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GCI Expands LTE Footprint in Southwest and the Seward Peninsula

Jul 16, 2021 | News, Telecom & Tech

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With upgrades recently completed on four Southwest Alaska wireless sites, GCI has expanded its LTE footprint in the region. These newly upgraded sites bring improved voice service, faster mobile data speeds, and more wireless capacity to GCI customers throughout Dillingham and Aleknagik.

In the next phase of GCI’s LTE expansion in Southwest Alaska, the company plans to bring faster mobile speeds to Manokotak and Clark’s Point in the coming months.

“We are delighted to expand GCI’s LTE wireless service in Dillingham and bring it, for the first time, to Aleknagik. These network improvements are already making a difference in one of our state’s most important economic hubs,” says Juliana Wayman, senior director of GCI Regulatory Affairs. “Expanding access to LTE wireless service in the Bristol Bay region is a shining example of GCI’s continued commitment to rural Alaska and to closing the digital divide throughout the state.”

In addition, GCI LTE wireless service has made it to Alaska’s Seward Peninsula! The company recently brought its first LTE-capable tower on air in Nome and plans to upgrade two more towers in the community in the coming months. Once the project is complete, GCI mobile customers across much of the city will have access to improved voice service, faster mobile data speeds, and more wireless capacity.

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Alaska Business September 2021 Cover

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GCI’s LTE upgrades in Nome are made possible, in part, by its partnership with Quintillion to use the company’s undersea fiber optic cable. As a result, GCI customers will benefit from a reliable, diverse ring of protected terrestrial service.

“The launch of fiber-served LTE wireless service in Nome is a big deal. Coupled with the launch of GCI’s 1 gig internet speeds in the community in the coming months, that means our customers in this remote Alaska town will have an internet and wireless experience that’s as good, or better, than what most people in the Lower 48 can get,” says Wayman.

These upgrades are part of an effort to improve connectivity in 17 rural Alaska communities through GCI’s 2021 Alaska Plan buildout. Federal funding from the Alaska Plan helps GCI invest in the technology and infrastructure necessary to connect some of the smallest and most remote communities in the nation.

“As we’ve all experienced in the past year, access to reliable connectivity is more important than ever, especially for those who live in rural Alaska,” Wayman said. “Through GCI’s Alaska Plan projects, more Alaskans can stay connected in their homes and on-the-go with wireless devices. Better connectivity means more opportunities for small businesses, access to healthcare and education, and more ways to keep in touch with friends and family.”

The Alaska Plan, adopted by the FCC in August 2016, provides federal funds to Alaska’s telecommunications providers in order to support investment in rural wireless and internet service upgrades. Federal funding helps make rural investment and maintenance possible in extremely remote, costly and difficult-to-serve communities. GCI, along with other Alaska providers, receives a portion of Alaska Plan funding each year.

For more information about GCI’s Alaska Plan investment, visit: www.gci.com/about/alaska-plan.

Alaska Business Magazine September 2021 Cover

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Fifty years ago, as the Watergate scandal swirled around then-President Richard Nixon, he signed into law the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). It was the largest land claims settlement in the nation’s history and a stark departure from agreements forced on Tribes in the Lower 48.

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