GCI Goes to Sea for New Optic Line

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Maverick Alaskan cable and telecommunications provider General Communications
Inc. will plunk down $50 million to build an undersea fiber optic line between
Seward, Alaska, and Warrenton, Ore., to further strengthen its network
backbone.

The 1,544-mile link will carry 640 gigabits per second when it is lit in May
2004. That will provide a minimum of 258,048 simultaneous voice or data circuits
initially, with the ability to increase capacity to at least 8.2 million
circuits in the future.

When linked to an existing undersea fiber line between Whittier, Alaska, and
Seattle, it will complete a synchronous optical network (SONET) loop, providing
extra capacity and backup in case of network outages.

"In combination with GCI's Alaska United cable, this new fiber optic cable
will provide unprecedented reliability for business, education and government
users," said Richard Dowling, GCI’s senior vice president of corporate
development, in a release.

"The project underscores GCI's commitment to Alaska and our continued
investment in its future," he added.

To build the line, GCI has hired a squad of companies including systems
engineer NEC Corp., undersea cable outfit OCC Corp. and installation provider
Global Marine Systems Ltd., all overseen by Sumitomo Corp. of
Japan.

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