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posted by mrpg on Wednesday December 06, @09:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the internet-and-heat-for-alaska dept.

Now Alaska can stream Netflix and cook dinner at the same time:

Here on the edge of the U.S. Arctic, Internet connectivity is a slow—and expensive—proposition. Eighty-one percent [PDF] of rural residents in Alaska do not have broadband Internet, defined by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as providing a minimum download speed of 25 megabits per second. People in Kotzebue have long relied on satellite connections for Internet service at speeds comparable to those of dial-up. At the beginning of the year, their average download speed was just 2 Mb/s.

The Igichuk tower is one of the final pieces of one of the most ambitious telecommunications projects in the rural United States. Built by General Communication Inc. (GCI) and known as TERRA, it was completed this past October, after US $300 million of investment and six years of construction, when engineers installed its final microwave repeater. The network uses a combination of repeater data links and fiber optics to form a giant, 5,000-⁠kilometer ring around southwest Alaska—a sparsely populated region with few paved roads and wilderness areas larger than West Virginia.

With TERRA, Kotzebue residents now pay $59.99 per month for an Internet plan with download speeds of 3 Mb/s, which is not even fast enough to stream a high-definition movie. To be able to do that, they would need to pay at least $149.99 per month for 6 Mb/s. Compare that with New York City, where residents pay an average of $55 per month for 25 Mb/s.


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by choose another one on Wednesday December 06, @10:44AM (1 child)

    by choose another one (515) on Wednesday December 06, @10:44AM (#606077)

    Internet service at speeds comparable to those of dial-up. At the beginning of the year, their average download speed was just 2 Mb/s

    2Mb/s dial up ? - must have had a pretty darn good phone line, which I suggest is pretty unlikely given the location...

    I remember when 14.4kb/s was a fast connection day, and vaguely remember something about learning to whistle 1200baud before that (ye olde acoustic coupler). ADSL came about 2000 ish with a whopping 0.5Mb/s which improved to all of 5 or 6 until we got fibre only 5 years ago I think, and we are _not_ out in the boonies by any stretch. All in all considering how remote it is, Kotzebue seems to be doing pretty well.

    Disappointing standard of journalism from IEEE though, I vaguely remember they used to be quite good too.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday December 07, @12:12AM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday December 07, @12:12AM (#606486) Homepage
      2MB/s bidirectional is fine over a crappy quality 4-wire phone connection (sold as an "alarm" connection, but it's the same bits of copper POTS or ISDN would be sold on) for a connection of at least 5km, I had that for a decade in the noughties. Of course, the physical signal transmitted on it wasn't POTS, it was baseband.
      --
      I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday December 06, @10:44AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 06, @10:44AM (#606078)

    Lucky them, they can continue for a little longer to maintain a normal life before the Marvell super-heroes and StarWars transform their brain into mush.

    But... they'll still be able to watch nyan cat [youtube.com], just not in HD, I trust?

    (grin)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @10:52AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @10:52AM (#606081)

    Jade Helm!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @02:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @02:10PM (#606128)

      Yes! Moar weather war [intellihub.com]!

      For the uninitiated [wikipedia.org]:

      The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) was initiated as an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the US Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It was designed and built by BAE Advanced Technologies (BAEAT). Its original purpose was to analyze the ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance....

      HAARP is a target of conspiracy theorists, who claim that it is capable of "weaponizing" weather.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Wednesday December 06, @03:22PM

    by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 06, @03:22PM (#606156)

    Things are wildly different prices in different places. Sure 25Mpbs internet is cheap in New York, but try buying an acre of land and see how that compares to Alaska.

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday December 06, @07:46PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday December 06, @07:46PM (#606331)

    Seriously, if you blame Russia enough, we'll need new intelligence and weapons systems in Alaska, which means the military will pay for more fiber in the ground.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @08:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @08:20PM (#606361)

    Not having Internet is a benefit of living in Alaska.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @10:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @10:18PM (#606439)

    I live in the CONUS and would hurt someone badly for 2Mb/s. Stop your bellyaching!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @07:12PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 08, @07:12PM (#607354)

    As Guifi.net, in Spain, with over 34.000 operative nodes!!

    http://guifi.net/guifi/menu/stats/nodes [guifi.net]

    Seriously you can build networks pretty cheaply these days. There are comercial license free options for 1 GBps for backbone for about $3k. You can carry a big number of users with this!

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