Calista Corporation and Alaska Communications to Bring Affordable Broadband to Seven Alaskan Tribal Communities

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BETHEL, Alaska–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More than 2,300 rural Alaskans in seven communities along the Kuskokwim River will receive affordable high-speed Internet access for the first time through a tribal broadband grant funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The collaboration between Calista Corporation and Alaska Communications will connect one of the most underserved regions in the United States with a fiber optic cable that will serve as the foundation for the expansion of broadband in communities in the region. This transformative project will allow rural residents to access virtual meetings, online courses, telehealth and online jobs without having to leave their village or way of life.

Communities served include Lower Kalskag, Upper Kalskag, Tuluksak, Akiak, Akiachak, Kwethluk and Napakiak.

Alaska Communications will deploy a fibre-to-the-home network in each community, providing up to Gigabit speed service at affordable rates.

The project is part of the Alaska FiberOptic project, a larger collaboration between Calista Corporation, Doyon, Limited, Gana-A’ Yoo Limited, Tanana Chiefs Conference and Alaska Communications to connect up to 20 communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers with the fiber optic cable. This segment is the second of three segments to receive funding.

The five companies recognize that reliable and affordable high-speed Internet is the foundation for education, healthcare, economic growth and quality of life. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of broadband and shed light on the growing digital divide in Alaska. The Alaska FiberOptic project will bridge this gap for many rural communities.

“Reliable and affordable high-speed internet is essential to connecting our people to the world, preserving and advancing our culture, and providing opportunities for young people in our communities,” said Andrew Guy, President and CEO of Calista Corporation. “In combination with other broadband projects in our region, the Alaska FiberOptic Project will create the foundation for many socio-economic improvements and opportunities in the region now and for decades to come.”

“This is an exciting milestone for Alaska,” said Bill Bishop, president and CEO of Alaska Communications. “We are honored to work with our partners on a project that will change the lives of many Alaskans, providing technical expertise and experience in building, operating and maintaining broadband infrastructure. essential. We thank the NTIA as well as President Biden, Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan, Representative Peltola, and Governor Dunleavy for their support in bringing this important infrastructure to our country and our state.

“Alaska’s geography, terrain, climate and vast land mass have created significant barriers to broadband infrastructure development. But rural Alaska deserves no less to be connected. For the first time, some of Alaska’s underserved communities will receive high-speed Internet access made possible by the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant program. The Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2021 created this program and made $980 million available for grants to eligible Indigenous entities for broadband deployment. Prior to its adoption, I ensured that the program would meet the unique needs of Alaska, with broad eligibility for Native entities. I salute the partnership and coordination of the successful applicants to secure this grant, which will be transformational,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

“Access to reliable high-speed Internet can change the lives of a community, improve the delivery of health care and education, and open doors for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Senator Dan Sullivan ( R-Alaska). “Many of our rural Alaska Native communities have been left without the broadband connectivity that most Americans take for granted for too long. I’m glad to see the significant federal infrastructure funds we’ve secured are being deployed to bridge the digital divide and improve the lives and well-being of thousands of Alaskans in the Lower Kuskokwim region.

“While Alaskan villagers work hard to preserve their culture and traditions, they also need reliable, high-speed internet service to get by in today’s world. It is essential to do business, stay in contact with family, receive medical care and communicate with public agencies. High-speed internet to these underserved communities is the perfect blend of new and old,” said Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska).

“Now more than ever, we see the critical role the Internet plays in nearly every aspect of life and the importance of good connectivity for every Alaskan,” Governor Mike Dunleavy said. “Ensuring that all Alaskans have access to equal economic and educational opportunities has been a priority for me as governor. This new NTIA grant to Calista and ACS is a great opportunity to strengthen connectivity in Alaska for the next 10, 20 and 50 years.

Alaska Communications will begin the permitting and construction process as quickly as possible. It will also offer a $75/month rebate to households on eligible tribal lands through the Affordable Connectivity Program. Customers can learn more and register at acpbenefit.org.

Calista Corporation

Calista Corporation has more than 35,000 shareholders and is the parent company of more than 30 subsidiaries in the following sectors: defense contracts, construction, real estate, environmental services, natural resource development, shipping, petroleum services and sales, service and rental heavy equipment. Since 1994, Calista has provided over $5.9 million in scholarships to its shareholders and descendants. Since inception, Calista has declared more than $108.3 million in distributions to shareholders, including $9.2 million in Seniors Benefit Program distributions to shareholders. Calista is present on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Alaska Communications

Alaska Communications, a subsidiary of ATN International, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATNI), is the leading provider of advanced broadband and managed computing services for businesses and consumers in Alaska. The company operates a highly reliable and advanced statewide data network with the latest technology and the most diverse undersea fiber optic system connecting Alaska to the contiguous United States. For more information, visit www.AlaskaCommunications.com.

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