Alaska Power & Telephone Launches Sea Route Investigation for SEALink Submarine Cable Project
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Higher Broadband Speeds Underway for Rural Communities in Southeast Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska – (BUSINESS WIRE) – AP&T Wireless (APTW), a subsidiary of Alaska Power & Telephone, has launched a sea route study for the SEALink fiber-optic submarine cable project. TerraSond, an Alaska-based company with an Alaskan crew, will use a 105-foot vessel equipped with advanced geophysical and hydrographic survey equipment to study the seabed before developing a final submarine cable route and design. The vessel, named Qualifier 105, will spend approximately 20 days surveying the seabed between Coffman Cove and southern Mitkoff Island, as well as Petersburg and Juneau. APTW will use the data resulting from the survey, expected in August 2021, to select an undersea cable route that minimizes impacts and conflicts, and avoids features that could present future risks to the cable.
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SEALink Underwater Fiber Optic Card
The SEALink project will create a 214 mile submarine fiber optic cable between Prince of Wales Island and Juneau, with a land crossing on Mitkof Island through the community of Petersburg. The project also includes the construction of terrestrial networks in the communities of Coffman Cove and Kasaan, which currently lack broadband service. To minimize the impacts of the project, APTW constructs terrestrial elements on the existing utility poles and in the existing right-of-way to the extent possible.
“In a remote state like Alaska, the need for broadband is great. It is essential to connect communities, to support telemedicine and tele-education, and much more, ”said Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. “The SEALink project is an exciting endeavor that will provide a much needed boost to communities in Southeast Alaska. I am pleased to see the broad support given to this project, made possible through public and private partnerships, and look forward to following its progress until its completion.
The SEALink project will help strengthen long-term economic and community stability on Prince of Wales Island, where traditional industries such as timber and mining are in decline.
“Access to high-speed Internet connectivity can be life-changing, especially for residents of rural Alaska, where communications resources and infrastructure are scarce,” the Alaska Senator said. Dan Sullivan. “The launch of this survey on maritime routes is good news and a big step forward for this essential project, which will result in the installation of a fiber optic cable, the connection of communities in the South East and the response to the urgent need for accessible high-speed internet throughout the region. ”
Richard Petersen, Chairman of the Central Council of the Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, said, “The Tlingit & Haida are delighted to support the SEALink fiber optic project, as it will help bridge the digital divide that so many people in the areas. rural Alaskan people know it well. For the tribes, broadband connectivity for our citizens is truly the last way to express our sovereignty and to place us at the forefront of the digital age.
Ronald Leighton, Chairman of the Kasaan Organized Village Tribal Council, said: “For the Organized Village of Kasaan, access to broadband connectivity is a step towards equity in our rural community. Other supporters include the municipal governments of Coffman Cove and Kasaan, and other organizations such as the Sustainable Southeast Partnership.
The SEALink project is funded through a combination of private investments provided by AP&T Wireless and the ReConnect grant funds from the USDA Rural Utility Service. APTW is in the process of building new terrestrial networks at Coffman Cove and Kasaan in 2022, after which improved service will begin to be available. The installation of the submarine cable is expected to take place in 2023 and will enable significantly higher broadband speeds in communities across Prince of Wales Island. To help meet this schedule and make broadband available as soon as possible, APTW has proactively placed orders for long lead time materials and is developing the required documents and specifications for the cable supply / installation procurement processes. submarines. However, the timing will ultimately depend on the timing of the licensing and environmental approval processes managed by the USDA.
Congressman Don Young said, “Alaska’s large size and unique geography can present many challenges for the deployment of broadband in our state. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of reliable broadband access, especially for young people who have spent a lot of time learning remotely. . Now more than ever, we must work to address the connectivity issues that have become all too common in remote areas of our state. I am very pleased that Alaska Power & Telephone is using the funds made available through the USDA’s ReConnect grant program to study the seabed before designing and deploying cables between Prince of Wales Island and Juneau. This is a critically important task, and I am grateful for the efforts of Alaska Power & Telephone on behalf of the people of Alaska. I sincerely hope that all of our rural communities in the South East will soon have reliable broadband access for education, telehealth, remote working and other essentials of daily life. ”
Alaska Power & Telephone President and CEO Mike Garrett said, “The study of shipping routes is an important milestone for the SEALink project. We are honored to be able to apply USDA funds to benefit rural Southeast Alaska, and grateful for all tribal and community support for this project. Rural broadband access creates tremendous value for stakeholders – an opportunity that helps all businesses and families succeed in achieving their goals, together.
As TerraSond rallies to Southeast Alaska, Qualifier 105 will make a slight detour to support the Fallen American Veterans Foundation (FAVF) by searching for a US Air Force charter flight that went missing in 1951 when ‘he was heading towards the theater of the Korean War. The FAVF is hopeful that the location of the plane can end the family members of the 38 US Air Force, UN and Canadian aircrew who have been lost. Combining this mobilization with the AP&T schedule will significantly reduce costs and make research possible.
Alaska Power & Telephone Company (OTC: APTL) is an investor-owned utility that provides various utilities in more than 40 communities in rural Alaska. Additional information on AP&T is available at: www.aptalaska.com
Jason Custer, Vice-President – Business Development
C: 907-617-3773 E: [email protected]
Source: Alaska Power & Telephone Company