Unalaska Calls High-Speed Internet A Top Priority For D.C. Lobbying Trip

Aug 25, 2016

Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

A contingent of city officials is headed to Washington D.C. next month for Unalaska's annual lobbying trip. 

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, they reviewed their schedule with city lobbyist Brad Gilman.

Beyond standard stops at the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters and the National Marine Fisheries Services, Gilman said this year's trip will also focus on a newer priority for Unalaska: getting high-speed internet.

Gilman is arranging meetings with G​CI executives and other telecom providers, but that doesn't mean ruling out fiber optic cable from Quintillion. On the contrary, he said Unalaska will probably have to work with multiple carriers to bring fast internet to the island.

"We're going to need help from the governor and the Alaska delegation to put pressure on some of these companies," said Gilman. "They have an obligation — with their contracts with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — to improve service in rural Alaska. But they don't have to improve service everywhere all at the same time. It could be three decades before they get to us unless we start pushing on them fairly hard."

Meanwhile, two local students are representing Alaska as Arctic Youth Ambassadors. The program provides science and leadership opportunities for kids across the state, including Unalaska seniors Carter Price and Cade Terada.

At Tuesday's council meeting, they shared stories from their time in the program — from mentoring younger students and traveling to Greenland to meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — and Terada reminded the community that they're ready to represent Unalaska.

"If you see us around town and have any opinions, feel free to talk to us and let your voices be heard," said Terada. "We are your ambassadors and we will advocate for you as best as we can."

Price and Terada will serve as youth ambassadors for another year, while the United States holds chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council. Meanwhile, the Unalaska City Council will hold its next meeting Sept. 13.