It’s about to get lit.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The GCI Aleutian Fiber Project hit a major milestone recently when technicians lit up four of 12 specialty fiber-optic strands that will soon provide 2 gig internet speeds to Unalaska. The speeds will be transformational in this satellite-served internet community. This milestone means consumers on the island are poised for access to fast, affordable plans service in December!
The AU-Aleutians Fiber Project is scheduled to deliver 2,000Mbps speeds and unlimited data at affordable prices to the residents of Unalaska by the end of 2022.
“We are about to light up the network and close the digital divide in Unalaska! Woohoo!” said the very enthusiastic GCI Rural Affairs Director Jenifer Nelson. “We’ve been waiting for years to see these first gigs of fiber-fed internet flow through Unalaska and it’s thrilling to know that we’ve taken another major step forward. Urban speeds and unlimited data will soon be a reality for thousands more Alaskans.”
The project team finished deploying more than 800 miles of subsea fiber in late September and have completed the vast majority of Unalaska’s new fiber-to-the-premises local access network. As GCI tests the new infrastructure and ensures its performance and reliability, crews will continue laying the final feet of fiber connecting homes and business directly to the cutting-edge network.
“To see years of planning and work come to fruition is a huge moment for our project team,” said GCI Project Manager Mike Bertsch. “We’ve navigated so many challenges, from COVID-19 and supply chain issues to bad weather and rough seas. To make it happen on schedule is a massive accomplishment. I’m very proud of our team and am looking forward to bringing affordable, reliable connectivity to more communities throughout the region.”
Once work is complete in Unalaska, crews will continue up the Aleutian Chain and Alaska Peninsula toward Kodiak, stopping in Akutan, Sand Point, King Cove, Chignik Bay and Larsen Bay to install new local access networks. The new service is expected to turn up in each community by the end of 2024.
The project is expected to cost $58 million. GCI was awarded a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect program in support of the project. The company will use its own capital to pay for project costs not covered by the ReConnect grant.
The work won’t stop here – as a new project ramps up to extend fiber optic connectivity to six more communities in the region. The Native Village of Port Lions, in partnership with GCI, was recently awarded a $29.3 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to bring urban level connectivity to Chignik Lagoon, Chignik Lake, Cold Bay, False Pass, Ouzinkie and Port Lions in the coming years.
More information about the project can be found at https://news.gci.com/topic/au-aleutians-fiber-project.
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 over the past 40 years and recently launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation’s northernmost 5G service area. 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.