Alaska's GCI to Build Gigabit Network for Anchorage, Alaska

By Gary Kim December 20, 2013

GCI has announced plans to deploy Alaska's gigabit Internet access service, called “fiber re:D,” in Anchorage by 2015. "As part of the move to a gigabit in Anchorage, we will also substantially enhance our existing premier re:D broadband service in Anchorage,” said Ron Duncan, GCI president and CEO.

Effective immediately, GCI is doubling its re:D download speeds from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps and reducing the price of re:D by 12.5 percent.

GCI credits the upgrade to a Federal Communications Commission challenge to make gigabit Internet service speeds available in every state by 2015. 

Rarely do such pronouncements spur actual investment unless ISPs see either revenue upside, competitive advantages or threats from other ISPs.

So most observers would credit Google Fiber with pushing ISPs into activity, despite a handful of efforts by other providers and would-be providers.

The most significant move is by AT&T, which will build gigabit networks in Austin, Texas, and seems convinced similar builds are feasible in other cities with characteristics like Austin's area.

Independent ISP Sonic.net, for example, offers 1 Gbps for $69.95 in Sebastopol, Calif.

Gigabit Squared has been trying to build a gigabit network in some neighborhoods in Seattle, Wash., but seems to be having trouble raising the investment capital. And a few municipal access networks that have been offering gigabit access, such as EPB Fiber Optics in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently dropped prices from the previous level of $300 a month down to the Google Fiber level of $70 a month.

Wicked Broadband in Lawrence, Kan., which is close to Google Fiber in Kansas City, Kan., also says it plans to offer 1 gigabit service as well. Other ISPs also are planning to build gigabit networks at various locations throughout the United States, including CenturyLink and C Spire Wireless.

Also, there is movement on the “high end,” especially for university communities. The Federal Communications Commission wants to encourage creation of gigabit cities in every U.S. state, by 2015. That effort is better described as “gigabit communities,” built around “anchor institutions,” not full “cities.”

But a reasonable person might doubt whether the escalating tempo of gigabit access network builds would have happened if not for Google Fiber. 




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing Editor

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