- By Chez Oxendine
- Economic Development
Samish Indian Nation
Project Summary: This Broadband Use and Adoption project proposes to address the current digital divide by conducting an analysis of broadband assets, digital literacy skills, and the availability of broadband equipment and devices for Samish Tribal citizens.
Update: The Samish Indian Nation is using an award from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to best study its path forward, Chairman Tom Wooten told Tribal Business News.
The award will help the Samish tribe conduct a “needs assessment” of the tribe’s 2,189 citizens primarily grouped in Washington, Alaska, California, and Oregon, as well as smaller populations across the Atlantic seaboard.
The feasibility study, which will help the tribe understand its members' digital literacy and access to broadband, will help the tribe with strategic planning and, hopefully, finding more federal funding, Wooten said.
“I think for us, the initial award is for feasibility and planning — to really come up with a solid plan going forward,” Wooten said. “The impacts of that are going to be awesome, because that will hopefully open the door for other grant opportunities.”
The tribe received their award last May, and began seeking a contractor for the study in November, according to a request for qualifications published to the tribe’s website. The project must be completed by April this year, per that request.
“We are just now engaged in the study. We have a communications and IT department that is looking at how we can best utilize existing infrastructure for our activities and hopefully provide better services to our tribal members,” Wooten said. “Anacortes, where the tribal headquarters is located, has a fiber program that's going on…they bought heavily into it, and we're trying to figure out how to tie all this together.”
One of the opportunities to leverage Anacortes’ existing broadband infrastructure is to use it in bringing broadband access to the San Juan Islands in the Salish Sea.
“That's our hope,” Wooten said. “We have citizens out in the Islands. We're hoping to bring that service to our citizens wherever they're at.”
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