07 May Alaskan Internet Gets an Upgrade
In modern America, most businesses and schools rely heavily on internet access. Educational systems utilize the world wide web to grasp students’ attention, keep parents’ updated, assign study materials, or even as a testing platform. Unfortunately, not all states in America are able to have the luxury of high-speed internet.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) sets minimum internet target speeds and Alaska currently ranks last in the nation for school district percentages meeting that minimum requirement. In rural parts of Alaska, students are dispersed throughout distant, isolated communities without the ability to travel easily. Most teachers believe that distance-learning, video-based programs are critical for preparing students for higher learning and future careers. Unfortunately, district-wide outages and stunting slowdowns have been very common across the education system, in large part due to the remote climate of Alaska. Schools in this area find themselves paying much more for internet access and receiving far less bandwidth compared to cities in the lower 48 states. The issues of the region’s poor bandwidth and debilitating telecommunication infrastructure negatively impact the resources available to students.
According to HighSpeedInternet.com, Alaskan internet has an average speed of 17.03 Mbps, the lowest in comparison to other states. The rural communities of Alaska have long been challenged with poor connectivity. The global internet was previously only connected to the state via submarine cables. “There’s no terrestrial fiber-optic connection from Alaska to Canada or the contiguous US.” There has never been a land-based fiber-optic connection between the Canadian and Alaskan borders or the lower states until now…
Fortunately, on May 1, 2019, there was an announcement of a 100-terabit fiber-optic cable being constructed near the Fairbanks border and neighboring Canada. This new terrestrial link is estimated to run 270 miles along the highway in Alaska. For Alaskan teachers and students, the future of education is looking bright as their state is making a switch to a fiber connection. Educational technology is emerging further and allowing access to a broader, more-connected horizon. The reason why a fiber cable was not implemented in the past was due to financial restrictions.
The region has always been faced with challenges due to the remote frigid climate. With the upcoming advances in the telecommunication landscape, hopefully, the pressure will be eased off some of the severe issues. With the fiber-optic terrestrial cable connection, the Alaskan internet and in turn the schooling system can support more advanced educational methods. Remote communities can connect and learn in a virtual group setting and obtain more readily available data. Alaskan companies and even community-based consumers can all expect higher connectivity and greater access to the world wide web.
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Author: Valerie Stephen