The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is breaking ground Tuesday on a new tribally-owned telecommunications company.
Once completed the company will bring advanced broadband and phone service thoughout the reservation.
For more than a decade, the tribes have tried to find a way to bring internet and telephone service to the reservation.
Federal stimulus money made that plan a reality though a combined grant and loan of $5.5 million.
Marsha Spellman is the regulatory director for the newly-formed company.
She says like most reservations throughout the United States, only 3 out of 5 tribal members on the Warm Springs reservation have access to a telephone line.
She says internet access on the reservation is less than that. Only about 30 percent of residents are online.
Marsha Spellman: “And as telecommunications has grown to become a critical infrastructure and they are left out, they are left out of a lot.”
Spellmen says the internet offers access to everything from medical information to jobs. She says it also provides access to educational tools for both the young and the old.
The company plans to start offering service this fall.