March 28, 2022
GCI strives to provide the fastest and best quality internet service in Alaska. This includes providing access to an open internet.
This Guide describes how GCI treats your internet traffic for fixed and mobile services, including our public Wi-Fi hotspots. Our goal is to be transparent about how your service works. We also want to help internet companies and device manufacturers develop, market and maintain their own internet offerings.
The plans described in this Guide are consumer services designed for residential use. If you have questions about our commercial internet services, please ask your account representative about GCI’s Dedicated Internet Access Service and other business internet products which we also make available to consumers upon request.
The technology used to deliver internet service can be complex and the details change frequently. The information in this Guide is for your convenience only and we reserve the right to change our internet policies and network management practices at any time without advance notice. Please check back to this Guide for updates, which we will make periodically.
Your use of GCI’s internet services is governed by our Terms and Conditions (https://www.gci.com/about/terms-and-conditions) and any policies that are incorporated into your service contract(s) by reference. This Guide is not part of any contract you may have with GCI and the information we provide here does not change your rights and obligations, or ours, under any such agreement.
Other Relevant Information
In addition to the practices and policies described here, the following policies are applicable to your Internet access service, some of which may have been incorporated by reference into the Terms and Conditions of the service or services you purchase from GCI.
Some of GCI’s home internet services come with usage allowances, meaning these plans include a specific amount of high-speed data usage per billing cycle. Once all of the high-speed data included in the plan is used, the internet service will be reduced to a “Basic Level of Service” for the remainder of the billing cycle. Customers on these plans are given the option to continue using the Basic Level of Service, upgrade to another plan, or authorize the purchase of an additional high-speed usage bucket. Each purchase must be authorized before charges are incurred, and there is no limit to the number of buckets a customer may opt to add. At a Basic Level of Service, no applications, websites, or services are blocked at any time. Activities such as email, online shopping, banking, and most web browsing may load faster and work better than applications that require high speeds, such as large file downloads or streaming media. When using a Basic Level of Service, you may find that content requiring high speeds is sometimes embedded in web pages, which may slow down the overall web browsing experience. When your new billing cycle begins, the Service will automatically return to the normal high-speed service of the plan to which you subscribe.
Other GCI home internet plans invoice all data usage after the usage allowance is reached, and may charge a fee for each additional megabyte (MB), gigabyte (GB), or other amount of data used, without necessarily limiting the bandwidth available to the customer. Certain of these plans come with a maximum usage overage charge that may be applied to any single invoice, after which the internet service will be reduced to a Basic Level of Service for the remainder of the billing cycle.
Other GCI fixed and mobile internet services provide residential customers with unlimited data usage, which means that GCI does not invoice for usage beyond a defined threshold. All of GCI’s unlimited products are intended only for residential use and are subject to reasonable use and applicable network management practices. These services may not be used in a manner that has the effect of excessively contributing to network congestion, hindering other customers’ access to the network, or degrading network performance. Activities that involve extensive high-volume and/or continuous data transfer might cause your account to be considered in excess of reasonable usage and subject to review. Examples of these activities may include, but are not limited to, use of the service as a substitute or backup for Dedicated Access Internet Service; continuous or frequent and sustained operation of server devices, host computer applications such as continuous Web camera broadcasts, or streaming video and peer-to-peer file sharing programs; commercial or business use; or an unsecured wireless signal.
With respect to GCI’s 2 GIG Unlimited home internet plan, we proactively identify accounts with usage in excess of 4 TB per billing period for account review. Such accounts are subject to reduced speeds and deprioritization after 4 TB of usage for the remainder of the billing cycle. We may also contact such customers regarding possible upgrades and how to maintain usage within acceptable ranges. GCI reserves the right to impose other reasonable network management policies and/or to terminate service if excessive usage continues and a mutually agreed upon resolution cannot be reached. GCI periodically reviews its understanding of reasonable use and makes adjustments as appropriate.
