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Yurok Tribe

Klamath, California

Award Amount:  $61,661,365.50

Project Summary: The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install middle fiber and last-mile wireless connecting 921 unserved Native American households on the Yurok Reservation and Yurok Ancestral Lands with fixed wireless to the home with 100 Mbps/25 Mbps service.

Update: The Yurok Tribe will leverage $61.6 million in National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) funding to bring a wide swathe of their reservation online and, hopefully, spark new economic development activity as a result, according to Chairman Joseph L. James. 

The money will serve as a “good starting point” for installing 62 miles of middle-mile fiber from the northern California communities of Orick to Crescent City, alongside last-mile spurs into smaller communities like Requa and Klamath Glenn.

The service will be complemented by similar projects on behalf of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, which also received $65 million from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, and the Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative led by the neighboring Karuk Tribe. Collectively, the projects will shore up weaknesses in the existing fiber backbone across Northern California’s most rural climes. 

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“This is an absolute game-changer,” James told Tribal Business News. “This will create a huge impact for us in this positive way. It’s going to be good for our government, our community, and our businesses.”

The Yurok plans to have the new high-speed service up and running for tribal citizens“within three years,” James said, noting a 2025 target date. 

At that point, Yurok Telecommunications, the tribally owned enterprise at the helm of the project, plans to leverage the expertise and relationships gained during the process for future economic development opportunities, according to James. The tribal firm plans to look into opportunities to manufacture telecommunications gear, including cables and equipment.   

“I want to be on the distribution side of it,” James said. “We’re still in the planning phases, but we want to be manufacturing this equipment and sharing our skills outside of it to create jobs.”

About The Author
Chez Oxendine
Staff Writer
Chez Oxendine (Lumbee-Cheraw) is a staff writer for Tribal Business News. Based in Oklahoma, he focuses on broadband, Indigenous entrepreneurs, and federal policy. His journalism has been featured in Native News Online, Fort Gibson Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Baconian Magazine, and Oklahoma Magazine, among others.
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