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GCI completes Unalaska fibre test

Technicians working on the GCI Aleutian Fiber Project lit up four of 12 specialist fibre-optic strands that will soon provide 2 gig internet speeds to Unalaska.

The AU-Aleutians Fiber Project is scheduled to deliver 2,000Mb/s speeds and unlimited data at affordable prices to the residents of Unalaska by the end of 2022. The project team finished deploying more than 800 miles of subsea fibre in late September and have completed the vast majority of Unalaska’s new FTTP local access network. As GCI tests the new infrastructure and ensures its performance and reliability, crews will continue laying the final feet of fibre connecting homes and business directly to the cutting-edge network.

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 $58m. GCI was awarded a $25m 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.

GCI Rural Affairs Director Jenifer Nelson says: “We are about to light up the network and close the digital divide in Unalaska!  Woohoo! We’ve been waiting for years to see these first gigs of fibre-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.”

GCI Project Manager Mike Bertsch adds: “To see years of planning and work come to fruition is a huge moment for our project team. 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.”


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