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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.”

 

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Scott
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Scott

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… Read more »

cpound907
Member
cpound907

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,… Read more »

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