One morning in June, people all over northwest Alaska awoke to discover they suddenly had no internet access or cell service. At first, no one knew what was wrong, but information slowly trickled in.
The entire region receives its internet connection from a single undersea fiber-optic cable, which had been severed by sea ice off Alaska’s northern coast. Once the cable was laid in 2018, many had high-speed internet for the first time. Now, they were suddenly set back to the days before access.
Emergency services were still able to function, but important public services like the court system struggled to communicate. Current estimates foresee repairs happening in September or October.
Events like this underscore the importance of radio for Western Alaska. With no internet access, the airwaves are the only source for public announcements, weather information, and connection with loved ones in neighboring communities. This crucial service would not exist without your support. Thank you for providing the information lifeline that Alaskan communities need!
Image at top: Map showing the location of the fiber optic cable providing internet access to the region.