GCI Network Upgrades Improve Broadband in Western Alaska
The forty-two microwave towers that make up GCI’s DeltaNET system served as the starting point for the TERRA network project.
ANCHORAGE— GCI crews recently finished upgrading equipment at forty-two microwave sites in Western Alaska to bring more capacity to the region and enable GCI to better manage and optimize network traffic. The upgrades will result in greater reliability and availability of wireless and broadband services in the region. The sites, which comprise GCI’s DeltaNET system, received new power, HVAC, and communications systems as part of a multi-year, $7 million effort.
“The project required significant investment and effort by our rural operations teams for nearly two years,” said GCI Project Manager Johnathon Storter. “GCI is always investing in new technology that will make our networks more robust so that we better serve our customers. This investment in new equipment and technology will make a significant impact on a part of GCI’s network which was built more than a decade ago.”
From engineers to field technicians, dozens of GCI employees from across the company worked on the project, including several from the Rural Operations Team. GCI’s ROPS Team includes more than 200 technicians and site agents based in rural communities around the state who are able to quickly respond to network construction and maintenance needs statewide.
DeltaNET was built by United Utilities Inc. between 2004 and 2008. When GCI purchased UUI in 2008, the system became the starting point for the TERRA network, a massive fiber and microwave broadband network that includes more than 100 towers and spans 3,300 miles, delivering terrestrial broadband connectivity to 45,000 Alaskans in 84 rural communities.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.