Cell Phone Service & Stressful Texting

I don’t like texting. I did, maybe a little bit, but I do not like it in Kivalina. Sure, texting is easier for simple questions. It is easier to have a random and relaxed conversation throughout the day, but all of my texts here send out of order, they come in out of order, and anything with pictures or in a group won’t download.


I don’t like it. Not only am I already not funny via texting, but I am even less entertaining when my attempt at jokes come thirteen messages too late or when the spam comments I have been rapid firing come out of order. Texts often fail to send or take minutes to send or receive, so it is almost more frustrating to hit “resend” constantly than it is to have to type out something to begin with.


Thankfully, I don’t spend a whole lot of time texting people. To those of you that have my MN number, the one I’ve had for the last ten years, I don’t have service up here with that number, so you are not being ignored, I just can’t receive your messages. I haven’t really contacted many people with my Alaskan number because I’m hoping to have everything consolidated over spring break.


Although, AT&T has great service in the lower 48 and also has a strong standing in the more “metropolitan” and higher population areas (Anchorage area and southern Alaska), it does not work in the rural villages of the arctic.

Alaska has a reasonably priced Alaska-born company, GCI, that works in my village.  Our island doesn’t get 3G or 4G*, so I couldn’t overuse my data if I tried…because I can’t access any of it.  However, I do have unlimited nationwide calling, which actually is kind of nice considering Alaska is pretty long distance when it comes to calls from home.

GCI doesn’t work everywhere (not in my classroom or my bathroom anyway) and it doesn’t work all of the time…but it works! I don’t that this GCI’s fault as much as it is just one of the qualities of living in a remote location. It’s been an adjustment, but now that I’m adapting, I don’t mind all that much!



*When I originally wrote and scheduled this, we did not have data available, nor had the village ever had it available. Two days before it posted, a coworker ran into my room and said “Do you have LTE? This person has LTE and I have LTE. Maybe GCI brought it here just like they did the other villages!”

Sure enough, I had LTE and my service seems to have improved. My text messages to groups go through and I can receive pictures again. My texts also seem to go through in order and are received in order…so that fun is gone.

If I must be honest, I was a little bummed to hear that we had LTE, but I understand my coworkers’ elation at now being able to surf the internet at home!