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GCI connects three Eastern Aleutian communities to fiber-optic broadband

GCI crews laid the conduit in King Cove in 2022 in preparation for the fiber optic cable...
Courtesy of GCI
GCI installed conduit in King Cove in June 2022, before deploying the actual fiber optic cable in 2023. The telecommunications company aims to connect a dozen communities to 800 miles of subsea fiber-optic cable, running from Kodiak to Unalaska.

The schools and clinics in three Aleutians East Borough communities are now connected to GCI’s fiber-optic broadband cable.

The telecommunications company said in a statement that Sand Point, King Cove and Akutan are now hooked up to their fiber optic cable, hailing it a “major milestone” in closing the digital divide between urban and rural communities.

GCI, the largest telecommunications company in Alaska, began planning its AU-Aleutians Fiber Project in 2017. It aims to connect a dozen communities to 800 miles of subsea fiber-optic cable, running from Kodiak to Unalaska.

Unalaska was the first to come online, beginning service in December 2022.

Only the clinics and schools in the three Eastern Aleutian communities are connected now, but GCI says plans are in the works to connect residential areas as well. The company says residents in Sand Point and King Cove can expect to use the service at home by the end of the year.

GCI was recently in court over their internet service. In May, the company agreed to pay $40.2 million to settle a federal lawsuit that alleged GCI inflated its prices in rural areas, including the Eastern Aleutians.

The U.S. prosecutors said GCI inflated prices when entering into a contract with Eastern Aleutian Tribes, the primary healthcare provider in the region.

Theo Greenly reports from the Aleutians as a Report for America corps member. He got his start in public radio at KCRW in Santa Monica, California, and has produced radio stories and podcasts for stations around the country.
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