Local News

GCI ship to repair earthquake-damaged fiber optic cables

Click here for iFriendly audio.

The GCI cable repair ship, Wave Venture, has been anchored outside of town since yesterday.

Saturday’s earthquake caused a rare failure along the fiber optic cables that supply Wrangell with its television, telephone, and Internet service.

Wave Venture outside of Wrangell – Photo by Shady Grove Oliver/KSTK News

“From Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, and up to Juneau, there’s a fiber that runs in that direction,” explains David Morris, spokesperson for GCI. “And then from Juneau it goes out into the Gulf of Alaska where it hits another fiber cable where it runs down and there’s another junction box that then breaks off and goes to Ketchikan. So that forms a ring. And the type of technology that we use, if there’s a break in any one location, the traffic is automatically routed in the other direction. And so, in theory, if you’ve got a single break, you don’t have disruption of service. What occurred here in Wrangell, though, is on the unusual side because you had multiple breaks at different locations. So that effectively isolated the island.”

Most services were restored in Wrangell late Saturday night. However, GCI customers will continue experiencing problems and will not have full cable television access until the broken cables are re-connected.

“So what the cable ship is doing is, they’ve sent an ROV—a remote operated vessel—down,” said Morris. “They’ve located the fiber cable. And now they’re in the process of trying to retrieve the cable. And they’ll buoy it off and then they’ll splice the sections together. And then full restoration of services will be effected in Wrangell.”

Repairs are expected to take 24 to 48 hours once the cable is retrieved and assessed for damage.


Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

How do you run the ferry system with less money?

The fast ferry Chenega is up on blocks for repairs and maintenance at the Ketchikan Shipyard Feb. 21, 2014. The Alaska Marine Highway, roads, airports and other transportation projects could get a funding boost under Legislation moving in the state House. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)
The Alaska Marine Highway System wants more input into in its long-term planning. It's announced what it’s calling community engagement meetings in six port cities over the next month. more

USFS updates Wrangell Island Timber Sale proposal

timber map
The U.S. Forest Service recently announced it is changing its proposal for a timber sale on Wrangell Island. The Forest Service is proposing a harvest of about 5,300 acres for 73 million board feet of mostly old growth timber. more