Upgrades represent millions of dollars of investment from Alaska’s most-remote communities to its largest urban hubs.
From some of Alaska’s smallest, most-remote communities, to its largest urban center, GCI expects to invest approximately $150 million in 2022 to improve connectivity in communities across the state. A significant portion of the $150 million investment will be used to improve wireless service in Alaska’s urban cities, as well as in rural communities like Bethel and Unalaska, and even in small, far-flung villages like Little Diomede, an Inupiaq community with 115 residents located in the Bering Strait.
“Building, maintaining, and upgrading wireless networks in Alaska is a challenge, even in urban areas, but it’s a crucial element in bringing digital equity to the state,” said Senior Vice President of GCI Corporate Development Billy Wailand. “Whether we’re using fiber, microwave, or satellite backhaul to deliver wireless service, GCI is committed to bringing the best-possible connectivity to each community we serve.”
GCI has made significant investments in recent years in its middle mile infrastructure, including its $300 million TERRA network, which provides broadband access to 45,000 Alaskans in 84 rural communities; a multi-year $150 million partnership with Intelsat, a global leader in satellite connectivity services; and its $58 million AU-Aleutians Fiber Project, which will deliver 2 gigabit speeds to residential customers in six remote communities along the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Chain, including Unalaska and the tiny community of Larsen Bay (population 80).
GCI’s 2022 wireless upgrade plan includes the following communities:
Anchorage, population 293,531
Bethel, population 6,472
Fairbanks, population 31,551
Hoonah, population 808
Juneau, population 32,227
Little Diomede, population 115
Palmer, population 7,131
Prudhoe Bay, population 1,718
Scotty Lake (Trapper Creek), population 358
Talkeetna, population 1,237
Unalaska, population 4,724
Wasilla, population 10,071
Over the past 40 years, GCI has invested more than $4 billion in its statewide network. More than 97 percent of Alaskans live within GCI’s network footprint.