Learn, build, and connect with people bootstrapping Indigenous Internet networks.

Past Bootcamps

Though the bootcamps adhere to a common culture and general agenda, each builds off of feedback from the last to improve the experience for participants. Each bootcamp is also tailored to leverage the experience of the hosts and to serve the needs of the people who participate. Take a look at our past bootcamps below to get a sense of what it’s like to attend.

The next bootcamp will be an advanced fiber bootcamp hosted at RantanenTown Ranch in southern California from March 10 – March 13, 2024.

Subsequent bootcamps include one hosted by Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma from May 13th to 16th, 2024. Please complete the inquiry form to request an invite.

TBB 00 RantanenTown Ranch · TBB 01 RantanenTown Ranch · TBB 02 Yurok · TBB 03 Oregon · TBB 04 RantanenTown Ranch · TBB 05 Gila River · TBB 06 Hoopa Valley · TBB 07 Mohawk · TBB 08 Cheyenne River Sioux · TBB 09 Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake · TBB 10 Tohono O’odham Utility Authority

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 00

RantanenTown Ranch, Southern California – July 2021

The first Tribal Broadband Bootcamp was actually called the “Tribal Wireless Bootcamp” because it was focused on the 2.5 GHz spectrum that many Tribes have access to and was inspired by the Indigenous Connectivity Summit created by the Internet Society. For three days in the blazing hot 101+ degree desert, we built and troubleshooted wireless networks, talking about configurations and software. Matt Rantanen hosted on his ranch in his workshop, which allowed a lot of wind to pass through during the second summer of the pandemic. 

One of our insights was how important it was to build relationships among participants, many of whom felt like they were reinventing the wheel on their reservations. We can build some skills over three days, but the bigger impact would be ensuring people could still be supported afterward as they ran into new difficulties and challenges. 

In true tech geek fashion, we started counting at 0, meaning our second Tribal Broadband Bootcamp would be numbered 01.

Videos from TBB 00

Press Coverage from TBB 00

Building Connections and Capacity in Indian Country at the First Tribal Wireless BootcampCommunity Networks

Opinion: In tribal nations, broadband is more than just internet. It’s a pathway to a better lifeThe San Diego Union Tribune

TBB 00 Sponsors/Supporters: Schmidt Futures, Google, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 01

RantanenTown Ranch, Southern California – March 2022

The second Bootcamp was again hosted by Matt Rantanen on his ranch and included a focus on fiber optics for the first time thanks to Bob Stovall from MERIT and Shawn Trento from Anza Electric. Once again, it also included a focus on 2.5 GHz and wireless solutions as we welcomed back to the event more participants from some of the Tribes that helped create the first Bootcamp. 

This event also featured a historic panel with Revati Prasad moderating a discussion between Matt Rantanen, Geoffrey Blackwell, Irene Flannery, and Sascha Meinrath about the history and challenges of expanding Internet access in Indian Country.

Videos from TBB 01

Press Coverage from TBB 01

Tribal Broadband Bootcamps Bring Broadband Solutions to Indian CountryCommunity Networks

Photo Essay: A view into a Tribal Broadband Bootcamp, Community Networks

TBB 01 Sponsors/Supporters: Schmidt Futures, Google, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 02

Yurok, Northern California – May 2022

In our first event held on a reservation, the Yurok Tribe hosted the 3rd Tribal Broadband Bootcamp. We added more discussions around topics like tower climbing and safety, with a demonstration by Yurok Telecom of both safety gear and how to mount gear on a tower. After supplying attendees with blank notebooks in the first two events, the Yurok Tribal Broadband Bootcamp featured the first custom-printed booklet with resources and information. 

We also added a more formal item on the schedule to highlight case studies of how Tribes are solving their Internet access challenges. This has continued through all the subsequent events.

TBB 02 Sponsors/Supporters: Schmidt Futures, Google, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 03

University of Oregon – August 2022

The University of Oregon, more specifically Jason Younker, Chief of the Coquille Indian Tribe and assistant Vice President and Advisor to the President of the University, hosted the fourth Tribal Broadband Bootcamp on campus in Eugene. Attendees stayed at Kalapuya Ilihi on campus and kicked off the event with dinner and introductions at the Many Nations Longhouse. The largest event to date, this event again included both wireless and fiber optic trainings.

