Bethel Native Corporation Awarded $42.4M Federal Broadband Grant 

BNC and project partner GCI focus on bringing fiber to bring fiber internet service to Western Alaska’s Y-K Delta residents.

  • GCI

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Bethel Native Corporation (BNC) has been awarded a $42.4 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to deploy a 405-mile fiber optic network from Dillingham to Bethel, Alaska. The project, to be completed in partnership with Alaska telecommunications provider GCI, will bring urban-level 2 gig internet service to consumers in Bethel and Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) communities along the fiber route. 

“BNC celebrates this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring high-speed internet service to Bethel, Platinum, Eek, Napaskiak and Oscarville," said BNC President and CEO Ana Hoffman. "Once complete, the fiber project will provide community residents with access to the same internet plans and prices GCI offers to consumers in Anchorage. Fiber’s faster speeds and unlimited data will be transformational. It will improve the quality of life here at home and, ultimately, the broader Y-K Delta.”

"GCI is thrilled to work with BNC to close the digital divide in Bethel and other communities in the Y-K Delta," said GCI Senior Vice President of Corporate Development Billy Wailand. "The project will leverage the substantial network investment GCI has already made in the Y-K Delta with our own capital and federal grants, and support GCI's multiyear plan to improve wired and wireless internet service throughout the region."

The BNC/GCI fiber project will follow a submarine route from Dillingham — where it will connect with a planned Nushagak Electric & Telephone Cooperative long-haul fiber project — to the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, then follow an overland route the remainder of the way to Bethel. GCI will also upgrade its local access network in Bethel and install fiber to the home in Platinum, Eek, Napaskiak and Oscarville.

BNC and GCI will host a virtual press conference to provide more details about the project and announce the project name on Monday, Oct. 10, at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10, is Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Alaska, a day to honor the people who have called Alaska home for more than 10,000 years.

 

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