Copper Valley Wireless is another one of those Alaskan cell phone companies that offers $1 per month government cell phone program instead of the “standard” free government cell phone program found in most of the other states. (Note: The actual cost of the program is considerably more than $1 per month, but the company applies discounts that bring the cost down to that very affordable price).
Here’s what you get for your dollar per month: 450 nationwide minutes per month, and unlimited texting. In addition, you’ll get unlimited nights and weekends calling, and unlimited mobile-mobile calling. Of course, the program is only available to customers whose primary residence is within Copper Valley Wireless’ service area.
At first glance it looks as if Copper Valley’s Lifeline plan skimps on the free minutes. It offers only 450 per month in contrast to much more generous plans in the lower 48. However, that is a bit deceptive when you consider the fact that Copper Valley also offers unlimited talk on nights and weekends and unlimited mobile-to-mobile talk. In other words, Copper Valley Lifeline customers get a lot more than the 450 minutes that are advertised.
Here’s a chart that lays it all out very clearly.
Roaming Minutes – Alaska
Roaming Minutes – Lower 49/Canada
Long Distance – Alaska
Long Distance – Lower 49/Canada
Unlimited Mobile to Mobile
Let’s go back, for just a second, to where we said Lifeline $1 per month government cell phones are “only available to customers whose primary residence is within the Copper Valley Wireless service area.”
Copper Valley offers service in Valdez and the Copper River Valley, a mostly-rural area in East Alaska almost directly east of Anchorage. Here’s a little directional help to aid you in determining if you live in the Copper Valley Wireless service area and can, therefore, apply for its Lifeline Assistance program.
The Copper Valley reaches from Eureka Summit on the Glenn Highway to Tiekel on the Richardson Highway north of Valdez over to Mentasta on the Tok Cutoff, up to Paxson on the north Richardson Highway, and over to about the Maclaren River Lodge on the Denali Highway. Most folks also include Chitina, McCarthy and Kennicott. Neighboring Valdez sits on the northeast tip of Prince William Sound.
The area covers 20,649 square miles and sits amid the Chugach National Forest to the south, the Alaska Range to the north, Wrangell Mountains of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve to the east, and the Talkeetna and Chugach Mountains to the west.
Copper Valley offers telephone service across a region covering 9400 square miles and includes Valdez, Glennallen, Tatitlek, Copper River Basin, Chitina, McCarthy and Mentasta.
The Chamber of Commerce says, “The exact population of the region is not hammered down, and never has been.” But informed estimates say around 3,000 people live in the Copper River Valley, in dozens of self-defined communities, and another 4,300 or so live in Valdez.
As is common with most rural areas in Alaska, poverty rates and unemployment are high, which is why we hope EVERYONE who qualifies for the Lifeline Assistance program in the Copper River Basin and Valdez applies soon and gets a $1 per month cell phone.
Copper River Wireless
329 Fairbanks Drive
Valdez, AK 99686
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