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Blog // Connect Iowa

Broadband Hero for Access: Sac & Fox Tribe of Mississippi in Iowa

By Lyndsey Kleven

The Sac & Fox Tribe of Mississippi in Iowa has been selected as Connect Iowa’s newest Broadband Hero awardee for access. Represented by project manager Janice Eaglehawk, the Sac & Fox Tribe is being recognized by Connect Iowa at the state Broadband Summit for its efforts in helping to foster high-speed broadband access in Iowa.

The Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa is the first tribe in the nation to own and implement a Gigabit Community Network. The project site is located on the Meskwaki Settlement located in Tama County and is the home of approximately 1,300 tribally enrolled members of the Sac and Fox Tribe. Very limited to no broadband existed within the settlement prior to the implementation of the Fiber to the Home Project.

In 2010, the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa partnered with the Iowa Communication Network to apply for federal funding that was awarded through the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program. The Meskwaki Nation was a sub-recipient partner of the grant and has been greatly successful with the completion of their portion of the networks. The federal grant provided five miles of middle-mile fiber routes to connect the Meskwaki Nation’s tribal community anchor institutions (settlement school, tribal clinic, and tribal center), and in a separate initiative the tribe itself deployed over 14 miles of fiber routes to approximately 196 residences. This portion of the project, or Phase 1, is 100% complete.

Equally important is the tribe’s investment in 100% of the costs to deploy and implement Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the project. Phase 2 provides services to 32% of the homes and 23% of CAI’s and businesses, and Phase 3 provides services to 14% of homes and 12% of CAI’s and businesses. Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the project began in September 2013 and are 95% complete.

As of May 2014, the Sac & Fox Tribe is on schedule to complete the construction and implementation of a 100% tribally owned state of the art fiber optics based telecommunication system utilizing IP Technology that provides affordable broadband services to the government, businesses, education, healthcare, public safety, and residential entities located within the Meskwaki Settlement.

The objectives of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa to create a vision for their people, set goals, and turn those goals into reality demonstrates their commitment to laying the foundation for future opportunities for their people and to their role as partners and participants in Iowa’s economy.

Connect Iowa thanks the Sac & Fox Tribe and Janice EagleHawk for championing broadband use throughout Iowa and their assistance with Iowa’s technological developments



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