GCI also has mobile wireless products that provide unlimited data usage with no overage charges. On some such plans, users who exceed the specified amount of data in the current billing period (e.g., 34 GB, 75 GB, or 125 GB) may experience temporarily reduced data speeds due to deprioritization in locations where there is high network utilization. On other plans, data usage is always subject to deprioritization in locations experiencing high network utilization. These plans are intended to be used primarily in certain areas, and only occasionally in other areas known as “Extended Markets” which are subject to a separate and specified amount of included data and lower speeds. Please call Customer Service or visit http://www.gci.com for more information including a list of Extended Markets. If you exceed the amount of included data in an Extended Market, we may suspend or terminate your Service without prior notice to you. See below for a description of how we treat streaming video on these plans.
Measuring Your Data
Usage GCI’s Usage Viewer gives our residential home internet and mobile wireless customers a way to view how much data they have used each billing cycle.
Subscribers can access the Usage Viewer on our web site using MyGCI which is available at https://my.gci.com/. Mobile subscribers may also download GCI’s Usage Viewer Mobile App to your smartphone for quick and easy access to your usage data. In either case, you will need a MyGCI account to access the Usage Viewer. If you do not have a MyGCI login, you can obtain one here: https://my.gci.com/register/. You may also create a MyGCI account by calling GCI at 1-800-800-4800.
GCI’s website has detailed instructions for using the Usage Viewer at the following address: https://www.gci.com/support/support-articles/how-do-i-view-my-usage.
As stated in the terms and conditions of service, GCI makes the online and app-based versions of Usage Viewer available to our customers for their convenience only. Each customer’s usage information must be collected and processed before it can be displayed accurately. Customers should not rely on the Usage Viewer for real-time usage updates.
As a courtesy for our customers, GCI can also provide you with an email notification if your home Internet data usage or your mobile data usage approaches and/or exceeds the defined usage threshold for your selected service plan. Text message alerts are available for residential wireless data plan customers as well. To receive these notifications, we need to have an email address and/or wireless number on file for you. Please note, it is important to make sure that any spam filtering services or products you may be using are set to not block messages from GCI or you may not receive these notifications. As with the Usage Viewer, there sometimes is a lag before e-mail and text notifications about usage levels are sent so you should not rely on these notifications for real-time usage updates. We do not send usage notification texts during nighttime and early morning hours when doing so might wake you up.
To receive e-mail or text notifications, or if you have any other questions about your usage, please contact customer service at 1-800-800-4800 (Residential) or 1-800-800-7754 (Business).
Application Specific Behavior
As a general matter, GCI’s congestion management practices do not treat internet traffic differently based on the type of service or application being used. GCI may prioritize certain applications that require real-time interaction, such as voice service, in order to ensure that applications work effectively for all our customers including during times of network congestion. On our mobile wireless network, GCI has implemented video optimization technologies. These technologies allocate network capacity to benefit the greatest number of users while ensuring a high-quality experience for everyone, taking into account which devices and services are most commonly used. Specifically, we limit the capacity available to video downloads or streams, which causes the video provider’s content server to send the appropriate resolution video file for that speed, if available. In most situations, less data will be consumed without discernable impact on the quality of your viewing experience, although in some cases your video viewing experience may be negatively impacted. The specific data rate applied to streaming video varies by plan and is applied without regard to the content of the video or the website from which it is obtained. This technology applies to all devices using the plan’s data connectivity, including mobile hotspot (tethering) connected devices. Mobile wireless devices that are connected via Wi-Fi will not be impacted. Certain of GCI’s satellite-based services employ caching technology GCI purchases from a third-party vendor that may prioritize certain traffic when under the control of that caching technology. GCI does not direct or control how any such prioritization might be applied, if at all.
Certain of GCI’s mobile wireless plans have limits on the amount of data that may be used as a hotspot or for tethering, on the number of wearable devices that may be associated with an account, and certain other limits. Please see the documents associated with your plan for details.
