Unalaska-based internet provider OptimERA has recently collaborated with Starlink to provide faster internet speeds to the local community. This partnership has resulted in the creation of a “community gateway,” which functions similarly to individual satellite receivers used by Starlink customers at home, but on a larger scale.
This community gateway in Unalaska is the first of its kind for Starlink. Starlink is a subsidiary of SpaceX, owned by billionaire Elon Musk. Although the overall distribution of internet services in the town remains unchanged, OptimERA owner Emmett Fitch explains that his company utilized the existing on-island infrastructure for the connection, with the help of Starlink’s setup of four new antennas.
The community gateway offers a 10 gigabit per-second connection, and approximately 80 percent of OptimERA customers have already been connected to the new speeds. Fitch highlights the vast capacity this offers, stating that it would allow every resident in the community to simultaneously stream high-definition videos in both directions.
Unalaska has experienced rapid developments in internet options in recent years. OptimERA used to be the sole major provider on the island just a year ago, but new options, including fiber optic, have emerged. Fitch anticipates that the Starlink community gateway will enhance competition among local providers, particularly in terms of ensuring internet access during surprise outages. He cites the Quintillion fiber break in June, which caused significant disruptions in Northwest Alaska for weeks, as an example of the need for redundancy to mitigate connectivity issues.
With the partnership between OptimERA and Starlink, Unalaska residents can now enjoy faster internet speeds and improved internet reliability, ultimately enhancing their online experience and connectivity options.