Navajo Nation Gets Networked - InformationWeek

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Navajo Nation Gets Networked

The Navajo Nation has received the first installment of a Cisco-provided IP network that will bring communications and distance learning to more than 250,000 Navajos.

The 27,000 square-mile Navajo Nation has received the first installment of an IP network that is planned to eventually provide telephone, video, and data services to the three-state nation, much of which has no electricity or paved roads.

Announced Tuesday by the provider, Cisco Systems, the "Internet to the Hogan" network is expected to be completed in 12 months.

The Navajo Nation recently began using Cisco Unified CallManager and Cisco Unity Voicemail servers for voice applications in its central government offices in Window Rock.

"The benefits of adoption are enormous for our people in terms of education, economic development, access to vital services, preservation and furtherance of our culture," said Harold Skow, Navajo Nation director of information technology, in a statement.

The entire network will consist of 660 phones serving 110 chapter houses in the sprawling nation. Residents may visit Chapter Houses to make free phone calls over the IP network to other Chapter Houses. The entire Navajo Nation has some 250,000 citizens.

Applications planned for the network include distance learning teleconferencing classes provided by Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah universities as well as remote medical assistance. Navajos who speak only their native dialect will be able to receive information on agriculture in their native language.

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