One of the best things about living in Alaska and working for USDA is seeing how our programs improve things for the folks who call this region home. Other than electricity and running water, nothing improves the quality of life more than broadband.
For a good six months each year, Alaska is a harsh place. It’s cold. Really, really cold. Temperatures of -60 are commonplace. Travel is hazardous, it is dark most of the time and rural villages feel more isolated than during the summer months. Broadband opens doors to the outside world, not just by providing standard web services, but by connecting isolated clinics and classrooms to major medical facilities and educational opportunities not available in a remote rural setting.
As an example, USDA funded a Community Connect project in the Prince William Sound community of Tatitlek. An isolated, primarily Alaska Native community, Tatitlek now is receiving great wireless phone/data service as well as high speed DSL. The community has free access to broadband, the clinic and community center are connected to the web.
USDA is funding broadband all across Alaska. In round 1 of the Recovery Act’s Broadband Initiatives Program, service was underwritten for 65 communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, along with Cordova, and the predominantly Native community of Tanana. Broadband is opening the world for the residents of rural Alaska. To learn more about the program and the projects USDA has funded click here.
The Native village of Tatitlek, in Alaska's Prince William Sound, has broadband service
through USDA's Community Connect program.