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Akutan connection to GCI fiber-optic network to go live this summer

 The City of Akutan, Spring 2023
Theo Greenly
The City of Akutan, Spring 2023

Akutan, located in the middle of the Aleutian chain, is slated to receive a fiber-optic internet connection this summer through the GCI Aleutians Fiber Project. Construction is complete and all that remains is to test the system, according to an April 2 statement from the Alaska-based telecommunications company.

Once a connection is established, Akutan will become the fourth Aleutian community linked to the subsea fiber-optic network. Unalaska, Sand Point and King Cove are already connected. Service launched in Unalaska at the end of 2022.

Next, crews will move into the remote communities of Chignik Bay and Larsen Bay. When those locations are connected to the fiber-optic network, the project’s first phase will be complete.

GCI Project Manager Jerry Walker noted the challenges of constructing in places only accessible by boat or airplane, like Chignik Bay and Larsen Bay. He said in the statement, “You can’t just drive to the store for a forgotten piece of material. Every detail must be planned and accounted for before we start work.”

Planning for the fiber-optic project started in 2017. The overall cost will be around $100 million, about half of which comes from federal grant programs.

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Andy Lusk