GCI Inks $150 Million Partnership with Intelsat

(Image credit: Intelsat)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Alaska’s largest telco, GCI has announced a $150 million partnership with satellite service provider Intelsat that will dramatically expand GCI's geosynchronous (GEO) satellite capacity to meet growing demand for communications services in rural communities across Alaska. 

The deal provides GCI continued access to C-band and Ku-band capacity, which is already part of GCI's satellite service portfolio and provides new access to statewide Ka-band capacity, the company reported. 

"Today's announcement is another example of GCI's continued commitment to our rural customers and our willingness to make the investment necessary to serve small, remote communities across the state," said GCI CEO Ron Duncan. "Some people have expressed concern that Alaska is running out of GEO satellite capacity — well, that's no longer an issue. This deal will nearly quadruple our available capacity. GCI intends to remain the leader in connectivity in rural Alaska. The Intelsat partnership is part of a much broader rural connectivity strategy that includes our AU-Aleutians Fiber Project." 

GCI has delivered satellite-based connectivity for 35 years and has the largest footprint of satellite-delivered data, video and voice services in the state. The new, long-term deal ensures GCI will meet the growing demands of rural customers including regional tribal health care providers, school districts, government agencies, and businesses.

"What sets GCI's satellite service apart is that we manage the network from end to end, combining Intelsat's satellite capacity with GCI's satellite engineering and remote logistics know-how," said GCI senior vice president of corporate development Billy Wailand. "That approach enables us to be responsive to our customers and their evolving needs, delivering a high-value service and a quality user experience for our customers. Our networks are resilient, safe, secure and reliable."

GCI has been actively engaged in talks with low earth orbit (LEO) providers including SpaceX, OneWeb, and Telesat, the telco reported. 

"We are confident that LEOs will become an important part of GCI's toolkit over time," said Wailand. "But before we begin encouraging some of our customers to consider a move to LEO satellites, we need to be confident in their performance and ability to meet our customers' current and future demands. Our partnership with Intelsat provides GCI and our customers with an immediate solution that addresses capacity needs today, as well as the ability to integrate future technologies like LEOs when they become ready."

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.