While 1 Gbps speeds has emerged as the standard for high-quality, high-speed broadband, GCI, Alaska’s largest telecommunications company, plans to bring 2 Gbps speeds to more than three-quarters (77%) of the state’s residents in 2022, with 10 Gbps speeds planned within the next five years.
GCI launched what it calls 1 Gbps “red” service in Anchorage in 2015, quadrupling what had previously been the highest customer speeds. Now 77% of Alaskans live in GCI’s 1 Gbps service area. Those areas will be the first ones to receive the 2 Gbps speeds.
Among the communities included are Anchorage, Eagle River, Girdwood, Fairbanks, Fort Greely, Homer, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, North Pole, Palmer, Petersburg, Seward, Soldotna, Sitka, Valdez, Wasilla and Wrangell.
“When I started GCI more than 40 years ago, Alaska lagged far behind the rest of the nation in basic connectivity,” said GCI CEO Ron Duncan, in a prepared statement. “Today I’m pleased to announce that when upgrades are complete in 2022, Alaska will lead the nation in 2 gig speeds. And it will be our turn, once again, to wait for the rest of the country to catch up.”
In addition to the communities expected to receive 2 Gbps service next year, GCI announced that Nome, Unalaska, King Cove, Akutan, Sand Point, Chignik Bay aLarsen Bay and Kotzebue will receive 1 Gbps service by the end of this year as part of the company’s a AU-Aleutians Fiber Project.
“Nome, Kotzebue and communities in the Aleutians are among the most remote in the nation, but will soon have urban-level internet comparable to Anchorage, Chicago and Los Angeles,” said Duncan, in a prepared statement. “It’s another example of GCI’s commitment to closing the digital divide and turning the last frontier into the first frontier for connectivity.”
Other areas of Alaska are also getting connectivity speed boosts thanks to the USDA ReConnect program which recently awarded three grants totaling $11.3 million that will add Alaska FTTP-based projects.