General Communication, Inc. (GCI) (NASDAQ:GNCMA) will upgrade its networks in rural Alaska. These upgrades will support increasing demand for terrestrial broadband service and substantially improve mobile wireless service in numerous rural communities.
First, GCI will increase the backbone capacity of TERRA, its terrestrial broadband network, from Levelock to Bethel by deploying new microwave radio technology. Second, GCI will deploy 3G wireless data service in 28 rural Alaska communities.
Upgrade work began on June 8 and is expected to continue throughout the summer.
“The TERRA and 3G upgrades confirm GC’’s ongoing commitment to rural Alaska,” said Greg Chapados, GCI’s executive vice president. “The upgrades will fortify the TERRA backbone, increase network efficiency and enable faster Internet speeds for wireless customers. Access to up-to-date communications technology increases opportunity for rural Alaska residents and businesses.”
The TERRA upgrade is expected to be complete by June 19. During the upgrade, GCI Internet customers on the TERRA backbone from Levelock to Kotzebue may notice some slowdown in upload and download speeds.
As a courtesy, GCI customers in the affected communities will be mailed a voucher for $25 off their monthly bill. Mobile wireless voice and data services should not be affected during the TERRA upgrade.
The 3G upgrade is supported by an award from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called Tribal Mobility Fund Phase 1. As part of the award, GCI will deploy 3G and 4G wireless services to a total of 48 rural Alaska communities by 2018.