Osage Nation case study

  • Case
    • The Osage Reservation has primitive internet access, many rely on satellites for internet service and streaming of media is difficult.
    • The city of Pawhuska is looking forward to working with Osage Nation and making forward progress with a Wi-Fi system
    • Building municipal Wi-Fi projects based on programs put in place by other municipalities throughout the country.
      • The Osage Nation and the city of Pawhuska have been collaborating on the development of a municipal Wi-Fi system for public use. The system will provide a free Internet connection for residents and visitors. 
      • The Wi-Fi system is intended to help close the ‘Digital Divide’ by providing a good Internet connection. The technology does have limitations. It’s not intended to be a replacement for a dedicated broadband connection. 
      • Building a broadband system is necessary for many reasons. Distance learning, business communications, and social interactions, through the use of the Internet supports our people’s work, education, entertainment, culture, language, and much more.
  •  Funding/ Support
    • 2015:  The Osage Congress approved a bill to support a feasibility study for broadband connection. 
    • ACRS Telecommunications Engineering has been contracted by the Osage Nation to provide high speed internet.
    • Aid from Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) funds
    • 2017: $3 million funding from Community Connect grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a $450,000 matching money appropriation from the Osage Nation Congress 
    • 2020: started on three tower sites which are now staked out for the Grayhorse community’s portion of the grant-funded project
  • Strategies for success for this project
    • Engagement with the community (Public Forums)
      • Opening a forum to the public will provide information on the purpose, goals, and benefits. It will also allow time for public comments and questions.
        • provides valuable data that could ultimately improve other issues, such as utilities, in the rural area that is also Osage County. 
      • Osage leadership is aware of the need to improve internet connection to develop and improve Osage economy and achieve long-term goals as a culturally progressive Native Sovereign Nation.
      • Osage congress will commit to a plan and strategy to phase in broadband infrastructure. 
        • The first phase will be to build Osage government broadband infrastructure and expand to the public from there. This will be achieved by Osage funding as well as federal grants and low interest loans.
    • Building Partnerships
      • Chief states: The CARES Act provided the funds and Chief Standing Bear gave approval to make it happen. There was a high  importance of partnering with the city on this project. Without access to their infrastructure, building a network  wouldn’t be possible.

Key Themes: Economy – Engagement – Tribal Infrastructure – Education – Empathy – Marketing

Issues: Community engagement 

Strategies: Information and Cultural Sharing – Partnerships

Forms of Access:  Municipal Wi-Fi