As a co-op that touches so many Alaskans in so many different ways, it’s no easy task to boil down our work here into just a few words.
Connection is a concept that has been front and center in the public consciousness since the start of the pandemic in 2020, but it’s been central to what we do since our work began 70 years ago.
I think about the massive extension we completed on our AlCan ONE project in 2022, leveraging our robust network to create geographic route diversity to Seattle and ultimately to Chicago as well.
In 2022, we also upgraded available broadband speeds to 1,166 locations as part of the Alaska Plan, for which we have invested over $214 million in our network through capital expenditures and construction costs since 2017. There is much more vital broadband deployment work ahead, including as part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, which funds planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs in Alaska and throughout the U.S.
While much of it occurs behind the curtain, innovation is something that MTA is constantly focused on as we strategize over the most efficient and effective ways to serve our members and employees and keep Alaska moving forward.
Aside from all of the great member products we keep rolling out, innovation is the perfect description of how we’ve continued to reshape and modernize our workforce. After the COVID-19 pandemic led to the need for a rethinking of how we work, we were proud to create a remote-ready workforce and invest in transformative workspaces; since then, we’ve remained focused on creating the workforce of the future.
Empowerment is what we strive to do not just for every one of our members and employees, but every single individual in our communities.
From our annual scholarships and grants through the MTA Foundation, to our Employee Giving Campaign benefiting veterans struggling with combat-related injuries, we are making sure that all of those around us have the tools and resources to connect and innovate, just as we have.
Even our products are helping to empower those in the community, such as Boost - a recently rolled-out feature that will double users’ upload speeds, helping to ensure that those working from home, relying on telehealth meetings or attending school remotely have what they need to feel successful.
While our work is vast and challenges can be unpredictable, if MTA stays focused on connecting, innovating and empowering, we will remain a force for growth and progress in the great state of Alaska and beyond.
As Alaska continues to grow and evolve along with the broader technological landscape, we couldn’t be prouder of how MTA has grown and evolved to better serve our communities throughout its 70 years.
Through every twist, turn and trend that arises in the Mat-Su area and throughout Alaska, MTA has provided solutions.
When it was evident that cybersecurity risks were on the rise, we partnered with F-Secure to ensure every step was being taken to protect our members, their businesses, and their identities.
With population rising in the Mat-Su Valley in recent years, it became clear that new construction was needed to keep up with recent growth along with new businesses, remote learning needs, and all of the other considerations that go into keeping our community connected. So MTA acted and has moved forward with vital new work throughout our service area, with a goal of ensuring that “digital divide” is not a term relevant to anyone in our area.
When leadership saw an opportunity to deepen our connections to the Lower 48, it took initiative on extending our AlCan ONE project – putting to rest any chance of a disaster or crisis rendering Alaska cut off from the rest of the U.S.
MTA’s innovative solutions and improvements haven’t been reserved for our members alone; our employees have also benefited from leadership’s forward thinking. The work MTA has done modernizing and futureproofing our workforce will ensure that our team is not only delivering what our members need, but that they are happy, healthy and safe while doing it, with new opportunities for continued education and training.
We don’t know what the next 70 years will bring, but this past year MTA has repeatedly demonstrated that it will remain one step ahead of every trend and turning point, and will not stop innovating, connecting and empowering Alaska.
Over the past year, MTA has continued bridging the digital divide and driving community support. Our tireless effort has brightened the landscapes of various communities, ushering services to under-connected regions, nurturing educational platforms, and boosting local businesses. These maps illustrate a network of grants, donations, and transformative projects completed by MTA. Our ambition resonates with every dot on these maps, signifying our commitment to driving digital inclusivity. As we reflect on this past year, let’s celebrate these milestones and aim for an even brighter, connected future for Alaska.
Completed deployment work for the USDA ReConnect 2 Grant Project in Kashwitna and Sheep Creek.
Completed utlity relocation work for the long-awaited Knik Goose Bay Phase 1 road project.
Upgraded available broadband speeds to 1,024 locations, 812 with 1G fiber capabilities.
Extended AlCan ONE to create the first and only all-terrestrial fiber route between Alaska and Chicago.
Hosted community internet workshop at the Native Village of Eklutna.
MTA’s Employee Giving Campaign benefited BattleDawgs, a Talkeetna-based nonprofit.
Donated $4,000 to MyHouse, a homeless youth center in Wasilla.
Donated $4,500 to Upper Susitna Food Pantry in Talkeetna.
Donated $4,999 to Bright Lights Book Project.
Donated $5,000 to Veteran's Regiment Home Funding Inc. in Palmer and Sutton.
Donated $5,000 to Denali Education Center, a nonprofit educational partner of Denali National Park and Preserve.
Awarded a $30,000 grant to ski area and longtime partner Skeetawk.
Awarded a $5,000 grant to United Way of Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
Awarded a $25,000 grant to UAA College of Engineering.
Despite supply shortages and the limited workforce, both of which continue to present challenges to our teams, MTA's year of connection in 2022 continued at a dizzying speed.
MTA had another busy year of network improvement projects including the completion of deployment work for the USDA ReConnect 2 Grant Project in Kashwitna and Sheep Creek. The project brought fiber to homes in two subdivisions that did not previously have wireline service and had limited wireless coverage.
Our crews also completed utility relocation work for the long-awaited Knik Goose Bay Phase 1 road project, in addition to a plethora of network upgrade and deployment projects that are necessary to keep up with the growth in the Mat-Su Valley. Additional construction and network activities produced:
Greenfield subdivisions worked
miles of Right of Way (ROW) cleared
bores completed (38,544 ft.)
