TERRA is GCI’s vision to build a next-generation communications network for the remote and rural areas of Alaska. The first segment, TERRA Southwest, was built in 2011 by United Utilities Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GCI. TERRA Southwest includes 400 miles of new fiber-optic cable and 13 new microwave towers connecting 65 communities. With the start of TERRA Northwest in 2012, GCI is continuing to build on its vision to bring terrestrial broadband to other regions of Alaska
“DeltaNet” Before “TERRA”
UUI started providing, for the first time, local exchange services in 1978 in the villages of Alakanuk, Hooper Bay, Emmonak and St. Marys. By 1986 UUI was providing local exchange services to 57 communities and the number of communities expanded to 60 communities with the acquisition of the GTE properties (Bethel, Unalakleet , and McGrath) in 2001. Connectivity between and beyond UUI’s exchanges was dependent upon a satellite orbiting the earth. As the schools and health care providers sought more reliable and faster communications to deliver distance learning classes, provide health care (Telemedicine), and to interact with the outside world satellites, with high latency, became less desirable. Starting in 2004, UUI began constructing DeltaNet – a terrestrial microwave network that provided terrestrial connectivity to 34 communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. DeltaNet, for the first time, provided broadband terrestrial connectivity from Bethel to Eek, Quinhagak, Tuntutuliak, Kongiganak, Kwigillingok, Kipnuk, Chefornak, Tununak, Mekoryuk, Newtok, Nighmute, Toksook Bay, Scammon Bay, Chevak, Hooper Bay, Nunam Iqua, Alakanuk, Emmonak, St. Marys, Pitkas Point, Mountain Village, Pilot Station, Russian Mission, Marshall, Holy Cross, Upper Kalskag, Lower Kalskag, Aniak, Chauthbaluk, Akiak, Tuluksak, Anvik, Grayling, and Shageluk. UUI received critical financial support from the Rural Utility Service (RUS) and a federal grant administered by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). The Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) moved its distance learning, Internet, and administrative communications onto DeltaNet in 2006 when the network was placed into service. The Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation then quickly moved its telemedicine network onto DeltaNet. Also, residential broadband Internet services are being delivered via DSL and WiFi to business and residential customers. DeltaNet became the foundation/building block for the TERRA.
DeltaNet Tower Photos
For more information and details about the TERRA project, please goes to: http://terra.gci.com/