‘Leveling the technology playing field’: Nokia, NewCore bring 5G broadband to US tribal nations


The initial Nokia, NewCore deployment will connect more than 15,000 tribal members

Nokia and NewCore Wireless are leveraging 117 megahertz of the Tribal Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum to bring 5G broadband connectivity to rural, unserved and underserved Native American communities throughout the U.S. The initial deployment will connect more than 15,000 tribal members and cover more than 12,000 square miles in North and South Dakota, Oklahoma and California and will involve the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.

In 2020, 400 Native American tribes were awarded the EBS spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the intent that it would specifically serve tribal lands with a license for broadband and wireless networking buildouts. Further, as part of the CARES Act, Native tribes, including the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, were directly provided with funds to establish three cellular towers in their region.

Nokia said that its wireless solutions allow for rapid and cost-effective wireless connectivity across large areas and can cover multiple home and business connections from a single base station, making it suitable for rural areas, where connectivity is often scarce.

As Albert Kangas, COO and general manager at NewCore Wireless, explained, “Many of the Native American reservations tend to be in rural areas of the U.S.”

NewCore Wireless and Nokia are hoping to help these communities establish “a renewed sense of control over their future, by building out next generation broadband solutions to expand internet and mobile access for the most remote areas of North America.”

According to John Pretty Bear, councilman for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Cannonball District, the deployments will help level “the technology playing field” for Native American communities.

“All members of our community, including our elders whom we pride ourselves in helping, will benefit from more affordable and accessible connectivity,” he said. “This is critical for the well-being of our people, especially during the pandemic where information about mass testing or vaccinations needs to be shared in real time. From online schooling, to telehealth, to affordable mobility and cellular phones, we look forward to improving the quality of life for everyone in our community.”

The deployment will utilize Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) and NewCore’s integration and operational capabilities to bring an integrated network of LTE and 5G radio and core elements. Nokia’s cloud platform offers high-bandwidth, low-latency wireless connectivity, local edge computing capabilities and a catalog with applications such as voice and video services.

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