Tribal Government & News
Tribal telecom meeting set for Dec. 5
Since reporting last May on the potential for Grand Ronde to have its own telecommunications company, the Information Systems Department and its telecommunications consultants, Converge Communications, have made a lot of progress.
The company has spent the past few months researching all the issues, such as the cost of building the network and the benefits to Grand Ronde members.
We would now like to invite community members to learn more about the project firsthand. We will be holding a community meeting at the Tribal gym at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5. All community members are invited to attend. A meal will be provided. Please RSVP to TPC@GrandRonde.org so we can plan for enough food.
Since spring, members of the Telecommunications Planning Committee (TPC) have held regular meetings attended by Tribal departments and Tribal members. These meetings have been a great opportunity to share issues of concern about telecommunication both for Tribal departments and for the community at large.
A focus of this group has been to discuss what problems exist and what improvements people would like to see for the future. The need for faster, more reliable Internet speeds and the desire to have less expensive telecommunications bills are major themes of the discussions.
Converge Communications has completed a technical survey of the Grand Ronde community to see how much it would cost to provide fiber optic Internet service for all homes in Grand Ronde, not just for Elder and Tribal Housing. The IS department is also looking at improving the Internet speeds for Tribal and Elder housing, which we know are too slow for the requirements of our members.
Converge is also working on a detailed business plan to help Tribal Council make an informed decision on whether to launch this Tribal venture. The plan will be completed in December.
The IS department has created a community survey to determine the interest level of Tribal members for a Tribally owned telecommunications company. If you live in the Grand Ronde community, we would very much appreciate you completing the survey, which is available in print at the Community Center and Housing Department, but you also can fill it out online by visiting the Tribal website at www.grandronde.organd completing the survey electronically.
A number of Tribal nations have successfully launched their own telecommunications companies to serve their Tribal communities and have found that a modern telecommunication system has many benefits, including economic development, telehealth, tele-education, home-based businesses and the ability of the Tribe to do significant economic development as any new business must have modern, high-speed broadband Internet connections.
All these Tribal telecoms emphasize that above all, the most important issue for them is that Tribal telecoms represent Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. With the 33rd anniversary of the Grand Ronde Restoration Act, creating our own Tribal telecommunications company could be one more significant step to take control and ownership over our services to the Tribal government and community.