With the exception of ensuring network security and integrity, addressing traffic unwanted by our users (such as viruses, spam, etc.), and preventing certain harmful or illegal activity such as the distribution of viruses or other malicious code or the transfer of child pornography or other unlawful content, we do not prohibit the use of, block access to, or block traffic from any services or applications even when we use network management techniques. As provided for in the Terms and Conditions of service, GCI sometimes will provide notice to our customers by redirecting web browsers to our captive portal, such as when we notify a consumer that their data usage is approaching or has exceeded the allowance of the plan they selected. This means that you sometimes may be directed to a webpage from GCI that you will need to take action on or close before you can access the internet content you selected.
We design and affirmatively manage our networks to ensure that all of our customers receive high-quality internet and data services and that network resources are shared fairly among all our users. Our congestion management practices are guided by and in accordance with industry standards and protocols. Because network capacity is a shared resource, portions of our network may nevertheless become temporarily congested when a large volume of customers are engaging in high-bandwidth activities at the same time. Congestion is a function of all of our customers’ choices at any given moment and is often unpredictable. If congestion occurs, it is usually brief and intermittent. GCI is continually investing in and upgrading our networks and seeks to avoid congestion by keeping ahead of the exponential demand for internet service. In the absence of network congestion, the traffic management techniques described in this section have no material impact on any user’s internet experience.
On GCI’s consumer internet networks, we employ a practice that allows the traffic of users that are imposing fewer demands on the network to get through highly utilized portions of the network more quickly than the traffic of heavier users. This policy is implemented without regard to the customer’s specific identify or what specific content, application, service or device they are using. A user may be deemed a “heavy user” based on usage during a short period of time (e.g., 15 minutes) or on a monthly billing cycle basis or both. Thus, someone identified as a heavy user at the present time might be determined to be a light user just a few minutes later or with sufficient usage may be deemed a heavy user for the remainder of their billing cycle. There are many positive effects of this policy for all of our users and only a small percentage of our customers are negatively affected by this policy each month. We implement this policy in a way that even those users who are negatively impacted may not perceive any lessening of the quality of their service depending on the level and duration of heavy network utilization. Sometimes, however, heavy users identified by this process may experience longer than normal times to download or upload files, slower web browsing, or delays in online gaming.
GCI’s wireless network utilizes a number of different transmission technologies and, consistent with industry standards, our wireless congestion management techniques vary based on the specific equipment and protocols we have deployed in a particular location. Certain of our wireless technologies employ an algorithm in the base station scheduler that controls how users get served on a given sector. Where such technologies are in use, when the number of users and/or traffic demands exceeds the available network capacity, we allocate system resources by taking into account signal quality (which impacts the bandwidth available to that user) and how long a customer has been in the queue, to provide the best quality service possible to all of our users. On certain of our other wireless technologies, when multiple users are contending for the same system resources, the network will give system resources first to the contending packets being sent to or from a good signal without regard to how long the next traffic in line has been in the queue. Certain of our other wireless technologies do not adjust the order in which data packets are sent and received, but do adjust how internet traffic is packaged based on signal quality. And certain of GCI’s wireless network technologies currently do not prioritize or otherwise adjust how traffic is scheduled or delivered based upon congestion, including GCI’s Wi-Fi TurboZone hotspots, although we may apply congestion management policies to these technologies in the future.
GCI offers a variety of home internet and mobile data service tiers, each of which offers varying speeds and features that may affect the suitability of such service for real-time applications and other types of applications. The features, pricing and other commercial terms of our service offerings are modified from time to time and not all packages are available in all areas. Each package is priced to reflect the particular speed and features of that package. Full descriptions of currently available packaging and pricing can be found at www.gci.com.
