Solar Powered Communications Established in Four Corners Region

STM Wireless and its service partner OnSat Network Communications has installed solar powered satellite communication equipment in over 80 Native American communities in the four corners area of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

IRVINE, California 2002-02-25 [SolarAccess.com] Funded with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the program had three goals: to empower Native communities by providing access to digital information resources and the Internet; to increase the usage of tools and technology for creating and preserving local culture and language and to increase the opportunity for digital skill acquisition. OnSat is currently installing equipment at over 115 sites on Native American land, many of which do not have sufficient electricity infrastructure, necessitating a solar solution. The solar systems are being funded with grants from the Solar Electric Light Fund. “We are delighted with the opportunity to offer our satellite and wireless broadband connectivity in the most isolated areas of our nation that also meets the goals established by the Navajo Nation,” said David Stephens, co-founder and CEO of OnSat. “One of the keys to making this program work was the development of a payment structure that allows the local communities to sustain service, using their own resources after the grant period ends.” OnSat, working with Navajo Nation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was able to come up with an innovative pay-as-you-go approach, which allows each community to decide how much access they can afford at any given time, and pay directly for that through a web-based transaction service.
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