Business | Technology

Native Sun News: Standing Rock Telecom gets some good news

The following story was written and reported by Ernestine Chasing Hawk. All content © Native Sun News.

FORT YATES, NORTH DAKOTA — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe received good news last week, they were given the green light to operate their telecommunications company throughout the entire reservation.

Last year Standing Rock Telecommunications, the first tribal-owned telecommunications company in the nation that offered cellular phone and wireless broadband service, put up 18 towers within the reservation and secured locations for two branch stores and headquarters.

However the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) designated Standing Rock as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) in only certain portions of the reservation. Specifically, the Bureau designated Standing Rock as an ETC throughout the service area of Qwest within the reservation's boundaries as well as the Fort Yates, McLaughlin, and Selfridge wire centers of West River.

Other rural telephone companies also operate within the boundaries of the reservation including Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority (Cheyenne River), West River Cooperative Telephone Company (West River Cooperative), West River Telecommunications of Mobridge (West River of Mobridge), and West River Telecommunications (West River).

The Federal Communications Commission issued an order last week designating the Standing Rock Telecommunications, Inc. as an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) throughout the entire Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, effective immediately.

In so doing, Standing Rock is eligible to receive federal universal service support so that it can bring wireless service to the sparsely populated reservation, which straddles the border of North Dakota and South Dakota.

“We find that because Standing Rock proposes to serve its entire community, it would be in the public interest to designate Standing Rock Telecommunication on the entire Reservation, including any rural partial wire centers,” the FCC determined.

(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at

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