Southern Ute Reservation

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Broadband Modernization Project

What is Broadband?

  • 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.


Project Objectives

  • Design a robust network to cover 95% of the Reservation homes by 2025.
  • Place all fiber and new towers in previously disturbed locations.
  • Maximize available State and Federal funding.
  • Use local contractors where possible.
  • Define the optimal Internet Service Provider (ISP) model to activate/support the new network.
  • Help drive down the cost of high-speed internet.
  • Create training and support programs for tribal members.
  • Create expanded career opportunities for tribal members and the local community.

Project Phases

FCC 2.5GHz Deployment

  • Deploy wireless options utilizing FCC 2.5 GHz license
  • Construct 2 new towers and add 52 miles of fiber
  • Provide 50/10 Mbps

Status: Funded

Expanded Fiber Network

  • Deploy fiber to align with potential funding
  • Deliver fiber to more populated tribal areas
  • Provide 100/100 Mbps or higher up to Gbps speed

Status: Applied for NTIA Funding

Full Reservation Coverage

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

Status: Not Currently Funded


  • Deploy wireless broadband using a license granted to the Tribe by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
  • Must provide 50/10 speed reaching 50% of the homes within the Reservation by November 2022 and 80% by November 2025 to retain the FCC license.
  • Bonfire Engineering & Construction hired to design/build the network.
  • Final design includes 2 new towers, use of 4 existing towers, and 52 miles of fiber.  The Design:
    • Avoids 100% of wetlands, ditches, rivers, and driveways using a boring machine.
    • All fiber to be placed along State, County, Local, or Oil & Gas road Right-of-Way.
  • Enables future improvement of cellular coverage and emergency services communication within 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.

Wireless Broadband

Wireless Coverage Map

Wireless Coverage Map
Wireless Coverage Map

Fiber Map

Fiber Map
Fiber Map


  • New communication towers are 80 feet tall to optimize coverage while minimizing visibility.
    • Average electrical pole is 50 feet tall.
  • Will use low profile galvanized steel towers.
    • Tree “type” towers were explored but are taller and more visible.

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

Future – Fiber Connected Homes

  • 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

We Want Your Feedback

  • Send feedback using the “Provide Feedback” page.
  • Please read the “FAQ” page to see if we have already answered any questions you might have.
  • On the feedback page, check the “Subscribe to updates” box to be alerted as new information is posted.
  • On the feedback page, check the “I am interested in Broadband” if you need better broadband at your home or business location.
  • Please provide feedback by Friday January 21, 2022.