The Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON) and the Nez Perce Tribe announce a partnership to expand the Tribe’s broadband access and collaboration within the reservation and across the region.
Lapwai, ID, June 14th, 2013 – The Nez Perce Tribe recently completed expansion of its broadband communications infrastructure for enhanced administrative, education public safety, and health care opportunities to better serve residents throughout the five-county Clearwater region in northern Idaho that make up the Nez Perce Reservation. Expanded access to IRON’s ultra-high-speed fiber optic network will also expand the effectiveness of the Tribe’s business, education, health care and public safety operations. When the Tribe first joined IRON in 2010, it became the first Native American tribe in the nation to actively participate in the broadband network opportunities provided by a Regional Optical Network such as IRON. Initial access was accomplished by leasing a 20 Mbps, digital microwave circuit to create a connection between the Tribe’s tribal headquarters in Lapwai, ID, and the IRON network access point in Pullman, WA. In June of this year, the Tribe completed construction of its own digital wireless network connecting Tribal Headquarters in Lapwai, at speeds up to 300 Megabits/ second, with IRON’s new point-of-presence (POP) currently being installed in Moscow, ID.
”The Nez Perce Tribe is excited about being able to utilize the backbone service from the Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON) in our digital wireless network,” stated Chris St. Germaine. “The connection to IRON provides high bandwidth back bone connection, a redundant access to the internet and offers significant cost savings for the Tribe. The IRON connection will benefit both tribal government operations and the subscribers to the Tribe’s wireless internet service. Until recently such broadband connection has not been available due to the general lack of carrier grade access throughout the reservation and the region,” continued St. Germaine.
Chartered in late 2007, “IRON” (www.ironforidaho.net) is a cooperative effort between five universities located in the Northwest region of the United States, the State of Idaho, the Idaho Hospital Association, and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), to establish a high-performance Regional Optical Network (RON) within the State of Idaho. IRON is owned, operated and managed by its Charter Associates. Today, only five years after its inception, IRON provides low-cost, high-speed bandwidth to more than 175,000 students, teachers, administrators, researchers, and health care professionals across the state of Idaho.
Organizations eligible to participate in the Idaho Regional Optical Network, Inc. (IRON), a not-for-profit Idaho corporation, include those engaged in research, public and private education, health care, and economic development; as well as libraries, museums, and local, state, and federal government agencies. IRON, like 40 similar organizations operating in other states across the country, provides access and connectivity, at speeds of up to 10 billion characters per second, to both of the nation’s advanced research and education broadband networks, Internet2 (www.internet2.org), and the National Lambda Rail (www.nlr.net).
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