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What are the benefits of being a community on the Alaska Tribal Network (ATN)?

Since every ATS member community will be part of the ATN, every ATS member will enjoy the benefits of being part of the ATN.

You give up no rights of ownership to anything to be on the ATN. You generate income when spectrum is used in your community. There is no cost to join the ATN unless you want to be an owner of equipment to generate additional income. There are no fees. As an ATN member you enjoy many benefits.

Want a print-friendly version of the content below? You can download the ATN Benefits PDF here

ATN Benefits for Your ATS Member Community

1. Tribal Revenue
Primary Tribal ATN Revenue Role

Spectrum Asset Owners (SAOs)

Each member Tribe gets paid as an SAO for ATN data that flows over spectrum in their communities.

ATS managed member Tribes own the spectrum and lease it to ATS. Managed members will have a spectrum management services agreement with ATS. Data can also roam over the network from other large providers and the SAOs will generate income.

Optional Roles for Tribal ATN Revenue Generation

Network Access Owners (NAOs)

NAOs own the network equipment in your community

These are most likely established providers in your community that buy equipment for the community to use, however the Tribe could also choose to be an NAO if they have the capability to manage and maintain the equipment per ATN requirements. An NAO on the ATN will earn income on the data from all VSPs who are using the network over that equipment. ATS is seeking funding to purchase discounted equipment for the Tribes who may consider becoming NAOs.

Virtual Service Providers (VSPs)

VSPs offer the internet or phone service over the ATN in your community and bill the subscribers for different packages.

An ATS member Tribe can choose to be a VSP if they desire and have the capability to perform to ATN requirements and meet the high quality standards to be a VSP. Community members pick their Service Providers from a list of ATN-certified providers (ATS is not an ISP, nor will it be, but we will maintain the standards of service for all VSPs that serve the network.) that are capable and approved to offer service in your community. We refer to them as Virtual Service Providers (VSPs) because they are riding on the ATN and offer broadband packages that are delivered over the network to subscribers.

In the ATN scenario, Tribes make all choices to participate at whatever level they decide. They have the right to be a provider of service, an owner of network equipment, both, or neither.

Network Installation

Installing the network equipment in the community

If a Tribe has resources to take on the installation of the ATN network by following ATN installation requirements, they can participate. ATN will provide a list of ATN-qualified installers who will be capable to install the last mile networks using ATS grant funding, or your own funding in your community.

2. The ATN connects to any available middle mile
The ATN supports your community efforts to obtain fiber.

The network will use the least expensive of available choices. If you have middle mile like fiber or microwave to fiber in your community now or it is coming—that is fantastic. The ATN last mile wireless can connect to it and use it.

And if you join ATS and build the ATN in your community using your spectrum—fiber will come (sooner).

ATS grant funding efforts will be focused on buying down the cost of middle mile via new satellite coverage over the state to bring broadband to all rural communities NOW. By doing this, prices will drop everywhere on the ATN and service will be everywhere on the ATN NOW. Then, when your community applies for fiber, you will have a compelling value proposition. The need for fiber will be clear to support an already thriving subscriber community.

3. The ATN enables affordable broadband everywhere in Alaska
Leveraging new satellite capabilities to deliver broadband to rural Alaska NOW

The reality is that in rural Alaska, approximately 60,000 people have no access to the gold standard fiber middle mile and they won’t anytime in the near future. The ATS mission to realize a statewide ATN must serve everyone with affordable broadband, and the only way to do it for the unserved is to buy down and deliver inexpensive new satellite capabilities.

New satellites can deliver a very satisfying consumer solution in rural Alaska. There are two types: Geostationary High Throughput satellites (GEO – HTS) and Low Earth Orbit satellites (LEO) from OneWeb and Starlink. Combining HTS GEO with new LEO technology could provide affordable broadband to every underserved (Tribal) community last mile wireless network in Alaska in the very near future. It can also enable current generations to have broadband while they await the time and expense of getting fiber somewhere down the road.

Also, Affordable broadband = more broadband usage = more Tribal income as the ATN uses more spectrum.

4. FCC "Buildout" Requirements are addressed for your village
The Tribe does not need to be concerned with any FCC reporting requirements.

ATS will use its best efforts to seek funding for member community buildouts. FCC-required reporting will be done by Alaska Tribal Spectrum with the FCC. Your Tribe has no reporting requirements of any kind. ATS will communicate license related updates and status in a timely manner.

5. Broadband on your phone everywhere in your community
Mobility and E911 in your community

There are many wireless network solutions that only offer broadband to the home with no plans for future mobility over wireless. Choosing a solution that just solves broadband now, which will require refactoring in the future to provide mobility, is not an ideal choice. The ATN, however, represents a forward-looking design that plans for future mobility now. It is not meant to just deliver broadband to your home. Let’s face it, you can’t take a wire with you when you leave your house, but on the last mile wireless ATN network, your entire community is energized, not just your home.

The ATN design offers an array of possible equipment configurations that will work for future mobility and broadband over your normal phone. The ATN broadband network equipment selections can be made from a slate of compatible choices and different manufacturers. These manufacturers have been vetted as capable providers to support a future wireless 5G-capable LTE phone network that can use the same 2.5 GHz spectrum you already have. This means E911 over your cell phone can be enabled everywhere in your community. Future mobility also means that when people roam in any community in Alaska that is on the ATN, the ATN spectrum owner in that community is paid when the internet is accessed by that phone.

6. Tribal Network Management
Each ATS member Tribe has a voice in the management of the ATN.

ATS has a Policy Board that is made up of member Tribal representatives from across the state. The Policy Board maintains and amends the ATN policies for the maximum benefit of all ATN connected communities which are all ATS members. The Tribes determine their own destiny on the network.

7. Digital inclusion
The ATN is the enabling framework for Digital Inclusion for all ATN communities.

Fundamentally, the ATN will close the Digital Divide for rural Alaska, which will open the floodgates that speak to the opportunity, access, knowledge, and skill for broadband.

Instead of just focusing on how to install affordable broadband capabilities, Digital Inclusion also needs to include 1) internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user; 2) access to digital literacy training; 3) quality technical support; and 4) applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency.

The ATN opens up possibilities and connection for rural Tribal communities to participate in opportunities the rest of the US takes for granted. In these times, affordable broadband access is as essential as water, power, and electricity. The ATN makes it possible.

8. Better equipment pricing for all communities
A larger collective buy means we all save.

We all understand better pricing is available when we buy in bulk. ATN community providers can pick from a standardized list of ATN-compatible equipment at discounted prices that will ensure broadband and future mobility compatibility over ATS-managed spectrum.

9. Unified best practices and standardized training and support
Pooling of knowledge and resources benefits all of us

There will be one ATN network operations center with responsibility of network management. This greatly simplifies tech support and best practices whenever there is a problem. The equipment is standardized with unified procedures for maintenance. If something needs attention, technicians in one area will be familiar with the equipment no matter where they are dispatched in Alaska. This saves time and money for all members.

The ATN will be a standards-based open architecture for maximum interoperability. The network design was adapted from proven Alaska infrastructure deployments. Vendors will be certified to ensure standards are being met to operate in our unique Alaskan environments. A set of best practices and policies for equipment installation and repair will be maintained.