GCI will begin work on a damaged fiber optic cable on Sunday (02-14-16), diminishing service.

Updated at 10 a.m., Tuesday, February 16

Last night (02-15-16), GCI announced hopes to have full phone, internet and cable restored by Saturday, Feb. 20th.

This morning (02-16-16), GCI reports finding additional damage to the undersea fiber providing service to the region. The damage is located in Peril Straits. Crews remain working around the clock, but they anticipate it will be several more days before full-service is restored. GCI reports that customers will not be charged during this time of reduced services. Updates are available at 907-747-3535.

Updated at 12 p.m., Sunday, February 14

Repair work on the damaged fiber optic cable began at 3 a.m. today.

GCI told KCAW it is unknown what time service will be restored. Because of routing and roaming agreements between carriers, non-GCI customers may be affected. GCI customers will have access to free DVD rentals from AC Lakeside until the repair is complete. Please ask AC employees for details.

Updated at 5 p.m., Friday, February 12

GCI tells customers in Sitka and Angoon to expect service interruptions beginning on  Valentine’s Day (02-14-16), due to repair work on a degrading fiber optic cable.

Installed in 2008, the cable runs through Chatham Street at a depth of 1,400 feet and provides a suite of services (phone, Internet, GCI TV) to customers in Sitka and Angoon

Weather depending, repair work will begin on Sunday (02-14-16), with service interruptions lasting 72 hours or more. They’ll cut the cable, retrieve it and then it’s an issue of splicing the cable together back together and doing tests on it,” GCI Spokesman David Morris said. In that time, GCI will move customers to alternate systems, mostly using satellite technology.

Once the repair work begins, Sitka and Angoon customers will experience diminished service to their Internet, TV, and wireless data services. That includes texting with multimedia–such as photos and video –wireless web browsing, cable modem browsing, and streaming video services. GCI  TV will be reduced to 25 channels.

Morris said online shopping will still be possible, just slow. “There’s still going to be data available, but it’s going to be greatly constrained. We will mostly likely take the steps of turning down streaming video applications like Netflix and Hulu and streaming audio because that consumes so much bandwidth – approximately 70% of the bandwidth – that it would significantly impair other web-based applications.

Morris said that Skype service should remain the same. Local, long distance, and 911 calls, as well as simple texting, will also remain unaffected. 

In their press release, GCI said that local hospital operations and public safety agencies will be served through a dedicated bypass system and that services will not be affected. Local schools will experience diminished Internet services.

Morris said the cause of the damage is unknown. The issue was brought to GCI’s attention over the weekend (02-07-16), when weak signals were reported in Sitka and Angoon. A press release issued by GCI yesterday afternoon (02-11-16) said the damage was possibly due to unusually strong currents and rugged terrain. The release further states that, “While GCI performed temporary repairs, the cable is operating in a compromised condition and a permanent fix is required.”

Once the repairs are made, Morris said the impacts to service would be compensated as bill credits. Sitka and Angoon customers can check for the latest updates on the GCI Facebook page. In addition, Sitka customers may call 907-747-3535 for local updates.