GCI Speeds Up Cell Service in Kodiak

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

GCI cell phone subscribers in Kodiak will see some improvements in their service. Local system manager, John Burnett, says GCI just unveiled its upgrade to 4G LTE, which it began roughly a year ago.

He says it’s a software change that allows for higher speeds and it will have two major impacts.

“The first part of that is just additional coverage area. The new LTE, what we call quad panel antennas, put out more than twice the power as the old ones did. So, that’s significant right there. There’s a bigger coverage area. The other part of that is we’ve added two new towers. We had five, now we have seven.”

He says one tower is on Near Island, which provides coverage farther out in the water, and GCI is about to put up a new tower on Bartell Street, which will cover its last known area of marginal service. He says the permitting for that step was completed a little more than a week ago.

Burnett also says the new service will boost download speeds.

“With 3G, four of five megabytes was pretty common. Today, I did a test over on Near Island, and I got 45 megabytes. It’s comparable to a cable modem essentially in your cell phone. It’s super-fast.”

He says the transition should be relatively free of incident.

“Some of us that had LTE phones got to essentially test drive it for several months. We had some customers who were giving us some input who were put on it, then gradually we put more and more people on it. And then, eventually, after all the bugs were worked out, then we’re at where we are today, which is it appears to be running really well.”

GCI held an appreciation barbecue Sunday to celebrate the new service.

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