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Tribal Digital Village Network and Matthew Rantanen Awarded CENIC’s 2016 Innovations in Networking A


The Tribal Digital Village Network, led by Director of Technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association Matthew Rantanen, is being honored by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) as a recipient of the 2016 Innovations in Networking Award for Broadband Applications.

The Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA), a multi-service non-profit corporation supporting 19 federally recognized Indian tribes in Southern California, is addressing the lack of Internet access for its tribal communities, taking their wireless broadband network to the next level of support for 17 reservation communities in San Diego County.

Since 2001, it has been a long-term goal of the Tribal Digital Village Network (TDVNet) to bring Internet services to key community buildings by creating more than 350 miles of point-to-point and point-to-multi-point links supporting 86 tribal buildings, including tribal administration buildings, EPA departments, fire stations, law enforcement, utilities departments, libraries, schools, and Head Start programs.

TDVNet currently serves the communities of 14 of the 17 sovereign nations in San Diego County and is a “commercial” network for the purposes of sustainability, not financial gain. Its goal is to provide broadband access for the 3,000 homes and more than 8,900 people on reservation; to the the approximately 2,500 adjacent homes also unserved by commercial broadband companies; and to “anchor institutions” and businesses.

Because of the the SCTCA team’s commitment to and understanding of the importance of bringing Internet to homes, businesses, and key social institutions, TDVNet is creating thriving, self-sufficent communities. With the expansion of TDVNet into tribal community homes, TDVNet and SCTCA will be fulfilling one of the major goals of their missions: to help these tribal communities get ahead in life.

"Matthew Rantanen is deserving of this recognition. His service to Indian Country is not only important but critical. With much of Indian Country still in need of broadband and other telecom infrastructure and support, Rantanen's voice at the local and national policy tables is making a difference. He is our champion and his work with the Southern California Tribal Digital Village, Native Public Media, the National Congress of American Indians and the Federal Communications Commission is a remarkable example of his leadership and dedication to rural broadband access across tribal communities," said Loris Taylor, president and CEO of Native Public Media.

As Director of Technology for SCTCA, Matthew assists tribes with technology development, ranging from radio station applications, to tribal administration technologies, to technology policy development. Matthew serves on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Native Nations Broadband Task Force and is co-chair of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Technology and Telecommunications Subcommittee and the Technology Task Force at NCAI.

"Matt Rantanen is a knowledgeable and informed representative of the Tribal Digital Village and the Tribal Task Force for the California Broadband Council and California's First Responders Network,” said Judge Cynthia Gomez, who serves as executive secretary on Governor Jerry Brown's Tribal Advisor and Native American Heritage Commission. “He understands and articulates key technology issues in Indian Country and brings creative solutions to create better partnerships between the tribes and the state to improve broadband services on tribal lands. Tribal lands, like many remote areas of the state, need innovative services and programs like the Tribal Digital Village to connect communities to technology."

Matthew also serves as chairman of the board of Native Public Media; he is a board member of Arizona State University’s American Indian Policy Institute (API); he is a member of the Tribal Advisory Council to the State of California for the Broadband Council and the Cal Office of Emergency Services. He has been called a “Cyber-Warrior for Tribal Broadband,” and he is a well-known advocate for net-neutrality and tribal priority for spectrum over tribal lands.

“Under Matthew Rantanen’s leadership, TDVNet has been a national leader among tribally owned and operated broadband service providers and is a model for communities with little or no access to broadband in the U.S. and throughout the world,” said Louis Fox, CENIC president and CEO.

Innovations in Networking Awards are presented each year by CENIC to highlight the exemplary innovations that leverage ultra high-bandwidth networking, particularly where those innovations have the potential to transform the ways in which instruction and research are conducted or where they further the deployment of broadband in underserved areas.

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