Lawmakers, service providers seek to expand Alaska broadband

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - For many people, this is a sound from the past. But for residents in Alaska,

Rep. David Guttenberg; Alaska House of Representatives >> "This is an overwhelming wave of comments for 10 years. I don't have it, I can't get it, they keep telling me next year, it's getting worse and worse and worse. There's a general public purpose that is not being met."

Representative Guttenberg has been working to help residents resolve their internet issues, and even his own.

Guttenberg >> "I remember getting up in the middle of the night and getting on my computer, this is a long time ago, this is 20 years and my download speed was 4k, which is like counting, it's like nothing and I realized that my speeds were slow. There was no reason, there was probably nobody else on in five miles and there's a problem."

Alaskan carriers say they're trying to improve their internet service.

Perry Allen; Director of Operations, GCI >> "We do provide service from Ketchikan, to Barrow. Nome to Anchorage, Kotzebue, Bethel, quite a few communities."

According to Allen, 76 percent of Alaskans have access to G-C-I's internet plans.
That equals to roughly 1 in 4 residents not able to access internet through the company.
But there's something that sets Alaskans apart with regard to internet coverage.

Allen >> "We provide gig service to places you can't get in the Lower 48 in comparison, so there are neighborhoods in Los Angeles as well in Chicago and New York, that don't have access to gig service. We have gig service available in Petersburg, Wrangell, Kodiak, coming very soon to Valdez, Fairbanks of course and Anchorage so that's pretty amazing in itself."

Alaska Communications is also expanding its service.
Beginning in 2018, residents in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Kenai Peninsula, will be seeing some changes.

Heather Cavanaugh; Director of External Affairs, ACS >> "More people in Fairbanks will see faster speeds. They'll either see improved speeds or service for the first time. The speeds will be a minimum of 10 megs down and 3 megs up."

Cavanaugh says the expansion is expected to near completion in 2025.
This is Julia Laude reporting.