The 180-foot cell tower is the third cell tower built on Navajo lands, thanks to funds contributed by federal coronavirus relief efforts. The structure is located in Beclabito, New Mexico, near its border with Arizona. As the Farmington Daily Times reports, the cell tower has the support of the Navajo Nation and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.
“In this day and age of COVID-19, we know it’s very important that we get internet capability, access to our Navajo folks as many of our students are still at home, logging in to get their homework, to get their instructions on a daily basis,” said tribal President, Jonathan Nez.
“Beclabito is fortunate to have a tower constructed in the community as it will enhance the quality of life for its members,” agreed chapter President Melissa Kelly.
The NTUA Choice Wireless tower is a self-supporting structure. Deenise Becenti, speaking on behalf of the NTUA, noted that the project cost approximately $953,000 to complete. The new cell tower is part of the overall CARES Act funding that will allow 42 communities to access WiFi. Additionally, the funding will help 719 homes to connect to the electric grid, with 105 homes now able to connect to cistern systems. The Navajo project will also see 30 water line connections. Approximately 300 remote homes will also receive independent solar systems.
“Broadband is now considered a basic human right in our communities,” said Amber Kanazbah Crotty, chapter delegate for the Navajo Nation Council.