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GCI Customers Adopting Super-Fast Internet 4 Times Faster than National Rate

Jun 14, 2021 | Featured, News, Telecom & Tech

Americans are adopting 1 gig internet faster than ever, but GCI customers are upping their home internet speeds even more quickly in Alaska. In fact, GCI customers have signed up for 1 gig internet service at four times the national rate.

An article by tech news outlet Light Reading noted the pandemic fueled demand for increased speed and capacity as Americans who were hunkered down consumed more content and many began working and learning from home. In Q1 2021, 9.8 percent of internet customers nationwide subscribed to a 1 gig plan—a 261 percent increase from the same time period during the previous year.

In contrast, nearly 40 percent of GCI’s internet customers subscribe to 1 gig service. The company attributes the dramatic difference in Alaska’s adoption rates to its advanced network and broad availability to 1 gig internet, especially in the state’s most densely populated areas.

“Alaskans, in general, have been quick to adopt new technologies, especially when it comes to connectivity, and 1 gig internet has been no different. We’re not just early adopters of the next generations of technology because we want to be, we’re early adopters because we have to be,” says GCI Chief Marketing Officer Kate Slyker.

“Delivering connectivity in a state like Alaska is challenging to say the least, but challenges breed innovation. That has always been a hallmark of GCI. We were the first to deliver 1 gig internet in the state, the first to launch 5G wireless, and we’ll be the first to bring 2 gig internet to Alaska. It may come as a surprise to many that Alaska is on the forefront of telecommunications innovation, but the truth is that this has long been the case.”

GCI provides access to 1 gig speeds to 77 percent of Alaskans. In May, company co-founder and CEO Ron Duncan announced GCI would deliver 2 gig speeds to customers in 2022 and is on track to deliver 10 gig service in the next five years.

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“GCI is the largest telecommunications provider in the biggest state in the nation, so I guess it just makes sense that our customers have the biggest appetite for speed and data,” says GCI Chief Communications Officer Heather Handyside. “Our customers are working from home, learning from home and consuming content at a record rate. Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen huge spikes in network traffic—sometimes up to 50 percent. Fortunately, GCI constantly invests in network upgrades and we were more than prepared to accommodate the growing demand. And with 2 gig speeds coming to GCI customers next year, our network is only getting faster.”

GCI will launch 2 gig internet in nearly 20 Alaska communities in 2022 and is on track to provide 10 gig speeds in the next five years. GCI will be the first in the state, and among the first in the country, to make 2 gig widely available to customers, highlighting its commitment to expand and improve connectivity in Alaska.

“Not only will GCI be delivering 2 gig internet, we’re also expanding 1 gig internet access even further as we prepare to launch the service in Northwest Alaska and expand our fiber network to the Aleutian Islands,” says Handyside. “Our commitment to investing in rural Alaska and helping close the digital divide is stronger than ever.”

GCI will launch 1 gig service in Nome and Kotzebue, Alaska in 2021, and as part of the company’s ambitious AU-Aleutians Fiber Project will deliver 1 gig speeds to six remote Western Alaska communities. GCI’s 2 gig speeds will be available in these communities in a future phase of the upgrade project. GCI is also exploring a potential project to extend its fiber to Bethel, Alaska, which would deliver urban-level internet to the Western Alaska community.

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Welcome to the June 2024 issue, which features our annual Transportation Special Section. We've paired it this year with a focus on the Pacific Northwest and Hawai'i, as Alaska has close ties to both that reach far beyond lines of transportation. Even further out past our Pacific Ocean compatriots and our Canadian neighbors to the east, Alaska's reach extends to India and Singapore. Enjoy this issue that explores many of Alaska's far-flung business dealings.
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