Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai along with Policy Advisors visited the Wind River Reservation last week to tour the broadband project that is connecting homes and businesses with high-speed internet across the reservation.
Last year, the Northern Arapaho Tribal Industries received $4.1 million through the FCC’s Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF-II) to expand broadband in rural areas. With these funds, Wind River Internet (WRI), a branch of the Northern Arapaho Tribal Industries, is connecting over 800 homes and businesses to high-speed internet on the Wind River Reservation. The project is going well, according to Wind River Internet Executive Manager of Wind River Internet Patrick Lawson. “We are adding new ones every day.”
While visiting, Pai toured the broadband project sites in Ethete, Fort Washakie, and Arapahoe. He also met with a few members of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, Wind River Internet Board of Directors, and BIA Superintendent Leslie Shakespeare.
It’s rare for the FCC Chairman to visit projects, but he can use what we are doing here as an example of how the CAF-II can be used, Lawson noted. “They were impressed with the project so far and putting people to work, and training them with new skills.” So far, WRI has been able to add 3 permanent jobs with this project and that number will likely double. They also expect to add over 10 temporary jobs during construction and installation.
Below is a video Pai shared on Twitter during his visit:
Inspiring visit to the Wind River Reservation in rural Ethete, Wyoming! We saw how @FCC CAF2 funding is enabling Tribally-owned Wind River Internet to deliver gigabit fiber to Tribal residents. Hohou hinono’ei 3oowoo3nenitenoó—thank you to the Arapaho Tribe—for the hospitality! pic.twitter.com/RrmtNeoNG4
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) February 11, 2020