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GCI Aleutians Fiber Project

The GCI Alaska United (AU) Aleutians Fiber Project is underway! GCI is constructing an 800+ mile subsea fiber system to serve some of the nation’s most remote communities. Running from Kodiak along the south side of the Alaska Peninsula to Unalaska, the bold project will deliver urban-level speed, service and reliability for the first time to the communities of Unalaska, King Cove, Sand Point, Akutan, Chignik Bay, and Larsen Bay. GCI expects to turn up service in Unalaska later this year. And we’re not turning up just any service — we’re turning up 2 gig internet speeds and closing the digital divide in the region!

Culture & community

What’s life like in the Aleutians? We think it’s pretty close to perfect. The region consists of 14 large islands and 55 smaller islands that have been home to the Unangax̂ and Alutiiq Alaska Native peoples for thousands of years. The islands are full of lush tundra, bountiful waters, and rugged landscapes. Our team is grateful to build out a project in a region filled with beauty and steeped in Alaska history. We are mindful of the history and respectful of the culture as we build out across the region. To help safely identify and preserve any historic artifacts that might be unearthed during GCI’s AU-Aleutians Fiber Project, we are partnering with local archaeological experts. We also work closely with local communities, whether that’s partnering with local governments and tribal authorities or hosting community events to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

We can’t wait to make history by building out our fiber network — the gold standard for connectivity — that will open up a world of possibilities for everyone from local consumers (including gamers!), to fishing boat captains to small business owners.

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A map showing the Aleutian chain with short descriptions of several communities.

“Fiber service, the gold standard of broadband connectivity, will enable Unalaska, the nation’s largest fishing port and a gateway to the American Arctic, and the other project communities, to realize their full economic potential while advancing the national security interests of the United States.”

-Ron Duncan, GCI CEO & Founder

Remote connections

Life in the Aleutians is unlike anywhere else in the world. Unalaska, King Cove, Sand Point, Akutan, Chignik Bay, and Larsen Bay — some of the nation’s most remote communities — are closer to Russia than to the contiguous U.S. Until now, customers in these communities could only be served by satellite connectivity. GCI’s project will deploy a more than 800-mile subsea fiber that will deliver 2 gig speeds, service and reliability for the first time to this region.
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Connecting Alaskans & closing the digital divide

Connecting some of the most remote communities in the nation won’t be easy, but GCI’s team of experts is up to the challenge. We’ve been connecting Alaska’s small, extremely remote Arctic communities for more than 40 years. Through innovative solutions, like our hybrid microwave-fiber network in Western Alaska serving 40,000 Alaskans in 84 communities, we are able to serve more than 240 communities across the state and 97% of Alaskans live in GCI’s service area.

We don’t do it because it’s easy — we do it because we are committed to connecting Alaskans.

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“This battle against the digital divide is a lifelong, endless battle because the goal posts are going to be constantly moving with evolving technology. We’ve got a team at GCI that is focused on rural connectivity, building a 10-year plan for how we get from where we are today, to a level of service in rural Alaska that exceeds what’s available in urban Alaska today.”

-Ron Duncan, GCI CEO & Founder

Game changer

Creating reliable, fast service in the Aleutians will bring life-changing opportunities to the people who live there. High-speed, 2 gig home internet will be a reality for the first time, providing an opportunity to use streaming services and home e-learning tools. Fiber-based connectivity will be a game-changer for local industries, too. As fans of the hit TV series “The Deadliest Catch” know, Unalaska is the second-busiest fishing port in the nation. The Aleutians Fiber Project will offer hardworking Alaska commercial fishermen and seafood processors connectivity like never before. This will make the jobs of the multi-national companies already located in the Aleutians easier, and even offer opportunities to expand their efforts.
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Multicolored timeline of GCI Aleutians Fiber Project with current status of permitting approval and groundbreaking as of September 2021

Meet the Aleutians Fiber Project team

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Mike Bertsch
GCI AU-Aleutians Fiber Project Manager

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John Burnett
Unalaska AU-Aleutians Fiber Project Manager

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Bruce Rein
Submarine Assets Director

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Jenifer Nelson
Senior Manager of GCI Rural Affairs