Backup Power for Your Home Telephone Service

GCI cares about your safety and wants you to understand how your home telephone service will work in the event of a power outage. 


Service Limitations

All telephone service depends on electricity.  If an electrical outage affects your home, your GCI home telephone service will not work—even to call 911—unless you have a source of backup power.  That’s why GCI’s home telephone service is built to provide at least 10 hours of standby backup power.  Your telephone service will switch to battery power automatically if it is unplugged from the wall outlet or in the event of a power outage.


Your GCI home telephone service comes with backup power, and there is no additional charge to you for the backup power solution.  However, not all telephones will work during a power outage.  You must have a telephone that does not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet in order for it to work during a power outage.  Typically, these telephones are simple devices with few or no features beyond placing and receiving calls.  Cordless phones, for example, generally will not work during a power outage because the base station that communicates with the handset relies on power from the wall outlet and cannot be powered by your GCI home telephone service backup power.


The backup power for your home telephone service will allow you to make and receive voice calls but will not power other services.  Services including but not limited to home security, medical monitoring devices, or other similar services and equipment will not be powered by the backup power source, and therefore, will not be functional during a power outage unless you have an independent source of backup power for these other services. 


Subscriber Backup Power Self-Testing

It is important to periodically check to make sure the battery in your equipment is in good working condition.  The equipment in your home that GCI uses to provide phone service is made by Arris and has a battery light that indicates whether the battery for your home telephone service is charged and working properly. 


  • Green battery light:  indicates that the battery for your GCI home telephone service is in place and working properly. 
  • Amber battery light:  indicates there is an issue with your battery.  During a power outage, the battery light will change from green to amber when the battery is nearing the end of its charge or is no longer of use.  After a power outage, the light will remain amber until the battery has been recharged.  An amber light may also indicate that the battery is no longer in good condition and needs to be replaced.  If your battery light is amber and your commercial power service is on and the unit is plugged into a working wall outlet, please call GCI customer service to schedule a service call so a technician can troubleshoot the issue with the battery.  

Expected Backup Power Duration

GCI’s home telephone service comes with a battery that is designed to hold a charge for at least 10 hours in standby mode (meaning ready to receive and place phone calls) and to provide at least 4 hours of talk time if used and stored properly.  You should leave the unit plugged into a wall outlet so the battery remains fully charged and ready to power the phone in the event of a power outage. 


A number of factors may affect the amount of standby time and talk time you actually experience.  For example, exposure to very hot or very cold temperatures and frequent power outages can reduce the amount of standby time and talk time your battery can provide.  Talk time drains the battery faster than standby mode, so whenever possible you should minimize the amount of time you talk on the telephone during a power outage to lengthen the overall amount of time that the telephone service will operate. 


Please contact GCI customer service at the number below if you would like to purchase additional batteries which, if rotated in your telephone service equipment regularly, could extend the duration of backup power.  The current price for each additional spare battery is approximately $25.00.  There is no separate charge for the battery that came with your GCI telephone equipment and necessary replacement batteries. 


Purchase and Replacement Information

We keep records on how old your battery is and will mail you a replacement free of charge with directions for installation when it is time to replace your battery.  The battery should last for 7 years of use, although the battery may not last as long if it is frequently drained below full charge due to many power outages or other problems keeping it charged.  As explained above, if the indicator lights on your telephone equipment show that your battery is not working properly, please call GCI customer service.     


Proper Usage and Storage Conditions

If the battery that comes with your home telephone service is not being used in a device, it should be stored below 77 degrees Fahrenheit and has an expected shelf life of 16 months.  In general, you should keep your battery in your telephone service equipment and keep the equipment plugged into a working wall outlet so the battery remains fully charged and ready to power the phone in case of a power outage. 


Customer Responsibilities

As a customer, you are responsible for ensuring that you have installed and appropriately maintained backup power in the event of a power outage.  GCI will not be responsible for your telephone not working during a power outage.  You should, at minimum, take these steps:


  • Ensure that any backup power source is correctly installed.  

  • Periodically check the indicators on your backup power source to ensure that it is properly charged and functioning.

  • Properly store your backup power source, not subject it to rough handling or excessive temperatures or otherwise subject it to abuse. 

  • If you purchase a backup power source, ensure that it is compatible with GCI’s service.  

  • Use backup power sources judiciously during a power outage, remaining aware of factors that may shorten the lifespan of the backup source. 

If you have additional questions about backup power or wish to purchase additional batteries, you may contact GCI customer service at 1-800-800-4800.


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