Nearly 1,250 Alaskans in Hoonah and Gustavus, two isolated communities in Southeast Alaska, will receive fiber optic cable-based high-speed internet for the first time, if the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) approves a request for a tribal broadband grant.
Hoonah Indian Association and Alaska Communications, together, would connect the region with a subsea fiber optic cable, with fiber to the home in the communities of Hoonah and Gustavus. Alaska Communications would offer Gigabit service in communities that today cannot stream classes, work remotely or access quality telehealth care.
Hoonah Indian Association and Alaska Communications would also provide a community technology center in Hoonah and Gustavus to facilitate broadband education, awareness, training, access, equipment and provide support for community members. The technology center would offer basic skills training, access to social and medical services, and support community cultural activities.
“Bridging the digital divide will bring significant economic and cultural opportunities to our region. The fiber optic network would finally bring reliable, affordable, and high-speed internet so desperately needed to connect our youth with Elders, offer training opportunities, remote work opportunities and distance learning and healthcare. It will transform our region,” said Robert Starbard, Tribal Administrator, Hoonah Indian Association.
“We thank the Hoonah Indian Association and NTIA for this opportunity to continue connecting and serving our fellow Alaskans. This fiber optic network would positively change lives and spur economic growth in the region. We are proud to be part of this important project,” said Bill Bishop, president and CEO, Alaska Communications.
Once constructed, the Hoonah and Gustavus fiber optic network would connect to the Alaska Communications core fiber network.
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 December 2023.
Hoonah Indian Association
Hoonah Indian Association, headquartered in Hoonah Alaska is the federally recognized tribal government of the Xunaa Tlingit.
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 or www.alsk.com.
Robert Starbard, Hoonah Indian Association
Heather Cavanaugh, Alaska Communications