Proposed Structures to Provide Wi-Fi to Navajo Nation
Nearly all of the western chapters of the Navajo Nation support the building of a structure that could be the first of many in a project to bring Wi-Fi to even the remotest parts of the vast reservation. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports.
The proposed pavilions will be open structures that measure 40 feet in diameter. They’ll be powered by solar panels and in addition to Wi-Fi, they’ll include outlets for recharging devices, and could also be used to provide electricity to mobile medical clinics.
The effort is led by the Boulder Colorado based Agora Project.
“Education, telemedicine, vocational programs, micro-financing, banking. All of that is made available through internet connectivity which is pretty sparse on the reservation at this time,” says Barry Pier, chief operations officer with the Agora Project.
Pier also says built in tablet computers will be programmed with educational software to help preserve the Navajo language. The structures will also be designed to host community events.
The Agora Project will attempt to secure funds through donations and grants to build the first pavilion at the STAR Charter School near Leupp. Each of the structures will cost between $125,000 and $250,000. The plan is to eventually have a Wi-Fi pavilion in each of the 110 chapters on the Navajo Nation. The Agora projects says that will mean 80 percent of tribal residents would live within 25 miles of high-speed internet access.