Alaska United-East increased the fiber optic capacity out of the State by five times. With the addition of AU-West and AU-East upgrade the capacity increased approximately 22 times the capacity prior to the Alaska United Fiber System. Further capacity gains can now be made by adding shore-based electronic equipment to allow total capacity of AU-West of 640 Gbs and AU-East of 110 Gbs. This is enough to carry 82.5 and 14.2 million simultaneous voice or data calls on the respective segments of the Alaska United Network.

Why Fiber?

Fiber optics is the preferred method of carrying voice, video and data communications. It allows for optimization of transmission equipment because of its lack of delay found in satellite connections. Its superior information carrying capacity enables the deployment of bandwidth hungry applications. Fiber optic cables also are totally insensitive to electromagnetic interference and offer a secure link because of their immunity to eavesdropping.

So What?

For residential users, applications like high-speed Internet and ISDN which support PC-video conferencing for home or office are now possible. Enhanced video services like movies-on-demand and distance education are also available. In addition, Alaska United enhances GCI’s cable television services by creating the capacity necessary to offer Alaska programming, rather than lower 48 satellite feeds.

For business users, new technologies like ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and PRI-ISDN allow businesses to access large capacities of bandwidth as needed.

For government, education and military users, broadband applications with security; equipment redundancy and route diversity is available.

Even users who don’t live in an area served directly by Alaska United realize benefits. Alaska United allows GCI and other carriers to use satellite capacity more efficiently. More available satellite capacity allows the network to deliver broadband applications to smaller communities more economically.


Milestone Date Completed
AU-East Route Survey Completed Dec 1996
AU-East/North Supply Contract Signed July 1997
AU-North Route Survey Completed October 1997
AU-North Completed and Operational December 1998
AU-East System Completed and Operational February 1999
AU-West Route Survey Completed December 2002
AU-West Supply Contract Signed June 2003
AU-West Completed and Operational June 2004
AU-West Segment 3, Ketchikan to BU Completed and Operational October 2008
SEAFAST Completed and Operational October 2008