Astranis and Pacific Dataport Sign Exclusive Agreement to Bridge Alaska’s Digital Divide
Astranis microsatellite size comparison
Pacific Dataport (PDI) has signed a deal with space telecom pioneer Astranis to commission the company’s first-ever commercial satellite and dramatically increase the available bandwidth in Alaska and make internet access faster, more reliable and less expensive statewide.
Pacific Dataport Inc. (PDI) is a two-year-old venture created by Alaska-based telecom company Microcom with the mission of bridging the digital divide in Alaska with something it is calling The Aurora System—a grand vision for a system of satellites built for Alaskans by Alaskans dedicated to boosting the availability of fast, affordable and reliable internet for the entire state.
PDI signed a firm contract for a guaranteed sum plus significant potential upside with space telecoms pioneer Astranis, a San Francisco-based space startup backed by Andreesen Horowitz, to commission the first-ever commercial Astranis microsatellite that will dramatically increase the available bandwidth in Alaska and make internet access faster, more reliable, and less expensive statewide—up to three times less expensive than current costs for both consumer and wholesale customers.
Alaska’s size and geography has long presented a challenge for the state’s broadband capacity, with a mere 2.5 Gbps of satellite bandwidth available statewide across several different providers. The new Astranis satellite will increase the available bandwidth for Alaskans while bringing costs down significantly and making an immediate impact on bringing to life the Aurora System vision of a fully connected Alaska.
Astranis launched from stealth last March with funding from Andreessen Horowitz to close the digital divide and re-imagine the $122 billion a year satellite telecoms market by providing fast, reliable internet to the 4 billion people on the planet still without access.
According to Broadband Now, there are 145,000 people in Alaska without access to a wired connection capable of 25mbps download speeds. There are 233,000 people in Alaska that have access to only one wired provider, leaving them no options to switch and another 56,000 people in Alaska whio do not have any wired internet providers available where they live.
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