Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Alaska Communications is looking to expand high-speed internet on the Kenai Peninsula through a pilot program the company plans to launch this summer. The program — Alaska Communications Fiber — will bring “fiber to the home” service to select peninsula neighborhoods, the company announced earlier this month.

“Our service footprint will be very small this year, but we plan to expand this fiber network in the coming years,” ACS Manager of Corporate Communications Heather Marron said in a June 8 press release.

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula, with customers able to get up to 2.5 gigabit speeds, as well as symmetrical upload and download speeds. That means customers can upload and download internet content at the same speeds, which is important for things like working from home, Marron said.

“Internet usage and behaviors, even just a couple of years ago, relied primarily on download speed,” Marron said. “That’s what you need for streaming and surfing the web and things like that. With the increase in remote work and home-schooling, many families now have multiple users in their home doing things at the same time.”

The initiative is one of many ACS has launched on the peninsula in recent years. The company continues to work, for example, to expand high-speed internet through its participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s CAF II program. Through that program, the company last year expanded internet service in Anchor Point, Homer, Kasilof, Nikiski, Soldotna and Sterling.

Marron said Friday that, in targeting the Kenai Peninsula for improved service, the company recognized the role the region plays statewide.

“The Kenai Peninsula is a vital part of Alaska,” Marron said. “It’s one of the largest tourism destinations in the state and it also supports commercial fishing and other key industries.”

The expansion of broadband access, long a priority for Alaska, ramped up on the Kenai Peninsula during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly dedicated between $1.2 and $2 million of their federal CARES Act money to expand rural internet access on the peninsula. In all, six towers were built in Nikiski, Tyonek, Bear Creek, Nikolaevsk, Ninilchik and Cohoe. The assembly separately approved a communications tower for Summit Lake.

More information about ACS can be found on the company’s website at www.alaskacommunications.com.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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