Nokia detailed plans to employ its Digital Automation Cloud private wireless technology to deliver 4G and 5G connectivity to several Native American communities living on tribal lands in the US.

The first tranche of deployments is set to cover more than 12,000 square miles and provide broadband to more than 15,000 tribal members. Nokia partnered with NewCore Wireless, a provider of project management, construction and consulting services to rural network operators, with a focus on Tribal carriers.

Nokia stated the service will be used to enable mobile and high speed internet services in areas which would not otherwise have access.

The Federal Communications Commission estimates 628,000 tribal households in the US lack access to standard broadband.

In 2020, the US government granted Tribal Education Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum to 400 federally-recognised Native American tribes, with several of them now in a position to own and operate their own mobile networks.

EBS spectrum is in the 2.5GHz band, with which most US mobile phones are compatible.

Nokia’s private networks are being deployed to members of the Standing Rock Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes living in parts of North and South Dakota, Oklahoma and California.