"It is similar to a lost country, located in one of the wealthiest and tech-savvy countries in the world. Thousands of those who live within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation have no running water, no electricity and no telephones.
Now, they have no access to limited Internet services.
Seventh-grader Nikkolas Page doesn't attend regular classes at a traditional school. Instead, he goes to the Inscription House Chapter on the northwestern side of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, where he downloads his assignments, completes them, then submits his work — on the Internet. In addition to doing his assignments online, Nikkolas is required to attend regular classes twice a week, where he has the opportunity to meet with his teachers and classmates.
Nikkolas, however, is unable to do his online assignments because the Inscription House Chapter's Internet service was one of about 70 that no longer had Internet services as of April 7. The OnSat Network Communications Inc., which provides those services, cut off the Internet connection because company officials say there is an outstanding bill of $2.1 million, owed to a subcontractor for the satellite time.
The Universal Service Administration Co., administrator of the E-rate program under the Federal Communications Commission, won't pay the bill because of a tribal audit that showed OnSat may have double-billed the tribe. The audit also generated concerns about how the tribe requested bids for the Internet contract.
It could be weeks before service is restored to chapter houses across the 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation. While tribal officials are exploring other options, OnSat said it will reconnect service to the chapter houses, if the houses pay for it out of their individual budgets."
Get the Story:
Editorial: Internet service fiasco must be solved soon
(The Farmington Daily Times 4/16)
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