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ACS Alaska page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating Unavailable
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Reviews:
bullet 24 reviews (5 good) (11 bad)
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Review by SoLongACS See Profile

  • Location: Anchorage,Anchorage,AK
  • Cost: $90 per month
Good "Hmm... can't think of anything"
Bad "Limited e-mail space, slow Internet connection, slow to modernize"
Overall "This company is stuck in the Stone Age, technologically-speaking"
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Geez, where do I start? Ok, I’ll start at the beginning.

I bought my house in 1990 and of course, the first thing I did was to get phone and Internet service. So I went to the primary telecom in Anchorage, which at the time was the Anchorage Telephone Utility (ATU). I got their basic plain-old-telephone service (POTS – a wired connection) and their 14.4Kb dial-up Internet service, and an e-mail account with 10MB of storage space. That doesn’t sound very impressive, but remember that was back in 1990, so it was pretty much the standard at the time.

ATU was eventually purchased and taken over by Alaska Communications System (ACS), and my phone, Internet, and e-mail service naturally went along for the ride. As we know, technology marches steadily forward, and eventually (somewhere around 1998-2000 or so) ACS was able to offer 1MB DSL service to my house, so I ditched the slow dial-up modem and signed up for the DSL. But the only way to get the DSL was to bundle it with a bunch of useless (to me) phone services. Even with the DSL service though, I was still limited to 10MB of storage space for my e-mail account. So phone, 1MB Internet, and e-mail cost me $90/month.

Fast forward to today, end of 2013. What’s changed with ACS? Well, they now offer DSL speeds of 320K, 1M, 3M, 4M, 7M, and 10M. But of course, the only options available to me at my house are the 320K and 1M speeds, even though I’m right in the middle of urban Anchorage. Although I have the 1M DSL service, I have never actually gotten anything close to that speed. Now I know, the speeds advertised by service providers are really just maximum theoretical speeds, which in reality are virtually never achieved. But my actual speeds are typically only about 30% of the maximum, or around 300K. The best I’ve ever had was 490K - the worst, 90K. So sure, I don’t expect speeds of 900K from a 1M connection, but I sure as heck expect more than 300K.

So what about my e-mail service? Twenty-three years after getting my e-mail account with its 10MB of storage space, ACS still has done nothing to increase it. I’m still stuck at 10MB of storage. Geez, what is this, 1990, when hard drives cost something like $600 for a 300MB drive? I went down to ACS’s office to see if I could bump up my storage from 10MB to a still measly 100MB (so, an additional 90MB). I was pleased to hear them say, “Yes, we can get you another 90MB of space." Then they continued, "That’ll be an additional charge of $90 per month.” WHAT?!!! $90.00 PER MONTH, ON TOP OF MY EXISTING $90 PER MONTH PHONE/INTERNET BUNDLE?!! What kind of distorted reality does this company operate in? Hello? Earth to ACS – it’s 2013; you can buy a 1 TERABYTE hard drive for $90! Why do you think you’re doing me a favor by giving me the “option” of paying $90 PER MONTH for 90MB of hard drive space? ACS doesn’t have a clue.

Bottom line: ACS is a company stuck in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s. I have seen no technological progress from them for the past 23 years. You’d think that after several decades of collecting $90 per month for, in reality, a 300K Internet connection, that they’d be sitting on wads of cash and would upgrade their infrastructure. But no. They act like they’re the only game in town, with no competition. But guess what? There is competition – it’s called GCI. And I just cancelled everything I have with ACS and moved it to GCI (landline phone, 1GB of e-mail space, 15M Internet connection, same price as ACS). So good riddance, ACS!

member for 1 year, 4 visits, last login: 94 days ago
updated 1 year ago

Comments:
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

E-mail.

Email is not a mission critical services to ISPs. Many do not offer an more than a few megs unless they have partnered with Google. But if you require more storage space for your email why not look at the free providers?
SoLongACS

join:2013-10-29
USA
Reviews:
·ACS Alaska

Re: E-mail.

