Port Graham residents who receive internet from Alaska Communications have been without service since late February after severe winter storms destroyed a dish on the tower and system that delivers a signal. With spotty cell-phone service due to the Southern Kenai Peninsula’s remote location about 25 miles by air from Homer, the village has been cut off from the virtual world.
“Alaska Communications delivers internet in Port Graham using Kodiak Microwave System backhaul,” Heather Cavanaugh, senior director of external affairs and corporate communications, wrote in an email. “KMS is working to repair the dish as soon as it’s safe to do so. KMS has crews on standby to travel to the remote mountain top site as early as this Friday.”
Port Graham resident Pam Breedlove said the village is in a unique situation because it’s surrounded by mountains and the KMS tower is on a mountain by a dangerous cape. She said because of travel and quarantine restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet has been especially important.
“The one thing that has given us our mental stability is our internet, and it’s not available,” she said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Breedlove also owns the Variety Store, one of two stores in Port Graham. Because the internet has been down she cannot process credit-card transactions.
“I have so many IOUs on my cash register it looks like a piñata,” she said.
People in Port Graham have been so eager to get internet service they periodically walk out to the town dock to see if a boat has come in with the critical parts, Breedlove said.
“We’ve all been holding our breath being as patient as we can be,” she said. “Come on, man — we’re losing our minds.”
Cavanaugh apologized for the internet outage.
“This is both KMS’ and Alaska Communications’ top priority and we apologize for the inconvenience,” she wrote.
Alaska Communications customers will be credited for days out of service, Cavanaugh also wrote.
Reach Michael Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.