ROW work orders
ROW permits obtained
property notification letters mailed
outside plant work orders
miles of fiber placed
lines crews consisting of 68 personnel
The Alaska Plan, a ten-year program to fund Alaska’s fiber infrastructure, continues to play a significant role in the advancement of broadband networks in Alaska. Through its inception, MTA has invested over $214 million in our network through capital expenditures and construction costs. In 2022 alone, we upgraded available broadband speeds to 1,166 locations; 812 of these were upgraded to fiber with 1G capabilities.
The Plan’s positive impact on our state’s broadband infrastructure is incalculable, and MTA sees the real-world effect of the Alaska Plan as we bring new homes and communities online. The funding is important to the continued progress of connecting all Alaskans.
There is a great deal of more important broadband deployment work ahead in 2023, stemming from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, and we look forward to it with great anticipation and excitement.
While our work is foremost concerned with connections in our service area, there was vital work to be done on a national level as well. MTA completed the first and only all-terrestrial fiber route between Alaska and Chicago. The project, an extension of the historic AlCan ONE line, brought an additional secure, geographically diverse, and high-speed connection to the Lower 48, with a 20-25% reduction in round-trip latency between Alaska and Chicago. It also provides a direct connection to diverse cloud regions.
We already have some major projects underway in 2023 and are eager to connect even more Alaskans in the months ahead.
Pursuant to MTA Bylaws, Article VI, Section 5(g), CEO remuneration, including the value of benefits for the year ending December 31, 2022 has been certified by the Secretary of the MTA Board of Directors in the amount of $595,000.00.
Without a community around us to connect, empower and share innovation, MTA would be nothing, and there was no shortage of any of those actions in 2022.
We were proud of how we continued to shape the next generation of tech leaders through the MTA Foundation, which has long demonstrated its commitment to pioneering technological growth within our serving area through grants and scholarships.
The MTA Foundation has also been an integral part of our ongoing efforts with MTA Gaming, including community-building tournaments, as well as support for Mat-Su Borough School District's esports programs. Through constant collaboration and teamwork between MTA Gaming, local businesses, schools, and the gaming community, we are honored to be bringing esports to new corners of Alaska.
The Foundation’s work doesn’t stop with the next generation of tech leaders though. Last year, Mat-Su Senior Services came to MTA noting that seniors in our community are desperate for connectivity. Thus we decided to implement our first-ever employee-giving campaign, to help give back to the seniors in our community. Thanks to the generous effort of MTA employees, we raised a total of $30,000 in donations for Mat-Su Senior Services.
These funds have allowed us to gift the senior services provider with a high-powered tech hub to stimulate technology literacy within Alaska’s senior citizen population, along with three years of unlimited connectivity to the tech hub. We also worked with Mat-Su Senior Services to design a senior-friendly gaming area in the hub, providing seniors with a new way to engage with technology.
in donations to our communities
in grants to projects pioneering a more connected and robust community
in scholarships to support learners in our membership
Throughout 2022, our team continued weighing in on issues of importance to our service area, state and country, from commentary on fiber broadband in influential outlets like Light Reading and FierceTelecom to a profile of MTA in Fiber Forward magazine, to coverage of our esports tournament in Alaska’s News Source. The MTA team also had a strong presence at key industry events, including Alaska’s Young Professionals Summit, Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC), National Tribal Broadband Summit (NTBS), Customer Experience and Telco Sales Association (CETS), Alaska Power Association (APA) and much more.
We also continued our outreach efforts to many of Alaska’s tribal communities that we are proud to work alongside. MTA strives to push forward with impactful partnerships like the one we have with the Native Village of Eklutna; we were honored to host a community internet workshop there, with MTA team members presenting information on the Affordable Connectivity Program. We also hosted a group of young Eklutna community members at our headquarters and look forward to more valuable opportunities like these.
Empowering the community that we are proud to be a part of is paramount to what MTA has always been about. Our members rely on us for connection and innovation, and for making their lives easier – whether that means being able to attend virtual classes, telehealth appointments, or having opportunities to compete in esports matches.
But our community and our members are also us – the MTA workforce. With over 95% of our employee base living in our serving area, our employees are helping create a thriving Mat-Su and beyond. As members of our community, we celebrate their accomplishments and all of the ways that they’ve given back.
In 2022, we took pride in our team’s various accomplishments.
MTA received the Customer Experience & Telco Sales Association (CETS) Best in Class Award in 2022, along with the Broadband Multimedia Marketing Association (BMMA) Best in Class Marketing award, which recognizes top-tier marketing practices related to broadband products and services. We have long known our team is “best in class,” but the outside validation from national organizations continues to be heartening, and a great boost to the hard work our team has shown.
Our 2022 Employee Giving Campaign benefited BattleDawgs, a Talkeetna-based nonprofit that encourages veterans struggling with combat-related injuries to experience the great outdoors. We believe in giving back to veterans who have dedicated their lives and careers to our nation while asking for so little in return, and we’re honored to have veterans as part of our MTA team.
Our employees’ generous pledges throughout 2023 will support these ongoing programs, in which veterans are able to build comradery through mentorship and leadership activities.
After the pandemic led us to rethink how we work, we were proud to invest in transformative workspaces.
$30,000 was raised for Mat-Su Senior Services through our employee-giving campaign. We gifted a high-powered tech hub, including a senior-friendly gaming area.
MTA received the Customer Experience & Telco Sales Association Best in Class Award in 2022, and the Broadband Multimedia Marketing Association Best in Class Marketing Award.
MTA remains focused on finding Value Added Solutions for its members. In 2022 we introduced Boost; doubling upload speeds for members.
The MTA Gaming League, Alaska’s largest gaming league, brought nearly 300 gamers to the digital stage.