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Getting connected, the Alaska Fiber Project

Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2005


  Ik Icard, consultant for the Kodiak/Kenai Cable Co. displays a sample of the proposed fiber cable to link the Peninsula and Kodiak to the telecommunications super highway.

Ik Icard, consultant for the Kodiak/Kenai Cable Co. displays a sample of the proposed fiber cable to link the Peninsula and Kodiak to the telecommunications super highway.

The Kenai Peninsula has been wired with fiber optic cable for several years; however the cable is not connected to the international hub in Anchorage. Now according to Ik Icard, a consultant for the Kodiak/Kenai Cable Company, a proposed Alaska Fiber project would make that connection to the telecommunications super highway a reality. The new cable would start at the hub in Anchorage and connect to landing points on the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island. The fiber optic capacity then could carry any and all telecommunications traffic off the Kenai Peninsula. "The service would provide a degree of broadband capacity that is not currently achievable with either satellite or microwave and it would do it without the delay problems that satellite hops can cause," Icard told the Kenai Chamber of Commerce. When completed the Alaska Fiber Project would provide instantaneous access to Homeland Security and emergency response, telemedicine, education, communication, and sustainable economic development.

According to Icard the project would be funded through a combination of public and private equity funding, "The Kodiak/Kenai Cable Company is approaching this as a carrier's carrier that would not be a new entrant to the retail telecommunications market. You have terrific service providers in place already, the idea is to make the connectivity available to the existing providers allowing greater reliability much, greater through put, and the security of fiber over other media," explained Icard. Phase one of the system to bring the cable from Anchorage to the Peninsula and Kodiak is estimated to cost $25.5 million dollars, and is targeted to be completed by the end of this calendar year. Phase two which would be a fully redundant route is targeted to be connected by the summer of 2006 and cost an estimated $14.5 million dollars.

Engineering has been under way for several years and the permitting for the project is complete, "A tremendous amount of work has already gone into the project and the actual cable installation part almost seems like an after thought in comparison," said Icard. When completed the cable is likely to bring new economic opportunities such as server farms to the Kenai Peninsula by providing the necessary band width for such enterprise that presently is non-existent. Icard says the project has almost a zero environmental impact, "The environment impacts are almost non-existent. The Corp of Engineers on the federal side has already granted the permit having looked at the classes of activity proposed and pre-authorized the permitting," said Icard. More details on the Alaska Fiber Project may be obtained by contacting the Kodiak/Kenai Cable Company offices directly, or by calling the Governor's office in Kenai at 283-2918.

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