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TERRA networks finish fueling after summer of outages

In Noorvik, the GCI tower juts up into the morning air. It is silhouetted against blue skies and partial clouds.
The tower is one of the largest structures in Noorvik. As a result, it will bring 3G and decreased latency to the community.

Crews are finished refueling internet and cell provider GCI’s TERRA Networks. That’s according to a press release the company published on Tuesday (Oct. 3). 

The TERRA network consists of 22 towers that are self-sufficient for months at a time, but require annual refueling and maintenance. The towers provide connectivity to 84 rural communities and 45,000 residents in rural Alaska.

During this summer’s Quintillion fiber break, residents heavily relied on TERRA networks for internet connectivity. The annual project to refuel began in May.

Each tower holds a diesel generator with one or two 4,500 gallon diesel tanks that run all year. Diesel fuel is hauled to the sites by helicopter. According to the statement, over 100,000 (110,000) gallons of fuel was transported to power the generators. 

“The project is one you’re likely to only find in Alaska,” said Senior Manager of GCI Rural Network Operations and Maintenance Earl Merchant in the statement. “Despite the mountain of logistics, and the literal mountains themselves, our crews worked throughout the summer and fall to make sure each of the 45,000 Alaskans in more than 85 communities served by TERRA remain connected.”

This year’s refueling efforts were completed in late September (Sep. 28).

Photo at top: In Noorvik, the GCI tower juts up into the morning air. It is silhouetted against blue skies and partial clouds (KNOM Archives, 2016)

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