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Press Release: First Milestone in Historic Project Brings Southwest Alaska 43 Miles Closer to a Next Generation Broadband Network

Fiber Laying between Igiugig and Levelock for TERRA-SW Completed 

April 12, 2011, ANCHORAGE —TERRA-Southwest (TERRA-SW), a project that will extend terrestrial broadband service for the first time to Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta), recently reached its first milestone. The $88 million stimulus project is funded by the USDA Rural Utilities Service in the form of a $44 million grant and a $44 million loan. The project is being led by United Utilities, Inc. (UUI), a subsidiary of GCI. UUI’s fiber optic contractor, Ledcor, Inc., finished laying fiber optic cable underground along a 43-mile route between Igiugig and Levelock last week.   

View video of the fiber laying at http://terra.gci.com/news-and-announcements/video-of-fiber-optic-cable-laying-between-igiugig-and-levelock.

With the first phase of the project completed, UUI estimates it will complete the rest of the project this year and begin providing broadband service in Bristol Bay and the Y-K Delta by the end of this year.    

“The first phase of this history-making TERRA-Southwest project is complete,” said Martin Cary, vice president and general manager, GCI. “We placed 43 miles of fiber, literally laying-the-groundwork to connect this remote, rural region to the rest of the world. Its completion indicates a significant level of progress toward bringing broadband, and all of the civic and economic benefits that come with it, to the people and organizations in Bristol Bay and the Y-K Delta.”

TERRA-SW will provide middle-mile terrestrial broadband service to 65 remote, rural communities in Bristol Bay and the Y-K Delta, including Bethel, Dillingham and King Salmon. Upon completion, TERRA-SW will make broadband available, for the first time, to over 9,000 households and nearly 750 businesses in the covered communities. The project will also serve numerous public/non-profit/private community institutions and entities, such as regional healthcare providers, school districts and other regional and Alaska Native organizations.

The remaining segments of the TERRA-SW project are scheduled for construction this summer.

Visit http://terra.gci.com for more information. Follow @terragci on Twitter.

About GCI

GCI is an Alaska-based company providing voice, video and data communication services to residential, commercial and government customers. Founded in 1979, GCI introduced long-distance competition to Alaska and has since grown to be one of the nation’s premier integrated telecommunication providers. The company employs more than 1,600 Alaskans and has a current run rate of $630 million. GCI has a 45 percent share of the state’s long-distance market, and is the state’s largest provider of internet services with cable modem, wireless and dedicated access. Its cable television services pass 90 percent of the state’s households with 64 percent penetration. Digital cable and cable modem service is available to 99 percent of its subscribers. The company offers facilities-based local telephone services in 22 cities throughout Alaska and has earned a 35 percent statewide market share. GCI’s services are connected through company-owned fiber optic, satellite and metropolitan area network facilities to the Lower 48 states. This broadband platform is the only one of its kind in Alaska and allows the company to provide customized services to the Alaska market. Please visit www.gci.com for more information.