This event also featured strong support from the Network Startup Resource Center, which has long blazed a trail of helping people around the world build the networks they need in difficult environments. We remain thankful for all the support and enthusiasm from NSRC, the University of Oregon, and many people from the region who shared their experiences and advice.

Press from TBB 03

Oregon Tribal Broadband Bootcamp works to improve internet access for rural communitiesKVAL News

Boot camp helps Native tribes expand broadband accessAroundtheO Campus Newspaper, University of Oregon

TBB 03 Sponsors/Supporters: Burns Paiute Tribe; Connect Humanity; First Nations Development Institute; Google, Institute for Local-Self Reliance; Link Oregon; Michelson 20MM; Network Startup Resource Center; Oregon Broadband Office; Schmidt Futures; University of Oregon, Information Services; University of Oregon, Office of the President

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 04

Rantanen Ranch, Southern California – December 2022

The fifth bootcamp was hosted at RantanenTown Ranch in Temecula, California. TBB 04 honed in on both wireless and fiber network-building. Participants presented their own Tribal Broadband projects currently in progress and heard others share about their work, with the opportunity to ask questions and compare experiences.

Attendees were also exposed to broader applications of the technologies they explored, such as the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network out of UC San Diego, responsible for tracking wildfires and other natural phenomena in the region.

As always, attendees spent a good half day thinking about what digital inclusion might look like in their communities, brainstorming strategies for getting other Tribal entities involved in broadband work to help community members use connectivity to its greatest potential. The culminating workshop was a small-scale wireless network build that, when finished, gave participants a real WiFi connection to their smartphones.

TBB 04 Sponsors/Supporters: Connect Humanity, Google, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Michelson 20MM, Schmidt Futures

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 05

Gila River Indian Community, Arizona – January 2023

Tribal Broadband Bootcamp 05 was hosted by Gila River Indian Community in Maricopa County, Arizona, home to local telephone and Internet provider Gila River Telecommunications (GRT). GRT is an industry veteran serving broadband to over 3,000 subscribers, and fiber to a growing 2,000.

Participants spent the three days learning about the ins and outs of fiber broadband technology, through small and large group discussion, hands-on equipment stations, and a tour of Gila River Telecommunications fiber splicing truck. Attendees also focused on understanding the operations side of a Tribal Broadband network, as well as the opportunities for federal funding. The regular digital equity session included a lively brainstorm about the different roles Tribal institutions and other community entities can play in helping residents get connected and leverage technology.

Videos from TBB 05

TBB 05 Sponsors/Supporters: Connect Humanity, Google, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Michelson 20MM, Schmidt Futures

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 06

Hoopa Valley, northern california – May 2023

The seventh Tribal Broadband Bootcamp, hosted by Hoopa Valley Public Utilities on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, home to the Tribe’s own Internet Service Provider (ISP), Acorn Wireless. In August 2022, the ISP received $65 in federal funding under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, and during the bootcamp, the Tribe hosted discussions to share with participants their experience navigating the grant process, as well as conversations about what it means to position broadband within an existing public utility.  

In addition to the regular digital equity programming, participants attended a tower-climb, a home installation, and engaged in an in-depth financing discussion with a representative from the California Public Utilities Commission.

TBB 06 Sponsors/Supporters: Connect Humanity, Google, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Michelson 20MM, Schmidt Futures, First Nations Development Institute, Network Startup Resource Center

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 07

Akwesasne, New York – July/August 2023

The 8th Tribal Broadband Bootcamp was hosted by Mohawk Networks in Akwesasne, the 3rd event of the year hosted on a reservation by a Tribal ISP. Mohawk Networks has experience with both wireless and wireline technologies, which led to great in-person demonstrations and opportunities to learn directly from their efforts. Bob Stovall demonstrated the Hastings stick and we got a tour of a Mohawk Networks fiber hut.

Mohawk Networks set up a temporary Network Operating Center in the casino ballroom, demonstrating how they run it and later how they can troubleshoot challenges in the home using the Calix technology that was also on display.

Being on the border of the U.S. and Canada, we also showcased the experiences and networks of some First Nations, including an urban wireless network in Winnipeg.

