GCI pledges 10Gbps internet speeds for Alaska
Alaskan telco GCI is planning to deliver 2Gbps internet access to 77% of the state in 2022 and is on track to provide 10Gbps speeds in the next five years.
The 2Gbps availability would be a first for the state, and a near first for the US, according to GCI. It was among the first companies in the nation to make 1 gig services broadly available to customers when it launched 1 GIG red in Anchorage in 2015, quadrupling customer speeds. The company rapidly expanded access and today 77% of Alaskans live within GCI's 1Gbps footprint. These communities will be the first to experience the 2Gbps service when it becomes available.
"When I started GCI more than 40 years ago, Alaska lagged far behind the rest of the nation in basic connectivity," said GCI CEO, Ron Duncan. "Today I'm pleased to announce that when upgrades are complete in 2022, Alaska will lead the nation in 2 gig speeds. And it will be our turn, once again, to wait for the rest of the country to catch up."
Customers on GCI+ red plans will automatically be upgraded to 2Gbps service, doubling their current speeds at no additional cost. As many as 19 communities across Alaska will have access to higher speeds when the service launches next year.
GCI deployed a hybrid fibre-microwave network to deliver the first terrestrial broadband service to Western Alaska. However, it's full fibre ahead.
GCI will launch its 1 Gbps service in Nome (pictured) and Kotzebue this year and as part of the ambitious AU-Aleutians Fiber Project, will deliver 1Gbps speeds to the remote Western Alaska communities of Unalaska, King Cove, Akutan, Sand Point, Chignik Bay and Larsen Bay.
GCI's 2Gbps speeds will be available in these communities in a future phase of the upgrade project.
"Nome, Kotzebue and communities in the Aleutians are among the most remote in the nation, but will soon have urban-level internet comparable to Anchorage, Chicago and Los Angeles," said Duncan. "It's another example of GCI's commitment to closing the digital divide and turning the Last Frontier into the First Frontier for connectivity."
COO Greg Chapados added: "I'm pleased to announce today that GCI is developing a business and technical plan to build fibre to Bethel, connecting our customers there to 1, 2 and eventually 10 gig speeds. This project will transform the lives of our Bethel customers and will also enable GCI to deliver better data connectivity to surrounding communities."
He continued: "We are working to finalise a comprehensive plan for the next evolution of data communications in rural Alaska. Bringing fibre to Bethel is a top priority in that plan."