Southern Ute Reservation

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Broadband Modernization Project

Network activated on April 30, 2024.

  • Two internet service providers (isp) – choose provider and plan.
  • Each isp has a residential and business plan.

Southern Ute Technology Vision

“Build and operate a new, self-sustainable, broadband network that will provide high-quality, high-speed, and affordable internet connectivity for all residents and businesses within the Reservation”

broadband speeds

What is Broadband | Fiber?

  • Broadband is the transmission of data over a high-speed internet connection.
  • Broadband data is sent via many technologies like fiber optics, wireless, TV cable, and satellite.
  • Fiber Optics is like a phone line but is used to send data at high-speed through glass strands.


Project Overview

  • Fiber optic infrastructure is the newest “Utility” being built across the globe.
  • Until now, fiber optic installation has been limited to major population centers and for “backbone” fiber to transmit large amounts of data.
  • Federal and State governments are now funding fiber installation projects targeting rural areas and tribal lands.
  • The Southern Ute Tribal Council designated the Broadband Modernization project as a top priority to close the Digital Divide on the Reservation.
  • This project is a multi-year project that when complete, will connect 95% of the Reservation homes to this new utility.
  • All construction will take place along the side of the road. Boring machines will be used to go under all driveways, utilities, ditches, wetlands, and other environmentally sensitive areas.

Project Phases

FCC 2.5GHz Deployment

  • Deploy wireless options utilizing FCC 2.5 GHz license
  • Construct 1 new tower


  • Funding in place through State and Federal grants ($15M).
  • Main priority is to build the tribal backbone of the network.

NTIA Grant


  • Grant ($44M) awarded from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
  • Funding will deploy fiber to connect 95% of Native American homes and enable expansion for non-Native and commercial uses.

Full Reservation Coverage

  • Extend fiber and/or wireless across the reservation
  • Partner with cellular carriers to improve coverage


  • Not currently funded
  • New grants taking applications in 2023 to expand the network to reach 95% of all residents and businesses within the exterior boundary of the Reservation.


  • Temporary storage and construction yard built off CR 318 just south of Ignacio. This secure facility will be used for the duration of the construction phase.

Broadband fiber to the home illustration

Fiber Map

HB21 Phase I Fiber Map

County Road 334 (Ponderosa) Tower Simulation

County Road 334 Tower
County Road 334 Tower

County Road 334 (Ponderosa) Tower Proposed Location

Detailed Engineering

Every foot of fiber fully engineered to:

  • Stay in road right-of-way
  • Minimize and repair any disturbances
  • Protect sensitive environments
  • Protect culturally sensitive areas
  • Avoid existing utilities
Detailed Engineering
Detailed Engineering

Phase II – Fiber Connected Homes – Under Construction

  • Construct 298 miles of middle-mile, distribution lines, and drops to the homes of 1,798 native American households within the Reservation.
  • Detailed engineering completed ahead of the NTIA grant application process.
  • Fiber Operations vendor selected. Improved communication and marketing to begin in April.
  • Major materials (conduit, fiber, pedestals) procured.
  • Construction expected to begin in May/June timeframe.
  • The network will be run as an Open Access Network that will improve the quality, speed and affordability of broadband.
  • Internet Service Providers will get fair and cost-effective wholesale pricing that allows “approved” Internet Service Providers to join the network, leading to beneficial competition, lower consumer prices, and higher consumer satisfaction.
  • NTIA award requires adherence to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
  • Request for Proposals (RFPs) to be submitted for:
      1. Project Permitting – Environmental, Biological, Cultural, Historic Preservation.
      2. Fiber Construction Contractor.
  • The project will be broken up into segments to aid in achieving NEPA compliance. This will allow segments that are more easily permitted to move forward with construction.
  • Higher density areas like Ignacio, Arboles, and subdivisions are top priorities.
  • Seeking funding to connect non-natives and new commercial customers.

Detailed Fiber to the Home Map

  • Detailed Fiber to the Home map. Red signifies Tribal Member addresses.
  • Does not include connection to the home, only fiber hubs to enable home connect.
Fiber connected homes
Fiber connected homes
Phase II fiber map
Phase II fiber map

NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program


Capital Projects Fund - West Side Map 1


Broadband Captial Projects Fund - West Side Aerial Options


Broadband Hwy 151 Extension Map