Potawatomi to expand broadband access in northern Wisconsin

Staff reports
1/7/11

CRANDON, Wis. – The Forest County Potawatomi Community is installing a broadband Internet system on its Forest County, Wisconsin reservation lands that will allow tribal members living on the reservation and local residents living near the reservation access to broadband Internet.

The completed network will have the ability to deliver broadband to nearly 200 households with the capability to deliver speeds up to 1.5 megabytes. Presently, broadband options are limited and most tribal members only have access to dial-up Internet or no Internet access at all.

To provide the new broadband access, several 180 foot radio towers will be constructed. System installation began in October and is expected to be complete by July 2011. Once completed, the system will also allow local residents living near the reservation the ability to purchase broadband Internet service that was not previously available. In the future, the system may be expanded to serve a greater part of Forest County and other areas of
Northern Wisconsin.

“From expanding educational options to helping families keep in touch, constructing this system will allow tribal members and local residents to have better access to information which can improve their quality of life,” said Potawatomi Tribal Chairman Gus Frank.

The broadband system will be constructed by One Prospect Technologies in collaboration with SonicNet. One Prospect Technologies estimates that it will hire five additional full-time employees in order to build and serve the expanded broadband network.

One Prospect Technologies is a tribal company based in Crandon, Wis. that serves both tribal nations and commercial markets in Wisconsin. The company provides IT services including basic computing networks, installation of IP phones and wireless networks, and remote monitoring of multi-campuses over a wide area network and large geographic area. More information on One Prospect Technologies can be found at www.oneprospect.com.

SonicNet is the largest wireless Internet service provider in Vilas, Oneida, Florence and Forest counties in Wisconsin, as well as a large portion of Dickinson County in Michigan. The company manages and maintains a series of towers and access points to provide both business and residential service. SonicNet is a local, women/minority-owned business. More information on SonicNet can be found at www.sonicnet.us.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community is a federally recognized Native American tribe located in Northeastern Wisconsin with a membership of about 1,400. The Potawatomi operate several tribal enterprises, including casinos in Milwaukee and Carter, Wis., and a Health & Wellness Center in Crandon, Wis. Through their government and business operations, they employ more than 3,000 people in Milwaukee and on the reservation in northeastern Wisconsin. For more information on the Potawatomi, visit www.fcpotawatomi.com.

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