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GCI sees slight revenue bump after adding broadband, wireless customers in 2023

GCI saw its overall revenue increase 1 percent during 2023 after making sizable investments in expanding its land-based fiber broadband services and adding new business customers.

On Friday, GCI parent company Liberty Broadband said the Alaskan telecom added 2,500 cable modem subscribers during the year, a figure that included the rollover of 1,100 business subscribers who are now counted toward the company’s overall consumer installs.

Revenue associated with GCI’s consumer-based businesses fell 2 percent on a year-over basis to $468 million, while business-to-business revenue increased 5 percent to $513 million.

“GCI produced another year of solid financial results and continues to expand and upgrade its fiber network across Alaska,” a spokesperson for Liberty Broadband said in a statement on Friday.

That expansion includes delivering 2.5 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) Internet speeds to remote parts of the Aleutian Islands, a massive undertaking known within teh company as the Aleutians Fiber Project. The $100 million project has already connected an additional 4,800 Alaskans living on the island chain to fiber-based broadband Internet service in 2023 alone.

“Building out fiber to Unalaska was an extremely ambitious idea and figuring out how to best connect such a remote island community was a challenge,” Heather Handyside, the Chief Communications Officer at GCI, said in a statement last December. “One thing was abundantly clear: the residents of Unalaska needed and deserved better. Now, fiber optic-connectivity has come to Unalaska, where residents are getting the same speed, data and pricing that we offer to our Anchorage customers.”

A GCI technician works on equipment associated with the company's high speed data network. (Courtesy photo)
A GCI technician works on equipment associated with the company’s high speed data network. (Courtesy photo)

Plans are already under way to connect even more Alaskan residents to GCI’s fiber broadband service, with construction crews nearly finished with a build-out in Akutan. Once the project is complete, nearly 1,600 community members there will enjoy the same fast broadband speeds as residents of more-urban areas, GCI said.

“We are right on track in Akutan and that’s a testament to our great crews on the ground doing the work,” Jerry Walker, a project manager at GCI, said last month. “With every community that we connect to our services we are getting closer and closer to closing the digital divide and this year is going to be a big one as we near the completion of phase one of the Aleutians Fiber Project.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture kicked in around $27.5 million in funding for the overall project, which helps keep Liberty Broadband’s operational expenses. Last year, GCI spent $216 million improving its land-based and wireless networks in rural Alaska, a figure that likely would have been higher if Liberty Broadband had not received the grant money.

This year, Liberty Broadband says GCI is expected to spend another $200 million “related to additional high-returning investments in middle and last mile connectivity, with continued network expansion in GCI’s most important markets in rural Alaska including the Bethel and AU-Aleutians fiber projects,” according to a statement in an earnings report released on Friday.

GCI’s wireless business also improved in 2023, with the company adding more than 6,000 wireless lines during the year. Revenue attributed to GCI Wireless was around $283 million when accounting for both consumer and business-to-business subscribers, up 14 percent from the $246 million reported in 2022.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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