According to the Alaska Dispatch, AT&T Mobility intends to expand its mobile broadband coverage in Alaska by bringing HSPA+ technology to the so-called ‘North Slope’, which is located along the coast of two marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean, the Chukchi Sea (western side) and the Beaufort Sea (eastern sea). According to the newspaper AT&T will introduce advanced connectivity to Prudhoe Bay and Deadhorse, towns which are predominantly populated by oil company employees who tend to work shifts before returning home to other parts of Alaska or out of state. According to the Alaska Community Database, the region boasts a transient population of just over 2,100 employees. In an emailed statement, AT&T’s regional spokesperson Andy Colley told the Alaska Dispatch: ‘Many Alaskans travel to the North Slope for work, including the areas of Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay. Our aim is to make it easier for slope workers to keep in touch with their families across Alaska and the Lower 48. Investment in our wireless network continues to be a priority and there are other communities that will benefit from expanded and improved coverage’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, AT&T turned on its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Anchorage, Alaska, last month, beating chief rival Verizon Wireless to the punch. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Alaska is the only US state not yet covered by Verizon’s 371-city LTE network, which currently covers 75% of the population. In August 2010 it filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to acquire the LTE-suitable 700MHz C Block spectrum permit covering Alaska from Triad, a designated entity that purchased the licence during the FCC’s 700MHz 2008 spectrum auction. Triad originally paid around USD1.8 million for the concession. Meanwhile, Alaska Communications (ACS) inaugurated its own 4G network in parts of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau earlier this month.