GCI recieves $41 million to build 3G and 4G in rural Alaska

by Ben Matheson on March 7, 2014

48 communities in rural Alaska, including 26 in the Y-K Delta will receive 3G or 4G data service, thanks to an FCC grant of $41 million that GCI secured.

GCI’s David Morris says the money come from tribal mobility funds. It’s a a one-time opportunity for underserved populations.

“It’s one of the things that happened at the FCC level you would not expect to happen we’re just happy to take advantage of it and bring better technology out in your direction,” said Morris.

GCI doesn’t have the specifics of when the communities will see the upgrade, but it will take a few years.

“We still have to go through a few admin steps to say with certainty when the build schedule starts,” said Morris.

They are expected to take 2 years to build out 3G, and 3 years for 4G services. It will expand off of the Terra-Southwest fiber optic and microwave towers and satellite where it’s still in use.

“But if you’re terrestrial, terra, it’s going to go a lot faster than it will over satellite, but in any event going from a 2G data platform which is in rural Alaska today to 3G or 4G will be a significant advancement,” said Morris.

The full list of communities includes:

Alakanuk
Ambler
Aniak
Barrow
Brevig Mission
Buckland
Chefornak
Chevak
Eek
Emmonak
Gambell
Goodnews Bay
Hooper Bay
Kiana
Kipnuk
Kivalina
Kongiganak
Kotlik
Kotzebue
Kwigillingok
Marshall
Mekoryuk
Mountain Village
Newtok
Nightmute
Noatak
Nome
Noorvik
Nunam Iqua
Pilot Station
Pitkas Point
Quinhagak
Russian Mission
Savoonga
Scammon Bay
Selawik
Shaktoolik
Shishmaref
Shungnak
St. Marys
St. Michael
Stebbins
Togiak
Tooksook Bay
Tuntutuliak
Tununak
Unalakleet
Unalaska

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