assistance
        •  multi-million dollar program that will give Cherokee Citizens lacking internet up to a year of service. 
        • The goal is to decrease the digital divide while the Nation develops reliable broadband access throughout their communities.
        • Hotspots provided are smaller, portable devices that work just like a WiFi network.

Key Themes: Roadblocks – Empathy – Motivation – Education – Reliance

Issues: Affordability – Hot spots 

Strategies: Digital Divide Decrease – Acknowledgement

Forms of Access: Wifi – Hotspots -universal connectivity initiative – Portal Wifi