Anchorage will become among the first in the world to have a standards-based 5G network, with a price tag of $30 million, thanks to a partnership between GCI and Ericsson, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce.
On June 18, leaders of both companies announced a project unveiling at Alaska Pacific University. According to GCI’s CEO Ron Duncan, the project will be, “one of the biggest initiatives in GCI’s history,” broadening Anchorage’s wireless data capacity 10-fold.
According to GCI, the project will involve installing Ericsson’s standards-based 5G New Radio equipment and software at 82 cell tower sites across the city. The towers will work in conjunction with small cells to make the network fully operational, reported the Journal.
Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm said, “Maybe it’s time to rephrase and not call Alaska the Last Frontier, but the ‘First Frontier,’” in regards to being the first to launch a true 5G network.
Duncan estimates the project will be complete by the end of 2019 with the first 5G becoming available in 2020. At that time, Anchorage will be the 22nd city worldwide to integrate Ericsson’s 5G technology, through GCI’s network, according to Duncan.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said a faster, higher-capacity mobile network would help the city better deploy resources, such as police, monitor more of its assets in real-time and operate more efficiently while making the city a more competitive place to work and live.