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Flooding in Interior Alaska could cause slower internet and data speeds in Y-K Delta

Manley Hot Springs on Saturday, May 7, 2022.
Alaska State Troopers
Manley Hot Springs on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

GCI customers across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta could experience slower data and internet speeds beginning May 9.

GCI Communications Director Heather Handyside said that flooding at Manly Hot Springs in the Interior on May 7 knocked out power to a repeater station that helps distribute internet to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The repeater has been running on back-up battery power for over 48 hours, and that power is about to run out. GCI has been unable to install a generator at the site due to the flooding.

“We have a helicopter on standby. We tried to use ATVs, but because of the flooding the ground is really muddy. So we haven’t been successful getting up there,” Handyside said.

When the battery dies, many Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta customers will notice a slow-down in data and internet speeds. Customers might not be able to stream video or do gaming. Other services should remain accessible.

“We think essential functions like email will remain intact. Definitely their voice service over wireless and voice over landline service will remain intact. That means 911 will remain available,” Handyside said.

The repeater that lost power is part of GCI’s TERRA network, which serves 45,000 people across 84 Alaska communities. Internet disruptions will occur until a generator is installed or power is restored to the area.

Anna Rose MacArthur is the KYUK News Director. She has worked at KYUK since 2015 and previously worked at KNOM in Nome, Alaska.
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