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Alaska's GCI to expand TERRA broadband network to further 10 Arctic communities during 2016
Announced Date: 6/21/2016 Published Date: 6/28/2016

Alaska service provider GCI announced plans to expand high-speed terrestrial broadband service to the Northwest Arctic Borough and Norton Sound, and specifically to deliver services to 10 new communities in the region during 2016.

GCI's Terrestrial for Every Rural Region in Alaska (TERRA) network delivers low latency network connections and high-speed Internet access to its customers, and the increased broadband speeds will be delivered using Ericsson technology to help improve the performance of services such as online health, education and government.

Ericsson is a key long-term partner of GCI and the companies have worked together to pioneer the delivery of telecommunications in the Arctic, where construction projects can be hampered by the challenging conditions.

Terrestrial broadband provides high-speed data streaming which is a transformational service for many rural Alaska communities.

By the end of 2016, GCI plans to extend high-speed terrestrial broadband to Buckland, Kiana, Noorvik, Selawik, Koyuk, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain, Stebbins and St. Michael, providing additional communities in rural Alaska with access to TERRA. Via TERRA, these communities will have access to video conferencing, which is a critical tool for health care and education services and enabling cost savings for both Alaskans and the agencies that serve them.

In mid-2015, GCI announced plans to upgrade its networks in rural Alaska to support increasing demand for terrestrial broadband service and substantially improve mobile wireless service in numerous rural communities.

GCI stated it would specifically increase the backbone capacity of TERRA from Levelock to Bethel by deploying new microwave radio technology, and deploy 3G wireless data service in 28 rural Alaska communities. It noted the 3G upgrade is supported by an award from the FCC, Tribal Mobility Fund Phase 1 that would be used to deploy 3G and 4G wireless services to 48 rural Alaska communities by 2018.

GCI had previously announced it had partnered with Ericsson to bring high-speed fixed and mobile connections using LTE technology to Alaska's oil producing North Slope. GCI's TERRA project, launched in 2010, delivers broadband services to 72 communities and serves more than 43,000 residents.