GCI taps NEC for Southeast Alaska submarine fiber project

OCTOBER 11, 2007 -- NEC will supply the submarine cable, amplifiers, and line terminal equipment for GCI's 754-mile southeast submarine fiber-optic project to connect the cities of Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Angoon, and Sitka to the Alaska United West line currently connecting Alaska to the lower 48.

OCTOBER 11, 2007 -- GCI (search for GCI) officials today announced that NEC Corp. (search for ) has been awarded a contract to supply the submarine cable, amplifiers, and line terminal equipment for the southeast submarine fiber-optic project (search for submarine optical networking).

According to GCI, this contract represents a large portion of the estimated $30 million price tag for the construction of the line. In addition to providing the equipment for the new submarine line, the contract includes additional equipment to upgrade the Alaska United West submarine cable system and also includes an option to increase capacity on the Alaska United East line.

NEC was a partner in the 2004 construction of GCI's Alaska United West fiber-optic line connecting Seward, AK, and Warrenton, OR. "We are thrilled to once again have the opportunity to work with NEC, a world-renowned company," says Richard Dowling, GCI senior vice president, corporate development. "NEC has the experience and reliability we need to get this project completed and online."

"We are extremely excited about being included in this project and to be working with GCI again," adds Osamu Harada, general manager for NEC's submarine networks business. "We believe this fiber line will have a significant impact on the telecommunications needs of all Alaskans," he contends.

The Southeast fiber line was announced last month by GCI. The 754 miles of cable will connect Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Angoon, and Sitka to the Alaska United West line currently connecting Alaska to the lower 48. The cable will also provide a second fiber link to Juneau, creating a SONET ring that provides alternative routing and overflow traffic handling capabilities.

The undersea survey is currently underway and is being conducted by Global Remote Sensing, LLC and Williamson and Associates. Once the survey is complete, the cable will be manufactured according to specifications then laid by cable ship. The fiber will be active by November 2008, says GCI.

GCI owns two of the three networks tying Alaska to the lower 48. The company expects to finance the construction of the fiber-optic cable network out of internally generated funds or borrowings against its senior credit facility.


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