Tilson Assists Seneca Nation to Implement USDA Reconnect-Funded FTTP Network

Overview 

The Seneca Nation is a federally recognized Tribal nation consisting of five Territories over approximately 54,000 acres in Western New York. These Territories are not contiguous and each parcel is unique in its economic, social, and environmental profile. The Cattaraugus Territory encompasses approximately 22,000 acres (or 34.4 square miles) with a population of 2,655 enrolled Tribal members and their families, 41 government facilities, and approximately 1200 residential and commercial structures.

Through its ReConnect Funding Program, the USDA awarded $4.3 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure aimed at creating or improving rural e-Connectivity for more than 1,000 rural households in the Seneca Nation's Cattaraugus Territory in Western New York. The proposed network would provide access to all premises on the Territory, provide speeds up to 2.4 Gbps downstream and 1.2 Gbps upstream per 32 subscribers, and be engineered for integration and expansion of future technological advances or subscriber growth.

Challenge

The Nation required a reliable firm to provide expert-level broadband consulting and holistic oversight of the project including: conduct comprehensive utility pole surveys; design and engineer the last mile fiber-to-the-premise network to meet necessary specifications; undertake financial modeling and budget forecasting of the proposed network; identify required third-party approvals or permits; oversee the utility pole and conduit licensing process; prepare the construction-ready bid package; and provide assistance in reviewing proposals and ultimately identifying a construction contractor.

Solution 

Tilson provided first-in-class turn-key design and engineering services creating a construction-ready design capable of connecting the entirety of identified premises in the Cattaraugus Territory. Through value-added engineering, Tilson was able to creatively re-purpose existing commercial grade properties as hut locations, efficiently develop routes to leverage federal funding, and ultimately introduce savings of approximately $425,000 or roughly 8.5% of the estimated total project cost.

Tilson also provided expert broadband consulting services throughout the project to develop informative and actionable financial models and acted as a resource to ensure successful execution of the project from start to finish.