Begich helps deliver $41 million for rural mobil services

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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8 thoughts on “Begich helps deliver $41 million for rural mobil services

  1. Sarah

    In my opinion, if Begich wants to improve rural AK, that money should go to water & sewer services. Most villages have high speed internet, satellite tv, and cell services. 280 villages today do not have running water and sewer, which is odd because it should be a priority.

  2. 520ak

    I agree that broadband is basic infrastructure. Glad to see feds investing in Alaska in this way. With all the funds the state spends, I think that the state should invest more heavily in this area. Governor Knowles’ goal was to put the honeybuckets of rural alaska in the museums. Governor Parnell’s goal should be to insure that every villahge in the state is wired and Alaskans have access to broadband and quality communications.

  3. AlaskaCodPiece

    Mr. Mason, I live in rural Alaska and could not be happier with GCI’s services. We have GCI for all our telecommunications and cable needs and they are less expensive and more reliable than any other provider we’ve had. Plus, we get Alaska Airline miles to help with travel.

  4. T. Davis

    This grant will help expedite brioadband connection throughout Alaska. GCI has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to broadband developm$ent which has significantly changed the complexion of telecommunication serviices. Just recently, my iphone can now truly functionm as a smartphone in the Bethel area becasue of GCI’s continued commitment and investment. I couldn’t help notice the comment left here that GCI is disliked iin rural Alaska. While I want to respect that individual’s opionion, I think that most people who live in the Bush areas of the state recognize the company’s continous commitment to improvement. You certainly don’t see AT&T making this kind of investment or any other company doing iten. Begich should be congratulated for his work and GCI as well. Their selection to handle the grants, in my view, speaks legions about theirr past work and commitment to rural areas. GCI – I hope you continue the good work you have started.

  5. James Mason

    In rural Alaska GCI is about as popular as poisonous reptiles. I hope this money does some good. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  6. Northern Techie

    I’m a registered non-partisan voter who just decided who I’m supporting in the senate race. Broadband means a lot to the people of rural Alaska. Urban areas take it for granted. Thanks millions and millions Sen. Begich.

  7. Mark K.

    This is great news for rural Alaska. In today’s world broadband is basic community infrastructure that is essential in so many ways such as telemedicine, distance learning and even simple things in life like skyping with your kids when they are away at college. GCI has been a leader in guilding out broadband in rural Alaska. Thank you Senator Begich for your efforts to extend broadband to every village in the state.

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