Bethel Native Corporation Receives $42.4 Million Federal Broadband Grant

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BNC and its project partner GCI are focused on bringing fiber to bring fiber internet service to residents of the YK Delta in western Alaska.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Bethel Native Corporation (BNC) received a $42.4 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Tribal Connectivity Program to deploy a 405-mile fiber optic network from Dillingham to Bethel, in Alaska. The project, which will be carried out in partnership with Alaskan telecommunications provider GCI, will bring 2-gigabyte city-grade Internet service to consumers in the Bethel and Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) communities along the fiber.

“BNC is celebrating this unique opportunity to bring high-speed Internet service to Bethel, Platinum, Eek, Napaskiak and Oscarville,” said BNC President and CEO Ana Hoffman. “Once completed, the fiber project will provide community residents with access to the same internet plans and prices that GCI offers consumers in Anchorage. The faster speeds and unlimited data of fiber will be transformational. the quality of life here at home and ultimately in the wider YK Delta.

“GCI is thrilled to work with BNC to bridge the digital divide in Bethel and other communities in the Yukon Delta,” said Billy Wailand, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at GCI. “The project will leverage the substantial network investment GCI has already made in the YK Delta with our own capital and federal grants, and will support GCI’s multi-year plan to improve wired and wireless Internet service across the region.”

The BNC/GCI fiber project will follow an undersea route from Dillingham – where it will connect to a planned Nushagak Electric & Telephone Cooperative long-haul fiber project – to the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, then follow an overland route the rest of the way to Bethel. GCI will also upgrade its local access network in Bethel and install fiber to homes in Platinum, Eek, Napaskiak and Oscarville.

BNC and GCI will host a virtual press conference to provide more project details and announce the project name on Monday, October 10 at 11 a.m. Monday, October 10 is Indigenous Peoples Day in Alaska, a day to honor the people who have called Alaska home for more than 10,000 years.

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