December 24, 2013
GCI to Offer Faster Internet Service in Alaska
By Frank Griffin
TMCnet Contributing Writer
Telecommunications companies like to go after large metropolitan markets with populations numbering in the millions, but even these markets eventually reach high saturation points forcing providers to search for other markets. The downside of rural markets is the customer base is much lower, while requiring a larger infrastructure investment. The move to this market is generally made with subsidies from the government. The state of Alaska has a population of 731,449 which is less than twice that of Manhattan New York, but there's still a lucrative market for telecom services for companies willing to invest in the state.
As Alaska's' largest provider of internet services with cable modem, wireless and dedicated access, GCI (News - Alert) is planning to spend more than $100 million to boost the Internet speeds in the Anchorage area for free. The company stated it will be providing the service according to interests expressed by neighborhoods in the area.
The company wants to deploy a 1-gigabit Internet service by 2015, which is 20 times faster than the top speeds the company offers to its customers today. With a population of 291,826, Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, offering a sizable customer base for the company as it continues to upgrade its infrastructure.
The move to increase the service comes after the company doubled the speed of its premier fiber service from 50 megabits per second to 100 for 1000 of its customers while reducing their rates by $25. The upgrade in services by GCI is partly related to the recent move Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless made to Alaska, which should give Alaskans improved services and lower prices as Verizon starts competing for the same customer base.
GCI has a 45 percent share of the state’s long-distance market and its cable television services pass 90 percent of the state’s households with 64 percent penetration. It also offers facilities-based local telephone services in 22 cities throughout Alaska and has a 35 percent statewide market share.
Recent milestones the company achieved includes the deployment of terrestrial broadband Internet service to the residents of 65 remote, rural communities in Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and the connection of terrestrial broadband of Southwest Alaska to the world for the first time.
Edited by Ryan Sartor
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