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GCI Brings LTE Wireless to Two More Bristol Bay Communities

Feb 1, 2022 | News, Telecom & Tech

Cellular Tower

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The Bristol Bay villages of Manokotak and Clark’s Point now have access to LTE, or fourth generation wireless service, as part of GCI’s goal to expand coverage in Southwest Alaska.

Persevering Through Winter Weather

“Working in remote communities has no shortage of challenges, and this was no exception,” says GCI Project Manager Frances DeBlare. “Our crews dealt with weeks of severe and unpredictable weather that not only included record breaking snowfall but also subsequent power outages, windstorms, and temperatures that dipped to nearly -30°F . It is yet another example of the lengths we’ll go to keep our customers connected.”

The project to upgrade wireless service in Southwest Alaska leverages network improvements from a previous partnership between GCI and Nushagak Electric and Telephone Cooperative (NETC).

“NETC and GCI have long worked together to deliver quality connectivity to the region,” says NETC Telecom General Manager Trung Vo. “NETC’s plan to bring unlimited internet to our service area by 2023, coupled with GCI’s launch of LTE wireless service in the region, is a large step forward as we work together to close the digital divide between rural and urban Alaska.”

The newly upgraded sites bring improved voice service, faster mobile data speeds, and more wireless capacity.

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Previously in 2021, GCI completed LTE upgrades in Dillingham and Aleknagik.

These upgrades were part of an effort to improve connectivity in seventeen rural Alaska communities through GCI’s 2021 Alaska Plan buildout. Federal funding for the Alaska Plan helps GCI invest in the technology and infrastructure necessary to connect some of the smallest and most remote communities in the nation.

“We’re excited to improve service to the residents of Manokotak and Clark’s Point and continue GCI’s expansion of LTE service throughout the Bristol Bay region,” says Vice President of GCI Wholesale Business Krag Johnsen. “With help from our partners at NETC, GCI has been able to improve service for thousands of residents in the region. Better connectivity means more opportunities for small businesses, access to healthcare and education, and more ways to keep in touch with friends and family. These upgrades are prime examples of GCI’s long-standing and continued commitment to rural Alaska and to closing the digital divide.”

The Alaska Plan, adopted by the FCC in August 2016, provides federal funds to Alaska’s telecommunications providers in order to support investment in rural wireless and internet service upgrades. Federal funding helps make rural investment and maintenance possible in extremely remote, costly, and difficult-to-serve communities. GCI, a subsidiary of Colorado-based Liberty Broadband since December 2020, receives a portion of Alaska Plan funding each year, along with other Alaska providers.

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Welcome to the June 2024 issue, which features our annual Transportation Special Section. We've paired it this year with a focus on the Pacific Northwest and Hawai'i, as Alaska has close ties to both that reach far beyond lines of transportation. Even further out past our Pacific Ocean compatriots and our Canadian neighbors to the east, Alaska's reach extends to India and Singapore. Enjoy this issue that explores many of Alaska's far-flung business dealings.
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