ANCHORAGE, Alaska, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- GCI (NASDAQ: GNCMA) announced today that it completed a significant portion of the expansion of the TERRA terrestrial broadband network into Northwest Alaska. Phase 1 of the TERRA-Northwest (TERRA-NW) initiative, which includes the installation of five new microwave towers and three remote repeaters, connects the network in Shageluk to Unalakleet and Shaktoolik. GCI funding for the project was supplemented by a grant awarded by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.
"GCI is proud to add Unalakleet and Shaktoolik to the list of rural Alaska villages that will benefit from the increased capabilities provided by the TERRA network," GCI president and CEO Ron Duncan said. "GCI's investment in TERRA reflects our continuing commitment to rural Alaska."
Terrestrial broadband services to residential customers are available in Unalakleet today. Services in Shaktoolik will be available this summer.
Construction has already started on Phases 2 and 3 of TERRA-NW. Phase 2 is a 135-mile span between Shaktoolik and Nome including three remote repeaters and one village microwave site. Phase 3 is a 205-mile span between Shaktoolik and Kotzebue, including 5 remote repeaters and one village microwave tower. GCI anticipates construction to Nome to be complete by the end of 2013 and construction to Kotzebue to be complete by the end of 2014. Like Phase 1, Phases 2 and 3 will be constructed and owned by Unicom, a wholly owned subsidiary of GCI.
"The importance of Phases 2 and 3 cannot be overstated as they will enable future expansion to communities throughout the Northwest Arctic," Duncan said. "Several years ago, GCI envisioned creating a terrestrial broadband network as an alternative to satellite-delivery. I am happy to report that this vision is quickly becoming a reality."
TERRA-NW connects to TERRA-Southwest, a terrestrial middle mile project connecting 65 remote communities in Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. TERRA-Southwest is a hybrid fiber optic cable/microwave system that terrestrially connects rural Alaska to the Internet Gateway in Anchorage.
GCI is the largest telecommunications company in Alaska. The company's cable plant, which provides voice, video, and broadband data services, passes 80 percent of Alaska households. GCI operates Alaska's most extensive terrestrial/subsea fiber optic network, which connects not only Anchorage but also Fairbanks, and Juneau/Southeast to the lower 48 states with a diversely routed, protected fiber network. The company's satellite network provides communications services to small towns and villages throughout rural Alaska. GCI is in the process of constructing Alaska's first truly statewide mobile wireless network, which will seamlessly link urban and rural Alaska for the first time in the state's history. More information about the company can be found at www.gci.com.
The foregoing contains forward-looking statements regarding the company's expected results that are based on management's expectations as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward looking statements due to uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside GCI's control