Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Press Release
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Fond du Lac Band files petition with FCC for Eligible Telecommunications Carrier Designation

 

September 20, 2018



Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to become an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC). The band will provide telecommunications services under a newly formed corporation called, Aaniin, offering affordable high-speed fiber-optic services – voice, video and up to 1 GB speed broadband – to more than 1,800 homes and anyone who lives in the network’s roughly 120-square-mile service area, regardless of whether they are band members. Aaniin is the only tribally owned and operated high-speed fiber-optic system provider in Minnesota.

EFC designation will allow low-income customers of Aaniin to benefit from the tribal Lifeline program, which lowers the monthly cost of phone and internet access. Eligible customers receive basic services at a reduced cost of $9.25 per month. With Aaniin, Lifeline program customers will receive broadband and voice service at the subsidized cost.

“With 32 percent of the reservation’s population living under the poverty line and a limited few with internet service, the federal subsidy will promote a new standard of well-being in the community through health, business and employment resources previously unattainable,” said Jason Hollinday, the band’s planning division director. “The potential is limitless. From schools to healthcare to city services and more, access to high-speed fiber-optic service will be life-changing for many residents and businesses in our area. We are excited to offer the opportunity to better our community, and bring much needed, critical connectivity to those in need.”

The fiber-optic system is built on the Fond du Lac Reservation and the construction is funded by a series of grants, including from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The project represents a total investment of $12.4 million. The all-new installation is in progress with pilot testing expected to begin later this year.

 

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