U.S. Senator Tom Udall congratulated the Navajo Nation for its work to build an ultra-fast broadband network during a visit Monday to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) data center. Udall helped the Navajo Nation leverage a $32 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant in 2010 to expand broadband Internet across its land in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
Udall has been a leading advocate for expanding broadband and has worked for many years to add more access to tribal communities across the state.
“Broadband access opens doors for rural communities, enabling people to access education, health and job opportunities that were once out of reach. I was proud to help secure the $32 million broadband grant to allow the Navajo Nation to bridge the digital divide on tribal lands, and I’m impressed with how they have seized the opportunity,” Udall said. “Through hard work, the NTUA is building a broadband platform to help create jobs while providing critical Internet services for Indian Country.”
Udall met with NTUA officials and employees of the data center as he toured the new tier 3 complex, which uses state-of-the-art technology enabling “cloud computing” services that provide secure, uninterrupted server storage for businesses, agencies and non-profit organizations.
“It was wonderful to have Senator Udall visit our facility. By being here he could see exactly how much progress has been made,” said Deenise Becenti of NTUA Public Affairs. “It was also a great opportunity to demonstrate what can be done for people throughout the Navajo Nation when resources like this are made available. From the beginning, NTUA has worked toward the end goal that will place the Navajo Nation as a leader for broadband technology across Indian Country.”
The NTUA data center is just one example of leveraging new broadband infrastructure to improve economic growth and quality of life on the Navajo Nation. The project funds helped build one of the first and largest Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless broadband networks in the country and deployed 550 miles of new fiber-optic cable and “aerial fiber” covering more than 15,00 square miles across New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, where more than 60 percent of residents lack basic telephone service.
The project provides quality, high-speed broadband and mobile service to more than 30,000 households and 1,000 businesses, covering approximately 70 percent of the Navajo Nation, enabling access to new public health and educational opportunities for the first time on Navajo lands.