History

GCI

Since its founding thirty years ago, GCI (NASDAQ: GNCMA) has been dedicated to one thing—delivering great services to ALL the people of Alaska.

In 1979, two Alaskan entrepreneurs—Ron Duncan and Bob Walp—had the idea that competition in the state could lower customer costs, increase options, and spur investments. Three years later their fledgling company, GCI, made its first long-distance call over the company’s own network. In 1987, GCI became a publicly traded company. Since then its story has been one of robust growth as it has steadily delivered on its original mission to connect more Alaskans to each other and the outside world via phone service, cable television, Internet, distance education and tele-health services.

GCI is now Alaska's largest, home-grown, publicly traded company, employing more than 1,600 Alaskans and delivering service in over 200 Alaskan communities. Its network, the largest in Alaska, is composed of fiber-optic systems, satellites, and metropolitan area network facilities. That broadband platform is the only one of its kind in Alaska and allows the company to provide customized services to Alaska and the Lower 48, connecting many previously rural and underserved communities to new economic opportunities. In the past decade alone, GCI has invested more than $2 billion in Alaska's infrastructure.

SchoolAccess

A key milestone for GCI came in 1997, with the launch of the SchoolAccess program. Like the founding of the company itself, it was an innovative idea whose time had come: build out the GCI network to as many rural communities as possible, thereby giving previously disadvantaged students access to broadband and advanced communication tools so they could go on to compete successfully in an increasingly global economy. A year later, when the E-Rate program started, additional federal support for telecommunications and Internet services became available to schools and libraries, and demand for SchoolAccess services took off. In 2002 SchoolAccess launched distance learning services (DSL) to 85 Alaska schools and 4 years later hosted a video call that gave about 300 Alaska students the opportunity to interact with and learn from scientists with the NASA space shuttle program.

Now in its sixteenth year, GCI SchoolAccess has continued to innovate, offering an ever-expanding suite of communication technology and services even as GCI’s broadband network has continued to grow and the technical sophistication and education requirements of rural schools have dramatically increased. Most recently we restructured our services into three main categories—Connections, Essentials, and Cloud Services—all of which include full arrays of state-of-the-art, highly adaptable digital technologies that are custom-designed for today’s K-12 learning environment.

Learn more about GCI.

Historic Timeline

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  • "Our goals are never about the technology, but about instruction using technology in a variety of ways. GCI has been flexible and responsive enough to support our instructional integration as we have grown and changed as an organization."

    - John Concilus, Director of Educational Technology, Bering Strait School District