EnerTribe was established with the core purpose of problem solving. Simply put, we created services to address the needs that we saw while engaging with tribal and business councils all across North America. Broadband and infrastructure was not the original intent of EnerTribe. However, it was very clear that a lack of equitable Internet access was a huge problem for many tribes. Based on personal experience from living on the reservation and discussion with tribal members, a few recurring problems were quickly identified.
Problems and Solutions
One of the most common problems was simply a lack of any form of connectivity in rural locations. Given the relatively small population, many major communication providers had no interest in constructing and maintaining a network in the underserved areas due to the lack of potential revenue. Others were unsure how to work with tribes or operate on tribal lands. In cases where some services were available, they were often priced so high they were not accessible to many. Others were simply too unreliable. The solution–tribes to establish their own telecommunication infrastructures–appeared to be simple. The process to get there was anything but.
At EnerTribe we started by getting to know the issues from tribes themselves. Then we consulted with industry experts and partnered with some key individuals and companies to find solutions. Thus, we went from being an energy company to a Native American consulting firm specializing in broadband and telecommunications. In that capacity we are able to scale up or down to meet the needs of the tribes we work with. Our services range from the very initial stage of a technical consultation or broadband study, to final construction and continuing support.
EnerTribe will help identify funding sources and plan for comprehensive economic development for the future. In the past 14-years we have helped fund over $450 million in infrastructure projects. We have worked with hundreds of tribes across the continent. It may not make financial sense for large providers to invest in rural areas. Who better though than the tribe themselves? Equitable Internet access can enrich the lives of those it serves. Access to global markets and resources truly open up a world of possibilities right at home.
Because of our background and experiences as a Native-owned company, EnerTribe is uniquely positioned to work with tribes, agencies, and providers. We understand how things work in Indian Country. That includes the permitting process, handling cultural and historic preservation, and the structure of government. We can help you navigate these processes and get the most out of available resources and partnerships.
Finally, EnerTribe always looks to the future. Nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to training. From the very start of a project we are looking to identify community champions who can be trained to continue the work long after we are gone. Unlike other parties, we are not looking to collect revenues on the systems we help create. We want the tribes to take ownership of their projects. Ultimately, we look to work ourselves out of a job in the end.
As the world gets ever more connected, the need for equitable broadband becomes greater. We have seen first hand the harm that can come from a lack of access to vital services of health, education, and communication. We have also seen the good that equitable access can bring, from economic growth, to cultural preservation, and personal innovation. If your tribe is facing these challenges, we’d love to help. It’s at the very heart of what we do.