Aviation Infrastructure: Feasibility of Using Alternate Means to Satisfy Requirements of Alaska National Airspace System Interfacility Communications System (ANICS) Phase II Page: 1 of 22
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Accountability * Integrity * Reliability
United States General Accounting Office Resources, Community, and
Washington, DC 20548 Economic Development Division
September 6, 2000
The Honorable Richard C. Shelby
Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation
and Related Agencies
Co mmittee o n Appro priatio ns
United States Senate
Subject: Aviation Infrastructure: Feasibility of Using Alternate Means to Satisfy
Requirements of Alaska National Airspace System Interfacility
Communications System (ANICS) Phase II
Dear Mr. Chairman:
In the early 1990s, the Congress authorized a satellite-based communications
network, now known as ANICS, to conduct voice and data transmissions for the
Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) air traffic control operations in Alaska.
ANICS supports critical, essential, and routine services, including terminal and en
route air traffic control, navigation, flight service, and weather operations. In July
1993, FAA competitively awarded a $140 million contract to the Harris Corporation.
The ANICS contract was split into two distinct phases:
* In Phase I, 52 dual satellite-earth stations (also referred to as sites) were
constructed throughout Alaska. These stations provide critical and essential
services with 99.99 percent availability-an equivalent downtime of about 52
minutes per site per year.
* Phase II is to build additional single satellite-earth stations. These stations are
designed to provide essential and routine services with 99.9 percent availability-
an equivalent downtime of about 9 hours per site per year.
The Conference Report on the Department of Transportation Appropriations Act for
Fiscal Year 1999 (H. Rpt. 105-825) directed FAA to look at alternatives to its current
contract to satisfy the requirements of Phase II. No funding would be made available
until FAA had reported on alternatives to provide these services. FAA compared the
cost estimates and other information for the needed services it received from AT&T
Alascom (AT&T) and General Communications, Inc. (GCI)-two commercial
telecommunications service providers-to the cost of ordering additional sites from
the Harris Corporation. In an April 1999 report to the Congress, FAA concluded that
GAO/RCED-00-110R Review of ANICS Phase II
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United States. General Accounting Office. Aviation Infrastructure: Feasibility of Using Alternate Means to Satisfy Requirements of Alaska National Airspace System Interfacility Communications System (ANICS) Phase II, text, September 6, 2000; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc297771/m1/1/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.