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President Bill Clinton.

Window Rock, AZ: President Bill Clinton visited this Navaho Nation area last week, hoping to end the "digital divide" by bringing the Internet to reservations. While there are small casinos every 50 miles or so, many people in this area larger than five states don't have phone services, electricity or water. The President would like to provide $1 a month phone service, but he'd better push a deal with the Internet service providers because they can pay $1 for the phone, $21 for Internet service and then exorbitant long distance charges because there are no local dial-up access numbers either.

The Chinle hospital in the tourist area of Canyon de Chelly does have Internet services, as we discovered, but no CAT scan or MRI. They fly out patients to Gallup or Flagstaff, but the 130 to 190 mile trip is too costly and too far for a helicopter, so they use local pilots and fly out of the two tiny airports. The one they use at night has lights, but it's dirt and can't be used when it rains.

Giant cell towers and microwave relay stations dot most of the mesas in New Mexico, blinking warnings to the military planes, but calls still drop every few miles, or there's no signal at all such as in most places within the Navaho Nation. Forget beepers.

Remember when churches used to be the tallest structure in towns? Now in towns from Santa Fe to Grants it's the cell tower. Future anthropologists will think these huge, metallic creatures are idols of worship. And indeed they are.
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Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U8AZ
Date:Apr 26, 2000
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