GCI Receives $41 Million To Build 3G, 4G In Rural Alaska

Forty-eight communities in rural Alaska, including 26 in the YK Delta will receive 3G or 4G data service, thanks to an FCC grant of $41 million that GCI secured.

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GCI’s David Morris says the money come from tribal mobility funds.  It’s a a one-time opportunity for underserved populations.

“It’s one of the things that happened at the FCC level you would not expect to happen we’re just happy to take advantage of it and bring better technology out in your direction,” Morris said.

GCI doesn’t have the specifics of when the communities will see the upgrade, but it will take a few years.

“We still have to go through a few admin steps to say with certainty when the build schedule starts,” Morris said.

They are expected to take two years to build out 3G, and three years for 4G services.

It will expand off of the Terra-Southwest fiber optic and microwave towers and satellite where it’s still in use.

“But if you’re terrestrial, terra, it’s going to go a lot faster than it will over satellite, but in any event going from 2G data platform which is in rural Alaska today to 3G or 4G will be a significant advancement,” Morris said.

The full list of communities includes:

  • Alakanuk
  • Ambler
  • Aniak
  • Barrow
  • Brevig Mission
  • Buckland
  • Chefornak
  • Chevak
  • Eek
  • Emmonak
  • Gambell
  • Goodnews Bay
  • Hooper Bay
  • Kiana
  • Kipnuk
  • Kivalina
  • Kongiganak
  • Kotlik
  • Kotzebue
  • Kwigillingok
  • Marshall
  • Mekoryuk
  • Mountain Village
  • Newtok
  • Nightmute
  • Noatak
  • Nome
  • Noorvik
  • Nunam Iqua
  • Pilot Station
  • Pitkas Point
  • Quinhagak
  • Russian Mission
  • Savoonga
  • Scammon Bay
  • Selawik
  • Shaktoolik
  • Shishmaref
  • Shungnak
  • St. Marys
  • St. Michael
  • Stebbins
  • Togiak
  • Tooksook Bay
  • Tuntutuliak
  • Tununak
  • Unalakleet
  • Unalaska

Ben Matheson is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

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