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GCI Sets 1-Gig Plan

GCI will consult the Google Fiber playbook as the largest service provider in Alaska prepares to introduce a fiber-fed 1 Gbps broadband service in Anchorage by 2015.

Similar to Google Fiber’s “Fiber Rally” deployment approach, GCI’s proposed 1-Gig service, to be called fiber re:D, will be rolled out on a demand-driven basis. GCI has set up a Web-based form where Anchorage-area consumers can sign up and tell the provider that they indeed want 1-Gig service.

“The neighborhood with the most applicants will be the first to get 1 gig speeds,” GCI’s fiber re:D FAQ explains, noting that the company will send “periodic messages” to update neighborhood demand rankings. GCI has also posted a map showing how it will break down and evaluate customer interest on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.

“Last January, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a national challenge to make gigabit Internet service speeds available in every state by 2015. GCI will meet that challenge by deploying one gigabit service in Anchorage by 2015,” said Ron Duncan, GCI president and CEO, in a statement. Duncan’s comments are in reference to the  “Gigabit City Challenge” announced by former FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

Ahead of its 1-Gig plan, GCI said it is amping up the downstream speeds of its currently available “premier re:D broadband” tier from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps, while also reducing the price of the service by 12.5%. GCI said it the boost was the first in a series of anticipated free re:D speed increases.

GCI ended the third quarter with 114,800 cable modem subscribers and 118,400 basic video customers.