Hometown 5G, in conjunction with GCI and Ericsson, has kept 2019’s promise by delivering 5G service to Alaska in spring 2020. Telecompetitor reports this venture will make this the northernmost advance for 5G services.
“Our Hometown 5G project is introducing standards-based 5G NR technology to Alaska,” said GCI CEO and co-founder, Ron Duncan. “5G is a fundamental enabling technology. As it matures, 5G will support innovative consumer and business applications, including IoT (internet of things), smart cities, connected vehicles, and eHealth.”
Hometown says it has essentially created a new network, upgrading its wireless core and combining GCI’s radio spectrum and fiber capabilities to boost communication speed by more than five times its current rate. “This increase in wireless speeds and coverage comes at a time when data connectivity is more important than ever,” confirmed Duncan. “I want to emphasize that this increase will also benefit our LTE customers, not just users of 5G handsets. This is a win for all GCI wireless customers and for all of Anchorage.”
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz noted the increased communications abilities couldn’t come at a better time. “The COVID-19 pandemic brings home how critical high-quality, high-speed communication is for our businesses and our families,” he added.
GCI prides itself on the work it has done bringing broadband services to Alaska and employing over 2,000 Alaskans in the process. Rob Johnson, Head of Customer Unit Regional Carriers for Ericsson North America, lauded his company’s participation, saying, “Ericsson and GCI have had a long-standing partnership to connect customers in some of the most remote communities in Alaska, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with GCI to turn the Last Frontier into the First Frontier with 5G.”