General Communications Inc., (GCI) officials announced today that NEC Corporation (NEC) has been awarded a contract to supply the submarine cable, amplifiers and line terminal equipment for the Southeast submarine fiber optics project. This contract represents a large portion of the estimated $30 million price tag for the construction of the line. In addition to providing the equipment for the new submarine line, the contract includes additional equipment to upgrade the Alaska United West submarine cable system and also includes an option to increase capacity on the Alaska United East line.
NEC was a partner in the 2004 construction of GCI’s Alaska United West fiber optics line connecting Seward, Alaska and Warrenton, Oregon. “We are thrilled to once again have the opportunity to work with NEC, a world-renowned company,” said Richard Dowling, GCI senior vice president, corporate development. “NEC has the experience and reliability we need to get this project completed and online.”
"We are extremely excited about being included in this project and to be working with GCI again. We believe this fiber line will have a significant impact on the telecommunications needs of all Alaskans," said Osamu Harada, general manager for NEC’s Submarine Networks business.
The Southeast fiber line was announced last month by GCI. The 754 miles of cable will connect Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Angoon and Sitka to the Alaska United West line currently connecting Alaska to the lower 48. The cable will also provide a second fiber link to Juneau, creating a SONET ring which provides alternative routing and overflow traffic handling capabilities.
The undersea survey is currently underway and is being conducted by Global Remote Sensing, LLC and Williamson and Associates. Once the survey is complete, the cable will be manufactured according to specifications then laid by cable ship. The fiber will be active by November 2008.
GCI is the state leader in fiber optic systems, owning two of the three networks tying Alaska to the lower 48. The company expects to finance the construction of the fiber optic cable network out of internally generated funds or borrowings against its senior credit facility.
GCI is the largest Alaska-based and operated integrated telecommunications provider. A pioneer in bundled services, GCI provides local, wireless, and long distance telephone, cable television, Internet and data communication services.