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Internet, By Helicopter

Silhouette of internet tower in Noorvik, Alaska, at sunset.

One Alaska telecom provides internet to remote villages with a series of microwave repeaters in the wilderness, powered by generators connected to massive tanks, each holding 4,500 gallons of diesel.

The only way to refuel those generator/repeater sites — 22 in all — is by helicopter, 400 gallons at a time. 93,000 gallons will have been delivered when the refueling is done. The diesel fuel will keep villages connected to internet through next summer, when it’ll be time to send the helicopters flying again.

Image at top: one of many internet towers in rural Alaska — this one, in Noorvik. Some customers in the Alaska Bush connect to internet through village-based towers, like this one, that relay signals from remote repeater sites, powered by diesel generators. Photo: Lauren Frost, KNOM.

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Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.