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GCI’s Stingy Caps About to Get a Boost

Phillip Dampier July 25, 2016 Broadband Speed, Competition, Consumer News, Data Caps, GCI (Alaska) 2 Comments

gciBroadband life in Alaska is usually a choice (if you live in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau, or another significantly sized city) between usage-capped cable operator GCI or slow-speed DSL (if you can get it) from Alaska’s two telephone companies – ACS, where unlimited service is still available, or MTA, where a 10Mbps Internet plan starts at $50 and offers up to 50GB of usage a month.

GCI has traditionally been the fastest option, but the company’s usage caps and high prices have brought scores of complaints from customers over the years. A basic 10/1Mbps internet plan costs $59.99 a month and only includes 40GB of usage. Many Alaskans who want faster access with a more reasonable allowance have to spend $84.99 a month for 50/3Mbps access to get a 150GB usage allowance or $134.99 for 100/5Mbps service with 300GB of included usage.

Late last week, GCI announced it was boosting the usage allowance for just one of its plans, the premium-priced, limited availability 1,000/50Mbps plan ($174.99), which until recently included a 750GB usage allowance. The new usage allowance is 1TB (1,000GB).

“In today’s connected society, people are demanding more and more access to data at incredibly fast speeds,” said Paul Landes, GCI’s senior vice president/general manager of consumer services. “GCI is proud to have a product that keeps our customers connected in ways people in Boston and LA can’t even receive. Even better, we are able to provide these upgrades at no additional cost to our loyal customers.”

Alaskans face high prices for internet access from GCI, the state's largest cable company.

Alaskans face high prices for internet access from GCI, the state’s largest cable company.

Gigabit customers like Stop the Cap! reader Dave Langhorn certainly hoped so.

“This is long overdue,” said Langhorn. “For $175 a month, there shouldn’t be any data caps, considering unlimited gigabit plans in the lower-48 often sell for $70-80 a month, which is less than half what we pay and still get capped.”

Our reader Michael Horton is incensed that GCI managed a usage allowance boost for its most premium internet plan, while leaving everyone else with the same old service.

“We shouldn’t be allowing any ISPs to restrict usage on their networks,” said Horton. “You should be paying for the speed that you use and nothing more.”

Horton considers data caps anachronistic at a time when the digital economy is moving towards online distribution of products and services like movies, games, software, and other digital products. Even Windows 10 has been more often installed from a download than from physical media.

GCI has promised to address at least one of Horton’s concerns, stating they are planning speed boosts and allowance upgrades for all of their internet plans at an unspecified time later this year.

GCI says the allowance boost comes in response to customer requests from surveys and “listening sessions.”

Horton and Langhorn both believe that those voices would be heard much louder if GCI had more significant competition.

“ACS is the only alternative if you want unreliable speed,” Horton writes.”They don’t have bandwidth caps, but you will be unable to use their service efficiently if you are a gamer or watch Netflix a lot.”


Currently there are 2 comments on this Article:

  1. Scott says:

    ACS’s speeds are more reliable than GCI’s, the difference being if you pay for 10mbit or more you get what you pay for with ACS. It is DSL however so results are going to vary depending on location and line quality until they finish building out the fiber runs further into neighborhoods.

    With GCI, when it’s prime time or basically anytime before 3am – 6am, the lines are congested with other peoples traffic and downloads cutting your overall speed back down.

    The only positive I’ll give GCI has been they’ve always had better latency if you’re a gamer, and the 50Mbit plans do offer solid bandwidth for streaming – except you can’t stream much of anything or you’ll quickly run over your cap so that’s not much of a benefit.

  2. cpound907 says:

    This crucifixion of GCI is just petty and downright unfounded. Ive been a lifelong resident of Alaska and I am currently a customer of GCIs, and let me tell you: if your lucky enough to be inside GCIs serviceable area then you have without a doubt the best option around when it comes to speed, reliability, fairness, customer service and of course PRICE!

    The plans GCI have here in 2017 are second to none compared to the competition, and their highest plan the 1GIG RED costs 174.99 a month for 1GIGabit/second speeds for up to a TERABYTE of data download, and once you hit the 1Terabyte guess what??? All that happens is you get throttled down to 10Mbps INDEFINITELY for the remainder of the billing cycle!!

    Dont you understand?? Your literally getting UNLIMITED INTERNET with 1GIG speeds for the first TERABYTE then 10Mbps for the remainder of the month all for less than 200 bucks a month!! MTAs “unlimited” is a CONSTANT 10Mbps throughout the entire month and will cost a minimum of 240 dollars a month for their cheapest plan! Albeit 10Mbps isnt ideal speed for the majority of the month, but after youve used your TERABYTE at 1GIG speeds it is plenty enough to game, stream movies and music, surf the web and even download large files all at a decent pace; and that speed 10Mbps is what your getting from MTA the ENTIRE MONTH for their “unlimited” plans, all of them.

    With GCIs $175 plan you are by far getting the best bang for your buck! With fiber optic cables to your home connecting you to the world, an amazing customer service center on call 24/7, they are the best! Of course they dont have cables run throughout the entire state yet, as that would be a massive undertaking indeed, but they do have 1GIG available in Anchorage, Fairbanks, the Mat-Su Valley including Palmer, Wasilla, and some outreaching areas throughout and Juneau!!

    MTA runs though the phone lines and thus are available in the valley more wide-spread, but the phone lines are less reliable, less speedy and the latency can be less than desirable, and if for any reason the phone lines go out guess what? There goes your internet. With GCI, the weather will never have an affect on your internet, if the sloppy phone lines get ripped down by Alaskas extreme wind or snow, GCIs internet is still safe and sound, running smoothly and efficiently. So like I said, enough bashing GCI, if your not serviceable I truly feel bad for you, and if you are then enjoy the privilege of having an internet connection that truly rivals that of many lower 48 companies in terms of reliability, speed and yes even price. Get real ppl stop the hate on GCI theyve worked theyre asses off in this state building an amazing network that truly works brilliantly and most of all works for US, the Alaskan people.

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