“Unprecedented” Joint Venture Between Verizon and the Cherokee is Underway
Earlier this week, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Verizon Wireless broke ground on a new, 150-foot tower venture in the Birdtown community, reported TheOneFeather.com. This is the first of six towers – costing $1 million – that will be built in Cherokee (the designated reservation area), all funded by Verizon.
“This is a big occasion for us,” said Rick Colcord, EBCI Office of Information Technology director. “It’s been coming for a long time. The impact of this program is going to be immeasurable.”
According to Patrick McGuire, Verizon Wireless government solutions manager, the joint venture is “unprecedented.” He added, “Because it is an unprecedented project, there is no road map for getting approvals and timeliness. It’s been a very fluid situation so there’s been a lot of work…it’s a great partnership.”
McGuire added, “The coverage this is going to provide for tribal members around the reservation is going to be phenomenal. Cellular coverage is becoming a thing like having water or having electricity; it’s just a necessity.”
Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed also commented, “This really is an exercise in tribal sovereignty. It’s one of those projects that, as a Tribe, we need to continue to think outside of the box. We’re unique because we’re a government, that is true, but more importantly, we’re a sovereign nation. So, we can exercise our authority and we can exercise our sovereign rights by doing joint projects in the private sector that bring services to our people.”
The first tower is slated for completion in October.