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posted by mrpg on Wednesday December 06 2017, @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 2017, @10:44AM (1 child)

    by choose another one (515) on Wednesday December 06 2017, @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.

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  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday December 07 2017, @12:12AM

    by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Thursday December 07 2017, @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.
    --
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