Review by McLovin
Good "Stable & fast connection, fastest available in Alaska."
- Location: Fairbanks,Fairbanks North Star,AK
- Cost: $280 per month
- Install: about 4 days
Bad "High cost compared to rest of country, low caps."
Overall "The only real option for internet worth anything in Alaska"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
Ordered the "Ultimate Package Plus" on 5/2/08, which includes the digital cable package (151 channels), VoIP phone (local and 500 long distance minutes), and 320Kbps/128Kbps internet. for $89.99
Upgraded the cable service to get the preferred service to add an additional 80 channels, plus the HD package and HBO premium HD package. Also added an HD DVR, which is required to add any HD package. Also upgraded internet connectivity to 10Mbps/1Mbps. Total in upgrades is roughly $105.00/mo.
I may scale the bandwidth back to 7Mbps/768Kbps later to save some money, but I have got some catching up to do on the internet!
They had to delay the install because they were out of stock on HD DVRs, and they wanted to wait to roll me on a new cable modem they are going to start using (DOCSIS 3?!? *crosses fingers*). Anyway, the install date is set up for Monday, 5/19/08. Customer service has been great. They offered me one free bill, and $20 off the following two bills for the inconvenience.
I will update on 5/19 after the install to advise of status and installation procedures. Along with pictures, potentially.
Install went OK. They were still missing the DVR, however they did get into the store that day, the tech just didn't have one with him as they had gotten in about an hour before the truck roll.
The only real thing I have against anything that went wrong, was that the installer was 2 hours late. Thus delaying the account creation until the next business day, sticking me at the lowest possible cable modem provision at 128Kbps/64Kbps. Needless to say I just went to bed early and didn't even bother.
Now that I have my nice HD DVR and the cable modem at 10Mbps/1Mbps. Speedtests show accurately...
File size transferred : 14.65 MB (15360000 bytes)
Total time taken : 12.27 seconds (12265 milliseconds)
Throughput : 1252.0 KB/sec [Kilobyte-per-second]
= 1.25 MB/sec [Megabyte-per-second]
= 10016.0 Kbps [Kilobit-per-second]
= 10.02 Mbps [Megabit-per-second]
File size transferred : 14.65 MB (15360000 bytes)
Total time taken : 128.14 seconds (128141 milliseconds)
Throughput : 119.0 KB/sec [Kilobyte-per-second]
= 0.12 MB/sec [Megabyte-per-second]
= 952.0 Kbps [Kilobit-per-second]
= 0.95 Mbps [Megabit-per-second]
The plan is nice. Cable TV picture is actually outstanding. I also ordered the HD package and the display is phenomonal. 1080i over CATV is great, and will be worth its weight in gold once football season starts!
So service is great. Internet has been quite solid (had some instability, found out it was the routers fault), couple of outages, but none lasting more than an hour or two. Only complaint I have is that they are adding more HD channels, which is good. The bad part is that they nearly doubled the price of the HD package without telling me... Bill comes in the mail that's $20 more than usual... They raised the price of the HD package from $15/mo. to $25/mo. But they STILL don't have the local channels in HD, which SUCKS... GCI told me however that it faults to the local stations not being capable of HD, which I have a hard time believing... Customer service did a stunning job, crediting me for my frustration. But I still elected to keep the HD package...
As far as internet connection goes, its great for the New Xbox Experience. 10Mbps streaming HD Netflix rocks, video loads in ~20 seconds, plays without hiccups, as long as your roommate doesn't start trying to download stuff against you... Upload appears to be slacking, going at about 820Kbps consistantly. Several modem and router reboots does not improve anything...
Been a while since I've updated this. Not too long ago, they bumped the packages up, so I'm now getting 12Mbps/1Mbps (notice how they didn't bump the upload??!?) and stayed at the same price. I get every bit of that 12Mbps and even more, usually get 12.5Mbps Or 1.54MBps downstream sustained. I've seen some pretty high speed bursts, but those don't last long and are quite rare. Also a change from the last review is they finally did add at least 2 (sometimes 3) of the local channels in HD. Total of like 65 HD channels now that I get (less than whats there because I only get showtime and HBO, not Cinemax or Starz).
However, the downside is, not long after the new packages went in to effect, GCI launched their new "Fair Use Policy" (»portal.gci.net/usage/fair_use.html) in an effort to apparently thwart heavy downloaders. Now, I don't download a lot of stuff, and last month I hit 130GB. That's Netflix streaming, gaming on multiple platforms, two roommates plus myself (doing the same, mind you) and we are exceeding this newly established policy. That said, we haven't gotten any notices yet, so I'm assuming if we keep our heads down, we should be in good shape. The sad part is, that the lower packages have much lower fair use limitations, going as low as 40GB. Sad part is, they are measuring a GB as 1,000MB, which is not the case. 1GB=1024MB. Granted, there isn't that much of the difference, but as the customer, I'm getting shortchanged by 2400MB over the month based on their poor calculations. I have yet to personally see these get enforced, but they have ground to stand on now nonetheless.
