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Press Release: Alaska to Receive Federal Funds for Rural Wireless Improvement Efforts

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In light of new developments in the Universal Service Fund, this press release about the Tribal Mobility Fund caught our eye….

March 5, 2014 – The Federal Communications Commission announced that Alaska’s largest telecommunication provider, General Communication, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNCMA), is eligible to receive $41.4 million for rural 3G/4G wireless projects as part of its Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I. More than 37,000 Alaskans across dozens of communities are expected to benefit from the fund, with GCI submitting winning bids to serve 48 communities. Copper Valley Wireless, LLC also received funding for Alaska projects.

The FCC announced in April 2013 it would use the $50 million fund to provide one-time support to companies committed to building 3G or 4G mobile broadband networks in underserved tribal communities. The fund will provide support for projects across the nation, with wireless carriers in Arizona, Montana, New Mexico and Utah also submitting winning bids.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to enhance mobile wireless service in so many rural communities,” said Ron Duncan, President and Chief Executive Officer of GCI. “Faster data will provide new opportunities for our mobile customers.  GCI is proud to be the first provider of wireless service in many of the winning communities.  We remain committed to connecting all rural and urban Alaskans.”

GCI submitted its winning bids as part of a competitive bidding process. It expects to deploy the enhanced service within two or three years depending on construction schedules and the type of technology deployed.

“This funding would not be available without the continuing efforts by Senator Murkowski, Senator Begich, Congressman Young, Governor Parnell, and their staffs to ensure that the promise of universal service will be kept for Alaska’s tribal areas,” said Tina Pidgeon, GCI’s General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Governmental Affairs.  “We thank them and the Federal Communications Commission for the opportunity to better serve Alaska.  We will continue to work with policymakers to ensure that quality service is sustainable in high cost locations throughout rural Alaska.”

More information about the FCC’s Tribal Mobility Fund and a map of eligible areas is available at http://www.fcc.gov/maps/tribal-mobility-fund-phase-1-eligible-areas.

GCI is the largest Alaska-based and operated integrated telecommunications provider offering voice, data and video services statewide. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com/about.

Eight States Win Broadband Funds From Agriculture Department

in Broadband Stimulus/Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact/States by

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday announced broadband infrastructure projects to give rural residents in eight states access to better economic and educational opportunities.

Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan plus grant agreement, according to the department. A complete list of recent Recovery Act broadband award recipients by state is below:

Alaska
• Copper Valley Wireless: The Cordova, Alaska, Microwave Project; $1,747,796 loan and $1,747,795 grant. The funding will extend middle-mile connectivity from Naked Island to Cordova.

Arizona
• Tohono O’odham Utility Authority: The Fiber Route – Middle Mile Project; $3,565,900 loan and $3,565,900 grant. The funding will enable high-speed DSL services throughout the reservation with Fiber-to-the-Premises and fixed wireless broadband in certain areas.

Illinois
• Norlight Telecommunications: The Rural High-Speed Ethernet Network – Southern Illinois Project; $14,230,375 loan, $8,538,224 grant and $5,692,151 of private investment. The funding will provide more than 1,600 miles of middle-mile fiber-optic network throughout 24 southern counties to deliver high-speed Ethernet connectivity.

Kansas
• South Central Telephone Association: The Lake City & Sun City Rural Fiber-to-the-House (FTTH) Project; $871,200 grant, and $3,550,800 of private investment. The funding will provide FTTH broadband service to all unserved establishments in the telephone exchanges of Lake and Sun City.

• Madison Telephone: The Madison-Lamont Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) Project; $3,519,750 loan, $3,519,750 grant and $763,634 of private investment. The funding will provide FTTP last-mile broadband service to exchange areas, including the Kansas telephone exchanges of Madison and Lamont.

• J.B.N. Telephone Company: The West Cluster Plus Barnes Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) Project; $5,489,250 loan, $5,489,250 grant, and $3,697,619 of private investment. The funding will provide FTTP broadband service throughout seven western exchanges (West Cluster) and the Barnes exchange (Barnes).

Minnesota
• Northeast Service Cooperative: The Northeast Minnesota Middle Mile Project; $21,749,110 loan and $21,749,110 grant. The funding will provide middle-mile, dark fiber, wavelength services to private-sector providers in rural areas of northeast Minnesota.

• Minnesota Valley Television Improvement Corporation: The Minnesota Wireless Expansion Project; $562,776 loan and $562,776 grant, and $281,388 of private investment. The funding will provide a two-way broadband internet network to unserved and underserved areas of west central and south central Minnesota, providing 34 additional wireless (WiMAX) access points.

North Dakota
• Dakota Central Telecom 1 (DCT1): The Dakota Central Telecom l Project; $2,252,250 grant, and $2,499,597 of private investment. The funding will provide Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband services to households, businesses and key community organizations in portions of the Streeter and Gackle exchanges that are currently unserved.

Oklahoma
• Pioneer Long Distance: The Western Oklahoma Wireless Project; $1,819,349 loan and $1,783,322 grant. The funding will provide wireless broadband service to unserved and underserved rural areas in western Oklahoma.

• Panhandle Telephone Cooperative: The Western Oklahoma Broadband Infrastructure Development Project; $3,366,188 loan, $10,098,562 grant, and $23,297,597 of private investment. The funding will provide a broadband infrastructure to rural areas within the western Oklahoma panhandle area.

Texas
• Wes-Tex Telephone Cooperative: The Western Texas Broadband Infrastructure Development Project; $16,891,875 loan, $16,891,875 grant and $28,417,425 of private investment. The funding will provide a broadband infrastructure to increase Internet availability and access speeds in rural areas of western Texas.

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