On Tuesday, Cambium Networks, the Nasdaq-listed, Illinois-headquartered global wireless network provider, announced a new push to supply tribal communities in the Western U.S. with fixed wireless broadband and Wi-Fi for affordable high-speed internet access. Cambium will partner with Native-owned telecommunications infrastructure consulting firm EnerTribe, which is already deploying high speed broadband connectivity over the 2.5 GHz, 3 GHz, CBRS and 5 GHz bands along with Wi-Fi access to members of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa tribes in California.
Cambium Networks is also working with a tribal nation in Arizona and two tribal nations in New Mexico that are deploying several Cambium Networks Wi-Fi and backhaul solutions.
“Spectrum is a Natural Resource”
Over the past year, Cambium Networks has worked with tribal authorities and channel partners to deliver affordable high-speed connectivity to 11 remote tribal nations in the states of California, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon, groups that rank among the least connected populations in the United States. The tribal nations have funded these initiatives in part through the U.S. Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. Collectively, these efforts are expected to bring access to 100,000 people.
“Spectrum is a natural resource. Unfortunately, even though high-speed internet is key to developing local economies, most of the Native American tribes still have little to no broadband and building infrastructure,” said Forest James, CEO of EnerTribe, Inc, in a statement on the Cambium partnership. “There’s no silver bullet, but partnerships like the one we have with Cambium Networks are proving invaluable for us to narrow the digital divide for these communities.”
Since 2012, Cambium Networks worked with Sacred Wind Communications, currently the only private-owned telecom that focuses on connectivity to rural tribal communities in New Mexico. Sacred Wind supplied the first home-based telephone service and high-speed internet to the Navajo Nation, whose reservation is home to tribal members in remote areas of Northwestern New Mexico, Northeastern Arizona, and Southern Utah. Sacred Wind operates on Navajo Lands in New Mexico where approximately 7,000 homes are scattered over 3,200 square miles within its service territory.
“Cambium Networks’ fixed wireless broadband technology, Wi-Fi access and centralized management are very well suited for these applications because not only do we have the products that fit all these different needs, but we can also mobilize our entire ecosystem of engineers, consultants and neighboring service providers that already use our equipment to help solve problems,” said Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO, Cambium Networks. “Our mission is to connect the unconnected and deliver results. Our partners have deployed our fixed wireless and Wi-Fi access solutions all over the world in the most extreme conditions to deliver connectivity to underserved populations and remote geographic areas. Our work with tribal communities extends that mission to Indigenous Americans.”