I wouldn't put it past GCI to start enforcing these limits here pretty soon. I think these caps are pretty crazy low, especially considering the bandwidth given. 250GB for the 12Mbps package is adequate, thats what TekSavvy is doing in Canada, why can't others fall behind that logic?
I don't have much to complain about, I have not yet gotten any complaints against me to stop doing what I'm doing, and GCI isn't charging anyone if they go over, just a stern talking-to is in order apparently.I'll just say I haven't gotten a call yet, and if I do, they may not like what I have to say, especially since I'm not paying any less money for less service. $1 per GB? Hard drive storage is cheaper than that... I can buy a 500GB hard drive for less than $100 each month and fill it somewhere else. Kind of lame when you think about it...
It's been a while since I've updated this, and GCI has changed their plans around quite a bit since the last update. It's kind of funny reading this review and see a timeline of sorts as to how their services have evolved over the years.
We are now running on the 22Mbps/2Mbps plan for $109.99/mo. (which is an upgrade to the ultimate package triple-play with them) with a 200,000MB/month cap, billed at $0.001/MB after the cap. Sadly, in my congested apartment complex, speeds crawl to around 6Mbps on average these days. Didn't use to be a huge issue, since 38Mbps to the node on DOCSIS 2 still allowed those on the previous top 12Mbps plan to have 2 users download full speed with room left over. Now with 22Mbps plans, and still using the aging DOCSIS 2 cable platform, users are suffering while GCI tries to play catchup.
GCI has done DOCSIS 3 upgrades in the Anchorage area and offer new 50Mbps/5Mbps plans, which their marketing team has dubbed "re:D", which is apparently hip for "broadband redefined". While I'd hardly call that redefining broadband, it does give me hope that I'll soon be free of node congestion issues.
Honestly 22Mbps/2Mbps would be great for us, but sadly I hardly get to see those speeds. Ever. Unless its early in the morning. Or sometimes during the day on a weekday.
Their tech support and customer service has been awesome and willing to help. Unfortunately this will just take time until upgrades are completed "this summer". I have boosted the ratings for pre sales info (new materials make it really easy to know what you're signing up for), as well as tech support, while dropping the rating for services.
As I stated in my last update, their upgrades have rolled through (twice, but I'll get to that), and I began subscribing to their "re:D" service on October 3rd at 50Mbps/5Mbps with a monthly cap of 488GB (500,000MB) for $200/month. Initially, I was seeing issues reaching 50Mbps consistently especially during peak times, but conversations with their technical staff indicated that this was not going to be the case for long.
Indeed that was true. On November 22nd, all of those issues went away. And less than a month later, December 19th, GCI announced upgrades to the existing re:D service to 100Mbps/5Mbps with the same cap for $25 less per month than I was paying before. Along with promises from upper management that the cap situation will soon change.
Two days into the upgrades now, 100/5 solid. No noticeable deviations.
Other plans are still as they are for the moment. Not sure what's going to be coming down the pipe.
Over a month now, and speeds are still completely solid. No issues at all. Seeing a bit higher than subscribed levels on the upload as well, usually about 5.7 or so.
Updated ratings to reflect properly.
We moved into a new house 3 weeks ago, about 4 miles from our previous apartment. We took our cable TV and internet service with us. Called GCI on Tuesday to schedule a tech to come by and help out with the install. We scheduled the service call between 1-3PM with a 30 minute call ahead. He called me at 11AM saying that he was ahead of schedule and could meet us sooner, or he could come by during the scheduled time. It was a good time for us, we had the U-Haul packed up so we went over to the new place to meet him. I needed some wiring done as the previous owners left their satellite dish, and the coax drops were wired up to it. The tech was able to use the existing wiring and splice in the cable drop from the pedestal, which was still in good shape. Didn't charge me for it either.
GCI again upgraded bandwidth on May 8th for their "re:D" customers to 200Mbps downstream. Still only 5 upstream, but insiders at the company tell me that upgrades are underway to increase that. Getting full downstream bandwidth comes pretty close to maximizing upstream bandwidth as well just in sending acknowledgements back. But if downloads are ongoing and maxing downstream, web browsing now becomes a little sluggish for others on the same network.
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updated 141 days ago