GCI, like most internet service providers, cannot guarantee that specific speeds will always be achievable. GCI engineers its network and your service to provide the maximum speed available with the plan you’ve chosen. We describe below the actual results customers are most likely to experience for certain plans, including during peak periods of network use.
|Package Name||Typical Download Speed||Typical Upload Speed||Latency in ms|
|FAST||200 Mbps||10 Mbps||10-60 ms|
|FASTER||400 Mbps||20 Mbps||10-60 ms|
|FASTEST||800 Mbps*||40 Mbps||10-60 ms|
|2 GIG red||2,000 Mbps*||75 Mbps||10-60 ms|
*Consumer speeds may vary depending on the configuration and capability of customer owned devices including router, switch, firewall, wiring, computer, and software. Latency reflects typical experience to GCI's speed test servers.
|Package Name||Typical Download Speed||Typical Upload Speed||Latency in ms|
|Basic||3 Mbps||512 Kbps||40-120 ms|
|Essential||4 Mbps||1 Mbps||40-120 ms|
|Select||6 Mbps||2 Mbps||40-120 ms|
|Premium||10 Mbps||4 Mbps||40-120 ms|
|Package Name||Typical Download Speed||Typical Upload Speed||Latency in ms|
|Xtreme 12||12 Mbps||1 Mbps||10-60 ms|
|Xtreme 15||15 Mbps||1.5 Mbps||10-60 ms|
|Xtreme 18||18 Mbps||2 Mbps||10-60 ms|
|Xtreme 22||22 Mbps||2 Mbps||10-60 ms|
|Package Name||Typical Download Speed||Typical Upload Speed||Latency in ms|
|Basic||3 Mbps||512 Kbps||600-700 ms|
|Essential||4 Mbps||1 Mbps||600-700 ms
|Select||6 Mbps||2 Mbps||600-700 ms
|Premium||10 Mbps||4 Mbps||600-700 ms
Satellite served market. Latency reflects typical experience to GCI's speed test servers.
Please be aware that your internet experience may be impacted by a number of factors outside GCI’s control, including factors other than the performance of GCI’s network. For example:
If you want to test the performance of your internet service, you may want to run a speed test. To begin, please use the speed test at speedtest.gci.com. Some other speed test sites are not capable of keeping up with GCI’s network for certain plans. Please note that GCI’s faster plans provide more speed than most individual devices can process one at a time. We provide super high speeds to ensure that all of your devices can enjoy blazing fasts speeds at the same time. This means though that running a speed test from a single device may be measuring the top speed of that device rather than the much faster speed of GCI’s network connection. If you feel there may be issues impairing your service, please contact GCI Technical Support at 1-800-800-4800 for assistance.
For best results during a speed test, connect your computer directly to your modem without using a wireless router. Remember that all the connected devices within your home share the modem’s bandwidth which can impact the results. You should also restart your modem and computer prior to the test to ensure nothing is running in the background. For more information on performing a speed test, visit speedtest.gci.com
PLEASE NOTE: Conducting a speed test requires sending data from your device to the speed test site and back again to measure how quickly the data are transmitted. Higher speed plans require more data to ensure an accurate test. This data usage will count against the usage allowance associated with your plan.
Mobile Wireless Data Services
Measuring the performance of wireless networks is more challenging than measuring the performance of wireline networks. Because the mobile wireless network is stationary and mobile wireless customers are not, traffic loads on our network fluctuate significantly as our mobile wireless customers, and customers of other providers who are roaming on our networks, move throughout our service territory. The number of customers attempting to use the same spectrum resources can significantly affect mobile wireless performance. Mobile wireless performance is also affected by the distance between a mobile wireless handset and the cell tower (or other antenna), terrain, whether the user is inside or outside, the amount of foliage, the transmission technology or protocol at that location, the device you are using to access the internet, what other programs are running on your device, the latency and available backhaul capacity between the base station and internet, and many other factors.
GCI operates the largest wireless network in Alaska and we are dedicated to offering the best coverage in the state, as well as significant roaming coverage nationwide. GCI may limit the amount of data or the rate at which data is transmitted when you are roaming on other provider’s networks. Data roaming is not provided in all areas.
