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Fond du Lac Band launches high-speed fiber-optic service

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is launching Aaniin — a new high-speed fiber-optic service that will serve as a platform for voice, video and broadband data at speeds of up to 1 Gb per second.

“Aaniin” is an Ojibwe word used to greet people. The service will be offered to about 1,800 households. It will be available to both band members and non-members living in roughly a 120-square-mile service area.

The band filed a petition Friday with the Federal Communications Commission seeking authorization to operate as an Eligible Transportation Carrier.

That status will qualify Aaniin to offer customers access to a tribal Lifeline Program, providing discounted service to low-income members. Eligible households will be offered service for the reduced cost of $9.25 per month.

Jason Hallinday, the band’s planning division director, issued a statement noting: “With 32 percent of the reservation’s population living under the poverty line and a limited few with internet service, the federal subsidy will promote a new standard of well-being in the community through health, business and employment resources previously unavailable.”

“The potential is limitless,” he said.

The new system was built out at a cost of $12.4 million, with assistance from a series of grants, including funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.