Nearly 12,000 rural Alaskans in 23 communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers would receive high-speed internet for the first time, if the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) approves requests for tribal broadband grants.
The Alaska FiberOptic Project, a collaboration between Calista Corporation, Doyon, Limited, Gana-A ‘Yoo Limited and Alaska Communications, would connect one of the most underserved regions in the United States with a fiber-optic cable that would be the foundation for expanding broadband to communities in the region. It would offer Gigabit service in communities that today cannot access virtual meetings, online classes, telehealth, or online jobs.
The four companies recognize that reliable, affordable, high-speed internet is the foundation for education, healthcare, economic growth, and quality of life. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of broadband and illuminated the growing digital divide. The Alaska FiberOptic Project will bridge that divide for many Alaska Natives.
“We have met regularly, over the years, within our Region to understand the issues and explore solutions for lack of adequate broadband connectivity,” said Aaron Schutt, president and CEO of Doyon, Limited. “Fiber-optic cable will provide the most reliable, affordable and fastest internet today and for the next generation. We intend to work collaboratively with other groups so Alaska’s many broadband projects complement each other and work to serve as many people as possible.”
“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. 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,” said Andrew Guy, president and CEO of Calista Corporation.
“Gana-A Yoo, Limited is excited to join its partners in making the Alaska FiberOptic Project a reality by creating a fiber backbone that will positively transform our region,” said Dena Sommer-Pedebone, CEO of Gana-A ‘Yoo, Limited.
“We are grateful to Doyon, Calista and Gana-A ‘Yoo for their vision and dedication to serving their communities. We look forward to partnering with them on this project and expanding reliable, high-speed, affordable internet access in Alaska,” said Bill Bishop, president and CEO of Alaska Communications.
The proposed Alaska FiberOptic Project would create a fiber optic network that starts at Fort Yukon, ends in Napakiak and connects to Alaska Communications core network in Fairbanks. The Alaska FiberOptic Project would also deploy fiber-to-the-home in each of the 23 communities served on the route.
Grant applications were submitted to the NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program Sept. 1. NTIA expects to award grants by the end of 2021. If awarded, the project would be complete in 2024.
Calista Corporation has over 33,700 Shareholders and is the parent company of more than 30 subsidiaries in the following industries: defense contracting, construction, real estate, environmental services, natural resource development, marine transportation, oilfield services, and heavy equipment sales, service and rentals. Since 1994, Calista has provided more than $5.5 million in scholarships to its Shareholders and Descendants. Since inception, Calista has declared more than $85.9 million in dividends and distributions, and $8.2 million in Elders’ Benefit Program distributions to Shareholders. Calista can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Headquartered in Fairbanks, Doyon, Limited has more than 20,100 shareholders and was established under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Doyon has subsidiaries in oilfield services, government contracting, and tourism, is also the largest private landowner in Alaska and one of the largest in North America. Its mission is to continually enhance its position as a financially strong Native corporation in order to promote the economic and social well-being of its shareholders and future shareholders, to strengthen its Native way of life, and to protect and enhance its land and resources. For more information, visit www.doyon.com.
Gana-A ‘Yoo, Limited
Gana-A ‘Yoo, Limited is the Alaska Native Village Corporation for the communities of Galena, Koyukuk, Nulato, and Kaltag. It has subsidiaries in camp and facility services, professional services, and construction management. Its mission is to provide service for customers across the globe with respect for the environment and traditional values. It envisions a future where Gana-A ‘Yoo’s success provides stability and opportunity for shareholders to be successful on their own terms. For more information, visit www.ganaayoo.com.
Alaska Communications, an affiliate of ATN International, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATNI), is the leading provider of advanced broadband and managed IT services for businesses and consumers in Alaska. The company operates a highly reliable, advanced statewide data network with the latest technology and the most diverse undersea fiber optic system connecting Alaska to the contiguous U.S. For more information, visit www.AlaskaCommunications.com.