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Alaska Business Monthly: How Terrestrial Broadband is Forever Changing Telecommunications in the Arctic by Bob Walsh

On Thanksgiving Day in 1982, GCI carried its first long distance call. This was just the start of the thirty-year journey to bring advanced telecommunication services to all of Alaska—both urban and rural. And this journey continues as the technology environment—in Alaska and around the world—rapidly changes.

Satellite Connections

Currently, many Alaskans still receive all communication over satellite connections that are costly and plagued by signal delay. The lack of dependable high-speed connectivity limits the ability of hospitals, local health clinics, schools, and businesses to take advantage of such powerful tools as virtual classrooms, telemedicine, and modern business applications. People living in these areas are neither able to participate in today’s knowledge-based economy nor able to access global information resources.

In line with the more than 25 percent of Americans, Alaskans are increasingly ditching their home telephones in favor of wireless phones. This, paired with the continually advancing devices on which we’ve all come to rely, creates a never ending appetite for bandwidth, wireless, and advanced applications.

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