Bethel Native Corporation awarded $42.4M federal grant to bring fiber internet service to Alaska’s Y-K Delta residents
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Bethel Native Corporation (BNC) has been awarded a $42.4 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to deploy a 405-mile fiber optic network from Dillingham to Bethel, Alaska. The project, to be completed in partnership with Alaska telecommunications provider GCI, will bring urban-level 2 gig internet service to consumers in Bethel and Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) communities along the fiber route.
“BNC celebrates this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring high-speed internet service to Bethel, Platinum, Eek, Napaskiak and Oscarville," said BNC President and CEO Ana Hoffman. "Once complete, the fiber project will provide community residents with access to the same internet plans and prices GCI offers to consumers in Anchorage. Fiber’s faster speeds and unlimited data will be transformational. It will improve the quality of life here at home and, ultimately, the broader Y-K Delta.”
"GCI is thrilled to work with BNC to close the digital divide in Bethel and other communities in the Y-K Delta," said GCI Senior Vice President of Corporate Development Billy Wailand. "The project will leverage the substantial network investment GCI has already made in the Y-K Delta with our own capital and federal grants, and support GCI's multiyear plan to improve wired and wireless internet service throughout the region."
The BNC/GCI fiber project will follow a submarine route from Dillingham — where it will connect with a planned Nushagak Electric & Telephone Cooperative long-haul fiber project — to the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, then follow an overland route the remainder of the way to Bethel. GCI will also upgrade its local access network in Bethel and install fiber to the home in Platinum, Eek, Napaskiak and Oscarville.
BNC and GCI will host a virtual press conference to provide more details about the project and announce the project name on Monday, Oct. 10, at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10, is Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Alaska, a day to honor the people who have called Alaska home for more than 10,000 years.
The event is open to the press and the public. Attendees who wish to watch the press conference virtually can register here.
Bethel Native Corporation is respected as a business leader with offices in Bethel, Anchorage and the Lower 48. Bethel’s companies engage in many diverse lines of business including government contracting, construction, logistical support, environmental remediation and commercial real estate. Learn more about BNC at https://bethelnativecorp.org.
Headquartered in Alaska, GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested more than $4 billion in its Alaska network and facilities and has been serving Alaska for more than 40 years. GCI launched Alaska’s first 1 gig and 2 gig internet service and Alaska’s first standards-based 5G NR service. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Broadband Corporation (Nasdaq: LBRDA, LBRDK, LBRDP). Learn more about Liberty Broadband at http://www.libertybroadband.com.