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Telecommunications Transition Update 10/28/2020

Spokane Tribal Telecommunications Department Transition Update

In June of this year the Tribal membership voted to close the Spokane Tribe Telecommunication Exchange (STTX) for a period of two years. Management of the Telecom was handed over to the Tribe’s Executive Director for Management. Since this time, The Executive Director has tasked the restructure of the Department to the Planning & Economic Development Director with the Executive Director providing oversight.

To date, the Tribe has complied with the requirements. STTX has been closed and proper planning has begun in the areas of organizational structure, operational planning and business planning. The Tribe has identified a partner ISP with vast experience and resources to mentor this process. We are finalizing the agreements with the ISP and will begin the work of properly planning the Tribe’s Telecom future by completing a long-range telecom plan to provide direction for this work.

Our plan is to place the Tribe’s Telecommunication Division under the Tribe’s new Public Utility Department (PUD), which is being developed as well. The Tribe’s goal is to develop a federally recognized PUD that will house our Telecommunications division along with our Water/Wastewater and Solid Waste divisions. This will be an entirely new entity that will be managed by a new PUD Director and will have trained and certified managers and staff. The initial step in this process has proved to be very challenging and that is the hiring of the PUD Director. We have set the qualifications high for this position due to the level of responsibility and the technical challenges of developing the PUD. We are hoping to identify a qualified applicant soon. This will be a major improvement for the Tribe and will result in a professionally ran PUD that is federally recognized and certified. Ultimately resulting in infrastructure that is properly maintained, systems that are resilient to weather, and staff that is properly trained to provide safe and reliable services to residence of the Spokane Reservation. This level of service is long overdue and is being supported by Tribal leadership through commitment of the resources needed to make it a reality. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with the community and meeting the growing needs of the people.