Over the past four years, the GCI TERRA project has transformed the telecommunications landscape for Western and Arctic Alaska. GCI is Alaska’s largest internet services provider. TERRA is GCI’s vision to build a hybrid terrestrial fiber-optic and microwave network to serve rural Alaskans in 72 communities with more reliable phone and high-speed internet.
To execute a complex, multi-year contract installing communication towers and support infrastructure in rural Alaska, GCI contracted STG. The build-out required seven logistics companies, six designers and engineers, five commuter airlines, two direct subcontractors, one general contractor, one heavy lift helicopter company, and many more suppliers and vendors across Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. There are no roads in and out of these communities, so barges, planes, cranes, and helicopters outnumber conventional construction trucks.
What makes it interesting?
TERRA is comprised of three phases: Southwest, Northwest, and Yukon. TERRA Northwest alone will span 450 miles with 14 communication towers, 22 modules, and 22 fuel tanks to connect Nome, Unalakleet, and Kotzebue to the 40-tower Southwest network. The Kotzebue network is the first public terrestrial network north of the Arctic Circle. Aside from the dangers involved in working “off the grid,” Alaska’s unpredictable weather causes the most safety hazards of this gigantic project.
How HCSS Software assisted with the Project.
STG saved time and effort by developing activities and customizing crews in HeavyBid and duplicating them in different phases of work. They can simply copy the previous phases and labor rates, leaving only the quantities to update. Before HeavyBid, STG used the small business go-to Excel for estimating. Unlike HeavyBid, Excel doesn’t provide sophisticated reports, advanced breakdowns for equipment and labor, or customizable markup functions.
“With HeavyBid, there’s no need to waste time creating wacky, error-prone formulas. Switching from Excel to HeavyBid made estimating a large, multi-phase project like ours at least 50 percent faster. No department-of-one should be without HeavyBid.”
- Shane Oyster, Estimator and Project Manager, STG