Alaska to Chicago | MTA Completes New Leg of Terrestrial Fiber Connection


Matanuska Telecom Association (MTA), Alaska’s best choice for technology and communications, has completed the first and only all-terrestrial fiber route between Alaska and Chicago.

The project, an extension of the historic AlCan ONE line, brings an additional secure, geographically diverse, high-speed connection between Anchorage, Wasilla and Fairbanks to Calgary and Chicago, as well as to Seattle and Portland.

“MTA is proud to be facilitating the vibrant enterprise, education and government industries to be even stronger and more capable with our new Alaska to Chicago connection,” said Michael Burke, CEO of MTA. “Communications needs are changing every year, so this secure and reliable option is critical to the growth of businesses in Alaska and across the country.”

In 2020, MTA completed its AlCan ONE (Alaska Canada Overland Network), a 300-mile, all-terrestrial fiber network connecting North Pole, Alaska to the Canadian border – and ultimately providing MTA’s members, as well as Alaska as a whole, with a robust internet transport connection for decades to come. Since then, the co-operative has worked with Canadian partners to extend the network and establish POPs in Calgary and Chicago.

“In the past, we’ve been vulnerable to the possibility that a disaster or crisis could render Alaska cut off from the rest of the world,” said Francis LaChapelle, Vice President of Business Development for MTA. “MTA knew Alaska needed an alternative to relying on undersea fiber cable communications that pass through the Pacific Northwest, and now we have it. Expanding our terrestrial network to Chicago allows MTA to meet the need for fast and survivable telecommunications to the Midwest and East Coast.”

MTA’s new system gives Alaska a faster connection to the Midwest and East Coast, with a 20-25% reduction in round-trip latency between Alaska and Chicago. It also provides a direct connection to diverse cloud regions— Microsoft Azure Government cloud in Chicago and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud coming to Calgary in 2023.

Established in 1953 as a 100 percent locally-owned and operated Alaskan cooperative, Matanuska Telecom Association (MTA) is Alaska’s best choice for technology and communications products. As a key player in the economy of Southcentral Alaska, MTA provides residential and business technology solutions to empower member-owners and patrons to live a connected life. Today, MTA remains as one of the largest technology co-ops in the U.S.