Deployment

 

The deployment process prioritizes partnership with the tribes. A significant amount of time and effort is devoted to developing trust and an understanding of the joint project. Once relationship is established, Mural pursues FCC licensing and the installation of infrastructure simultaneously.

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Step 1: Initial Meetings

Preliminary meetings with prospective tribal community partners solidify a shared understanding of the needs and vision of the community and how Mural can help.

Step 2: Identify and Vet Backhaul

Mural’s lawyers evaluate restrictions of current agreements and evaluate what other options are possible so tribal community partners can make informed decisions about what backhaul to use.

Step 3: Spectrum Survey

Mural’s team searches federal databases to identify unlicensed or unleased Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum to pursue. If none is available, Mural will work with licensees and lease holders in order to assess spectrum access options. As a last resort, lightly licensed spectrum can be used.

Step 4: Site Survey for LTE Infrastructure

Mural uses one of our tech partner’s free android apps to collect onsite information for remote radio frequency engineers to design project proposals.

Step 5: Resolution of Spectrum Access

Given the detailed information collected, Mural will help our tribal community partners go through the process of acquiring legal spectrum access.

Step 6: Approve Pilot Proposal

Our partners and their community take time to fully consider and select what kind of network they want to build from the different project proposals

Step 7: Build Pilot Network

Mural uses off-the-shelf equipment with a great value/price point for easy maintenance which is pre-staged off site. Trusted contractors install the equipment and get it online. A few user end devices are distributed by our partners.

Step 8: Network Management Trainings

Mural offers network management system (NMS) training for our tribal community partners. Network operators need to be tech savvy but not highly skilled. The NMS, with its open-source, distributed LTE core, can be run on AWS.

Step 9: Broader Deployment

Once the pilot network has been tested and optimized, our tribal community partners can distribute the user end devices as they see fit. Previous partners are great resources for best practices.

Step 10: Network Management Support

Mural provides support through email, Slack and phone. Mural has a network of local technicians that can help with hardware issues. Small networks operators use the NMS around the world, and there is peer-to-peer support available.

 
 

Havasupai Reservation

Supai, Arizona

Mural collaborated with the Havasupai Tribal Council to bring streaming internet into the homes of teachers and students in one of the most remote communities in the continental United States.  

Each phase of the network was completed within days once appropriate permissions were obtained from the FCC and the Havasupai Tribal Council. The major delays were due to FCC licensing. Our previous experience with the FCC’s Special Temporary Applications (STA) predicted that applications would be approved or denied within a few weeks. However, special circumstances delayed the process for four months. We do not anticipate this being a problem in the future due to the new EBS licensing rules that the FCC is considering.

It was a technical success. The strength and effectiveness of the LTE network was tested in the whole town. The network was found to have strong enough LTE signal such that every home could have access to streaming video if equipped with the right CPE.  The center of town received broadband speeds from the LTE antenna two miles away. The signal reached north of the town to Lower Navajo Falls, near the spillover campgrounds. The network was expanded in the summer of 2018 and once the FCC grants the Havasupai Tribal Council’s permanent EBS application is granted, nearly every home will be able to be connected to high-speed internet.

Map of Supai: Blue is the LTE antenna and base station, burgundy are homes connected at 1.1 to 32 Mbps (usually 3.5 Mbps), gray is a water tower that can house a repeater if necessary. Higher speeds are expected with increased backhaul

Map of Supai: Blue is the LTE antenna and base station, burgundy are homes connected at 1.1 to 32 Mbps (usually 3.5 Mbps), gray is a water tower that can house a repeater if necessary. Higher speeds are expected with increased backhaul

LTE network equipment installed on a tower overlooking Supai.

LTE network equipment installed on a tower overlooking Supai.

Shawntel was able to get her user end device online in 5 minutes.

Shawntel was able to get her user end device online in 5 minutes.

 

Backhaul - unrestricted 30Mbps donated by Niles Radio Communications upgradable to 300 Mbps

Deployment - One base station, 40 user-end devices

Service - school and tribal offices, teacher and students’ homes and available for checkout by community members for educational purposes

Network Performance - Maximum speeds of 35/15 Mbps line of site, 32/2 Mbps non-line of site,

Estimated Cost - Equipment $10-15k, Legal $10k, Operations $5-10k