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Liberty’s GCI pushes fibre further into Alaska with $73m grant

Ana Hoffman BNC Alaska.jpg

Liberty Broadband’s Alaskan operation, GCI, is expanding its fibre operations in the Arctic state with the aid of US$73 million in government grants.

GCI and its local partner, the Bethel Native Corporation (BNC), said they will build a fibre network called Airraq (pronounced EYE-huck) Network) in the west of the state.

“The residents of the 10 grant communities are now looking forward to faster speeds, more data and having much more affordable plans in the coming years,” said BNC president and CEO Ana Hoffman (pictured).

GCI said it will bring 2Gbps speeds and affordable plans to more than 10,000 Alaskans.

Hoffman said: “We have a strong sense of community, and we depend upon collaboration with our friends and neighbours to be successful. We know the value of presence, and that is why I have so much confidence in this partnership between BNC and GCI and our collective commitment to deliver this service together.”

The news comes only days after GCI said it had made the final subsea fibre splice for its AU-Aleutians Fiber Project, which connects a string of islands south-west of Alaska.

The new project is partly subsea and partly terrestrial, with a total length of 650km (405 miles). It will start at

Dillingham, also known as also known as Curyung, a city of only 2,200, and follow a submarine route to the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, before moving to an overland route to Bethel, the largest city in western Alaska.

As BNC’s partner, GCI will construct and operate the fibre network, it said this week.

GCI president and COO Greg Chapados promised “a first-rate network that will not just narrow, but eliminate the rural-urban digital divide for the 10,000-plus residents of Bethel and the other served communities”.