Ericsson has been selected by GCI, Alaska’s largest telecommunications company, to build the nation’s northernmost 5G network in Anchorage, Alaska – scheduled to launch in 2020. This marks Ericsson’s 22nd publicly announced 5G contract.
As part of the announcement, GCI will deploy Ericsson’s 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software to 82 macro cell sites across the Municipality of Anchorage. Those sites will be supported by backhaul services provided by GCI’s metro fiber network.
Ron Duncan, CEO, GCI, says: “We are committed to providing superior 5G wireless service to the residents of Anchorage just as we already provide the fastest internet service. We are bringing all our assets – fiber, spectrum, wireless footprint, Alaska expertise – to bear on that commitment. The combination of our assets and Ericsson’s industry-leading 5G solution will increase the capacity of our Anchorage wireless network by 10 times or more and also provide better coverage. All of our customers will benefit from this increase in capacity.”
Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, says: “Ericsson and GCI have partnered over the past decade to connect customers in some of the most remote communities in Alaska. We are pleased to continue working with GCI to bring 5G service to Alaska’s biggest city. The introduction of 5G will create a powerful platform for innovation. Using 5G, new use cases benefitting society, consumers and enterprises, will be created. Consumers will benefit from a premium experience with faster speeds and better coverage, while new wireless functionality will accelerate applications for the oil and gas, mining and healthcare industry across Alaska.”
GCI’s 5G deployment will support local government efforts to grow the northernmost smart city in the US. The Municipality of Anchorage already uses a “light grid” to improve efficiency for municipal street lights and is exploring programs that rely on automated systems and connectivity to deliver services more efficiently to residents. The project will be completed in 2020 with GCI’s initial 5G service coming online in the first half of the year.