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GCI inks $150m satellite deal with Intelsat

Ron Duncan GCI NEW.jpg

GCI confirms a $150 million partnership with satellite communications service provider, Intelsat.

The collaboration will see GCI dramatically expand its geosynchronous (GEO) satellite capacity to meet growing demand for communications services in rural communities across Alaska. The deal gives GCI continued access to C-band and Ku-band capacity, which is already exists as part of its satellite service portfolio, it also gives GCI new access to state-wide Ka-band capacity.

"Today's announcement is another example of GCI's continued commitment to our rural customers and our willingness to make the investment necessary to serve small, remote communities across the state," said Ron Duncan (pictured), CEO of GCI.

"Some people have expressed concern that Alaska is running out of GEO satellite capacity — well, that's no longer an issue. This deal will nearly quadruple our available capacity. GCI intends to remain the leader in connectivity in rural Alaska. The Intelsat partnership is part of a much broader rural connectivity strategy that includes our AU-Aleutians Fiber Project."

Under the terms of the partnership, Intelsat will supply a high-throughput, multi-satellite solution over a new and enhanced managed earth station platform and a tri-band (C, Ku, and Ka) network that will cover the entire state of Alaska.

As such, this long-term deal ensures GCI will meet the growing demands of rural customers including regional tribal health care providers, school districts, government agencies and businesses.

"What sets GCI's satellite service apart is that we manage the network from end to end, combining Intelsat's satellite capacity with GCI's satellite engineering and remote logistics know-how," said Billy Wailand, SVP of corporate development at GCI.

"We are confident that LEOs will become an important part of GCI's toolkit over time. But before we begin encouraging some of our customers to consider a move to LEO satellites, we need to be confident in their performance and ability to meet our customers' current and future demands.”

GCI leverages fibre, microwave, GEO satellites and eventually low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to deliver the required service in rural Alaska. The company says it has been in talks with LEO providers including SpaceX, OneWeb, and Telesat.