Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

By Ian Oakes 

Akwesasne Broadband Project Moving Along


This map displays the phases of the broadband project. Orange lines are phase one, green is phase two, dark blue is phase three and light blue is phase four.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe has undertaken a large effort to get Akwesasne connected to Broadband internet services. Brenna Susice, Broadband Project Manager, sat down with me and gave me some information to pass along to our readers.

The project is moving along, and soon you will be able to choose from a provider of services and service packages. But what are those services, and better yet for those that don’t know, what is broadband Internet? There is a far more complicated explanation dealing with electromagnetic frequencies and such, but the easiest definition I found comes from, and says broadband internet is an internet connection with a much larger capacity than dial-up or ISDN. So let’s just call it much “faster” internet. With the broadband project, there is not only the potential for faster internet, but also TV, and VOIP telephone services.

As to the why, Susice said, “[Broadband Internet] has been sorely lacking in the community, and [the Tribe] really wanted to provide those types of services to their community members. It will also generate a lot of indirect jobs for the community and attract business. It’s good economic growth.” The project aims to have much of the work done and be starting to connect homes by March of 2013, but this is subject to many variables and may change. So far, Flint Communications is the only provider of service, and they are providing the front end, while the tribe provides the backend. The tribe is in negotiations or will be beginning to negotiate with other providers now. One important thing to note is that if you signup for Opti-Network Terminal (ONT), which is the interface from the fiber network to the home internet, by the end of October then they are free. If you sign up after October the cost for the ONT may be between $500-$600, although that is subject to change depending on whether the provider subsidizes the cost in some way.

There are 4 phases in which the internet will be rolled out to homes, but first the ONT’s need to be installed before anything else, so make sure you get town to the Tribal building and sign up. The sheet is at the receptionist’s desk. Even if there is a new home, or a home that will be completed in the spring, you can sign up as long as you have your 911 address. Susice also encouraged business to sign up now. “And,” Susice added, “gamers are going to love it!”


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