New agreement could bring 5G coverage to rural Navajo Nation communities

New Mexico News

NAVAJO NATION (KRQE) – Sacred Wind Communications, Inc. and Navajo Technical University announced Tuesday a new agreement to explore the expansion of broadband connectivity in tribal communities and remote homes on the Navajo Nation.

“In times of COVID-19, connecting more Navajos at their homes to high-speed Internet is more important than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us,” said Jason Arviso in a SWC news release Tuesday, NTU’s Vice President of Operations. “NTU has a strong history in designing fixed wireless systems and is eager to demonstrate the value of this spectrum for all of our students across Navajo Lands.” 

According to the same news release, the unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum will deliver greater capacity and coverage at a longer range, which will enable the provision of fast and reliable 5G wireless internet service to rural unserved and underserved communities in the Navajo Nation. 

“We are honored to have been chosen by the Navajo Nation to test broadband equipment using this spectrum,“ said John Badal in the same news release, Sacred Wind’s CEO, “and we are excited to see how much farther this technology can carry Internet service to even more Navajo homes.” 

SWC says the FCC has assigned the Navajo Nation with provisional and temporary access of the 2.5 GHz spectrum for the expansion of broadband services throughout the Nation, to encourage Tribal nations to obtain 2.5 GHz licenses to provide services in rural Tribal areas. SWC says the Navajo Nation has agreed to enable SWC and NTU to collaboratively deploy the 2.5 GHz band at seven geographically diverse tower sites around Eastern Navajo Agency in New Mexico to test its efficacy and impact on broadband accessibility to approximately 70 rural locations over a two-month period.

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