Based on our internal testing and testing commissioned from third-party vendors, GCI expects customers generally will experience the following speeds on our networks:
|Service||Technology||Typical Download Speed||Typical Upload Speeds||Typical Latency|
|2G||EDGE||40-200 Kbps||20-80 Kbps||<900 ms|
|3G||HSPA||500-800 Kbps||100-500 Kbps||<180 ms|
|3G||EvDO||0.5-1.7 Mbps||0.5 - 0.8 Mbps||<120 ms|
|4G||HSPA +||4-8 Mbps||0.5-1.5 Mbps||<120 ms|
|4G LTE||LTE||6-20 Mbps||3-7 Mbps||<90 ms|
|5G||5G NSA||8-40 Mbps||5-20 Mbps||<90 ms|
Typical speeds, latency round trip measured to network edge.
For coverage information, see http://www.gci.com/mobile/coverage-map.
For each of the transmission technologies above, you must be using a device and be within the coverage area of that technology to access the network defined by that technology. For example, you must be using a 4G LTE device and be within the 4G LTE coverage area to access the 4G LTE network.
Customers of certain GCI service plans qualify for access to GCI’s TurboZone Wi-Fi network and, in some cases, to the Wi-Fi networks of our roaming partners. Qualifying customers may use TurboZone Wi-Fi to obtain wireless access to the internet and related services and features. See above for a description of the congestion management and other traffic policies related to TurboZone.
Network and End-User Security
GCI reserves the right to protect the integrity of its network and resources by any lawful means it deems appropriate. GCI employs network management practices to protect the security of our network and our customers which may include e-mail virus scanning, spam detection techniques, denying e-mail from certain domains, putting limits on e-mail based on the relevant service, and taking steps to prevent the theft of our customer’s information. For example, GCI may enforce limits on the number of logins, SMTP, DNS, and DHCP transactions per second that customers can send to GCI’s servers.
If the router you use for your fixed service is Wi-Fi-equipped, it may provide a capability for you to encrypt traffic transmitted between your wireless device and that router. We urge you to use this encryption setting to protect your service from being accessed by people you don't know and haven't authorized to use your service. Wi-Fi encryption does not encrypt traffic you send over the internet—it just provides encryption for the Wi-Fi portion of the communications path between your wireless device and your Wi-Fi-enabled in-home router. You are responsible for activity using your connection and you may be responsible for the unlawful use by someone else—like illegal downloading or uploading copyrighted material.
Your router or modem may also support other advanced security features such as a firewall, parental controls, logging, and other networking features. See your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for more information on how to set up and secure your router. The following page that describes some of the basic settings for GCI’s internet and wireless services: http://www.gci.com/support/support-articles/GCI-Basic-Settings
You may attach any lawful device to the network as long as it does not harm the network or the provision of internet access service, facilitate theft of service, or violate our acceptable use policy or terms of service, or harm other users of the service. Not all devices are compatible with our network or the bandwidth of your plan. Information concerning the approval of devices for use on the network is available on our website. For information about customer owned modems please visit https://www.gci.com/about/terms-conditions/internet/approved-customer-owned-modems. For information about wireless devices please visit https://www.gci.com/mobile/phones.
Non-Broadband Internet Access Services (Specialized Services)
GCI offers several “application-level” services that share capacity on GCI’s networks with your internet service. The fixed voice service GCI offers over its cable network is an example of such a service, as is GCI’s cable television service. We may offer additional non-broadband internet access services today and in the future. GCI uses network management techniques to isolate the capacity used by these distinct services and we generally design our networks and these services so that they can be used simultaneously without significant (or any) degradation of service. Because certain network resources are shared among internet service and these specialized services, it is possible during periods of heavy use that your specialized service(s) or internet service, or both, could temporarily be negatively impacted.
If you find you are having significant issues, please call GCI Technical Support at 1-800-800-4800 and we will work to identify and resolve any problems.
In emergency situations, GCI may follow practices other than as described above to address the needs of emergency communications or law enforcement, public safety, or national security authorities, consistent with or as permitted by applicable law.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your GCI Internet service, you may contact GCI Customer Service by calling 1-800-800-4800.
The FCC has established procedures for addressing informal and formal complaints regarding broadband service. For information, please refer to the FCC's website at http://www.fcc.gov/guides/getting-broadband.