TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is exercising its digital sovereignty as the first tribe to partner with DISH Network, Go Long Wireless and RS Access to acquire 100 megahertz of the 12.2 GHz band for broadband connectivity within the region.

Under an agreement signed by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., DISH Network, Go Long Wireless and RS Access will provide 100 MHz of this band to the tribe to bridge the lack of connectivity that exists in rural areas of the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

“The Cherokee Nation takes seriously our right to Indigenous digital sovereignty and bringing Cherokee families into the 21st Century. We will continue to lay the groundwork for Internet and cell service access in our rural communities, something that most of the world takes for granted, but is still lacking across much of our tribal lands,” Chief Hoskin said. 

The companies must first gain FCC approval and if approved, implementation could be as far as 18 months away.

“This agreement reflects our strong support for tribal communities and the significant potential of fixed wireless service in the 12 GHz band to help close the digital divide," said Jeff Blum, Executive Vice President, Government and External Affairs, DISH Network. “We believe this 100 MHz, if the FCC authorizes higher-power service, will be an enabler of enhanced connectivity for tribes across the country, unlocking opportunities for education, healthcare, and economic development.”

The MOU with DISH Network, Go Long Wireless and RS Access would help deliver broadband to rural pockets of the reservation. The announcement is in addition to 15 towers being built in Cherokee communities Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner announced earlier this month to bring even more broadband opportunities to the reservation.

“This agreement, with FCC approval, is certainly a great way to bring more spectrum and coverage to the Cherokee Nation Reservation,” Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner said. “This, in addition to other broadband initiatives the tribe is undertaking will serve so many families who need access to online health care, education and vital tribal services.”