Triplicate Staff

The Yurok and Karuk tribes have been awarded $6.6 million from state agencies to extend broadband capabilities and Internet access to the rural communities of Orick, Orleans, Johnsons, Wautec and Weitchpec.

On Thursday, the California Public Utility Commission awarded the Karuk Tribe $6,602,422 from the California Advanced Services Fund to install 82.3 miles of fiber optic cable to the remote region of Northern Humboldt County.

The project, called the Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative, is a joint collaboration between the Karuk Tribe and the Yurok Tribe.

"The Karuk Tribe is very excited about the recent broadband award," said Karuk Tribal Chairman Russell Attebery in a press release. "This will provide business opportunities and jobs. Communications in rural areas have always been difficult. This project will help solve the communication problems we have faced."

Vital community and government institutions will benefit from the project, including health care facilities, schools, rural fire camps, fire stations, public safety installations and several other state, federal and tribal government offices. The communication and economic development opportunities that grow from this project will be "essential to the future of the region", according to IT Director Eric Cutright of the Karuk Tribe.

The fiber optic portion of the project runs along highways 101, 96 and 169, and on Bald Hills Road.