Yes, of course I know I could use gmail or another free e-mail provider. The real issue for me was that I had the same e-mail address for 23 years, and I wanted to keep it. Going to another e-mail provider would require me to get a different e-mail address. And yes, I know that I could forward mail from my 23-year old e-mail address to a free e-mail provider, but that's just a messy solution. So yeah, I know e-mail is an ancillary service with ISPs, but geez, you'd think that in today's environment, they'd be able to provide more than 10MB of space.

In the end, I dumped ACS entirely (phone and Internet) and signed up with their competitor, GCI. And yes, I did have to get a new e-mail address, but the difference was minor - went from ___@alaska.net to ___@gci.net. It was a hard bullet to bite, but I'm glad I switched because GCI's services are light-years ahead of ACS's (example: my 15Mb cable modem from GCI gives me consistent speeds of 15.2 Mb - that's something like 35-40 times faster than what I could ever get from ACS!).

Review by Anarch_Angel See Profile

  • Location: Kasilof,Kenai Peninsula,AK
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Good "It exists, has mostly consistent speeds"
Bad "Expensive, terrible customer support, regular service outages, unreliable routing"
Overall "You're probably going to be stuck with them if you live in AK"
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I have had this service for a few years now. I'm not happy with it.

First and foremost, there's the price. I'm paying for their 320/240kbps DSL package at $50/mo. Combined with the exorbitant phone line fees that they charge just to have a landline that I don't use for anything other than internet anymore, the monthly cost is over $70/mo just to have a slow internet connection. ACS plugs their DSL as a "bundle", where in addition to the actual internet connection, you're given a crapload of useless features that have no relevance in this day and age, including a couple of email addresses, a few minutes of monthly long distance calls, and custom ringers. Oh, what a steal. It's like this entire half of the company isn't aware that cellphones exist yet. You CANNOT negotiate with the company to drop those features and get a better price; either you buy the bundle, or you get no internet. Anywhere else, you could get a 3Mbps connection for less. It's 2013, and I'm paying over a dozen times the market value for a connection that was substandard ten years ago.

Customer support is unreliable at best. They're only available during regular business hours, so heaven help you if you have a problem over the weekend. When it is available, expect it to be slow and unhelpful. Their reps know less about connection routing than your average college freshman, and I honestly can't remember the last time I spoke to a support rep that spoke English as a first language. They're only going to be of assistance to you if you don't know how to unplug your modem and plug it back in again.

Connection reliability is... suitable. ACS has been notorious for bad routing for years, especially with overselling space on their PPPoE servers. While not as pronounced as it once was, don't be surprised if your connection drops occasionally. It doesn't help that it seems to have trouble with several different brands of router. Even these days the only type of connection that's less reliable is satellite. Then, there's the service outages. Expect them on a regular basis with no prior notification of any kind, especially in cases of moderately inclement weather. With what they charge, one would think that they could maintain their infrastructure to be more resilient against 2mph winds.

So why even bother? Well, the same reason anyone puts up with any other pathetic services in Alaska: it's all you get. ACS has next to zero competition aside from GCI cable in some jurisdictions (none of which I personally live in), and even that option is not economically preferable. They own pretty much all communications infrastructure in the state of Alaska and they know it, so they can get away with providing whatever dismal service they decide to peddle to everyone for whatever price they please. If you want better internet, move to another state.

member for 1.2 years, 4 visits, last login: 1.1 years ago
updated 1.2 years ago

Comments:
Rob_
Premium
join:2008-07-16
Mary Esther, FL
kudos:1

If I lived up there

I'd be enjoying nature, getting away, escaping during the summer. Internet would be a moot point.

Have you decided on maybe switching to Sprint? They have unlimited data and 4G is growing, so is LTE. We currently get 3G down here.

Really sorry about your experience, take it up with the city, contact the FTC, they are on our side.

