GCI to build $30-million Southeast Alaska optical network

AUGUST 30, 2007 -- 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 states. The cable also will provide a second fiber link to Juneau, creating a SONET ring that provides alternative routing and overflow traffic handling capabilities.

AUGUST 30, 2007 -- Alaska-based and -operated integrated telecommunications provider GCI has announced a plan to build a new $30-million fiber-optic network in Southeast Alaska. 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 states. The cable also will provide a second fiber link to Juneau, creating a SONET ring that provides alternative routing and overflow traffic handling capabilities.

"This fiber-optic network will provide new and faster services to over fifty thousand people in Southeast Alaska," reports Richard Dowling, GCI senior vice president, corporate development. "The addition to our network is another important step in creating and maintaining a robust telecommunications network."

Residents in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka and Angoon are currently serviced through microwave and satellite networks. Once the fiber link to these communities is complete, space will be freed up on the microwave and satellite network, allowing other rural communities to increase their speed and access to services, say GCI representatives.

"The quality of life and the potential for economic diversity increase as community access to telecommunications services increase," adds Dowling. "From small business owners looking to increase their client base to employees who can be hired to work remotely via telecommunications, a robust network positively affects all Alaskans."

The new fiber network will meet the growing capacity requirements of the residents inISoutheast Alaska and has the capacity to keep up with the growth of both current and potential Internet, phone, and video services, says GCI. In addition, the network will allow Southeast residents access to more medical and educational opportunities from within their own communities through GCI's ConnectMD and SchoolAccess networks.

GCI says the fiber will be active by November 2008.

GCI is owns two of the three networks tying Alaska to the lower 48 states. 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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