Cherokee Nation launches connectivity survey and free mobile hotspot program

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TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee Nation recently launched a new connectivity survey and a $3 million program to provide connectivity to Cherokee households lacking Internet access to assist in overcoming some of the virtual challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline to apply is Dec. 11.

The connectivity survey will provide Cherokee Nation the data to make informed decisions on the best way to improve Internet access for its citizens. It also allows families lacking Internet at home or an existing mobile Wi-Fi device the opportunity to qualify and apply for the Respond, Recover and Rebuild Mobile Hotspot Connectivity Assistance.

The online application is available at www.cherokee.org under the yellow Respond, Recover and Rebuild Mobile Hotspot Connectivity Assistance Program tab.

“The Cherokee Nation is faced with the ongoing digital divide that cripples Cherokee students, families and elders from having the connectivity they need to thrive,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “This program is designed to deliver a temporary solution to Cherokee households lacking another Internet option, and it’s also giving us meaningful information as we develop the long-term plan of bringing affordable, reliable broadband to Cherokee communities.”

The RRR Mobile Hotspot Connectivity Assistance program will provide households lacking Internet with a mobile hotspot including up to a year of service, which is valued at more than $900.

Simply start by completing the survey. If determined a household may qualify, respondents will be prompted to fill out a short application.

The program is open to Cherokee households both inside the reservation and at-large within the United States, and there are no income requirements. Due to limited supply, priority will be given to Cherokee households with K-12 students. A cellular solution may not work for every household, but know the Cherokee Nation is hard at work expanding Internet connectivity options for its citizens.

Funding for the program is part of the Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 Respond, Recover and Rebuild efforts.

“During the pandemic, the Cherokee Nation launched the largest emergency food distribution effort in our tribe’s history to fight food insecurities and delivering more than 30,000 boxes of food in our communities,” Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner said. “A vital role in that effort was communicating all the delivery sites and events to our elders and citizens. Many of them do not have access to the Internet and Wi-Fi capability. This survey and connectivity option can help us bridge these gaps so that we can reach our citizens more quickly with important messaging they need.”

The mobile hotspots are powered by AT&T’s cellular network. Cherokee Nation will ship the devices directly to households. Please ensure all information in the application is correct before submitting.

Those who need assistance with the online application process or who need additional information can email Cherokee-Connect@cherokee.org.

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