Press from TBB 07

Tribal Broadband Bootcamp Comes to Saint Regis Mohawk Reservation in Northern New York, Community Networks

TBB 07 Sponsors/Supporters: Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Connect Humanity, Michelson 20MM Foundation, Ford Foundation, Network Startup Resource Center, Tribal Resource Center, Google, First Nations Development Institute

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 08

Eagle Butte, South Dakota – October 2023

Bootcamp 08 was hosted by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority (CRSTTA), the oldest Tribal telecommunications company in the country. With a 65-year legacy of offering telephone service to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and 27 years of experience offering Internet access, CRSTTA offered a great breadth of knowledge and deep insight into what it takes to run a Tribal Broadband network. 

Attendees kicked things off with a digital equity brainstorming session, then had conversations about funding, business models, and sustainability. Day two had a fiber focus, where participants spoke in depth with vendors about their equipment and had the opportunity to splice fiber. Folks also took a field trip out to watch a vibrating plow home installation. On day three, attendees honed in on wireless, demystifying the technology, modeling a wireless network setup, discussing configuration, and covering the politics of spectrum.

TBB 08 Sponsors/Supporters: Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Tribal Resource Center, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority, Evocative, Merit, Calix, Vantage Point, Network Startup Resource Center

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 09

Upper Lake, California – November 2023

The tenth Tribal Broadband Bootcamp (Bootcamp 09 in our numbering system) was hosted by Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, who are developing plans to build a wireless network. From the longest running Tribal telecom at TBB 08 to a new entrant in the field at TBB 09, our last two bootcamps have offered a special view into two different stages of Tribal broadband development.

TBB 09 had an especially strong showing from the host’s Tribal leadership, opening a unique window into this important perspective. On day two, HPUL’s Council Chairperson gave a valuable presentation on the Tribe’s relationship with local governments, the importance of connectivity for economic development, and their advocacy around digital sovereignty and Tribal digital jurisdiction.

Attendees started the first day with a crimping session followed by a vibrant discussion on digital equity that included a special introduction to Digital Navigators. In the afternoon, a representative from the California Public Utilities Commission gave a useful primer on the state’s funding programs and approach to Tribal broadband and participants heard about the evolution of Mohawk Networks. Day two focused on fiber, with hands-on stations including fiber splicing and a virtual NOC presentation, with a session on the politics of spectrum closing the day. Day three closed out the event with a wireless focus, featuring breakout sessions on building and troubleshooting wireless networks.

TBB 09 presented by Waskawiwin, with support and sponsorship from Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Tribal Resource Center, Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, Michelson 20MM Foundation, Arcadian Infracom, Cuattro Foundation, Calix, Merit Network, Network Startup Resource Center, Democracy Fund.

TRIBAL BROADBAND BOOTCAMP 10

Sahuarita, Arizona – January 2024

Bootcamp 10 was hosted by Tohono O’odham Utility Authority, another established leader in the field. TOUA provides telephone, electric, water, cellular, propane, and Internet services to the Tohono O’odham Nation and surrounding areas. With over 300 miles of buried fiber optic cable, TOUA serves the vast majority of its territory with fiber Internet. TOUA’s wireless network is deployed to 54 villages. TBB 10 drew on TOUA’s vast and varied experiences.

After getting to know each other via crimping, folks participated in a lively discussion on digital equity before diving into conversations on BEAD planning and hearing two inspiring case studies detailing the development of Jemez Pueblo Tribal Network (JNET) and Mohawk Networks. Day two brought participants an invaluable window into TOUA’s operations and a taste of their expertise. TOUA staff gave hands-on introductions to many fiber tools they used in the field, and then members of various TOUA teams walked everyone through their roles in the recent 3.65 GHz wireless deployment project the organization recently undertook. Finally, the day closed out with basic, intermediate, and advanced hands-on wireless sessions.

Day three was an all-day field trip – the first of its kind in TBB history. Participants visited a village on Tohono O’odham Reservation, where community members requested universal fixed wireless access while they await fiber-to-the-home extension to their area. Next up was a lunch at TOUA headquarters and a tour of their NOC and heavy machinery, including their fiber splicing trailer and bucket truck.

TBB 10 presented by Waskawiwin, with sponsorship and support from Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Tribal Resource Center, Tohono O’odham Utility Authority, Cuattro Foundation, Calix, Merit Network, and Democracy Fund.