MTA announces fiber optic network from Alaska to Lower 48

Alaska-based communications company MTA announced today it is constructing a terrestrial fiber optic network that would connect Alaska to the Lower 48.

Similar networks have been built between Alaska communities by companies such as Quintillion, which had previously installed a terrestrial fiber network between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay, and GCI, which has subsea fiber networks connecting to the Lower 48.  However, MTA says its network, constructed by subsidiary MTA Fiber Holdings, would be the first terrestrial fiber network to connect Alaska to the contiguous United States.

“This is a major step for Alaska that will ensure future capacity requirements for MTA members and can support the continuing growth of broadband across the state of Alaska,” said MTA CEO Michael Burke.

According to an MTA press release, construction began this year and is expected to be completed by mid-2020. The network will go from North Pole, through Canada, into the Lower 48. The company says it hopes the project will lower transport expenses to its customers, as well as provide the state with stable internet access.

This story has been corrected to reflect the use of fiber networks in some instances, not cable networks. 

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Wesley is a reporter for Alaska Public Media, covering primarily city government and Anchorage life. He previously worked at Alaska Public Media as a web editor, producer and education reporter before a two-year stint in Kotzebue, AK as News Director for KOTZ-AM.

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