Ambitious GCI projects improve customer connections across Alaska

January 19, 2018

Faster wireless service and more reliable internet are game-changers for small rural communities

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to keep all Alaskans connected, GCI, Alaska’s largest telecommunications and technology company, has completed several local upgrades in recent weeks that are bringing faster wireless speeds and more reliable internet service to some of Alaska’s smallest and most remote communities.

“To deliver service successfully across Alaska, you have to be willing to use every tool in your toolkit—and you need a pretty big toolkit,” said Heather Handyside, senior director of corporate communications for GCI. “Alaska’s tough terrain, vast distances and heavily regulated land require our team to be creative when we upgrade our networks. That’s why we are using combination of fiber, microwave and satellites to deliver these improved services to our customers.”

In some communities, the upgrades mean faster and more reliable internet service. In December, GCI’s internet upgrade nearly quadrupled speeds for customers in Savoonga and Gambell.

The recent upgrades in Buckland, St. Michael, Noorvik, Kiana, Elim, Koyuk, Shungnak and Utqiagvik means that GCI wireless customers in those communities can watch movies and stream music on their handheld devices and use their favorite social media apps like Facebook and Snapchat.

“Some providers consider these communities too small or too remote to make an investment,” said Handyside. “But we know connectivity is critical for these communities to grow and thrive. That’s why GCI is always searching for innovative ways to deliver service to our customers and that’s why we continue make the investments necessary to build, maintain and upgrade our networks.” 

The wireless upgrades in Buckland, St. Michael, Noorvik, Kiana, Elim, Koyuk, Shungnak and Utqiagvik mark the latest milestones in GCI’s commitment to increase its wireless footprint across Alaska and provide improved service for customer statewide. Since 2014, GCI has invested more than $150 million in its wireless network which serves more than 240 communities. GCI’s wireless network is the largest in Alaska, with more than 97 percent of Alaskans living within GCI’s wireless footprint.  Many of these upgrades are supported by GCI’s TERRA – or Terrestrial for Every Rural Region in Alaska – network, a massive $300 million infrastructure project serving 45,000 Alaskans in 84 rural communities.

GCI plans to roll out wireless service and internet upgrades in many other rural Alaska communities in the coming months.

About GCI

GCI is the largest telecommunications and technology company in Alaska, providing data, wireless, video, voice and managed services to consumer and business customers for nearly 40 years. Headquartered in Anchorage with a growing list of regional offices and customers across the nation, GCI has delivered innovative services and solutions to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. Learn more about GCI at

Media Contact

Heather Handyside