Satellite provider OnSat recently shut off internet service to the Navajo nation, leaving the entire reservation without access vital to education, government, and other services. OnSat claims it did so because the federal government failed to pay about $2 million it owed, which OnSat in turn pays to a subcontractor for satellite time. Snip:
The Universal Service Administration Co., which administers the E-rate program, is withholding the funding because of a tribal audit that showed OnSat may have double-billed the tribe. The audit also raised questions about how the tribe requested bids for the Internet contract.
Tribal officials say it could be a couple of weeks before service is restored to chapter houses across the 27,000 square-mile reservation. They've been meeting with other Internet service providers to explore their options. Utah-based OnSat, meanwhile, has offered to reconnect the affected chapter houses, if they pay out of their own pockets.
Image: "Navajo Girl," by Wolfgang Staudt