Hopi Tribe case study

  • Case
    • The Hopi Tribe is a sovereign nation located in northeastern Arizona. The reservation occupies part of Coconino and Navajo counties. It encompasses more than 1.5 million acres, and is made up of 12 villages totaling an estimated population of 19,327. 
    • The tribe currently has broadband internet in only some pockets of the reservation, but for where it does exist it works very slowly. 
    • This issue is primarily due to the economically disadvantaged villages who can not afford such services
  •  Funding/ Support
    • The Hopi service relies on federal loans to expand its network. 
    • 2018: Received Agriculture Department loan to bring internet access to another 650 homes on the reservation through a fiber-optic connection and let those on old-technology copper lines get faster internet access.
    • Rep. Greg Stanton of Phoenix feels that indigenous access to high-speed internet is absolutely critical now more than ever, as closing the digital divide provides access to current-day needs.
    • 2019: Stanton amended the House bill restoring net neutrality to require that the Federal Communications Commission work more closely with tribal nations to assess their internet needs and to improve access and reliability. 
  • Strategies for success for this project
    • Need to find organizations that understand the high cost and low density areas as it is often overlooked by major corporations, but small investors are willing to work and grow
      • As many carriers wouldn’t even come in and offer service to the majority of these reservations,  tribes built their own telecommunications networks. 
      • There are nine tribally owned and operated telecommunication companies in the U.S. one of which is Hopi Telecommunications Inc.
    • Access and reliability 
      • This is a constant balance in finding connection and service that can stretch to even the most remote parts of the reservation.
      • It can be a delicate balancing act for providers in rural areas.
      • More needs to be done to help reservations improve infrastructure for broadband and to provide more opportunities to the households that need it.

Key Themes: Roadblocks – Reliance – Marketing

Issues: Low Income 

Strategies: Government  involvement

Forms of Access: Tribe owned telecommunications – everyone – household