Karuk Tribe Wins $6.6 Million to Introduce Broadband to Remote County in California


A joint collaboration between the Karuk and Yurok Tribe will provide broadband and Internet access to rural communities in Humboldt County in Northern California.

The California Public Utility Commission has awarded the Karuk Tribe $6,602,422 from the California Advanced Services Fund to install 82.3 miles of fiber optic cable in the area, reported the nativenewsnetwork.com. The project, the Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative, will significantly benefit community services including health care facilities, schools, rural fire camps, fire stations, public safety installations, and various state, federal and tribal government offices.

"We are witnessing an historic moment, a potential for a new model really, with tribal governments leading the way for remote rural deployment of basic communications infrastructure," said Sean McLaughlin, executive director of Access Humboldt, in a release. "In addition to providing an inspiration to other communities, this is a fantastic step forward for everyone in Humboldt County as this project will build a new fiber path connecting Humboldt County directly with Siskiyou County and points beyond! Notably, the project will bring service to the town of Orick which has no broadband now, and it will also open a new wireless path (built by the Yurok Tribe) to Del Norte County as well."

The tribes' vision and determination has allowed them to serve communities on their ancestral lands, and the collaboration with the Yurok Tribe has allowed the project to connect upriver Klamath (from Orleans/Panamnik) to the North Coast (at Orick and down to Big Lagoon in Humboldt), including a wireless connection to Del Norte (from Klamath to Crescent City). "…[T]his project reflects a larger vision for the longer term," McLaughlin added.

New opportunities as a result of this project will be "essential to the future of the region," IT director Eric Cutright of the Karuk Tribe told nativenewsnetwork.com.