NTIA Awards Broadband Grant to Alaska FiberOptic Project partnership
Calista Corporation and Alaska Communications Will Bring Affordable, High-Speed Broadband to Seven Kuskokwim Communities
Storyknife, Nov/Dec 2022 edition
More than 2,300 rural Alaskans in seven Kuskokwim River communities will receive affordable, high-speed internet for the first time thanks to a tribal broadband grant funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in October.
The collaboration between Calista Corporation and Alaska Communications will connect Lower Kalskag, Upper Kalskag, Tuluksak, Akiak, Akiachak, Kwethluk and Napakiak to with a fiber-optic cable, offering up to Gigabit speed service at affordable rates—comparable to rates in Anchorage.
This project sets the foundation for expanding broadband to additional communities in the region, providing access to virtual meetings, online classes, telehealth, and online jobs without requiring people to leave their village or way of life.
Through the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, households on Tribal lands will receive a $75/month discount. Rates for healthcare clinics, schools and Tribal offices will also be lower than current rates.
The project is part of the Alaska FiberOptic Project, a larger collaboration between Calista Corporation, Doyon, Limited, Gana-A ‘Yoo Limited, Tanana Chiefs Conference and Alaska Communications to connect up to 20 communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers with fiber-optic cable.
“Reliable, affordable, high-speed internet is a key to connecting our people to the world, preserving and advancing our culture, and offering opportunities for young people in our communities,” said Andrew Guy, Calista President/CEO. “In combination with other broadband projects in our Region, the Alaska FiberOptic Project will create the foundation for many socio-economic improvements and opportunities in the region now and for decades to come.”
“This is an exciting milestone for Alaska,” said Bill Bishop, president and CEO of Alaska Communications. “We’re honored to work with our partners on a project that will be life-changing for many Alaskans, providing the technical expertise and experience building, operating and maintaining critical broadband infrastructure. We thank the NTIA along with President Biden, Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan, Representative Peltola, and Governor Dunleavy for their support bringing this important infrastructure to our country and state.”
Through the Affordable Connectivity Program, households on Tribal lands will receive a $75/month discount. Rates for healthcare clinics, schools and Tribal offices will also be lower than current rates.