Walter Hoffman runs Yurok Connect on the Klamath side of the Yurok Reservation. Launched in 2013 and administered by the Yurok IT Department, Yurok Connect is a Yurok Tribe-owned, wireless internet service provider. (Yurok Tribe)
Increased internet speeds and access to broadband will open virtual doors for the 300 residents on the Yurok Reservation in the Klamath and Weitchpec areas of Northern California to start businesses and access distance-learning opportunities.
The Yurok Tribal Council recently approved the $2.1 million Yurok Connect Broadband Project forecasted for completion in December.
Boosted data transmission speeds and expanded coverage are funded through the the Tribe’s share of aid from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“The Broadband Project will considerably enhance emergency communications on the reservation for decades to come,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “It will also create a wide range of additional benefits for tribal citizens, ranging from new economic opportunities to improved healthcare options. This is game changer for the Yurok Tribe.”
Yurok Connect, a Yurok Tribe-owned, wireless internet service provider launched in 2013, is administered by the Yurok IT department.
Beyond enhancing education, business and e-commerce opportunities, the initiative will aid telehealth, natural disaster response and public safety. Currently, Yurok Connect cannot reach a significant segment of the reservation, which has hindered the Tribe’s capacity to communicate with its citizens during the crisis. The Yurok Connect Broadband Project will permanently resolve this issue.
The Yurok IT department has also obtained a grant to hire EnerTribe, a Native American-owned firm, to engineer and construct the electronic infrastructure.
EnerTribe CEO Forest James (no relation to Chairman James) commented on LinkedIn: “After working with the Yurok tribe for the past few years we are excited to be a part of such an exciting and critical new project! We are also excited to begin broadband studies, last-mile wireless engineering, and community engagement (virtually)!”