Poles Apart in Alaska Serve the Cruise Lines and Locals


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A New Year’s promise was fulfilled ahead of schedule when General Communications Inc, (GCI), put five new 60-foot utility-like poles into service in Sitka, Alaska.  KCAW(FM) reports on some of the details of the new cell towers.  

Working in cooperation with Sitka Electric Department and its $300,000 investment, GCI installed five mini-monopoles which will blend in with existing utility poles. Although Sitka Electric will own the poles, GCI will lease them back for $120,000 per year for the next twenty years. 

This deal should generate $2 million in revenue for the electric company during this time. In addition to the five towers, a 400-amp electrical service was also installed atop Mt. Edgecombe Hospital. 

Cruise ship traffic comes to Sitka, and three of the towers are located off Halibut Point Road near where the ships dock.  At the moment, the service is set up specifically for the benefit of GCI customers, but it is expected that other carriers will eventually be able to use the network.  When KCAW asked about a large influx of cruise travelers, GCI’s Josh Edge said, “Well, we’re anticipating it being substantially better than it has been here in past seasons, as we build out more infrastructure and have more cell sites, we’re better able to distribute the traffic through these sites, rather than having them overload the ones that we already had there. So, adding more towers should add capacity, and I think people will have a much better experience with their wireless service come this next cruise season.”

January 9, 2019     

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