Partnership provides fibre to under-served Alaska communities

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More than 1,000 rural Alaskans in five communities along the Yukon River will receive full-fibre internet thanks to a tribal broadband grant funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). 

The collaboration between Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Doyon, Limited and broadband provider Alaska Communications is designed to connect one of the most underserved regions in the United States with a fibre optic cable that will be the foundation for expanding broadband to communities in the region. 

Those communities include Fort Yukon, Beaver, Stevens Village, Rampart, and Tanana. Alaska Communications will deploy a FTTH network in each community, offering up to gigabit speed service at affordable rates. The network will connect to the provider’s core fibre network in Fairbanks, Alaska. 

The project is part of the Alaska FiberOptic Project, which is a wider collaboration between Calista Corporation, Doyon, Gana-A ‘Yoo Limited and Alaska Communications to connect up to 20 communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers with fibre. This segment is the first of three to receive funding. 

Bill Bishop, president and CEO of Alaska Communications says: ‘This is an exciting milestone for Alaska. We’re honoured to work with our partners on a project that will be life-changing for many Alaskans, providing the technical expertise and experience building, operating and maintaining critical broadband infrastructure. We thank the NTIA along with President Biden, Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan for their support in bringing this important infrastructure to our country and state.’

Aaron Schutt, President and CEO of Doyon adds: ‘There is no better time than now to connect our communities. This project will provide the most reliable, affordable, and fastest internet today and for the next generation. Today’s announcement is the first step of many, as five villages in our region will be connected. Doyon looks to use this project as a backbone of connectivity and continue bringing our villages online. For generations the river has been a transportation hub, and we look forward to continuing the tradition of bringing information and goods across our river system.’

Senator Lisa Murkowski says of the project: ‘Alaska’s geography, terrain, climate, and vast size have created significant obstacles to developing broadband infrastructure. But rural Alaska is no less deserving of connectivity. For the first time, some of Alaska’s most underserved communities will receive high-speed internet access made possible by the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 created this program and made $980m available for grants to eligible Native entities for broadband deployment. Leading up to its passage, I made sure the programme would meet the unique needs of Alaska, with broad eligibility for Native entities. I commend the partnership and coordination of the successful applicants in securing this grant, which will be transformational.’

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