-Rob
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Re: If I lived up there

VZW has LTE up there in AK- a brand new network.

But what do you expect for Internet in a state that is so remote for the most part. I would be happy to have DSL let alone a landline with cell towers being even more scarce than affordable Internet. Watch NatGEO and AK State Troopers. Half the time their own cell phones don't even work- let alone a 2-way radio system.
sparky007

join:2011-08-25
Avondale, AZ

How about??

Looks like you can go with these people..

»www.gci.com/packages#locationPicker
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: How about??

GCI does not provide services to the OP's city.

Review by nitejazz3 See Profile

  • Location: Sitka,Sitka,AK
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Good "Tech support good during week, nonexistent on weekends"
Bad "connectivity and speed are terrible"
Overall "Expensive, and not very reliable in this community."
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I have 4MB DSL (fastest available in Sitka). Speed has been dwindling over the past few weeks and now is comparable to a moderate speed dialup. Cable is dismal here and even more expensive than ACS Alaska DSL.

If I had a choice I would get another service. Nothing else is available here.

member for 8.6 years, 34 visits, last login: 102 days ago
updated 2.1 years ago

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Review by allemania See Profile

  • Location: Kenai,Kenai Peninsula,AK
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Good "Honestly nothing at this point."
Bad "SUPER SLOW internet speed; less than half the internet speed that we are paying for/subscribing to."
Overall "They are charging us for a service/speed that they cannot and will not provide."
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We live in Nikiski Alaska and we subscribe to ACS internet for 1 mbps speed which is the fastest they would offer us. However, we rarely ever get that speed or anything near it for that matter. I run internet speed tests throughout various times of the day and evening, and we consistently have speeds as low as 130 kbps, especially during the evening peak hours. We subscribe to Netflix, but we can't stream anything from them anymore as our internet speeds are barely above dial-up levels. I spoke with an ACS tech last week who was totally unsympathetic to our situation and those of my neighbors. He admitted that the internet equipment in our area is outdated and was never meant to supply the number of households and the internet speeds that we are paying for! He said that there was nothing they could do about it right now, and that we would have to wait at least a year before we saw any improvement. I said that ACS shouldn't charge us for 1 mbps speeds if they couldn't provide it, and that I felt we should be allowed to pay for slower speeds instead. He said I could ask customer service if they would lower our cost, but if they did then they would also lower our internet speed from 1 mbps (which we rarely ever get) to 330 kbps! He also cautioned me not to give up our internet service as we wait for them to update the equipment, because he said if we did give up our port, they would give it to someone else and we would never get our internet service back. My husband and I feel like we are being held hostage by ACS---having to pay for service and speeds that they admittedly cannot/will not provide for us. What can we do? Do we have any options available to us, anyone who can help us?

member for 2.2 years, 0 visits, last login: 2.2 years ago
lodged 2.2 years ago

Comments:

AngryDSL

@acsalaska.net

Extremely Disappointed in ACS

I also live in Nikiski. Moved in here about 8 years ago. Hooked up the DSL, and all was good with only minor intermittent hiccups in packet loss or bandwidth at peak times. Then in went the gradeschool internet down the road...instant peak time 20-40% packet loss and .2 to .4 download speeds. After literally having to fight with them on the phone about this being there issue, they reduced my payment by 20$ a month. So now I'm paying 80$ a month for a 14.4k dial up connection essentially (dial up is more stable by far, but ACS cant install a second line here). As of three days ago, the bottom has dropped out of the bucket. Minimum of 45 seconds to load one standard sized webpage. Bandwidth, Ping, and Jitter won't even register on any tests...now heres the kicker. At least 15 of my neighbors are all experiencing the same issues, have all made the same calls to ACS demanding a fix, and have all recieved the same story; its on our end. Oh, so my brand new internal phone lines I had installed must be faulty. Maybe, just maybe it has to do with the overloaded COPPER phone box by the Stop and Go Cafe (not that one of your internal techs released that information or anything). ACS Tech's quote, "we have crammed as much copper into that box as is possible...its a known bottleneck". Wonderful Alaska service...just wonderful! If you live in Nikiski or Northern Kenai, forget DSL, or Wireless internet (it uses the same overloaded substations as the DSL internet).

