Poarch Band of Creek Indians invests $5.5 million in internet

The areas served previously lacked reliable service or had no connectivity options

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians recently invested $5.5 million to deliver high-speed internet access to areas of the tribal reservation that previously either lacked reliable service or had no connectivity options at all.

The new network was installed by BearCom and is managed by Escambia Community Utilities.

“In the midst of the Covid pandemic, we were confronted with a startling realization — our rural community was light years behind in terms of connectivity,” said Stephanie Bryan, CEO and Chair of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. “Our primary objective with investing in high-speed internet solutions was to enhance our community’s capacity to learn, connect and foster a technological future that would facilitate workforce development.”

BearCom, which has a location in Birmingham among others across the U.S. and Canada, is a service provider that has experience in serving America’s Native American Tribes. “For us, it is about helping communities overcome the digital divide, reach digital sovereignty and enable their members with access to fundamental resources,” said Mike Owen, chief technology officer for BearCom.

The 14-month project provides approximately 38 square miles of coverage area and includes 11,040 feet of network cable, benefitting approximately 500 tribal citizens and the local community. A telecommunications hub and seven microwave links are included in the project.

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