The City of Gustavus has hired Virginia-based consultants ICF International to develop a plan for expanding high speed Internet access in the community.
Gustavus residents currently get 3G and satellite Internet service, but access is spotty and speeds are less than one-fifth the national average.
The city received $235,000 in last year’s state capital budget to plan and design a community broadband network. City officials hope to build the infrastructure to serve Gustavus for the next 20 years. They also hope the planning effort can serve as a model for other rural Alaska communities facing issues with Internet access.
ICF will begin the planning process this month by assessing community and stakeholder needs, including local residents and telecommunications companies.
Gustavus is considered the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The community of 460 residents is located about 48 air miles northwest of Juneau.