Connecting Rural Alaska: Intelsat Expands Capacity for GCI
Alaska’s geography and dispersed population presents unique challenges for broadband connectivity services. According to the Blueprint for Alaska’s Broadband Future, “the vast distances that separate Alaskan communities — and the lack of a road system in parts of the state to physically connect villages with the metropolitan areas of Anchorage and Fairbanks — offer ever-present challenges, particularly to the delivery of healthcare and education services. Therefore, telemedicine and distance learning are perhaps more critical in Alaska than anywhere else in the United States, especially during the winter months when harsh weather can make air travel dangerous.”
Last week, Intelsat announced a substantial new agreement with GCI, Alaska’s largest telecommunications company. It will immediately quadruple the size and speed of the broadband network in rural Alaska and establish GCI as the state’s leader in rural connectivity.
This partnership represents a significant evolution in broadband service for customers. Connectivity is enabled by an unrivalled 14 Gbps tri-band (C, Ku, and Ka) network and leverages coverage provided by three of Intelsat’s high throughput satellites. The network supports broadband service, optimized for remote connectivity, emergency services, and enterprise network connectivity, and blankets the entire state of Alaska. GCI will rely on Intelsat’s Flex Enterprise and AgileCore PaaS fully managed solutions. These will allow GCI to quickly bring services to market without the need to invest in additional ground infrastructure and they will provide extremely high-speed connectivity for end customers.
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, for years to come. The partnership with Intelsat provides GCI and its customers with an immediate solution that addresses capacity needs today and gives them the ability to integrate future technologies like LEOs in the future.
“Our relationship with Intelsat 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. GCI intends to remain the leader in connectivity in rural Alaska. Our Intelsat partnership is part of a much broader rural connectivity strategy that includes our AU-Aleutians Fiber Project.”
“Only Intelsat can offer this extensive satellite infrastructure capability and service performance for Alaska,” said Intelsat Chief Executive Officer Stephen Spengler. “We are proud to be partnered with GCI for their critical service mission in Alaska. We are committed to providing them with the best in service, speed, and connectivity for their customers.”
Today, Intelsat operates the world’s largest and most trusted integrated space and terrestrial network, delivering about 1,500 terabytes of carrier-grade data per day to over 800,000 terminals on earth. In a continual technology refresh, Intelsat is investing in the industry’s most advanced software-defined satellites and creating the world’s largest network of networks. To fully leverage the capabilities of highly flexible, software-defined satellites, Intelsat is deploying a 5G-enabled network, providing seamless compatibility with the terrestrial broadband ecosystem and public and private cloud systems. With follow-me beams and dynamic capacity allocation capabilities, the network will continuously respond to changing usage patterns. With backwards compatibility and future-proofed design, the Intelsat network is the platform of choice today and into the future.
To learn more about Intelsat’s solutions for ISP, MNOs and Telcos, visit: www.intelsat.com/solutions/isps-mnos-telcos/, and for product information on Intelsat’s AgileCore PaaS, visit www.intelsat.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/agile-core-paas-product-sheet.pdf.
To learn more about GCI’s solutions, visit https://www.gci.com/.