U.S. Senator Mark Begich announced today that the FCC will be awarding two Alaska telecom companies $41 million to improve cell phone and broadband service in rural Alaska.
“This is a great day for rural Alaska,” said Begich. “Today’s FCC auction results mean that Alaska companies will now be able to provide sorely needed telecommunication services across our vast state. From Eek, to Nunam Iqua, to Unalaska, several rural communities will soon be better connected.”
The funds came from a program called the FCC Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I Auction, which is part of a larger effort to expand mobile broadband coverage to rural and unserved areas of the country.
All told, $49 million was doled out across the United States under the Tribal Mobility Fund. Alaska’s GCI and Copper Valley were among five companies nationwide that received contracts to provide the services.
Begich is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over the FCC. According to a press release from his office, Begich has been “an active participant in ensuring that the national plan works for Alaska.”
The same press release quotes GCI’s general counsel Tina Pidgeon, who said that Begich’s efforts with the FCC have been “critical to ensuring that rural Alaskans have access to mobile services that are comparable to those available throughout the country.”
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