Navajo Nation President Nez Joins Cellular One® Tower Blessing Event in Mariano Lake to Celebrate the Expansion of Mobile Broadband Coverage on Tribal Lands

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 7:00 AM CDT

SHOW LOW, Ariz., June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Last Wednesday Navajo Nation President Nez joined Cellular One leadership in Mariano Lake, New Mexico to celebrate the launch of a new 190-foot tower in the Eastern Agency of Navajo Tribal Lands. Cellular One works closely with forward-thinking Tribal leaders and the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission to bring more Voice over LTE and mobile broadband service to underserved schools, hospitals, public safety groups, and remote communities.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez at Cellular One Tower Blessing Event June 2022.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez at Cellular One Tower Blessing Event June 2022.(PRNewswire)

"Tribal lands were hit hard by the pandemic. When lockdowns started, folks in urban and suburban areas could pivot to working or schooling from home. This access to technology and sufficient bandwidth allowed them to stay connected to family, friends, news, and the latest guidance from healthcare officials. For many rural and Tribal communities here in the Southwest, a comparable level of internet and data access is just not as readily available yet," said Judd Hinkle, CEO of Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBi), which owns Cellular One of Northeastern Arizona.

Among other things, this highlighted to legislators and policy makers the urgent need to support the expansion of broadband connectivity on Tribal lands and in rural communities.

"While we've made incredible strides over the past couple decades—working arm in arm with Tribal leaders of the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and White Mountain Apache—there is much work to be done! With the injection of funding available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and through dynamic organizations like the New Mexico PRC with its Broadband Fund, we can make strides to connect more people, more quickly," said Hinkle.

The new towers launched by Cellular One at Mariano Lake, Bisti, and Timber Ridge in the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation are the latest in a consistent rollout of new sites— covering important travel corridors on remote tribal lands and bringing greater mobile broadband access to underserved communities. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez showed his support for the expansion of internet access on Tribal lands and joined the Cellular One team to celebrate the launch of the carrier's latest tower in Mariano Lake on Wednesday, June 22.

"For over 25 years we have worked tirelessly with Tribal leadership to bring connectivity to the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and Apache people. To date our cellular division has built the largest regional LTE network with more than 230 sites, covering 60,000 square miles of rural and Tribal lands in the American Southwest. But we're so much more than a cell phone company.  In fact, this year we launched our fiber division, Photon by SBi to put our expertise and resources to work so that fiber access also becomes a reality for more schools, healthcare facilities, and communities across Tribal lands," said Hinkle.

About Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBi)

For more than 25 years, SBi has served the communications needs of underserved rural communities and tribal lands in the Southwest. Its cellular division, Cellular One, is a leading regional provider of mobile technology and wireless communications service operating a network of more than 230 cell sites, covering 60,000 square miles. SBi has almost 200 employees, many of whom are Native American.

For more information, please visit mycellularone.com.

Cellular One COO Guy Turley discusses mobile broadband coverage on tribal land with Navajo...
Cellular One COO Guy Turley discusses mobile broadband coverage on tribal land with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.(PRNewswire)

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SOURCE Cellular One

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