RCA seeks information on broadband Internet coverage

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has opened a public process to gather information about broadband Internet service in Alaska, including current and future projects, for an upcoming report to the Alaska Legislature. 

The effort to examine the availability of broadband Internet in Alaska is the result of intent language inserted into the FY 2018 budget at the behest of Rep. David Guttenberg, of the House Finance Committee. 

“The need for broadband Internet is growing as Alaska becomes increasingly integrated into a world economy that demands fast websites and the ability to sell products online,” Guttenberg said. “However much of Alaska lacks broadband Internet access, which puts us at a disadvantage nationally and internationally.” 

Guttenberg said he’s confident that RCA efforts to document coverage gaps in Alaska will provide lawmakers, regulators and providers with needed information to make the right decisions to ensure that Alaskans can use broadband as a tool to help start small businesses, connect with people around the world, and enjoy all that is available online. 

Internet service providers, owners of networks capable of carrying broadband traffic, and others are asked to file information about broadband in Alaska by Sept. 8. The RCA is expected to file its report with the Legislature by Dec. 1. 

Information about the RCA order can e found online at www.rca.alaska.gov 

Guttenberg said many areas of Alaska have Internet speeds well below the national average, putting residents of those areas at an economic and social disadvantage. 

Guttenberg said he’s confident that the RCA report will show that Alaska needs more Internet providers and increased competition, which would result in lower prices and better service.