Telecommunications in Alaskan Villages

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  16 Jan 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4479, pp. 241-248
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4479.241


A recently installed satellite system now provides modern long-distance telecommunication services to 100 rural Alaskan villages, most of whose residents are Alaska Natives. In most villages no local telephone or television distribution facilities have yet been installed. Local telephone exchange service appears to be economically marginal unless modest regulatory changes are made. Television delivery presents more difficult problems involving technical and organizational structure. If, after weighing the potential social and cultural effects, village residents elect to acquire television, a delivery system based on low-power transmitters in the villages, local government as the basic organizational and economic unit, and a statewide nonprofit service organization, is the feasible system best suited to village needs.