Alaska Communications goes wireless for gigabit speeds

22 July 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Alaska Communications has started offering 1 gigabit download speeds and up to 100 Mbps upload speeds in select Anchorage neighbourhoods.

Branded AKXinternet, the service uses a mesh fixed wireless solution that offers unlimited data through a tiered speed model, with options starting at 100 Mbps.

The use of mesh fixed wireless depends on a network of fibre and radios to create a mesh of connectivity around the customer.

“We’re using wireless solutions to extend the reach of our fibre infrastructure to serve Alaskans,” said Diedre Williams, SVP operations, Alaska Communications.

“Through AKXinternet, we’ll be able to bring higher speeds to more customers in a quicker time to market than trenching fiber, which is difficult to do in populated areas and is labor intensive, resulting in a slower pace of expansion.”

Alaska Communications said it is among the first ISPs in the country to deploy this technology and last week was awarded the Wireless Connectivity Hero Award from Cambium Networks.

Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO of Cambium Networks, commented: "Alaska Communications is getting ahead of demand and rapidly deploying fixed wireless to extend the capacity of the core network.

"Service providers can rapidly upgrade service in their wireless access network, while getting the best leverage from their fibre infrastructure. Our proven fixed wireless solution delivers multi-gigabit speeds and enables service providers like Alaska Communications to extend competitive service into new areas in a matter of weeks or months," Bhatnagar added.

As part of Alaska Communications’ focus on network expansion, the goal is to reach 6,500 new addresses with this service this year, with more locations due to be added in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and the Kenai Peninsula through 2024.

“We’re bringing more speed, more reliability and more choices to Alaskans,” said Bill Bishop, president and CEO of Alaska Communications. “Internet usage needs have changed, especially over the past 17 months, and we’re expanding our availability and options in response.”

High speed internet is also being pursued by GCI, which is planning to deliver 2Gbps to 77% of the state in 2022 and 10Gbps speeds in the next five years, and is also working with Quintillion.