"Almost $20 million in federal stimulus money will fund a project to bring high-speed cable Internet access to businesses and homes on the Crow Indian Reservation.
This is welcome news for residents of Crow Agency and other communities on the reservation. The project will provide better connections to the rest of the state, nation and world that will benefit their underserved area.
But it will take more than the arrival of high-speed Internet capability to generate the number of jobs needed to free the reservation from the stranglehold of chronic joblessness.
Unemployment on the Crow Indian Reservation hit 10.5 percent in 2009, according to most recent statistics from the state Department of Labor. In Big Horn County, which includes most of the reservatioin, the unemployment rate for May 2010 was 9.5 percent, among the highest jobless rates in the state.
The $19.5 million Internet project, which is slated for completion in 2013, could help stimulate the local economy. In addition to the cable system, the project will bring fiber-optic connections to the remote reservation towns of Pryor, St. Xavier and Fort Smith.
Project Telephone Co., a subsidiary of Nemont Telephone Cooperative of Scobey, proposed the project and will direct installation. A company official said construction could begin next summer after routes have been acquired and engineering work has been completed."
Get the Story:
Gazette opinion: Internet could boost Crow Reservation
(The Billings Gazette 7/13)
Full speed ahead for Crow Reservation
(The Helena Independent Record 7/12)