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ACS Alaska page on DSLReports
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Review by cluth See Profile

  • Location: Anchorage,Anchorage,AK
  • Cost: $108 per month
Good "Reliable service"
Bad "Expensive for what you get; consumer products ridiculously slow"
Overall "Can get OK service without bundling (unlike GCI), but speeds are barely acceptible for all but the most basic home user"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:

(The above prices refer to the standard ADSL product.)

My company has had service with GCI with a cable modem as well as ACS using standard ADSL and business-grade "BXB" (Ethernet over PPPoE over G.SHDSL).

The BXB offering is superb: symmetrical connections up to (as I recall) 9mbps with virtually zero downtime (four nines, in my experience, and the bit of time it was down last year was actually a statewide issue with their core backbone, not the last-mile), full status monitoring (they usually know before you do when your Internet is down), 24/7/365 tier II support (you talk directly to the NOC and get guys who speak techie, can tell you what "G.SHDSL" stands for, and know Cisco IOS commands), and optional support (for extra cost) for a routable network, VPN tunnels, and other more advanced features.

However, all of that comes at a price--a price less than a T-carrier connection (for a relatively similar product) but *much* higher than the normal ADSL price. I don't pay the bills for my company, so I don't know the exact amount, but our 3m/3m connection runs around $500 per month.


There have been a couple of other downsides: our account executive can sometimes be a bit slow to respond (sometimes multiple emails have to be sent, or--gasp--you actually have to pick up the phone to get answers!), and sometimes the install or change process can take a bit of time to coordinate (it actually took them over a month to get around to upgrading the speed at one of our other offices--you'd think they'd spring into action to charge us more money!). All in all, though, I'm impressed with their business-class offerings, especially given our demanding needs (our POS software runs over Citrix sessions from an out-of-state server farm, so we are very aware when our ISP has connectivity problems).

I can only provide a brief review of their consumer-level ADSL product, since we only had that for a short time before upgrading to BXB. It's nothing special--just a plain ol' DSL product. I never found it particularly unreliable, though we didn't run it as hard as we do now. The biggest problem with the consumer-level product: it is S L O W. GCI, the local cable company (running DOCSIS 2.0 with up to 12m/1m connections, rumored to be upgraded soon even more) is spot on with their ads calling ACS's product "DS-Snail." The fastest product is 3m/512k, which I find insulting at $89 per month (around $108 after taxes; that price includes home phone service). It's doubly insulting because they advertise having uploads twice as fast as "the cable company" and propagate the lie that "the cable company's internet" is slow because you share your connection with your neighbors. (My GCI cable modem at home *consistently* gets the full 8m down and 512k up any time of day or night, whether I run GCI's own speed test (»speedtest.gci.net), ACS's Anchorage-based test (»speedtest.nwc.acsalaska.net), or ACS's Seattle-based test (»speedtest.sea.acsalaska.net/speedtest-3.0/), so in my experience, ACS's claims are a complete lie: GCI doesn't oversubscribe their last-mile or their out-of-state backbone).

On the upside, while it's hardly "cheap" by the standard of out-of-state DSL providers, it seems like it's not as expensive as GCI due to ACS's less-restrictive bundling practices. If they offer naked DSL, they don't publicize its price on their site, but I would doubt it's much of a savings. But at least you can get their fastest product without a ton of add-ons, unlike GCI, where you can't even *think* about getting anything faster than 4m/1m unless you have phone and cable TV service with them (at a minimum bundle cost of $93.99 plus your Internet speed upgrade cost). Still, that 4m/1m product from GCI is available for $100/mo, plus a $7/mo access fee if you don't have cable TV, which is really not any more expensive than ACS's 3m/512k product (granted, you don't get a home phone line, but really, who uses those any more?).

So, for value, I have to give ACS a big thumbs down, both for the business product (if I were the business owner, I would really not like paying $500/mo for 3m/3m, regardless of the extra services it comes with) and the consumer product (over $100/mo for barely acceptable speeds). Perhaps the rumors that Verizon is looking to buy out ACS will come true and they'll bring some modern technology up here with prices to match (hello, FiOS!). For now, I'd have to suggest that residential users (or SOHOs needing just a normal Internet connection) look to GCI as the better value, and businesses needing reliability look at going with an ACS consumer DSL connection and GCI cable modem connection and installing a multi-homed router that switches between both, providing extra speed and an increased measure of reliability.

All that said, ACS's BXB product, which is what I originally came here to review, has served us well for the last few years. If price isn't an issue, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for high-demand situations.

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updated 4.7 years ago