President Obama First President to Visit Arctic

Tina Pidgeon, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and Senior Vice President, Governmental Affairs, GCI


All eyes are truly on Alaska as President Obama became the first president to visit the Alaskan Arctic. He came to Alaska to speak at GLACIER, a conference focused on Arctic issues. I was fortunate enough to be one of the few private industry participants. GCI also had the privilege of providing wireless and data services to support the President’s team in each of his stops along the way, including connectivity across rural Alaska.  A dedicated team of GCI employees worked tirelessly to ensure the uncommon level of service requests were met, while still serving our customers in the communities, whether relying on their smartphones to send pictures of the President visiting the local market or live-streaming his speech from the high school gym.

Although President Obama made it clear his focus was on climate change, it’s not a zero-sum game between efforts to address the effects of climate change and advancing opportunities for economic development. In fact, a common theme among GLACIER conference sessions was that critical infrastructure is necessary to support core government missions in light of increased human activity in the Arctic related to shipping, oil and gas development, commercial fishing, and tourism.

As the nation’s leading Arctic telecom provider, GCI is eager to support prospects for expanding communications infrastructure deeper into the Arctic. We are already in over 100 communities in the Arctic, giving us unmatched insight into the service needs of our families and neighbors in these communities.  

We look forward to continued conversation and action as the U.S. chairs the Arctic Council for the next two years.