Alaska Communications progressing through Kenai Peninsula broadband wireless project

Alaska Communications progressing through Kenai Peninsula broadband wireless project

Editor’s note: This story has been changed to correct Alaska Communications’ expected service date for wireless broadband and the date of their presentation to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

Statewide telephone and internet service provider Alaska Communications plans to begin offering wireless broadband internet to some rural areas of the western Kenai Peninsula in late 2018, company representatives told the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

At the assembly’s June 19 meeting, Alaska Communications External Affairs Director Heather Cavanaugh and its District Operations Manager Stan Masneri described progress on the broadband project that the company began last fall. The two previously spoke to the assembly on the same subject in August 2017, shortly after beginning the project.

The new broadband wireless connections are funded with a grant that Alaska Communications received in November 2016 from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America fund for rural broadband. The grant gives the company approximately $19.7 million per year for 10 years to bring broadband internet (with speeds at least 10 megabits per second download and 1 megabit per second upload) to between 25,000 and 26,000 Alaska rural Alaskan locations.

On the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Commications plans to accomplish this by building or leasing broadband towers in Ninilchik, Kasilof, Sterling, Funny River, and the Kalifornsky Beach area. These will connect homes and businesses within signal range to existing fiber optic line following the Kenai Spur Highway. Alaska Communications opened the first of these new connections in Ninilchik during a pilot project in fall 2017. Masneri told the Assembly that the new connections now have eight preliminary “beta customers” in Ninilchik who are getting speeds of up to 50 megabits per second.

As for Sterling, and Funny River, Alaska Communications has acquired or leased land for more towers that it plans to have “turned up and ready to go by the end of this year,” Masneri said.

Other connections are a bit further out.

“We’ll complete the project in 2025,” Masneri said. “It’s a three or four phase project and we’re moving into the second phase right now.”

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol on Friday, March 1, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska House passes budget with roughly $2,275 payments to residents, bill goes to Senate

The bill also includes a roughly $175 million, one-time increase in aid to school districts that would be paid according to a funding formula

The Kenai River flows near Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. The Riverfront Redevelopment project will impact much of Soldotna’s riverside areas downstream to the bridge. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna riverfront redevelopment planning moves forward

Soldotna City Council on Monday unanimously approved the creation of a project manager to shepherd the Riverfront Redevelopment Project

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Corey Cannon, who plays baseball as part of Soldotna Little League, speaks to the Soldotna City Council during their meeting in Soldotna on Wednesday.
Soldotna Little League receives donation for facility repairs

The city owns the fields, but the Little League leases the land and is responsible for the maintenance of the facilities

Aleutian Airways logo. Photo courtesy of Aleutian Airways
Aleutian airways to halt Homer service during runway project

Service will be suspended beginning April 15

tease
Homer pedestrian pathway project selected for federal funding

The project will create greater nonmotorized transportation access in Homer

Vendors speak to attendees of the Kenai Peninsula Job and Career Fair in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Job Fair draws employers, seekers

The Job Center has options and opportunities to connect people with training, coaching and funding

Vanessa Uei checks in guests during a grand opening for AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
AK Wellness & Tanning holds grand opening for new location

The expanded location is along the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai

The Kenai Senior Center’s dining space is readied for the annual March for Meals fundraiser in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Photo by Ken Aaron, provided by Kenai Senior Center)
March for Meals raises funds to support senior food service

The local event was organized by Kenai Senior Connection and hosted at the Kenai Senior Center

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
An array of solar panels stand in the sunlight at Whistle Hill in Soldotna on Sunday.
Federal grant awarded for Whistle Hill solar project

The annual production of the completed system is estimated to be enough electricity to power 19 homes

Most Read