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GCI Measures Unalaska Roads For Potential Fiber Project

Berett Wilber


Two men walking around town are part of GCI's push to bring high-speed internet to Unalaska.

GCI Vice President Dan Boyette said their walks will help the telecommunications company figure out what fiber optic cable distribution might look like on the island.

"They started July 2, and I'd expect to see them throughout this week and into early next week," said Boyette. "They'll be measuring all the distances and poking around to determine exactly what it will take to do this bit of construction."

Boyette said the workers will measure main thoroughfares like Captains Bay and Ballyhoo Roads, as opposed to distances between homes and the road.

About a month after their work is completed, he estimates that GCI will finalize the project's design. By the end of summer, he expects to start working with the city on permits.

At this point, though, GCI still needs to establish whether the project is financially viable.

"Get the business case approved before year end of 2018, and assuming we can do that, we'll do a lot of the construction in summer of 2019," said Boyette. "In the summer of 2020, we would put the fiber in the water from Kodiak to Unalaska."

GCI started looking into extending its fiber optic work to the island last September. Initial estimates say the project would cost about $40 million.

Zoë Sobel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2019. She returned to KUCB after a year living in Nepal and Malaysia as a Luce Scholar. She then returned to KUCB as a ProPublica reporter August of 2020 through August of 2021.
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