August 1, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 31

GCI expands cell service signals

Petersburg and Wrangell GCI subscribers might receive increased cellular service after three new antennas installed on Crystal Mountain are turned on in the coming weeks.

Perry Allen / Submitted photo
Cellular service on Mitkof Island should improve soon thanks to the three new GCI antennas installed on Crystal Mountain.

Perry Allen, GCI Systems Manager, said GCI is testing the antennas this week. Crews are working to ensure the antennas are aligned towards Petersburg, Wrangell and Sumner Strait.

“We hope this will increase service for Mitkof Island, from five mile out the road to Banana Point, for boat traffic between Banana Point to Wrangell and possibly parts of the Stikine River and portions of Sumner Strait close to Point Baker,” Allen says.

Allen and other staff will test service using a specialized phone. The device will be sent to the antenna manufacturer where it will review the results and give the go ahead to turn service on.

Allen says plans to begin the construction began last November but crews were snowed out.

They began construction June 24 and it took three weeks to install the antennas.

“It’s really easy because it’s not a traditional cell site,” Allen says. “It’s just a couple of helicopter hops to get the antennas up here.”

Allen expects the service to be turned on in two to three weeks.

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