Bringing affordable broadband to all of Alaska and all Alaskans
Microcom Founder
Chuck Schumann, Microcom Founder.
Photos by Jeremy Cubas, MadMen Studios

nchorage-based Microcom has been leading the way in satellite communications in Alaska since 1984. Microcom pioneered many of the industry’s “firsts” in the state: the first direct-broadcast satellite reception system, first 24-hour live broadcast television reception, first rural cable modem installation, and first Ku-Band satellite communications system. So it’s only fitting that the innovator spearhead efforts to bring ubiquitous broadband to Alaska.

In Q4 2021, Microcom is launching OneWeb’s low-earth-orbit (LEO) statewide commercial broadband service through its sister company Pacific Dataport. LEO satellites, which normally orbit less than 1,400 kilometers above the earth, can deliver dependable, less-expensive, low-latency, high-speed internet access to Alaska—even to the most remote and treacherous terrain. Pacific Dataport will connect to OneWeb’s LEO network and wholesale capacity to telecoms, schools, health clinics, and tribal organizations. “We’re in the process of signing up customers for beta trial opportunities,” says Alexander Schumann, Microcom’s director of satellite broadband. “We’re preparing for full service to launch in November.”

New Geostationary (GEO) Satellite
Pacific Dataport is also preparing to launch its own Aurora GEO high-throughput satellite broadband service in 2022. Built by San Francisco-based Astranis, the micro-GEO satellite features the latest technology. Scaled down to the size of a washing machine, it will hover 36,000 kilometers in space directly in line with Alaska to allow optimal connectivity.

The satellite, Aurora 4A, will deliver up to 10 Gbps of broadband service—tripling the satellite capacity currently available in Alaska. It will also usher in more economical internet at a universal price point. “No longer will different regions have to pay for varying levels of service at different prices; the same service plan will be offered statewide for the same price,” Schumann explains.

Microcom Director of Satellite Broadband
Alexander Schumann, Microcom Director of Satellite Broadband.
Finally, Broadband for All
Microcom established Pacific Dataport to solve a specific problem: a lack of affordable broadband in rural Alaska, where many residents are grossly underserved. As an experienced company with tens of thousands of satellite installations under its belt, Microcom is well equipped to solve the state’s “digital divide.” While traditional satellite operators constructed satellites to focus on other parts of the world, Microcom is prioritizing internet service in Alaska.

The impending LEO/GEO satellite broadband from Pacific Dataport and Microcom will provide new and redundant connectivity to help Alaskans capitalize on telehealth, remote work, business expansion, and myriad other opportunities. “We also see ourselves as a complement to any terrestrial services by providing redundancy and additional capacity,” Schumann says. “We’re offering alternatives to rural Alaskans to help lower prices across the board.”

Additionally, Microcom is progressing its plans to launch a second satellite, Aurora IV, in 2023. The Aurora Network will ultimately bring more than 100 Gbps to the market—finally facilitating ubiquitous, cost-effective internet access throughout Alaska. “We will be able to provide minimum 25X3 broadband service for $99 a month,” Schumann says. “For rural customers who are currently paying hundreds of dollars per month for service, or have no service at all, this will be a significant change. We’re trying to help people in our state.”
Microcom logo
For more information, contact:

Alexander Schumann, Director of Satellite Broadband
126 W International Airport Rd.
Anchorage, Alaska 99518
(907) 264-0006

Alaska Business Profile logo