Broadband Connectivity for Tribal Nations
Powering a Cost-Effective Solution to Serve a Rural Community’s Internet Needs
A large tribal nation in the Southwest contracted with M S Benbow & Associates to help bridge their rural digital divide. In this case, the lack of reliable connectivity was negatively impacting the ability of this nation’s healthcare services to attract and retain doctors and healthcare professionals caring for the community. MSB value-engineered a ubiquitous solution using a fiber backhaul to the hospital’s network to extend wireless service from the hospital to healthcare worker housing as well as an independent elder housing community. The project capitalized on federal grant money available for telecommunications upgrades to connect the network to three fully upgraded towers, greatly improving internet service to the areas.
It can be difficult for rural communities to find doctors and staff to serve their residents. This tribal nation provides housing to attract and retain competent provider staff, however, the residential neighborhood has only spotty satellite internet service. Native families living on remote reservations often rely on community libraries, schools, clinics, and tribal offices as sometimes their only source of a WI-FI signal, and many homes are located miles from the nearest access point.
Their main medical facility is the hub of healthcare services, covering the entire nation. MSB worked with the facility’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and IT Director to modernize and improve the nation’s existing wireless internet network by leveraging existing telecommunications assets. The nation had built a wireless ISP fiber backhaul at the healthcare center and attempted to provide internet through three communication towers a few miles from the center, but achieved connectivity delivering only approximately 1 MG per second.
MSB focused its solution on adopting the most efficient and cost-effective means of connecting the healthcare provider housing to the hospital’s WISP. MSB assessed the existing communications towers and determined that grounding and power were deficient, and the cabinets suffered frequent failures due to the lack of air conditioning. MSB supported the nation’s grant application to capitalize on available pandemic recovery grant money to fund tower upgrades. The improvements would make the towers more resilient by replacing nodes, grounding and switching, installing air-conditioned cabinets, and an upgraded power supply to the towers. MSB also performed commissioning and startup of the network and will provide ongoing technical support and monitoring to ensure reliable connectivity.
- Engineering Assessment & Cost Analysis
- Value & Consulting Engineering
- Schedule & Budget Development
- Grant Application Support
- Tower Assessment & Upgrades
- Hardware Research & Selection
- Network Build & Integration
- Permitting & Negotiations
- Construction Management
- Commissioning & Startup
- As-Built Documentation
- Ongoing System Maintenance & Support