Alaska's GCI installs 120K ft. of fiber conduit in Aleutians FTTH dig

May 16, 2022
With more than 120,000 feet of fiber conduit installed, and summer construction season upon Alaska's Aleutian Islands, the internet service provider reports that its Unalaska fiber-to-the-home build-out is more than 60% complete.

Summer is nearly upon the Aleutian Islands, which means that GCI crews in Unalaska, Alaska, the major population center in the Aleutians, are accelerating preparations for deployment in anticipation of subsea fiber coming to the community later this year.

As communicated by a GCI press release, so far in the project, ground crews have dug more than 55,000 feet of trench and installed more than 120,000 feet of fiber conduit throughout Unalaska.

During the buildout, GCI crews are installing fiber directly to homes, which will give local residents access to 2 gig residential internet speeds, which are some of the fastest available in the nation.

The project is expected to cost $58 million. GCI was awarded a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect program in support of the project. The company will invest $33 million of its own capital to pay for project costs not covered by the ReConnect grant.

“Our teams pushed hard through the winter to get us into a good position as we prepare to start laying more than 800 miles of subsea fiber this summer,” said AU-Aleutians fiber project manager, Mike Bertsch.

Bertsch added, “Recently, we also brought a crew down to Unalaska to bore holes under nearly 40 road crossings, so we didn’t need to cut through the asphalt and disrupt traffic. With our build in Unalaska more than 60% complete, we’re on track and well on our way to delivering fiber-optic connectivity to the community.”

GCI said its AU-Aleutians Fiber Project will run approximately 800 miles from Kodiak along the south side of the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutians to Unalaska.

The provider noted the project will deliver urban-level speed, service and reliability for the first time to the communities of Unalaska and Akutan by the end of 2022, Sand Point and King Cove by the end of 2023, and Chignik Bay and Larsen Bay in late 2024.

Once groundwork in Unalaska is complete, GCI crews will have installed more than 529,000 feet of conduit on the island. GCI will launch residential 2 gig internet speeds and urban plans in Unalaska by the end of 2022.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Broadband Corporation (Nasdaq: LBRDA, LBRDK, LBRDP) headquartered in Alaska, GCI is a provider of data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers, serving more than 200 communities throughout the state.

The company has invested more than $4 billion in its Alaska network and facilities over the past 40 years and recently launched a standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage.

“It’s been years in the making, but we are closer than ever to bringing truly transformational levels of connectivity to Unalaska and we couldn’t be more excited,” said director of GCI Rural Affairs, Jenifer Nelson. “Whether for remote work and e-learning or video streaming and other entertainment options, fiber-optic connectivity will bring life-changing opportunities to those who live there.”

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