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Alaska to receive federal funds for rural wireless improvement

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Communications Commission announced that Alaska's largest telecommunication provider, General Communication, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNCMA), is eligible to receive $41.4 million for rural 3G/4G wireless projects as part of its Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I. More than 37,000 Alaskans across dozens of communities are expected to benefit from the fund, with GCI submitting winning bids to serve 48communities. Copper Valley Wireless, LLC also received funding for Alaska projects.

The FCC announced in April 2013 it would use the $50 million fund to provide one-time support to companies committed to building 3G or 4G mobile broadband networks in underserved tribal communities. The fund will provide support for projects across the nation, with wireless carriers in Arizona, Montana, New Mexico and Utah also submitting winning bids.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to enhance mobile wireless service in so many rural communities," said Ron Duncan, President and Chief Executive Officer of GCI. "Faster data will provide new opportunities for our mobile customers.  GCI is proud to be the first provider of wireless service in many of the winning communities.  We remain committed to connecting all rural and urban Alaskans."

GCI submitted its winning bids as part of a competitive bidding process.  It expects to deploy the enhanced service within two or three years depending on construction schedules and the type of technology deployed.

"This funding would not be available without the continuing efforts by Senator Murkowski, Senator Begich, Congressman Young, Governor Parnell, and their staffs to ensure that the promise of universal service will be kept for Alaska's tribal areas," said Tina Pidgeon, GCI's General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Governmental Affairs.  "We thank them and the Federal Communications Commission for the opportunity to better serve Alaska.  We will continue to work with policymakers to ensure that quality service is sustainable in high cost locations throughout rural Alaska."

More information about the FCC's Tribal Mobility Fund and a map of eligible areas is available at http://www.fcc.gov/maps/tribal-mobility-fund-phase-1-eligible-areas.

GCI is the largest Alaska-based and operated integrated telecommunications provider offering voice, data and video services statewide. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com/about. 

Awarded Communities are: Alakanuk, Ambler, Tooksook Bay, Aniak, Tuntutuliak, Barrow, Tununak, Brevig Mission, Unalakleet, Buckland, Unalaska, 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, and Togiak.

SOURCE  General Communication, Inc.

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