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How AT&T Braved Bears, Sub-Zero Temps to Launch 4G LTE in Alaska

by Todd Haselton | March 8, 2013March 8, 2013 11:30 am PDT

AT&T recently launched its 4G LTE network in Juneau, Alaska, a part of the country where it often has to operate in temperatures as low as 40 to 50 degrees below zero and deal with wildlife, such as bears, to get the network up and running. How did it happen?

AT&T has shared a compelling video showing just how difficult the task can be. In it, one of the company’s facility mechanics tosses a cup of water into the air to show how cold it was (it freezes instantly), and another talks about how a bear was 35 feet away and how he regularly carries a pistol for defense. Another AT&T employee discusses how his team spent six days out on a site to build out the network, with just 3 days of supplies, even during times when it’s dark 90 percent of the time.

The company has about 60 sites in southeast Alaska, some on remote mountaintops. The towers are often covered in ice, which requires regular maintenance (such as removing snow from satellites).

The video is pretty amazing and reminds us of the Flying Wild Alaska show on the Discovery Channel except, you know, it’s about building out wireless networks instead.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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