NCTA — The Internet & Television Association
a number of satellites in a remote area

Innovative Technology

Bridging Rural Areas with Broadband


Providing internet access to remote areas with low population density, wide-spread geography and challenging terrain, creates a unique problem for deploying physical broadband infrastructure. However, by utilizing various innovative technologies, ISPs now have good options to deliver high-speed internet to the most rural of areas. To best meet the challenges of providing broadband to the farthest corners of the country, ISPs need the flexibility to adopt technology-neutral solutions to meet current and future needs. All scalable options should be considered when providing high-speed service that is beneficial to consumers.

New Technologies

Technologies Bridging Rural Areas with Broadband

Fixed Wireless
Wireless technology that covers the last few miles to the customers homes
Bringing high-speed broadband to rural communities with complex challenges
GCI Turns Alaska into the ‘First Frontier’ with 5G, increased speed and reduced latency

How Does Fixed Wireless Work?

Steps to Connect

Fixed wireless networks are capable of download speeds up to 50 Mbps, enough to power a household with a 4K TV and gaming systems.

Step 1
Hard-Wired Fiber Networks
Instead of laying miles of fiber to connect a single home, fixed wireless uses wireless technologies to cover the last miles to the customer.
Step 2
Fiber Back Haul Towers
Data travels over a pre-existing hard-wired network to a ‘fiber backhaul tower’ where it then travels over the air up to five miles away.
Step 3
Fixed Wireless Tower
Using wireless spectrum, data is then carried from tower to tower until it finally reaches the Receiver Antenna that feeds data to and from the home.
Step 4
Receiver Antenna
From the home receiver, data is transmitted to devices throughout a customer’s home.

What is Alaska's
Terra Network?

TERRA, Terrestrial for Every
Rural Region in Alaska

TERRA brings high-speed broadband to villages and communities across the state which were previously only serviced by satellite. The building of the 3,300-mile network, which started in 2011, involved construction crews, helicopters, engineers, heavy equipment operators, and more. Mountaintop sites were used for tower construction, and all equipment had to be flown in via heavy-lift helicopters. Crews could only work during certain parts of the year depending on land restrictions or weather conditions, and for specific parts of the day due to limited daylight hours.