WENATCHEE, WA – Today, Native Network, a telecommunications and membership initiative to connect Tribal lands across the US to foster communication and trade between Tribes, announces the completion and success of an extensive tribe-to-tribe pilot program across Washington State.
“Native Network is rebuilding the connections between Tribes, once provided by a sophisticated network of trade routes, that today will be accomplished with an advanced telecommunications backbone connecting Tribal lands to each other and the world,” CEO Andrew Metcalfe said today from the Native Network booth at the 2015 Tribal Telecom and Technology Summit.
Salish Networks, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier that Metcalfe helped Tulalip Federation of Tribes create in 2012, has been an early participant in proving out the Native Network initiative by participating in a proof of concept exercise with Spokane Tribe of Indians. Together, the Tribes have established the capability of one tribe providing wholesale telecom services to a remote tribe that acts as a consumer and reseller of those services to its citizens and potentially to the non-Native community around it. After completion of the trial period, Rudy Peone, Tribal Council Chairman for the Spokane Tribe of Indians, who also serves on the Coalition Of Large Tribes Board of Directors, expressed his excitement for the endless nation-to-nation opportunities: “We can work together to improve economic prosperity in our respective reservations, it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to get started.”
The head of Native Network explained that this initiative is a reprise of the successful strategy to connect rural and underserved communities employed by Northwest Telephone, Inc., (NTI) a Wenatchee-based regional fiber-optic carrier access provider and telephone company he and co-founder Jenny Rickel built and then sold in 2008 to Zayo Group. Both Metcalf and Rickel are pleased to be working on challenges that face remote reservations and tribal lands as they have done in the past at NTI.
“Participation in the Native Network will provide member tribes with access to telecommunications, expertise and support that can be used to lower costs, while creating diverse sources of income from trade of everything from telecommunications services to Native goods by and ecosystem web-enabled tribal members,” he added.