GCI Invests in Wireless Projects on North Slope and in Dillingham
ANCHORAGE—GCI provided updates on two projects designed to improve wireless capabilities in rural Alaska. The projects include a new communications tower at the North Slope’s Mustang Development. Meanwhile in Southwest Alaska, GCI has partnered with a local telecom co-op to deliver improved internet speed and data capacity.
Strategically located approximately forty-five miles from Deadhorse, between the Kuparuk Field and Nanushuk Development, the new GCI communications tower at the Mustang Development is three years in the making and is designed and built specifically for the users in that region.
“GCI is investing in this region because we understand the needs of the oil patch. We provide resilient access to the operators and contractors, which allows them to leverage technology to improve operational efficiencies,” said GCI Business Programs and Business Development Director Mark Johnson. “We work hard at being proactive and engaged in our partner relationships at all levels. GCI is dedicated to designing, building and operating Alaska’s most resilient and reliable network to ensure we remain the provider of choice on Alaska’s North Slope.”
GCI owns and operates the only fully-redundant fiber optic network to the North Slope and provides reliable, cost-effective connectivity and access to the best-available wireless technologies throughout the region.
GCI delivers technologies across the North Slope in support of the region, from Pt. Thomson in the east, across the legacy fields of Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk to the new developments in the west that include Nanushuk, GMT and Willow. These investments benefit not only oil field owners, operators and contractors, but also the surrounding communities.
GCI also operates two wireless sites along the Dalton Highway, providing vital mobile connectivity to as many as 250 long-haul trucks daily carrying supplies to Alaska’s North Slope.
Meanwhile, in Dillingham and the surrounding area, another project is in the works.
GCI and the Nushagak Electric and Telephone Cooperative (NETC) recently announced a partnership to deliver faster internet speeds and higher data capacity to residents and businesses in Southwest Alaska.
The project includes two new NETC mountaintop microwave repeaters that will connect to GCI’s fiber infrastructure in Levelock, leveraging existing facilities to deliver service. The project is targeted for completion later this year.
“The initial NETC design for the project envisioned a new microwave network from Dillingham to Anchor Point with seven new sites. By leveraging nearby GCI resources, we discovered we could shave four microwave sites and roughly 125 miles off our plans,” said NETC CEO & General Manager Bob Himschoot. “This enabled NETC to greatly reduce construction and ongoing maintenance costs of the project while increasing reliability for our customers.”
“GCI and NETC have long worked together to deliver quality connectivity in the region, and this partnership is just one more example of leveraging resources to deliver service and value to Alaskans,” said Vice President of GCI Wholesale Business Krag Johnsen. “It has always been GCI’s mission to connect Alaskans and our ongoing partnership with NETC is an effective way to do that throughout much of Southwest Alaska.”
NETC delivers telephone, internet, and television service to Aleknagik, Clark’s Point, Dillingham, Ekuk, Manokotak, and Portage Creek. These six communities are home to roughly 3,200 year-round residents, with populations that greatly expand during fishing season when seasonal workers flood the communities to take part in the world-famous Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run.
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Alaska’s Giving Pipeline
Few large foundations support “the general good” or social service projects in Alaska, so the Last Frontier has a pretty thin philanthropic layer, according to United Way of Anchorage Vice President Cassandra Stalzer. However, the oil and gas industry has a history of stepping in and filling the gaps in Alaska communities by providing money and volunteers for myriad charitable efforts in the state.