The largest telecommunications firm in Alaska has partnered with Ericsson to deliver 5G services in Anchorage.
The 5G network will support local government efforts to grow the nation's northernmost smart city. The Municipality of Anchorage already uses a "light grid" to improve efficiency for municipal street lights and is exploring programmes that rely on automated systems and connectivity to deliver services more efficiently to residents.
"Smart city technology enables the Municipality to deliver services like transit and power more efficiently, reducing costs and improving the lives of our residents," said Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. "GCI's investment in a faster urban wireless network helps Anchorage remain competitive and helps us retain and attract business and talent."
GCI is integrating its fiber network and radio spectrum with Ericsson's 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio hardware and software.
Some 82 macro cell sites across the municipality of Anchorage from Girdwood to Eklutna will be built to provide the 5G services. Integrating the two solutions will expand the capacity of GCI's network by ten times.
The project will be completed in 2020 with initial 5G services coming online in the first half of the year.
"We are committed to providing superior 5G wireless service to the residents of Anchorage just as we already provide the fastest internet service," said GCI CEO Ron Duncan.
GCI's robust metro fiber network and cable plant already offers 1 GIG cable modem service to 95% of Anchorage households.