GCI expands high-speed network to 10 more Arctic communities in 2016

June 21, 2016

Alaska’s biggest telecommunications provider partners with Ericsson to improve access to health care and education for Norton Sound residents

ANCHORAGE,  GCI today announced it will expand high-speed terrestrial broadband service to the Northwest Arctic Borough and Norton Sound, delivering services to 10 new communities this year. GCI’s Terrestrial for Every Rural Region in Alaska (TERRA) network delivers low latency network connections and high-speed internet access. These speed increases, supported by Ericsson technology, will dramatically improve the performance of online health, education and government services. 

“GCI has brought high-speed internet to some of the most remote locations on earth,” said Greg Chapados, executive vice president and COO of GCI. “We’ve seen how much a community can benefit from the improved medical care, improved education and improved economic opportunities that accompany access to broadband. We’re truly connecting Alaskans to the rest of the world. The projects are hard and the environment unforgiving, but we’re an Alaska company and we don’t expect things to be easy.”

“Ericsson’s technology is enabling the Networked Society for everyone, regardless of where they live or the difficulties presented by their environment,” said Angel Ruiz, Ericsson Chairman Americas. “Working with GCI on this project and multiple others throughout the last decade has shown the impact that high-speed connectivity can make on communities across Alaska.”    

Ericsson, a world leader in communications technology and services, has been a key GCI business partner for 10 years. Both companies have worked together to pioneer the delivery of telecommunications in the Arctic, where construction projects can be hampered by some of the harshest conditions on earth.

Terrestrial broadband provides high-speed data streaming which is a transformational service for many rural Alaska communities. By the end of 2016, Buckland, Kiana, Noorvik, Selawik, Koyuk, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain, Stebbins and St. Michael will join the growing list of rural Alaska communities with access to TERRA. With TERRA, these communities will have access to high-quality video conferencing, a critical tool for health care and education that can result in long-term cost savings for Alaskans and the agencies that serve them.

Through video conferencing, students can take field trips without leaving their village, interact with highly qualified teachers regardless of location and collaborate with students across the globe. Rural patients have access to specialty doctors who can diagnose and treat ailments and are able to consult with physicians at larger hospitals.

“With high-speed internet access, our schools are able to leverage digital tools at a level that was not possible before. Giving students in remote communities access to cutting-edge technology to prepare them for the future workforce is critical,” said Dr. Annmarie O'Brien, superintendent of Northwest Arctic Borough School District. “Part of our district has been on TERRA for more than a year, and the impact is phenomenal. We’re thrilled for the other districts to follow suit.”

About TERRA

GCI’s TERRA project launched in 2010 and currently delivers broadband services to 72 communities and services more than 43,000 residents. TERRA won the 2013 NATOA (National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors) Community Broadband Wireless Network of the Year award and the 2014 Engineering News Record (ENR) Best Projects Regional Award.

About GCI

GCI delivers communication and technology services in the consumer and business markets. Headquartered in Alaska with additional locations in the U.S., GCI has delivered services for more than 35 years to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com 

Media contact:

Heather Handyside, GCI
(907) 301-3481; hhandyside@gci.com