13 Oct Alaska Power & Telephone Awarded $21.5m USDA ReConnect Grant for Prince of Wales Island Fiber Optic Cable and Rural Broadband Buildout
JUNEAU, Alaska–(BUSINESS WIRE)–$APTL #ALASKA–Alaska Power & Telephone Company (AP&T) is pleased to announce its subsidiary AP&T Wireless, Inc. has been selected to receive a $21,545,167 grant award through USDA Rural Utility Service’s ReConnect grant program for the “SEALink” broadband project. AP&T will provide over $7m in matching funds. Funds will be used to construct local networks which will provide high-speed broadband to all premises in Kasaan and Coffman Cove, and to develop and install an estimated 214-mile fiber optic cable between Prince of Wales Island, Petersburg, and Juneau. While grant-funded activities will focus on providing high speed broadband service in Kasaan and Coffman Cove, SEALink will support increased fiber optic-based broadband build-out and higher speeds across Prince of Wales Island.
The SEALink project will help fortify long-term economic and community stability on Prince of Wales Island, where legacy industries such as timber and mining have been in decline, and where residents have ever-increasing needs for broadband to support telemedicine, distance learning, remote working, ecommerce, tourism marketing, and sharing cultural resources and knowledge.
AP&T President and CEO Mike Garrett stated: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for residents of Kasaan and Coffman Cove to leap ahead of the digital divide. Other communities on Prince of Wales Island will also benefit from this new partnership with USDA to build the communications highway of the future.”
Development will occur over the next five years, with completion planned for 2025. After that, AP&T anticipates extending high-speed broadband to other communities on Prince of Wales Island.
Jason Custer, Vice President of Business Development, said: “This is very much a team victory made possible through collaboration and shared vision. We say ‘Háw’aa’ and ‘Gunalchéesh’ from the bottom of our hearts to Marina Anderson and Bonnie Hammar at the Organized Village of Kasaan, and Richard Peterson with the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska for their support, collaboration, and encouragement throughout the application process. We also express thanks to everyone at Kavilco, the City of Coffman Cove, and the City of Kasaan for their leadership, guidance, and assistance in documenting community support. AP&T is excited to see the ways in which tribal members, ANCSA shareholders, and community members will be able to leverage high-speed broadband to achieve a diverse variety of socioeconomic objectives.”
Tom Ervin, Chief Operating Officer for AP&T, stated: “SEALink will provide fantastic support for community economic sustainability. New fiber infrastructure will ensure Kasaan and Coffman Cove residents will have substantial broadband capabilities for use in telemedicine applications, distance learning, remote working, and more. We congratulate and thank the communities for all their hard work to make this a success.”
Alaska Power & Telephone Company (OTC: APTL) is an investor-owned utility providing diverse utility services in over 40 communities in rural Alaska. Additional information on AP&T can be found at: www.APTalaska.com
Jason Custer, Vice President – Business DevelopmentC: 907-617-3773E: [email protected]