Alaska Communications is intensifying its commitment to enhance broadband accessibility for Alaskans by combining capital investments and cutting-edge technologies. Since 2017, the broadband provider has successfully extended high-speed internet access to over 25,000 previously underserved locations through the CAF II program. In 2023, it expanded its reach by introducing affordable and dependable high-speed internet to new areas including Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Nenana, North Pole, Salcha, Nikiski, Anchor Point, Homer, Soldotna, and Ninilchik, providing speeds of up to 50 Mbps.
Matt McConnell, President and CEO of Alaska Communications, expressed his enthusiasm for the significant impact they can make on Alaskans’ lives by delivering affordable and reliable broadband. He highlighted the company’s ongoing commitment to enhance and enlarge its network through continued investments.
In the previous year, Alaska Communications invested $65 million in capital for network and facility improvements, and for 2024, an additional $40 million is earmarked for further advancements. Noteworthy among these investments is the state-of-the-art fiber-to-the-home network, currently offering the fastest upload speeds in Alaska. Over the last two years, the company has deployed fiber to the home for approximately 10,000 homes in Fairbanks and Anchorage, along with extending fiber to a multi-dwelling unit in downtown Juneau. The uniqueness of Alaska Communications’ fiber-to-the-home network lies in its direct extension of fiber to each individual building, differentiating it from hybrid fiber networks where homes share the same line via a copper cable.
While acknowledging fiber as the gold standard, McConnell emphasized the importance of deploying the right technologies, such as fixed wireless, which may be better suited for specific environments. The company is planning a fixed wireless pilot in Juneau, promising speeds of up to 300 Mbps.
Alaska Communications is actively engaged in the Alaska FiberOptic Project, a groundbreaking collaboration with Alaska Native Regional Corporations and tribal entities aimed at supporting communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. The project, set to commence fiber construction in the Yukon River this summer, is poised to bring high-speed fiber internet to up to 21 communities for the first time, unlocking new economic opportunities for rural residents.