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GCI Resumes AU-Aleutians Fiber Work in King Cove and Sand Point

Apr 14, 2023 | News, Telecom & Tech

Spools of fiber conduit sit among dry-docked fishing boats and crab pots in King Cove.

GCI

Construction season has arrived for the next links in the AU-Aleutians Fiber Project. GCI has crews working in King Cove, and more are scheduled to start later this month in Sand Point.

Next After Unalaska 

The two Alaska Peninsula communities are next in line for 2G internet service, after the fiber was activated in Unalaska just before last Christmas.

“Our teams will be in King Cove and Sand Point for the next few months digging trenches, deploying tens of thousands of feet of conduit that will house and protect the local fiber network, and connecting local homes and businesses to the new infrastructure,” says GCI Project Manager Mike Bertsch.

The AU-Aleutians Fiber Project runs approximately 800 miles from Kodiak along the south side of the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands to Unalaska.

“When broadband comes to the region, people are not only going to be able to access everything that it offers and have the world at their fingertips, but they’re also going to be able to bring themselves and their culture and their experiences and their economies to the rest of the world,” says GCI Rural Affairs Director Jenifer Nelson. “It’s truly going to be transformative.”

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Nelson’s hometown happens to be King Cove. “Including the villages, tribes, and local residents in the process of the project has been a priority for us since the inception of AU-Aleutians,” she says.

Thus, the company has retained the services of Area M Consulting. A team led by Sean Mack of King Cove will monitor construction and record and identify any unexpected and uncovered historical sites.

Nelson says, “We recognize and respect the traditions of those who have long called these communities home, and I’m extremely happy that Sean and his team will be working alongside us throughout the project to ensure the preservation of Unangax̂ culture and history.”

GCI is asking residents of King Cove and Sand Point to build the fiber and equipment on the premises, even if they are not currently GCI customers. The company says permission ensures that the necessary equipment is in place should a resident become a GCI customer in the future. However, when crews leave after this summer, GCI warns of long wait times for future installations.

After King Cove and Sand Point, crews will begin work in other fiber project communities. AU-Aleutians is slated to come ashore in Akutan, Chignik Bay, Chignik Lake, Chignik Lagoon, Cold Bay, Larsen Bay, False Pass, Ouzinkie, and Port Lions.

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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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