ACS to bring 4G LTE to Alaska

Alaska Communications has announced its intent to be the first to bring a 4G LTE network into Alaska. The upcoming network will be able to reach speeds up to 10 times faster than current 3G wireless networks.

ACS intends to invest a total of $32 million in building the necessary backhaul infrastructure and making the services consistent with its current coverage footprint. The company states it intends to fund the investment largely through cash from operations and existing cash reserves.

ACS spokeswoman Heather Cavanaugh said the telecommunications company is going the 4G route to build on its technological leadership, as it was the first to launch high-speed wireless broadband in Alaska in 2005 with CDMA Evolution-Data Optimized. She said that 4G is the next logical phase for the company.

“4G is the wireless standard of the future,” she said.

She said LTE (Long Term Evolution) was selected because it’s the fastest 4G option.

The question now remains when and where in Alaska the system will be administered. Cavanaugh said the company will be making announcements about specific timing and markets in the coming months. The company expects to turn on the service in a phased manner.

“We will provide our services consistent with out current wireless footprint,” she said. “Where you enjoy 3G service today we plan to bring 4G LTE to those areas as well.” Juneau is currently in ACS’ 3G coverage area.

Cavanaugh said using the system will require a 4G compatible phone. She said ACS is already working on ways to make it easier for people to upgrade.

In a release, ACS Senior Vice President of Technology Services Mike Todd said, “4G LTE is the wireless standard of the future, and our build plans represent the same commitment to performance, quality and reliability for which we have long been recognized. Customers can expect a faster and more personal experience with their mobile devices on Alaska Communications’ 4G LTE network.”

“For business customers, it means extending your office to your mobile device while on the road. For consumers, it means sharing life’s most precious moments faster and in higher-definition or experiencing gaming like you’ve never experienced it before,” he said.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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