Closing the Digital Divide

GCI supports students in Western Alaska through telecommunication partnership

GCI collaborates with Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative Inc., Nushagak Cooperative and Bush-Tell, Inc., aiming to keep Alaskans connected and help schools provide virtual lessons

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – To support community members and students in Western Alaska working from home and those home due to closures in response to COVID-19, GCI announced a collaboration with Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative Inc., Nushagak Electric and Telephone Cooperative, and Bush-Tell, Inc. that will support the expanding need for connectivity at home.

During this time of uncertainty for many, Alaska’s telecommunication industry is coming together to develop innovative solutions to ensure Alaska students have access to online learning tools.

“Alaskans are dealing with big changes and GCI is committed to doing what we can to serve Alaskans across the state, especially students and teachers,” said Krag Johnsen, Vice President of GCI Wholesale Business. “During this time of crisis, we are proud to work with the other telecommunications providers in Western Alaska that, through this partnership, will be able to provide options to their customers to hopefully make life a little easier during this stressful time.”

As a result of this collaboration, Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative Inc., Nushagak Electric and Telephone Cooperative, and Bush-Tell, Inc. customers will be able to receive free upgrades to their current plans and Alaskans living in the region who do not have internet, including students and teachers, can sign up for free service where available through May 31, 2020.

To learn more about these specific offers and to upgrade service, customers should reach out to their respective providers. This announcement comes less than a week after GCI announced new offers for free internet upgrades for all its customers statewide.

“We are happy to be able to provide our customers with these offers and services during this time,” said Jeff Fulton GM/CEO, Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative Inc. “Education is so important to our youth and thanks to GCI we are able to help make sure students and teachers in Western Alaska have access to the internet.”

“We know how important it is for our customers, especially students and people working from home, to stay connected during this time and we appreciate GCI working with us to offer free upgrades and free entry-level service for new customers during this challenging time,” said Doug Devore, President, Bush-Tell, Inc.

“We’re so thankful that at times like these we can call on our relationship with GCI to help us do the right thing for Alaskans,” said Bob Himschoot, CEO & General Manager, Nushagak Electric and Telephone Cooperative. “Thanks to our relationship, we are able to bring our customers the connectivity they need right now.”

The program is the result of collaborative efforts among telecommunications providers across the state to help ensure all Alaskans, especially students and teachers, have access to internet connections. The new plans also help support Alaskans who are now working from home and rely on the internet to conduct business and do their jobs.

“We’re all working together to keep everyone connected, and I congratulate Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative, Bush-Tell, GCI and Nushagak Cooperative for increasing connectivity for residents of Western Alaska,” said Christine O’Connor, Executive Director of Alaska Telecom Association. “ATA’s members are committed to serving Alaskans in these challenging circumstances and this collaboration is a significant example of that.”

“Offering free internet upgrades to our customers and free internet for new customers where available is one way we can support Alaskans. Doing the same by working together with our partners in Western Alaska, we can help keep all Alaskans connected, even those who are not GCI customers, and to us that’s really what it means to be Alaska born and raised,” said Johnsen.

GCI is committed to keeping employees, customers and families safe and connected during the COVID-19 situation. Learn more about GCI’s response at

About GCI

GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer and business customers throughout Alaska and nationwide. Headquartered in Alaska, GCI has delivered services for 40 years to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. Learn more about GCI at GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of GCI Liberty, Inc. (Nasdaq: GLIBA, GLIBP). Learn more about GCI Liberty at