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GCI Spools Up 250-Meg Broadband Upgrade

Alaska-based operator GCI has rolled out a free upgrade for a its “re:D” broadband service that doubles uploads to 10 Mbps and increases the downstream side to 250 Mbps, or 25%, in several markets, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, Mat-Su Valley, and Sitka.

The latest round of upgrades follows one in May 2014, when GCI doubled its max downstream speed to 200 Mbps. Areas that are on the 200 Mbps version of re:D will be bumped to 250 Mbps by the end of the year.

GCI prices its re:D tier at $174.99 per month when bundled with other services or $184.99 per month as a stand-alone, with a two-year agreement. Both are $5 more per month without a term agreement.

The DOCSIS 3.0-powered service is currently being fed by a system that can bond 24 downstream channels in most locations, but the MSO is looking to move to 32 bonded channels, according to GCI senior director of marketing Shahid Butt. GCI has been delivering D3.0 services with modems that can bond eight downstream channels but is starting to move to products that can bond up to 24 channels, he said in an email.

GCI announced late last year that it would offer a 1 Gbps broadband service in Anchorage by 2015. Similar to the demand-driven approach favored by Google Fiber, GCI will also target its coming 1-Gig service, to be called fiber re:D, in areas where it’s getting the most interest.

GCI ended the second quarter with 115,600 residential cable modem subscribers, and 14,200 business-level cable modem subs.