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October 16, 2012

GCI's $28 Million TERRA-Northwest Expansion Project will Provide Remote Alaska with Higher Speed, Lower Latency Data Service

By Madhubanti Rudra
TMCnet Contributor

In the Phase 3 of its TERRA-Northwest (TERRA-NW) initiative, GCI (News - Alert) plans to expand its footprint into the remote Northwest Arctic region.

In a news statement, the company announced that as part of this phase 3 expansion, it will build six new microwave sites between Shaktoolik and Kotzebue, and will enable future TERRA expansion throughout the Northwest Arctic. Five of the microwave towers will be located at remote, prime-power repeater sites. This $28 million expansion project is believed to significantly enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for rural communities throughout the Northwest Arctic Borough.

As part of the expansion, GCI is currently deploying broadband cable modem service in Kotzebue. The deployment is expected to be complete by the end of October. On completion, cable modem users in Kotzebue will have access to the same low latency, high speed terrestrial broadband service that Bethel users enjoy today.

The snow-covered region’s two major organizations--- Maniilaq Association, the regional Native health corporation, and Northwest Arctic Borough School District--- presently use the satellite services to stay connected to the rest of Alaska as well as the world. The latest TERRA-NW expansion will give these organizations access to low latency, high speed terrestrial broadband and add to their ability to deliver better care to patients and distance learning to schools and students.

Thanks to the expansion, the residents, businesses, and other government/not-for-profit institutions in Kotzebue will be able to use the satellite services for Internet connection.

“Today, satellite latency continues to hinder our advanced applications like video teleconferencing and electronic health records. After the completion of the TERRA-NW project, latency will be massively reduced and our ability to deliver telehealth applications at our regional hospital will be greatly improved,” chief information officer of Maniilaq Association---a long standing GCI customer and a worldwide leader in telehealth, Eugene Smith explained in a statement.

“The main benefit of the Phase 3 expansion of TERRA-NW will be higher speed, lower latency data service, supporting education, healthcare and Internet, enhancing the quality of life and economic opportunity for rural communities throughout the Northwest Arctic Borough. GCI embarks on this project with the future of all Alaska in mind. We deeply appreciate the support provided to GCI by communities, their leaders, and our customers throughout the state,” president and chief executive officer of GCI, Ron Duncan noted in a statement.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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