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Chignik Bay latest to join GCI's fiber optic broadband internet project

Chignik Bay. July 16, 2021. (Izzy Ross/KDLG)
Izzy Ross
Chignik Bay, seen here in July 2021, is the latest community to join GCI’s Aleutians fiber optic cable project.

Chignik Bay on the Alaska Peninsula is the latest community to join GCI’s Aleutians fiber optic cable project.

That’s according to a statement this week from GCI, the largest telecommunications company based in Alaska. It said crews started digging trenches in Chignik Bay around the beginning of April, and GCI expects households to be able to log into broadband internet sometime this summer.

Chignik Bay sits on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula, about 250 miles southwest of Kodiak. The fishing community of around 90 people is the latest community to connect to GCI’s Aleutians Fiber Project.

GCI finished laying 800 miles of subsea cable down the Aleutian Chain in 2022. Unalaska, Sand Point and King Cove are connected to the high-speed internet service, and service is expected to begin in Akutan this summer.

Projects like GCI’s fiber optic cable and the satellite-based Starlink internet provider have helped close the digital divide between urban and rural communities in Alaska. Broadband internet opens the door to education and work opportunities in communities off the road system, who have relied on inconsistent dial-up internet speeds. It also makes telehealth possible in communities that don’t have hospitals or full-time doctors.

GCI said Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island is on deck after Chignik Bay.

Theo Greenly reports from the Aleutians as a Report for America corps member. He got his start in public radio at KCRW in Santa Monica, California, and has produced radio stories and podcasts for stations around the country.