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

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Sept. 19

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)
Photos by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion 
                                Attendees of the annual apple tasting at O’Brien Garden and Trees try each of the 19 varieties that were grown this year on Saturday, in Nikiski.
Best of the bunch

Community samples apples at Nikiski orchard

Courtesy photo / Canada Border Services Agency 
                                An Alaska man will appear in Canadian court on Monday after border security officers seized the 14 firearms, pictured above, alongside loaded magazines, ammunition, and other paraphernalia, at a crossing southeast of Vancouver.
Alaska man charged in Canada for smuggling firearms

There were fourteen firearms, many illegal in Canada, seized in a July incident.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
                                Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce addresses patrons at the Funny River Solid Waste Transfer Site on Friday. More than $670,000 in improvements are being made to the site.
Officials laud Funny River transfer site upgrades

More than 20 people attended a ceremony on Friday to celebrate improvements to the site.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
DHSS: 112 new cases

DHSS announced 112 individuals tested positive for COVID-19 in Alaska on Thursday.

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Sept. 18

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

City of Kenai greenlights “People Counter Project”

The city will use $135,000 in federal CARES money to purchase cameras and other equipment.

Most Read