Review by dirtfarmer See Profile

  • Location: Anchorage,Anchorage,AK
  • Cost: $69 per month
Good "Tech support has always been quick and efficient."
Bad "Tested speeds have consistantly been slower than advertised"
Overall "Except for the slow speed it's OK."
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Speed package is 1M/320kbs. The order install was DYI and was really no trouble. The contract is part of bundled services, including local phone. We are using a Nortel network box and have for several years without a problem.

member for 13.3 years, 119 visits, last login: 2.6 years ago
lodged 3.8 years ago

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Review by methodical6 See Profile

  • Location: Fairbanks,Fairbanks North Star,AK
  • Cost: $106 per month (24 month contract)
Good "reliability, good service"
Bad "price, slow speeds"
Overall "Ok for residential service if you don't want TV"
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3/.512 service package is the fastest ACS offers and it lives up to it's name for me. It's worked well, and was able to call tech support and change from interleaved to fast path to lower my ping times for gaming, which was a pleasant surprise.

It's still coming out to more than $100 a month for the service though, and includes a local phone line and long distance I don't use. I wish they'd offer naked DSL, or lower the prices and introduce a higher speed tier or two. Their speed tiers are anemic and sad.

I'm a previous customer of GCI's cable modem product and the GCI internet experience is much better for me. Lower pings and a better network, but I'm not in their service area.

member for 4.5 years, 10 visits, last login: 4 years ago
lodged 4.5 years ago

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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"
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(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.

Ouch.

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.

member for 10.9 years, 418 visits, last login: 285 days ago
updated 4.8 years ago

Comments:

Review by torxxx8 See Profile

  • Location: Fairbanks,Fairbanks North Star,AK
  • Cost: $101 per month
Good "3mbps down 512k up DSL.."
Bad "Connection problems, speed problems"
Overall "Depends on what you want. I shoulda went with 10 mbps cable"
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Dont bother with these guys. Their customer service are idiots, there outside repairment are meth heads. they talk so damn fast you can understand them. They are part tossers.. oh your internet is messed up here use this new modem it'll fix everything. I got 3 bad modems in a row from these clowns in one week... Just bout a new 100 dollar linksys router because tehy said it was bad,

My speeds are about half of what they advertise. I'm so disgusted with them, but the cable up here isnt anybetter. They slap you with 30 gigs a month bandwidth and then 2 dollars a gig for every gig after the 30.

Alaska internet is screwed any way you go about it. Thanks ISP's.. bring some lube next time so it dont hurt as bad

member for 8.8 years, 11 visits, last login: 5.1 years ago
updated 5.1 years ago

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Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: Anchorage,Anchorage,AK
  • Cost: $40 per month (12 month contract)
Good "ACS is a great company, excellent wireless, great local phone."
Bad "The DSL internet service sucks. Dial-up is just slightly slower."
Overall "I'm shopping for another ISP."
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Gettin' pretty slow. Almost time to go. (Listening, ACS?)

(review was emailed from domain acsalaska.net)
lodged 5.8 years ago

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Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: Juneau,Juneau,AK
  • Cost: $185 per month
Good "Not trapped with cable"
Bad "Slow, not advertised speed, frequent outages, expensive."
Overall "It looks like I'm going towards a cable bundle."
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I can get about 1/3 of their advertised download speed of
3000kb/s. I called to complain and they sent a technician out who
said "it must be the inside wiring". I spent a day installing NEW
wiring with the DSL line having a direct connection to the junction
box. Not surprisingly, the speed never went up and I had wasted a
day rewiring for nothing.


(review was emailed from domain gci.net)
lodged 6.7 years ago

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