Advanced Television

Intelsat wins $150m Alaskan contract

September 9, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Alaskan service provider GCI has signed a $150 million contract with Intelsat to expand telecoms capacity in rural areas of the US state.

GCI is already very experienced in providing satellite-based services. It has delivered geosynchronous (GEO) satellite-based connectivity for 35 years to provide data, video and voice services in the state. The new deal not only provides GCI with continued access to C-band and Ku-band capacity, which is already part of GCI’s satellite service portfolio, but it also provides new access to statewide Ka-band capacity.

Intelsat says it will supply a multi-satellite solution over a new and enhanced managed earth station platform and a tri-band (C, Ku and Ka) network that will cover the entire state of Alaska.

GCI CEO Ron Duncan said in a statement, “Some people have expressed concern that Alaska is running out of GEO satellite capacity — well, that’s no longer an issue. This deal will nearly quadruple our available capacity. GCI intends to remain the leader in connectivity in rural Alaska. The Intelsat partnership is part of a much broader rural connectivity strategy that includes our AU-Aleutians Fiber Project.”

GCI uses satellite to help it meet the growing demands of rural customers including native tribal health care providers, school districts, government agencies and businesses.

“What sets GCI’s satellite service apart is that we manage the network from end to end, combining Intelsat’s satellite capacity with GCI’s satellite engineering and remote logistics know-how,” said GCI SVP/Corporate Development Billy Wailand.

GCI says it has also been actively engaged in talks with Low Earth Orbiting satellite providers including SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat. Ottawa-based Telesat has its own geostationary satellites serving Canada and beyond, and is developing ‘Lightspeed’, its own LEO system

“We are confident that LEOs will become an important part of GCI’s toolkit over time,” said Wailand. “But before we begin encouraging some of our customers to consider a move to LEO satellites, we need to be confident in their performance and ability to meet our customers’ current and future demands. Our partnership with Intelsat provides GCI and our customers with an immediate solution that addresses capacity needs today, as well as the ability to integrate future technologies like LEOs when they become ready.”

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