Alaska Communications has agreed to sell their wireless assets and customers to GCI (General Communications Inc.) . Alaska seems so far away from us but it is an interesting study in what happens when the big wireless players come to town. Alaska Communications and GCI watched AT&T arrive several years ago with their purchase of the old Cellular One network and weren't too worried about it. But when they saw Verizon headed north to Alaska, and they were coming with a new broadband network, the locals decided to build up their defenses.
Alaska Communications and GCI teamed up to utilize their large coverage footprint to make it a superior broadband network. Within a very short time, the local owners had the makings of a great network leaving Verizon to assemble their network from the ground up with new infrastructure and roaming agreements.
Alaska Communications is turning over their wireless operations to GCI to focus on their land line operations, which, believe it or not, are growing. Since GCI now covers almost every populated spot in the state, they are Alaska's top dog and Verizon will be hard-pressed to catch up. As supporters of maximum coverage and minimum costs, we're cheering on GCI.
If citizen's of the 49th state show some loyalty, this GCI acquisition will be a great benefit to Alaskans. Sadly, this also means it will now be easier to package up the whole network and sell it to one of the Top 4, most likely AT&T, which has not been as aggressive in improving its Alaska network. For now, we'll enjoy our new northern exposure broadband connections. They arrived as a result of competition.