GCI works to repair damaged undersea fibers in Sitka, Angoon

GCI customers should expect service interruptions today due to recent damage to the undersea fiber optic cable that serves the Sitka and Angoon areas.

Permanent repairs are expected to begin on Sunday, according to a press release by GCI. Services may be affected for 72 hours or more.

GCI reported it will move customers to alternate systems while the fiber cable is repaired. During that time, data services and GCI TV will be significantly impacted.

A service affecting outage was first reported Sunday and an investigation revealed damage to the fiber optic cable seven miles from Angoon in the Chatham Straits at a depth of approximately 1,400 feet.

Strong currents and rugged terrain appear to have caused the damage.

“GCI has back up plans in place for these kinds of incidents,” said GCI vice president of regional operations Warren Russell. “A specialized fiber repair ship from British Columbia is already on its way, and we have implemented our backup plans to ensure that essential services, public safety organizations like 911, and local hospitals remain fully operational.”

In Sitka and Angoon, local, long distance, and 911 calls will not be affected. In addition, wireless voice and simple texting will not be affected.

Services affected are multi-media wireless texting, wireless web browsing, cable modem browsing, certain channels and streaming videos.

Local hospital operations and public safety agencies will be served through a dedicated bypass system. Local schools will experience diminished Internet services.

The fiber optic cable that serves Sitka was installed in 2008. It is part of a 754-mile system serving Southeast Alaska.

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