WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 2020 – Internet2 announced that Matthew Rantanen, director of technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA), director of the Tribal Digital Village Network (TDVnet) Initiative, and partnering and business development for Arcadian Infracom, is this year’s winner of the Rose-Werle Award. The award honors extraordinary individual contributions that have made demonstrable impacts on the formal and informal education community by extending advanced networking, content, and services to community anchors nationwide. Rantanen will receive his award at the Internet2 Community Anchor Program virtual meeting on May 7, 2020.
Rantanen leads the technology programs of SCTCA, a multi-service non-profit corporation supporting 20 federally recognized Indian tribes in Southern California, and is addressing the lack of Internet access for its tribal communities, to extend high-speed broadband services and advanced technology to community anchor institutions and homes on tribal lands. Rantanen is known across the Internet community as a cyber warrior for tribal broadband.
Under Rantanen’s leadership, TDVnet has resulted in more than 650 miles of point-to-point and point-to-multipoint links supporting 105 key tribal community buildings, including tribal administration buildings, Environmental Protection Agency departments, fire stations, law enforcement facilities, utility departments, libraries, schools, Head Start programs, and tribal homes.
Most recently, Rantanen helped facilitate the connection of 14 Native American tribes in Southern California to the state-of-the-art research and education international Internet exchange, Pacific Wave, via CENIC. This new connection enables their tribal libraries, scientific research facilities, and cultural preservation institutions to collaborate with partners across the state, the nation, and the world.
“It truly is an honor to receive the Rose-Werle Award from Internet2. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work directly with James Werle on several projects, including Tribal libraries over the years and feel that I am in very distinguished company,” said Rantanen. “I am delighted to have the work that I have been engaged in, for the last two decades, recognized by this organization. I feel that the fact that I am being given this award, indicates that the issues facing Indigenous communities are finally getting focused on outside of its base-level operating circles and becoming apparent to innovative institutions like Internet2, which should help us continue to find solutions to solve these inequalities. Thank you!”
CENIC President and CEO Louis Fox outlines Rantanen’s impact. “Matt Rantanen is a tribal leader known across indigenous communities around the world. His work has impacted all 574 federally recognized tribes, by creating new models of tribal digital engagement, working with federal and state agencies and providing leadership to ensure that tribal schools, libraries, cultural and scientific organizations, health care, and government are now among the most ‘connected’ institutions. He is a national treasure.”
Rantanen has been appointed to and served in influential roles advocating for Native American technological advancement, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Native Nations Broadband Task Force; co-chair of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Technology and Telecommunications Subcommittee and the Technology Task Force at NCAI; chairman of the board of Native Public Media; board member of Arizona State University’s American Indian Policy Institute (API); member of the Tribal Advisory Council to the State of California for the Broadband Council and the Cal Office of Emergency Services; and as an honorary mentor for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Global Indigenous Ambassador Program.
The Quilt President and CEO Jennifer Leasure describes Rantanen’s influence on tribal, state, and national broadband policy initiatives. “Under Matt’s leadership, TDVnet has been a national leader among tribally owned and operated broadband service providers and is a model for communities with little or no access to broadband in the U.S. and throughout the world. His voice at the local and national policy tables had made a difference to bring innovative solutions and support partnerships between tribal, state, and national leaders that improve broadband services on tribal lands, and create thriving, self-sufficient communities to help tribal communities get ahead in life.”
“Matt’s remarkably successful work on the incredibly difficult challenge of providing digital equity, including achieving connectivity in geographically and economically nearly impossible conditions, for native Americans and others, deserves the strongest degrees of recognition,” added Ron Johnson, CEO of Pacific NorthWest Gigapop and professor at the University of Washington. “Most recently, his work with CENIC has provided a model that I believe is scalable across the U.S., ensuring that all tribal anchor institutions are connected to the research and education community and to the global Internet.”
The Rose-Werle Award is named in honor of Richard Rose (1947-2007) and James Werle (1971-2018), early contributors to and leaders in the national Internet2 K20 Initiative, now part of the Internet2 Community Anchor Program (CAP). Rose and Werle embodied the true spirit of the Internet2 community, tirelessly advocating for extending the Internet2 Network and advanced technologies to students at all levels, libraries and community institutions—to broaden and deepen opportunities in learning, scholarship and science. The Award is given annually based on criteria such as commitment to the mission and vision of the Internet2 Community Anchor Program, recognized innovation in the community, and leadership and mentoring qualities.
Internet2 is a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 serves 320 U.S. universities, 60 government agencies, 43 regional and state education networks and through them supports more than 100,000 community anchor institutions, close to 1,000 InCommon participants, and 54 leading corporations working with our community, and 70 national research and education network partners that represent more than 100 countries.