First phase of
high-speed connectivity now possible with competitive federal funding
Fairfax, OK (Thursday, April 12, 2017) The Osage Nation
recently received an internet access grant of nearly $3 million
dollars to provide broadband services to the Grayhorse area, a traditional
Osage Nation community on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma. Selection
for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community
Connect Grant is the culmination of the hard work, dedication and
vision of many Osage Nation employees and Grayhorse Community supporters.
Funds from this grant will be utilized to establish an Osage Nation
owned broadband company that will deliver high-speed internet services
to Grayhorse and the surrounding area.
Development for this project began last year with a broadband
feasibility study commissioned by the Osage Nation Utility Authority
(ONUA) and with funding approved by the Osage Nation Congress. Associated
Communication and Research Services (ACRS) in Oklahoma City, Okla.,
was selected as the engineering firm to complete the study.
The feasibility study described a plan to provide high-speed
internet service throughout Osage County. An important aspect of
the plan is the creation of a new Osage Nation owned business enterprise
to accomplish that goal. One of the first milestones of the study
was the completion of an application for the Community Connect Grant.
The grant is federally funded and its purpose is, "broadband deployment
into rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for
private sector providers to deliver service," according to the USDA
The purpose of the grant makes the Grayhorse community an ideal
candidate for selection. Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing
Bear's administration was keenly aware of the need for services
in the Grayhorse area and have fully supported the project since
Mark Kirk, Osage Nation Director of Information Technologies
said, "The dedicated staff at ACRS spent countless hours preparing
the grant application documents and Osage Nation Congress appropriated
the necessary funds to make the application and resulting grant
award a reality. In addition to the combined vision of Osage Nations
Executive and Congress, a variety of Osage Nation departments and
others are also responsible for contributing to the success of the
project. Those include Environmental and Natural Resources, Grants
Management, Historic Preservation and Information Technology along
with the efforts of the ONUA and Tallgrass, LLC."
The Grayhorse Broadband Project is considered to be the first
phase of a multi-phased program. The goal of the completed project
is to provide high-speed internet services at an affordable cost
to all businesses and residents of Osage County.
The broadband business enterprise will be operated by Osage
Innovative Solutions (OIS), the technology group within Osage Nation's
Tallgrass, LLC. Construction on the network will start soon with
an expected completion date of 24 months.
For more information, contact Osage Nation Information Technologies