Meeting an ambitious, end-of-year goal to deliver affordable fiber-optic connectivity to the community, on Dec. 21 GCI announced that it connected the first residential customers to its 2 Gig (2,000 Mbps) fiber internet service in Unalaska, the remote fishing town on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands chain.
In the coming weeks, GCI said it will use a phased approach to bring its "transformative internet speeds" to Unalaska consumers and businesses as quickly as possible.
GCI completed installation and successful internet speed tests on the network in November. Since then, GCI crews and contractors have worked diligently to ensure the new network is open for business and able to handle pent-up demand from the island community, which has been limited by satellite-only service.
As the project moves forward, GCI will adopt a phased approach to turning up service across the island that includes local businesses as well as residential customers. GCI’s island-wide launch of 2 Gig service for consumers is currently scheduled for mid-January.
With work wrapping up soon in Unalaska, GCI crews will continue network construction 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 communities are expected to come online in the next two years.
Phase Two of the project will extend fiber-optic connectivity to six more communities in the region, through a partnership with the Native Village of Port Lions, which was recently awarded a $29.3 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Phase Two will bring urban-level connectivity to the small communities of Chignik Lagoon, Chignik Lake, Cold Bay, False Pass, Ouzinkie and Port Lions, said GCI.
GCI's senior vice president of corporate development Billy Wailand remarked:
“The AU-Aleutians Fiber Project will provide data connectivity to Unalaska that is an order of magnitude faster than anything possible with the satellite service they are on today. Bringing fiber to the Aleutians has long been a goal of GCI, and I’m grateful for the support of so many who were instrumental in making this project a reality. On behalf of GCI, I’d especially like to offer our appreciation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service ReConnect program for its financial support and for working with GCI to keep this project on schedule.”
More information can be found at https://news.gci.com/topic/au-aleutians-fiber-project.