GCI’s Aleutians Fiber Project Launches Service in Unalaska

Two years and 800+ miles of fiber later, fast, affordable internet has reached the Aleutians. 

  • GCI

 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The first GCI customers in Unalaska, the remote fishing town on Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, can now access its 2 Gbps fiber internet service. In the coming weeks, GCI will use a phased approach to bring its transformative internet speeds to Unalaska consumers and businesses as quickly as possible.

GCI completed installation and successful internet speed tests in November. Since then, GCI crews and contractors have worked tirelessly to ensure the new network is open for business and able to handle pent-up demand from the island community that has been limited by satellite-only service.

“The AU-Aleutians Fiber Project will provide data connectivity to Unalaska that is an order of magnitude faster than anything possible with the satellite service they are on today,” said Senior Vice President of GCI Corporate Development Billy Wailand. “Bringing fiber to the Aleutians has long been a goal of GCI, and I’m grateful for the support of so many who were instrumental in making this project a reality. On behalf of GCI, I’d especially like to offer our appreciation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service ReConnect program for its financial support and for working with GCI to keep this project on schedule.”

As the project moves forward, GCI will adopt a phased approach to turning up service across the island that includes local businesses as well as residential customers. GCI’s island-wide launch of 2,000 Mbps (2 gig) service for consumers is currently scheduled for mid-January.

With work wrapping up soon in Unalaska, crews will continue up the Aleutian Chain and Alaska Peninsula toward Kodiak, stopping in Akutan, Sand Point, King Cove, Chignik Bay and Larsen Bay to install new local access networks. The communities are expected to come online in the next two years.

The work won’t stop there. Phase two of the project will extend fiber optic connectivity to six more communities in the region through a partnership with the Native Village of Port Lions, which was recently awarded a $29.3 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Phase two of the project will bring urban-level connectivity to the small communities of Chignik Lagoon, Chignik Lake, Cold Bay, False Pass, Ouzinkie and Port Lions.

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